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Corrections, corrections …

I at last hit the “publish” button for Gödel Without (Too Many) Tears as an Amazon print-on-demand book; and within less than a day of its going live, I received a list of corrections and suggestions based on a late draft. … Continue reading → The post Corrections, corrections … appeared first on Logic [More]

In Praise of a Dying Empire: America, the Beautiful

When I was a young postdoc, I was staying with my wife in a small house in the suburbs of New York. We couldn't afford much in terms of furniture but, behind our bed, we had hung a big American flag. America gave me a job, a career, a language, a way of seeing the world, and much more. America the promise, America the land of the free, America the beautiful, America the wonderful. But is also true that, "For every nation is a specified term. When their time has come, then they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede it." Sūrat l-aʿrāf (The Heights), Verse (7:34).United States: An Obituaryby Richard HeinbergThe United States of America was problematic from the start. It was founded on genocide and slavery, and, while frequently congratulating itself on the rights and freedoms it granted its citizens, never managed to confront the demons in its past. The question would arise repeatedly, generation after generation: rights and freedoms for whom?...In short, we are living through the fall of a great power. With it will go a unique way of organizing the world. The symbolism of president Trump cowering in an underground bunker beneath the White House in late May couldn’t be plainer.It is reasonable to ask whether the United States will continue to exist as a unified nation for much longer. The federal government has become so incompetent as to be increasingly irrelevant to the solution of many pressing problems—and a new face in the White House may not change the [More]

Frate Filippo di Tommaso dipintore

In another world, we would have gone to Florence again this year before spring, before the tourists really return. Out of season, the city becomes a delight,  the galleries and churches peaceful, the cafés and restaurants recovered by the locals. … Continue reading → The post Frate Filippo di Tommaso dipintore appeared first on Logic [More]

Political Beliefs, Uncertainty, and the Expected Value of Paralysis

Jason Brennan argues that most people can't have the faintest clue about the expected value of voting for either candidate in an election:They don't know the difference in the value between the candidates and they don't know they probably of being decisive. If it's not rational to buy a lottery ticket in such situations, why would it be rational to vote?But I think his framing is misleading.  It's true that a robust, precise, and dialectically persuasive estimate would take a lot of work.  But it would also take a lot of work (much more than Brennan does here!) to show that most people have no good reason to think that one candidate would be better than the other, or that they epistemically must be indifferent.  Yet that is what Brennan really needs to show, if he is to undermine the rationality of voting.(It's actually a bit unclear what Brennan's target is in that post: he moves back and forth between talking about whether voters know whether it's rational to vote and whether it is rational, given voters' knowledge, to vote.  These are not the same thing!  To be clear: I'm concerned with the latter.)To justify acting, we do not need to know the precise "difference in value between the candidates" or the precise "probability of being decisive".  Given how many people are affected by the results of a major election (like the U.S. Presidency), it suffices to have justified credence that (i) one candidate is overall [More]

Mike’s Election FAQs

Voter Fraud Q: Look at this video showing voter and election fraud by Democrats. Why don’t you believe that there is widespread voter and election fraud by Democrats? A:  Voter or election fraud are criminal activities; typically, felonies. Do you have the police reports or court transcripts for these crimes? Q: No; why don’t you [More]

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