Science, Philosophy, Epistemology, Mayhem
About the show
Vaden Masrani, a PhD student in machine learning at UBC and Ben Chugg, a research fellow at Stanford Law School, get into trouble arguing about everything except machine learning and law. Coherence is somewhere on the horizon.
Bribes, suggestions, love-mail and hate-mail all welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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#51 - Truth, Moose, and Refrigerated Eggplant: Critiquing Chapman's Meta-Rationality
May 29th, 2023 | 1 hr 12 mins
chapman, epistemology, nebulosity, popper, rationality
We discuss David Chapman's work on nebulosity, the correspondence theory of truth, and how it relates to Karl Popper's epistemology.
#50 - On the Evolutionary Origins of Storytelling, Art, and Science
April 24th, 2023 | 2 hrs 53 secs
artwork, brian boyd, evolution, fiction, myth, stories
Why do humans engage in art and storytelling? For our 50th episode, we explore Brian Boyd's thesis that art evolved from selection pressure to better understand the patterns and information around us.
#49 - AGI: Could The End Be Nigh? (With Rosie Campbell)
March 22nd, 2023 | 1 hr 24 mins
ai, creativity, existential risks, progress
The delightful Rosie Campbell joins us on the podcast to debate AI, AGI, superintelligence, and rogue computer viruses.
#48 (C&R Chap. 18) - Utopia and Violence
February 24th, 2023 | 1 hr 41 secs
popper, rationality, utopia, violence
Violent utopias? Utopian violence? Are the rationalists going to destroy the world? Chapter 18 of Conjectures and Refutations coming in hot.
#47 (Bonus) - Dualism, Reductionism, and Explanation Pancakes
January 16th, 2023 | 1 hr 32 mins
abstractions, dualism, explanations, mind body problem, reductionism
Vaden goes on The Declaration podcast to argue about dualism, the reality of abstractions, emergence, and reductionism.
#46 (Bonus) - Arguing about probability (with Nick Anyos)
December 19th, 2022 | 1 hr 59 mins
bayesianism, effective altruism, longtermism, probability, statistics
Ben and Vaden make a guest appearance on Nick Anyos' podcast on criticisms of effective altruism. As usual, they end up arguing about probability for most of it.
#45 - Four Central Fallacies of AI Research (with Melanie Mitchell)
October 31st, 2022 | 53 mins 29 secs
ai, complexity, intelligence
We chat with Melanie Mitchell about our understanding of artificial intelligence, human intelligence, and whether it's reasonable to expect us to be able to build sophisticated human-like automated systems anytime soon.
#44 - Longtermism Revisited: What We Owe the Future
October 3rd, 2022 | 1 hr 2 mins
effective altruism, ethics, longtermism, philosophy
Could have seen this one coming. We discuss Will MacAskill's new book "What We Owe the Future."
#43 - Artificial General Intelligence and the AI Safety debate
August 28th, 2022 | 1 hr 7 mins
agi, ai safety, empiricism, existential risk
Is advanced AI going to kill everyone? How close are we to building AGI? Is current AI creative? Put aside your philosophy textbooks, because we have the answers.
#42 (C&R, Chap 12+13) - Language and the Body-Mind Problem
July 20th, 2022 | 50 mins 39 secs
causality, determinism, karl buhler, language, mind-body problem, popper
We wrestle with chapter 12 and 13 of Conjectures and Refutations, on the topic of the mind-body problem, theories of language, determinism, and causality. This one is a real doozy folks.
#41 - Parenting, Epistemology, and EA (w/ Lulie Tanett)
June 20th, 2022 | 1 hr 18 mins
bayesianism, critical rationalism, effective altruism, epistemology, rationality
We're joined by the wonderful Lulie Tanett to talk about effective altruism, pulling spouses out of burning buildings, and why you should prefer critical rationalism to Bayesianism for your mom's sake.
#40 - The Myth of The Framework: On the possibility of fruitful discussion
May 30th, 2022 | 45 mins 31 secs
conversation, disagreement, framework, karl popper, progress
We discuss "The Myth of the Framework," an essay by Karl Popper arguing against the thesis that fruitful conversation is impossible unless you share a common framework of beliefs and assumptions.
#39 - The Enigma of Reason
April 27th, 2022 | 1 hr 1 min
bias, cognitive biases, evolution, psychology, rationality, reason
A discussion of The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber.
#38 (C&R Series, Ch. 2) - Wittgenstein vs Popper
March 8th, 2022 | 1 hr 3 mins
conjectures and refutations, philosophical problems, popper, wittgenstein, wittgenstein's poker
What made Wittgenstein so angry with Popper that he threatened him with a poker? We analyze Chapter 2 of C&R to find out.
#37 - Montessori Education w/ Matt Bateman
February 16th, 2022 | 1 hr 21 mins
child development, childhood, education, education reform, maria montessori, work
We're joined by Matt Bateman, the director of the Montessori think tank Montessorium, to talk all things education.
#36 - Analyzing Effective Altruism as a Social Movement
January 26th, 2022 | 56 mins 15 secs
core values, cults, effective altruism, groupthink, social movements
Vaden and Ben debate Effective Altruism and provocatively ask "Is EA a cult?" and come up with a resounding... Kinda. Maybe. It's hard to say.