Prayer, Belief, and More Jump Discontinuities

The post last week on being prayed for sparked some interesting questions about free will and belief.  I thought returning to that topic would be a nice complement to the discussion about choosing to alter your own will that's developing out of Tristyn's pharmaceutical thought experiment.Disagreement arose over whether a petitionary prayer to God seeking my conversion was an affront to my free will or agency.  Posters P. Coyle and Hendy made the great point that belief is not a matter of w … [Read more...]

Inducing a Moral Jump Discontinuity (A thought experiment)

Tristyn of Eschatological Psychosis jumps the line by prefacing her comment on my review of Brook's The Social Animal with 'TRANHUMANIST QUESTION.'  I am powerless to resist.  Here's what she asked: So, we have established that if, in fact, holding warm beverages makes you nicer, going out of your way to find a warm beverage before interacting with an annoying person is acceptable to you. Seems fairly reasonable, though (I think) clearly in a closer-to-ideal world we wouldn't need such c … [Read more...]

Fun and Games with Minds and Brains

There have been a bunch of interesting comments already on my post on Mind/Brain division, so I'm pulling some out here to reply to in depth.dcb wrote I have to agree that this is a hard sell to me. I am not an atheist, so perhaps there is something big that I am missing, but if the physical basis for the you-program is lost, in what sense is the "ported" version still you? Sure, it might think it is you, but wouldn't that be basically a figment of its reconstructed imagination? This is … [Read more...]

“You can’t go around building a better world for people”

For an explanation of what Weatherwax Wednesdays are all about, read the introduction post. This week’s Discworld quote comes from Witches Abroad, which is, among many other thing, a retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale. In the story, Granny Weatherwax and her companions are pitted against a more conventional fairy godmother, who is intent on scripting a happy ending for the characters. ‘We’re the other kind [of godmother],’ said Granny. ‘We’re the kind that gives people what they kn … [Read more...]