Mark Linsenmayer on Less Wrong

by Ben Ryding

I’ve been a long time follower of Luke Muehlhauser ever since his Common Sense Atheism days.  Mark Linsenmayer  recently posted an article over at Partially Examined Life (I HIGHLY recommend their podcast series; it is undoubtedly the best and most accessible philosophy podcast on the net) in response to this quote by Luke:

Large swaths of philosophy (e.g. continental and postmodern philosophy) often don’t even try to be clear, rigorous, or scientifically respectable. This is philosophy of the “Uncle Joe’s musings on the meaning of life” sort, except that it’s dressed up in big words and long footnotes… Analytic philosophy is clearer, more rigorous, and better with math and science, but only does a slightly better job of avoiding magical categories, language confusions, and non-natural hypotheses. Moreover, its central tool is intuition, and this displays a near-total ignorance of how brains work. …a few naturalistic philosophers are doing some useful work. But the signal-to-noise ratio is much lower even in naturalistic philosophy than it is in, say, behavioral economics or cognitive neuroscience or artificial intelligence or statistics…

Luke is right on the money with this quote.  Linsenmayer goes into a larger critique on Less Wrong, a blog which I also highly recommend.  I think Linsenmayer is mostly correct in his critique.  Definitely read it and check out some of Muehlhauser and Yudkowski’s work if you’re not familiar with it.