Horace
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July 14th, 2018, 3:43 am #41

I was impressed by the New Yorker thing too, but glad that Sam is staying ad free. I don't care about any supposed bias that might creep in, I just hate ads. Especially interminable, repetitive live podcast ad reads. Those are the worst. (Have you heard about Stamps.com? Well, I have. A hundred thousand times.)

Masha Gessen recently pulled out of her scheduled appearance with Sam and some of his ilk. She said it had been "misrepresented". I don't think she liked the whiff of alt-rightyness.
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July 26th, 2018, 1:37 am #42

You listen to the new AMA? Interesting take on his conversations with Peterson. Can’t wait to hear those when they come out.
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July 28th, 2018, 1:49 pm #43

Yep those should be good.
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August 1st, 2018, 4:17 pm #44

Enjoyable conversation with Coleman Hughes.

But then, I would think that.

I daresay the topics discussed are the only political topics a kid of that age could conceivably have interesting and important ideas about. Because the degree of stupidity of our cultural ideas around those topics is so high, and the barrier to entry into the discussion (requisite skin color) also so high. The kid is clearly brilliant but he only needs to say some basic, obvious things, to have an important individual voice in this culture.
As a good person, I implore you to do as I, a good person, do. Be good. Do NOT be bad. If you see bad, end bad. End it in yourself, and end it in others. By any means necessary, the good must conquer the bad. Good people know this. Do you know this? Are you good?
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August 4th, 2018, 9:13 am #45

Yeah, but he really handles himself well for a 22 year old. I heard him on Glenn Loury the same week and had read his latest Quillette piece.
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September 5th, 2018, 7:37 pm #46

I listened to the first Peterson/Harris discussion today.

A really interesting talk.   Not really sure if it ended up anywhere, but they've got three more to go (or I have three more to watch, at least).

A couple of random thoughts:

 - I've never been a huge fan of Harris' argument in the Moral Landscape, which always struck me as a special case of utilitarianism.  And the root 'axiom', (paraphrasing) that the maximal suffering of every conscious being would be the worst state the universe could be in, strikes me as a tautology.   But that wasn't Peterson's objection, rather he made the more typical objection that, while he agrees with the sentiment, it isn't a 'fact'.   In other words, his objection was really the Humean one.   

 - I really think Harris' criticism of Peterson that he is slippery and evasive on god/religion is spot on.   It sounds like they'll explore it in greater detail in the subsequent talks.   I hope so.

 - I kept thinking 'how would Peterson's mainstream critics react to this discussion'?   They really wouldn't know what to make of it.   They'd be waiting for some social justice dog whistle that never comes.   
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September 5th, 2018, 11:42 pm #47

I didn't see a new episode from Harris - where did you hear this?
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September 6th, 2018, 12:41 am #48

He emailed a link to supporters.  It’s a video on his website. Well, two videos so far.  Not a podcast.  
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September 6th, 2018, 1:02 am #49

Hm. I didn't get an email about it. Last couple emails I have received are confirmations of my donations for july and august, both on the 25th of the month.
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September 6th, 2018, 1:36 am #50

Go to the website and see if you can find the link.

If not, pm me an email and I’ll forward it.
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September 8th, 2018, 12:08 pm #51

Just listened to night 2. They open by steelmanning each other’s arguments. Fantastic.

In the middle it meandered a bit too much. Toward the end they were back on track. I’ll comment more later.
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September 13th, 2018, 4:30 pm #52

Have you watched them yet?
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September 13th, 2018, 4:31 pm #53

By the way, there’s a long Peter Thiel interview on the latest Dave Rubin podcast.  

Dave’s a bit of a tool, but he gets some good guests.  I pay attention to his episode list and listen when it’s someone interesting.
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September 14th, 2018, 5:03 pm #54

I haven't gotten a chance to watch them yet. Been quite sick lately but I'm getting better.  I agree about Rubin - tool - but I'll check out the Peter Thiel interview.
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September 18th, 2018, 5:46 am #55

I finally listened to both Harris/Peterson conversations.  They were good and it's fun to listen to them both talk just for how skilled they each are in shaping their thoughts into words (Harris slightly moreso IMO).  

It seemed the central argument revolved around the concept of "metaphorical truth".  They didn't get bogged down in the aspect of whether metaphorical truth is literal truth, which is good.  But even after disregarding that the argument remained about the value of metaphorical truth.  I side with Harris on that one.  I don't even like the phrase "metaphorical truth", which only resonates as an interesting concept because it coopts the word "truth".  If they just said "rule of thumb", which as far as I can tell has the same meaning, would it be worth discussing?

A metaphorical truth would be of great interest if it couldn't be more clearly expressed as a literal truth.  But I suspect no such metaphorical truth exists.  With human machines interpreting any such truth, metaphorical or otherwise, the one which motivates actions which *look like* they were motivated by the literal version, if the human were a perfect reasoning machine, would be the most useful version of that truth. That version which best motivates appropriate behavior could easily be the metaphorical one.  But that only says that humans are imperfect calculating machines, and they can be gamed.  Sam doesn't want to game people on principle, while Peterson, if he's not a literal believer, does.  
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September 18th, 2018, 5:51 am #56

I think in any human vs machine conflict within Harris' moral landscape, he'll have to specialize his utilitarianism to apply only to humans.  Otherwise, presuming the amount of potential total suffering of AIs will be practically unbounded, while humanity's total suffering will be bounded by the number of humans, the eradication of humans becomes an easy utilitarian choice if they are even mildly on the annoying side.  And IMO we're way more than mildly annoying.
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September 19th, 2018, 3:00 pm #57

Horace wrote: I finally listened to both Harris/Peterson conversations.  They were good and it's fun to listen to them both talk just for how skilled they each are in shaping their thoughts into words (Harris slightly moreso IMO).  

It seemed the central argument revolved around the concept of "metaphorical truth".  They didn't get bogged down in the aspect of whether metaphorical truth is literal truth, which is good.  But even after disregarding that the argument remained about the value of metaphorical truth.  I side with Harris on that one.  I don't even like the phrase "metaphorical truth", which only resonates as an interesting concept because it coopts the word "truth".  If they just said "rule of thumb", which as far as I can tell has the same meaning, would it be worth discussing?
I agree with your first paragraph.

Re the 'metaphorical truth' I think the concept is worth the time they put into it because it really highlights how these ideas evolved.   Cultural memes are selected for, Dawkins tells us, and this is showing that it happened on a large scale.   To me that's really the interesting part of Peterson's 'archetype' fixation.


I think my favorite part of the two shows was when they each 'steel-manned' the other's position at the beginning of the second event.   It was quite impressive.
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September 19th, 2018, 3:42 pm #58

The study of memes is fascinating, but "useful" would be a more appropriate word for why they gain traction than "true".  Peterson has been circling around an attempt to prove the equivalence of those two concepts, but he makes no discernible progress against Harris IMO.

I liked the steel-manning, too.  No better way to establish that you're listening to a potentially interesting discussion.
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September 19th, 2018, 5:41 pm #59

I agree that’s a better description. I just don’t agree that it’s uninteresting once renamed.
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September 19th, 2018, 7:30 pm #60

I didn’t say discussion of memes was inherently uninteresting. My point was that there is nothing to the “metaphorical truth” neologism that isn’t already in “rule of thumb”. The reason the term was coined for the discussion was because it tries to bridge the gap present between Harris and Peterson since their first podcast - “what is the meaning of true”. In trying to establish the existence of a thing called metaphorical truth, all Peterson ends up doing is meme anthropology. Which of course can be fascinating but his intended end of discovering something beyond useful ideas which have stuck around for a reason is doomed to failure. My feelings on it are that he’s trying to scoop up a few credulous folk who like to think of themselves as rationally minded, and allow them to believe literally in Christianity.
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