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    1. How do you convince someone of the value of egalitarianism?

      An odd question to ask, I'll admit, but I think it's worth asking. It's hard to have a public conversation today about political or politicised topics because people will pipe up and tell you that...

      An odd question to ask, I'll admit, but I think it's worth asking.

      It's hard to have a public conversation today about political or politicised topics because people will pipe up and tell you that you're crazy and your ideas are completely backwards. And the reason why people say this is often driven by conflicts between personally held values rather than the ideas themselves. As a result, these conversations usually end up with both sides arguing past eachother and no concensus is ever made; nobody is happy.

      One of the more common reasons for these arguements is typically because one party believes in egalitarianism - the belief that all people should be treated the same - and the other one does not. It's particularly strange to see given that so many countries have egalitarianism as a cornerstone to their government and laws. Yet we still see many people trying to take away rights and freedoms from certain classes of people.

      Regardless of any particular conversation, what do you think is the best way to convince someone in the value of egalitarianism? How do you convince someone that they're not part of a higher class who has power over another?

      13 votes
    2. The Trolley Problem

      An interesting thought experiment that I vividly remember from undergrad philosophy courses is the trolley problem: You see a runaway trolley moving toward five tied-up (or otherwise...

      An interesting thought experiment that I vividly remember from undergrad philosophy courses is the trolley problem:

      You see a runaway trolley moving toward five tied-up (or otherwise incapacitated) people lying on the main track. You are standing next to a lever that controls a switch. If you pull the lever, the trolley will be redirected onto a side track, and the five people on the main track will be saved. However, there is a single person lying on the side track. You have two options:

      1. Do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people on the main track.
      2. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.

      A variation of the problem that we were also presented with was:

      You see a runaway trolley moving toward five tied-up (or otherwise incapacitated) people lying on the main track. You are standing on a bridge that runs across the trolley tracks. There is a large man on the bridge next to you, who if pushed over the bridge and onto the track, would safely stop the trolley, saving the five people but killing the large man. Do you:

      1. Push the man over the bridge, saving the five people.
      2. Allow the trolley to kill the five people

      Which is the more ethical options? Or, more simply: What is the right thing to do?

      17 votes
    3. Excerpt from "Myth and Ritual in Christianity" by A. Watts

      ... The very insistence on the one historical incarnation as a unique step in a course of events leading to the future Kingdom of God reveals the psychology of Western culture most clearly. It...

      ... The very insistence on the one historical incarnation as a unique step in a course of events leading to the future Kingdom of God reveals the psychology of Western culture most clearly. It shows a mentality for which the present, real world is, in itself, joyless and barren, without value. The present can have value only in terms of meaning—if, like a word, it points to something beyond itself. This "beyond" which past and present events "mean" is the future. This the Western intellectual, as well as the literate common man, finds his life meaningless except in terms of a promising future. But the future is a "tomorrow which never comes", and for this reason Western culture has a "frantic" character. It is a desperate rush in pursuit of an ever-receding "meaning", because the promising future is precisely the famous carrot which the clever driver dangles before his donkey's nose from the end of his whip. Tragically enough, this frantic search for God, for the ideal life, in the future renders the course of history anything but a series of unique steps towards a goal. Its real result is to make history repeat itself faster and more furiously, confusing "progress" with increased agitation.

      —Alan Watts, Myth and Ritual in Christianity. 1954

      11 votes
    4. What is your favorite thought experiment?

      Mine is: do others see the same colours that I do? As in, is my "green" the same as your "green"? Or would my "green" look "blue" to you? I like this one because it's completely possible, points...

      Mine is: do others see the same colours that I do? As in, is my "green" the same as your "green"? Or would my "green" look "blue" to you? I like this one because it's completely possible, points out the plasticity of our minds and makes a distinction between sensation and perception. There are variations of this but I like it formulated as such. It's my favorite because it was also my first foray into the philosophy of consciousness and I'm often reminded of it when in an altered state of consciousness (e.g. by psychedelics).

      Your favorite experiment can be whatever: either something that has affected you deeply / changed your life or just something fun and amusing to think about.

      48 votes