I'm a computer scientist at Stanford Law School, mostly working on sequential decision-making problems and pretending that I know something about law. My background is in computer science and mathematics, where I've done work in optimization, complexity theory, graph theory, and machine learning.
My primary role on the podcast is to argue vehemently with Vaden until I either realize I'm wrong or have my mind changed. One day I'll win a debate. And on that day the podcast will end.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
November 29th, 2021 | 47 mins 48 secs
climate change, energy, energy transitions, fossil fuels, peak oil, shale gas revolution, vaclav smil
A dive into the science and politics of fossil fuels, guided by the inimitable Vaclav Smil.
November 9th, 2021 | 55 mins 3 secs
apocalypticism, climate change, degrowth, economic growth, optimism, specialization, trade
Round two of climate change! We talk about the degrowth movement, why economic growth is good for wellbeing, and respond to some of the criticism we received in the previous episode.
October 25th, 2021 | 40 mins 10 secs
essentialism, instrumentalism, language, politics, progress
We discuss Popper's delicious criticism of two dominant approaches to knowledge in physics and philosophy departments: instrumentalism and essentialism.
October 5th, 2021 | 51 mins
alarmism, climate change, environmentalism, nuclear energy, renewables
We dip our toes into the heated (heating?) waters of the climate debate. Sorry Greta.
September 14th, 2021 | 54 mins 51 secs
animal suffering, physics, secular guru, tim nguyen, weinstein
We had a semi-serious conversation about environmentalism in store for you, but we got trapped by the WIN (Weinsteinian institutional narrative). Like a black hole, the epic meltdown of Weinstein's and the confrontation with Tim Nguyen -- apparently the only adult in the room -- pulled us in, and we couldn't avoid talking about it.
August 30th, 2021 | 1 hr 39 mins
community, criticism, crying, david deutsch, free will, labels
Christofer Lövgren joins us for a wide ranging discussion on community, criticism, and crying.
August 16th, 2021 | 45 mins 20 secs
good judgement project, philip tetlock, politics, probability, superforecasting
We discuss Philip Tetlock's work on Superforecasting.
July 19th, 2021 | 1 hr 1 min
arithmetic, logic, philosophy of mathematics, rules of inference
We discuss Chapter 9 of Conjectures and Refutations: Why are the Calculi of Logic and Arithmetic Applicable to Reality?
June 28th, 2021 | 2 hrs 1 min
activism, police, politics, race, social media
Marianne recounts her summer. That's all we'll say for now.