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Nick Bostrom [96]N. Bostrom [3]
  1.  373 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (forthcoming). Smart Policy: Cognitive Enhancement and the Public Interest. In Julian Savulescu, Ruud ter Muelen & Guy Kahane (eds.), Enhancing Human Capabilities. Wiley-Blackwell
    Cognitive enhancement may be defined as the amplification or extension of core capacities of the mind through improvement or augmentation of internal or external information processing systems. Cognition refers to the processes an organism uses to organize information. These include acquiring information (perception), selecting (attention), representing (understanding) and retaining (memory) information, and using it to guide behavior (reasoning and coordination of motor outputs). Interventions to improve cognitive function may be directed at any of these core faculties.
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  2.  225 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2009). Cognitive Enhancement: Methods, Ethics, Regulatory Challenges. [REVIEW] Science and Engineering Ethics 15 (3):311-341.
    Cognitive enhancement takes many and diverse forms. Various methods of cognitive enhancement have implications for the near future. At the same time, these technologies raise a range of ethical issues. For example, they interact with notions of authenticity, the good life, and the role of medicine in our lives. Present and anticipated methods for cognitive enhancement also create challenges for public policy and regulation.
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  3.  221 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2000). Observer-Relative Chances in Anthropic Reasoning? Erkenntnis 52 (1):93-108.
    John Leslie presents a thought experiment to show that chances are sometimes observer-relative in a paradoxical way. The pivotal assumption in his argument – a version of the weak anthropic principle – is the same as the one used to get the disturbing Doomsday argument off the ground. I show that Leslie's thought experiment trades on the sense/reference ambiguity and is fallacious. I then describe a related case where chances are observer-relative in an interesting way. But not in a paradoxical (...)
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  4.  149 DLs
    Nick Bostrom & Rebecca Roache (2007). Ethical Issues in Human Enhancement. In J. Ryberg, T. Petersen & C. Wolf (eds.), New Waves in Applied Ethics. Palgrave Macmillan 120--152.
    Human enhancement has emerged in recent years as a blossoming topic in applied ethics. With continuing advances in science and technology, people are beginning to realize that some of the basic parameters of the human condition might be changed in the future. One important way in which the human condition could be changed is through the enhancement of basic human capacities. If this becomes feasible within the lifespan of many people alive today, then it is important now to consider the (...)
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  5.  132 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (1998). How Long Before Superintelligence? International Journal of Futures Studies 2.
    _This paper outlines the case for believing that we will have superhuman artificial intelligence_ _within the first third of the next century. It looks at different estimates of the processing power of_ _the human brain; how long it will take until computer hardware achieve a similar performance;_ _ways of creating the software through bottom-up approaches like the one used by biological_ _brains; how difficult it will be for neuroscience figure out enough about how brains work to_ _make this approach work; (...)
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  6.  125 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2007). Sleeping Beauty and Self-Location: A Hybrid Model. Synthese 157 (1):59 - 78.
    The Sleeping Beauty problem is test stone for theories about self- locating belief, i.e. theories about how we should reason when data or theories contain indexical information. Opinion on this problem is split between two camps, those who defend the “1/2 view” and those who advocate the “1/3 view”. I argue that both these positions are mistaken. Instead, I propose a new “hybrid” model, which avoids the faults of the standard views while retaining their attractive properties. This model appears to (...)
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  7.  109 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2005). Transhumanist Values. Journal of Philosophical Research 30 (Supplement):3-14.
    Transhumanism is a loosely defined movement that has developed gradually over the past two decades. [1] It promotes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating the opportunities for enhancing the human condition and the human organism opened up by the advancement of technology. Attention is given to both present technologies, like genetic engineering and information technology, and anticipated future ones, such as molecular nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.
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  8.  108 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2003). Human Genetic Enhancements: A Transhumanist Perspective. [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 37 (4):493-506.
    Transhumanism is a loosely defined movement that has developed gradually over the past two decades. It promotes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating the opportunities for enhancing the human condition and the human organism opened up by the advancement of technology. Attention is given to both present technologies, like genetic engineering and information technology, and anticipated future ones, such as molecular nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.
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  9.  105 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2005). — ŽŽ—œŽ ˜ ˜œ‘ž–Š— ’—’In Defence of Posthuman Dignity. Bioethics 19 (3):202-214.
    Positions on the ethics of human enhancement technologies can be (crudely) characterized as ranging from transhumanism to bioconservatism. Transhumanists believe that human enhancement technologies should be made widely available, that individuals should have broad discretion over which of these technologies to apply to themselves, and that parents should normally have the right to choose enhancements for their children-to-be. Bioconservatives (whose ranks include such diverse writers as Leon Kass, Francis Fukuyama, George Annas, Wesley Smith, Jeremy Rifkin, and Bill McKibben) are generally (...)
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  10.  102 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, A Doomsday Argument Primer.
    Rarely does philosophy produce empirical predictions. The Doomsday argument is an important exception. From seemingly trivial premises it seeks to show that the risk that humankind will go extinct soon has been systematically underestimated. Nearly everybody's first reaction is that there must be something wrong with such an argument. Yet despite being subjected to intense scrutiny by a growing number of philosophers, no simple flaw in the argument has been identified.
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  11.  100 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2009). The Simulation Argument: Some Explanations. Analysis 69 (3):458-461.
    Anthony Brueckner, in a recent article, proffers ‘a new way of thinking about Bostrom's Simulation Argument’ . His comments, however, misconstrue the argument; and some words of explanation are in order.The Simulation Argument purports to show, given some plausible assumptions, that at least one of three propositions is true . Roughly stated, these propositions are: almost all civilizations at our current level of development go extinct before reaching technological maturity; there is a strong convergence among technologically mature civilizations such that (...)
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  12.  97 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, Ethical Issues in Advanced Artificial Intelligence.
    The ethical issues related to the possible future creation of machines with general intellectual capabilities far outstripping those of humans are quite distinct from any ethical problems arising in current automation and information systems. Such superintelligence would not be just another technological development; it would be the most important invention ever made, and would lead to explosive progress in all scientific and technological fields, as the superintelligence would conduct research with superhuman efficiency. To the extent that ethics is a cognitive (...)
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  13.  91 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, What is Transhumanism?
    Over the past few years, a new paradigm for thinking about humankind's future has begun to take shape among some leading computer scientists, neuroscientists, nanotechnologists and researchers at the forefront of technological development. The new paradigm rejects a crucial assumption that is implicit in both traditional futurology and practically all of today's political thinking. This is the assumption that the "human condition" is at root a constant. Present-day processes can be fine-tuned; wealth can be increased and redistributed; tools can be (...)
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  14.  88 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, Observation.
    Space is big. It is very, very big. On the currently most favored cosmological theories, we are living in an infinite world, a world that contains an infinite number of planets, stars, galaxies, and black holes. This is an implication of most “multiverse theoriesâ€, according to which our universe is just one in a vast ensemble of physically real universes. But it is also a consequence of the standard Big Bang cosmology, if combined with the assumption that our universe is (...)
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  15.  84 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2009). Pascal's Mugging. Analysis 69 (3):443-445.
    In some dark alley. . . Mugger: Hey, give me your wallet. Pascal: Why on Earth would I want to do that? Mugger: Otherwise I’ll shoot you. Pascal: But you don’t have a gun. Mugger: Oops! I knew I had forgotten something. Pascal: No wallet for you then. Have a nice evening. Mugger: Wait! Pascal: Sigh. Mugger: I’ve got a business proposition for you. . . . How about you give me your wallet now? In return, I promise to come (...)
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  16.  78 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2008). Dignity and Enhancement. In Adam Schulman (ed.), Human Dignity and Bioethics: Essays Commissioned by the President's Council on Bioethics. [President's Council on Bioethics
    Does human enhancement threaten our dignity as some prominent commentators have asserted? Or could our dignity perhaps be technologically enhanced? After disentangling several different concepts of dignity, this essay focuses on the idea of dignity as a quality, a kind of excellence admitting of degrees and applicable to entities both within and without the human realm. I argue that dignity in this sense interacts with enhancement in complex ways which bring to light some fundamental issues in value theory, and that (...)
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  17.  75 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2001). The Meta-Newcomb Problem. Analysis 61 (4):309–310.
    There are two boxes in front of you and you are asked to choose between taking only box B or taking both box A and box B. Box A contains $ 1,000. Box B will contain either nothing or $ 1,000,000. What B will contain is (or will be) determined by Predictor, who has an excellent track record of predicting your choices. There are two possibilities. Either Predictor has already made his move by predicting your choice and putting a million (...)
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  18.  74 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2006). Quantity of Experience: Brain-Duplication and Degrees of Consciousness. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 16 (2):185-200.
    If a brain is duplicated so that there are two brains in identical states, are there then two numerically distinct phenomenal experiences or only one? There are two, I argue, and given computationalism, this has implications for what it is to implement a computation. I then consider what happens when a computation is implemented in a system that either uses unreliable components or possesses varying degrees of parallelism. I show that in some of these cases there can be, in a (...)
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  19.  61 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2005). In Defense of Posthuman Dignity. Bioethics 19 (3):202–214.
    Positions on the ethics of human enhancement technologies can be (crudely) characterized as ranging from transhumanism to bioconservatism. Transhumanists believe that human enhancement technologies should be made widely available, that individuals should have broad discretion over which of these technologies to apply to themselves, and that parents should normally have the right to choose enhancements for their children-to-be. Bioconservatives (whose ranks include such diverse writers as Leon Kass, Francis Fukuyama, George Annas, Wesley Smith, Jeremy Rifkin, and Bill McKibben) are generally (...)
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  20.  60 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, Why I Want to Be a Posthuman When I Grow Up.
    Extreme human enhancement could result in “posthuman” modes of being. After offering some definitions and conceptual clarification, I argue for two theses. First, some posthuman modes of being would be very worthwhile. Second, it could be very good for human beings to become posthuman.
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  21.  60 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2005). A History of Transhumanist Thought. Journal of Evolution and Technology 14 (1):1-25.
    The human desire to acquire new capacities is as ancient as our species itself. We have always sought to expand the boundaries of our existence, be it socially, geographically, or mentally. There is a tendency in at least some individuals always to search for a way around every obstacle and limitation to human life and happiness.
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  22.  59 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2009). The Future of Humanity. In Jan Kyrre Berg Olsen Friis, Evan Selinger & Søren Riis (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Technology. Palgrave Macmillan
    The future of humanity is often viewed as a topic for idle speculation. Yet our beliefs and assumptions on this subject matter shape decisions in both our personal lives and public policy – decisions that have very real and sometimes unfortunate consequences. It is therefore practically important to try to develop a realistic mode of futuristic thought about big picture questions for humanity. This paper sketches an overview of some recent attempts in this direction, and it offers a brief discussion (...)
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  23.  57 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, Transhumanism: The World's Most Dangerous Idea?
    More precisely, transhumanists advocate increased funding for research to radically extend healthy lifespan and favor the development of medical and technological means to improve memory, concentration, and other human capacities. Transhumanists propose that everybody should have the option to use such means to enhance various dimensions of their cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being. Not only is this a natural extension of the traditional aims of medicine and technology, but it is also a great humanitarian opportunity to genuinely improve the human (...)
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  24.  57 DLs
    Nick Bostrom & Toby Ord (2006). The Reversal Test: Eliminating Status Quo Bias in Applied Ethics. Ethics 116 (4):656-679.
    Suppose that we develop a medically safe and affordable means of enhancing human intelligence. For concreteness, we shall assume that the technology is genetic engineering (either somatic or germ line), although the argument we will present does not depend on the technological implementation. For simplicity, we shall speak of enhancing “intelligence” or “cognitive capacity,” but we do not presuppose that intelligence is best conceived of as a unitary attribute. Our considerations could be applied to specific cognitive abilities such as verbal (...)
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  25.  56 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, What We Should Say to the Skeptic.
    Since it is conceivable that the sun won't rise tomorrow although it has always done so in the past, we cannot hope for justification for the belief that it is strictly speaking absolutely certain that the sun will rise tomorrow. What we are looking for is an explanation of why it is reasonable even to believe with a high degree of confidence that the sun will rise.
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  26.  53 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, Cortical Integration: Possible Solutions to the Binding and Linking Problems in Perception, Reasoning and Long Term Memory.
    The problem of cortical integration is described and various proposed solutions, including grandmother cells, cell assemblies, feed-forward structures, RAAM and synchronization, are reviewed. One method, involving complex attractors, that has received little attention in the literature, is explained and developed. I call this binding through annexation. A simulation study is then presented which suggests ways in which complex attractors could underlie our capacity to reason. The paper ends with a discussion of the efficiency and biological plausibility of the proposals as (...)
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  27.  53 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2011). A Patch for the Simulation Argument. Analysis 71 (1):54 - 61.
    This article reports on a newly discovered bug in the original simulation argument. Two different ways of patching the argument are proposed, each of which preserves the original conclusion.
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  28.  50 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, When Machines Outsmart Humans.
    Artificial intelligence is a possibility that should not be ignored in any serious thinking about the future, and it raises many profound issues for ethics and public policy that philosophers ought to start thinking about. This article outlines the case for thinking that human-level machine intelligence might well appear within the next half century. It then explains four immediate consequences of such a development, and argues that machine intelligence would have a revolutionary impact on a wide range of the social, (...)
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  29.  47 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2001). The Doomsday Argument Adam & Eve, UN++, and Quantum Joe. Synthese 127 (3):359 - 387.
    The Doomsday argument purports to show that the risk of the human species going extinct soon has been systematically underestimated. This argument has something in common with controversial forms of reasoning in other areas, including: game theoretic problems with imperfect recall, the methodology of cosmology, the epistemology of indexical belief, and the debate over so-called fine-tuning arguments for the design hypothesis. The common denominator is a certain premiss: the Self-Sampling Assumption. We present two strands of argument in favor of this (...)
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  30.  46 DLs
    N. Bostrom (1999). The Doomsday Argument is Alive and Kicking. Mind 108 (431):539-551.
    A recent paper by Korb and Oliver in this journal attempts to refute the Carter-Leslie Doomsday argument. I organize their remarks into five objections and show that they all fail. Further efforts are thus called upon to find out what, if anything, is wrong with Carter and Leslie's disturbing reasoning. While ultimately unsuccessful, Korb and Oliver's objections do however in some instances force us to become clearer about what the Doomsday argument does and doesn't imply.
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  31.  41 DLs
    Nick Bostrom & Anders Sandberg (2009). The Wisdom of Nature: An Evolutionary Heuristic for Human Enhancement. In Julian Savulescu & Nick Bostrom (eds.), Human Enhancement. OUP Oxford 375--416.
  32.  41 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, The Case Against Aging.
    More and more researchers now agree that radical human life extension is only a matter of time. Aging is a biochemical process and humans will learn how to intervene in it and slow it down. Abolishing aging is theoretically possible. It is a goal that is not quite within reach yet, but it will be one day.
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  33.  41 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2003). Taking Intelligent Machines Seriously: Reply to Critics. Futures 35 (8):901-906.
    In an earlier paper in this journal[1], I sought to defend the claims that (1) substantial probability should be assigned to the hypothesis that machines will outsmart humans within 50 years, (2) such an event would have immense ramifications for many important areas of human concern, and that consequently (3) serious attention should be given to this scenario. Here, I will address a number of points made by several commentators.
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  34.  40 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, Anthropic Shadow: Observation Selection Effects and Human Extinction Risks.
    Keywords: global catastrophes, existential risks, natural hazards, astrobiology, selection effects, anthropic principle, risk management, impact hazard, vacuum phase transition 2 1. INTRODUCTION: EXISTENTIAL RISKS AND OBSERVATION SELECTION EFFECTS..
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  35.  40 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, The Infinitarian Challenge to Aggregative Ethics.
    Aggregative consequentialism and several other popular moral theories are threatened with paralysis: when coupled with some plausible assumptions, they seem to imply that it is always ethically indifferent what you do. Modern cosmology teaches that the world might well contain an infinite number of happy and sad people and other candidate value‐bearing locations. Aggregative ethics implies that such a world contains an infinite amount of positive value and an infinite amount of negative value. You can affect only a finite amount (...)
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  36.  39 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, How Unlikely is a Doomsday Catastrophe?, With Max Tegmark, Published In.
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  37.  39 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, Everything.
    For me, belief is not an all-or-nothing thing—believe or disbelieve, accept or reject. Instead, I have degrees of belief, a subjective probability distribution over different possible ways the world could be. This means I am constantly changing my mind about all sorts of things, as I reflect or gain more evidence. While I don’t always think explicitly in terms of probabilities, I often do so when I give careful consideration to some matter. And when I reflect on my own cognitive (...)
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  38.  38 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, The Future of Human Evolution.
    Evolutionary development is sometimes thought of as exhibiting an inexorable trend towards higher, more complex, and normatively worthwhile forms of life. This paper explores some dystopian scenarios where freewheeling evolutionary developments, while continuing to produce complex and intelligent forms of organization, lead to the gradual elimination of all forms of being that we care about. We then consider how such catastrophic outcomes could be avoided and argue that under certain conditions the only possible remedy would be a globally coordinated policy (...)
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  39.  36 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2002). Self-Locating Belief in Big Worlds: Cosmology's Missing Link to Observation. Journal of Philosophy 99 (12):607-623.
    Current cosmological theories say that the world is so big that all possible observations are in fact made. But then, how can such theories be tested? What could count as negative evidence? To answer that, we need to consider observation selection effects.
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  40.  35 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2012). The Superintelligent Will: Motivation and Instrumental Rationality in Advanced Artificial Agents. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 22 (2):71-85.
    This paper discusses the relation between intelligence and motivation in artificial agents, developing and briefly arguing for two theses. The first, the orthogonality thesis, holds (with some caveats) that intelligence and final goals (purposes) are orthogonal axes along which possible artificial intellects can freely vary—more or less any level of intelligence could be combined with more or less any final goal. The second, the instrumental convergence thesis, holds that as long as they possess a sufficient level of intelligence, agents having (...)
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  41.  34 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence.
    Intelligence is a big deal. Humanity owes its dominant position on Earth not to any special strength of our muscles, nor any unusual sharpness of our teeth, but to the unique ingenuity of our brains. It is our brains that are responsible for the complex social organization and the accumulation of technical, economic, and scientific advances that, for better and worse, undergird modern civilization.
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  42.  34 DLs
    Nick Bostrom & Anders Sandberg, Converging Cognitive Enhancements.
    Cognitive enhancements in the context of converging technologies. [Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1093, pp. 201-207] [with Anders Sandberg] [pdf].
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  43.  33 DLs
    Max Tegmark & Nick Bostrom, How Unlikely is a Doomsday Catastrophe?
    One might think that since life here on Earth has survived for nearly 4 Gyr (Gigayears), such catastrophic events must be extremely rare. Unfortunately, such an argument is flawed, giving us a false sense of security. It fails to take into account the observation selection effect [6, 7] that precludes any observer from observing anything other than that their own species has survived up to the point where they make the observation. Even if the frequency of cosmic catastrophes were very (...)
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  44.  33 DLs
    Julian Savulescu & Nick Bostrom (eds.) (2009). Human Enhancement. OUP Oxford.
    To what extent should we use technological advances to try to make better human beings? Leading philosophers debate the possibility of enhancing human cognition, mood, personality, and physical performance, and controlling aging. Would this take us beyond the bounds of human nature? These are questions that need to be answered now.
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  45.  32 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2009). Astronomical Waste: The Opportunity Cost of Delayed Technological Development. Utilitas 15 (03):308-.
    With very advanced technology, a very large population of people living happy lives could be sustained in the accessible region of the universe. For every year that development of such technologies and colonization of the universe is delayed, there is therefore an opportunity cost: a potential good, lives worth living, is not being realized. Given some plausible assumptions, this cost is extremely large. However, the lesson for utilitarians is not that we ought to maximize the pace of technological development, but (...)
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  46.  32 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2009). Are You A Computer Simulation? In Susan Schneider (ed.), Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence. Wiley-Blackwell 20.
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  47.  31 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, The Transhumanist FAQ.
  48.  29 DLs
    Nick Bostrom, Understanding Quine's Theses of Indeterminacy.
    The state of the art as regards the thesis of indeterminacy of translation is as follows. Very much has been said about it, most of which is based on misunderstandings. No satisfactory formulation of the thesis has been presented. No good argument has been given in favour of the thesis. No good argument has been advanced against it.
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  49.  27 DLs
    Nick Bostrom (2002). Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy. Routledge.
    Anthropic Bias explores how to reason when you suspect that your evidence is biased by "observation selection effects"--that is, evidence that has been filtered by the precondition that there be some suitably positioned observer to "have" the evidence. This conundrum--sometimes alluded to as "the anthropic principle," "self-locating belief," or "indexical information"--turns out to be a surprisingly perplexing and intellectually stimulating challenge, one abounding with important implications for many areas in science and philosophy. There are the philosophical thought experiments and paradoxes: (...)
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  50.  26 DLs
    N. Bostrom (2005). The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant. Journal of Medical Ethics 31 (5):273-277.
    Once upon a time, the planet was tyrannized by a giant dragon. The dragon stood taller than the largest cathedral, and it was covered with thick black scales. Its red eyes glowed with hate, and from its terrible jaws flowed an incessant stream of evil-smelling yellowishgreen slime. It demanded from humankind a blood-curdling tribute: to satisfy its enormous appetite, ten thousand men and women had to be delivered every evening at the onset of dark to the foot of the mountain (...)
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