Business and the Cartesian Demon: How not to Study Business

A few hundred years ago, Renè Descartes, the fella who brought us the Cartesian coordinate system 📉, isolated himself for a while to figure out (among other things) whether we can know anything for certain. The result of his retreat was his Meditations on First Philosophy, one of the most important philosophical texts of the modern era and one of my personal favorites. Early on in his Meditations, he decides that it’d be useful to engage in a thought experiment. »

Cigarettes and Texts: Self-knowledge, Self-control, and Meditation

A few months ago, I stumbled upon something I found hard to believe: Some people continue smoking cigarettes because they are unaware of how bad it tastes. Although it was counter-intuitive, I had pretty good reason to believe it, as it was suggested by Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist who developed a mindfulness-based smoking cessation program that’s supposedly superior to the standard one developed by the American Lung Association. 😮 »

Why Ayn Rand's Psychology is Probably Wrong (or trivial)

Edit: Some have pointed out that I’ve misrepresented Ayn Rand’s position in this post. From what I can tell, they are right. Either way, I still think the argument presented here is interesting and accurate as long as we change the conclusion to ”Psychological egoism is probably wrong (or trivial)” I’ve met a surprising number of people in my life who believe that no one is capable of altruism. These people believe that everyone always acts to further their own interests. »

A response to Your Comments on "Why Paul Graham is (sort of) wrong about philosophy"

First, I want to thank you guys for reading, criticizing, and commenting on my post. Given that there’s so many other excellent things you could have been reading, I’m honored that you spent a little time on what I’ve written. Now, let’s respond to some comments: Credentials A couple of comments came up about my “credentials.” Here’s some info: I studied philosophy and religion as an undergrad at the University of Central Florida. »

Why Paul Graham is (sort of) Wrong About Philosophy

A couple years ago, Paul Graham wrote an essay about philosophy. The essay, on my reading, makes three central claims: Philosophy has largely been driven by our failure to realize that our words are imprecise. This failure is the result of failing to search for useful knowledge. We can do philosophy better if we filter out thoughts that don’t meet a usefulness criterion. While I agree with a lot of what Graham says about philosophy in his essay, I think Graham is wrong on some of the more important points he makes. »

Why I'm Glad my Dream Job Didn't work out

For the past 5 years of my life, I’ve dreamed of having a job where I would get paid to think about interesting and important ideas and to try to get young people to be so passionate about those ideas that they would want to fight anyone who disagrees with them. For the past 5 years, I hoped I was going to be a philosophy professor I say “hoped” because I’ve always realized that philosophy professors have a sweet gig and a scandalous job description. »