Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Empirical Ethics

Imagine you need to navigate your way through an unfamiliar city. A friend of yours knows where you are, where you need to go, and how to get there - so he can give you directions. He basically has two options; either he can say “Left, then right, then right again, then straight, then left…” and so on until he’s directed you, step by step, to your destination. Or he can say “Go left on William Street, stay on there until you get to the lights at Elm Street, then take a right…” These two options for getting from A to B correspond to the two main methods of getting from what you currently know to what you want to know: logic and empiricism.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Alain de Botton's Atheism 2.0

“And the fox said to the little prince: men have forgotten this truth, but you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Alain de Botton, who is what you might call a pop philosopher, recently gave a TED talk that ties in with his new book, Religion for Atheists. I haven’t read the book yet (it was just released on the 26th) but what he says in the TED talk has some bearing on things I’ve dealt with recently.