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Submit Podcast Questions

In the comments below, please submit questions for me to answer via podcast.

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Elliot Temple on December 28, 2018

Comments (47)


Anonymous at 12:52 AM on December 29, 2018 | #11504 | reply | quote

Rand & Popper

Could you talk about your view on Rand and Popper as in how you see their philosophies and on why you do not consider yourself an objectivist?

Please do build up from the fundamentals up until a disagreement and solutions.

Nicholas DeRoj at 7:00 AM on December 29, 2018 | #11505 | reply | quote

> and on why you do not consider yourself an objectivist?

Where is this coming from? Is it something I wrote a long time ago? I do consider myself an Objectivist.

curi at 7:15 AM on December 29, 2018 | #11506 | reply | quote


Fair enough. I was under the impression that you rejected some of the Objectivist views but did not know which ones. I stand corrected.

You do seem to be one of very few who have studied both Rand _and_ Popper in depth and thus it would be very interesting to hear you elaborate on this and why you think that so many other Objectivists have issues with Popper without even studying him.

Confession: I do struggle with Popper but I have seen your recommendation to start with two selected works of David Deutsch and will do so.

Nicholas DeRoj at 9:22 AM on December 29, 2018 | #11507 | reply | quote

Thinking from Principles vs Concretes

It would be interesting to hear you elaborate and explain on thinking from principles instead of from concretes. Why we do the latter and give examples on how to start doing more of the former as well as real life examples of the process and differences it might lead to.

Nicholas DeRoj at 9:29 AM on December 29, 2018 | #11508 | reply | quote

Latest podcast

Tew talks only with Rucka https://www.youtube.com/user/RuckasBlack

Anonymous at 1:03 AM on January 1, 2019 | #11515 | reply | quote

4 new podcasts

I put up 4 new podcasts in the last couple days. I answer the questions above *except* #11508 which I saved for (maybe) later. Also regarding Rand and Popper there's more info in my new videos: https://curi.us/2168-fallible-ideas-philosophy-overview-videos--comments

curi at 10:45 AM on January 2, 2019 | #11525 | reply | quote

Thank you

One episode a day! This is amazing. Keep it up!

Anonymous at 1:01 PM on January 2, 2019 | #11526 | reply | quote


I'm curious what you think U.S. immigration policy should be and how your ideas on immigration relate to your philosophy.

a different anonymous at 7:13 AM on January 3, 2019 | #11528 | reply | quote

What bad ideas Soros got from Popper?

Anonymous at 2:36 PM on January 3, 2019 | #11533 | reply | quote

> What bad ideas Soros got from Popper?

I don't think Soros's ideas really have anything to do with Popper's philosophy.

curi at 3:01 PM on January 3, 2019 | #11535 | reply | quote

Why are people wrong about Trump?

Anonymous at 3:40 PM on January 3, 2019 | #11536 | reply | quote

How do you change emotions and do less social?

Anonymous at 4:32 PM on January 3, 2019 | #11537 | reply | quote

Atlas Shrugged & The Fountainhead

I think you have one of the best comments on Atlas Shrugged that I have found. I understand it takes a lot of work to reflect and write all those comments down, but it would be really interesting to have a audio commentary (or discussion between you and someone else and / or questions) per chapter on Atlas Shrugged & The Fountainhead as a segment.

Even a format similar to the "Atlas Project Live" under your guidance (AS & FH) would be great if you and others are interested.

Thanks for the great podcasts so far!

Nicholas DeRoj at 4:03 PM on January 6, 2019 | #11558 | reply | quote

Austrian econ & Objectivism

How compatible are Austrian economics and Objectivism?

Is Austrian econ rooted in utilitarianism and does it have to be?

Personally I see a big overlap and fail to see why these two should not be compatible (my understanding is also that Rand and Mises thought so as well - except for praxeology, that I know close to nothing about).

Nicholas DeRoj at 10:31 PM on January 6, 2019 | #11559 | reply | quote

I just put up 4 new podcasts and I'm caught up on the submitted questions.

curi at 3:51 PM on January 7, 2019 | #11571 | reply | quote

I forgot to mention this when talking about Reisman in the Austrian econ podcast:

Educational Videos: Reading George Reisman's book on Marxism and Socialism




curi at 6:30 PM on January 7, 2019 | #11572 | reply | quote


is physical (like chemical imbalance or faulty neurons) or "just in the head" (bad ideas/philosophy) ?

Anonymous at 1:35 AM on January 8, 2019 | #11582 | reply | quote

@ #11559


Guy claims to understand, used to like, and now disagree with Mises / Austrian Econ. Says he hopes his post "will spark interest and discussion" which at least hints at a PF.

It's beyond my current knowledge and interest level to analyze and critique. But I thought I'd pass it along in case someone here is interested.

PAS at 9:18 AM on January 9, 2019 | #11597 | reply | quote

#11597 See https://mises.org/wire/caplan-and-responses

Caplan followed up one time. The matter was not resolved, and it was his side which didn't continue.

Anonymous at 11:34 AM on January 9, 2019 | #11601 | reply | quote

Actually Caplan wrote at least a third piece. That link collection is pretty incomplete. See Block replying after Caplan's third piece:


> Finally, I invite Caplan to reply again to this missive, to “keep the conversation going” as some Austrian non-praxeological commentators are wont to put it. I don’t think we have come anywhere near a meeting of the minds. But since, in my view, this is due in large part to Caplan’s failure to respond to specific criticisms, I encourage him to be more thorough in this regard.

Anonymous at 11:46 AM on January 9, 2019 | #11602 | reply | quote

Asking for a friend ;)

It is such thing as a nonpracticing objectivist?

Anonymous at 8:58 PM on January 15, 2019 | #11625 | reply | quote

#11625 This question is lazy. You don't explain what you mean much. You only wrote one sentence and it's awful English.

Also the answer is "no" which requires one word, not a podcast.

Anonymous at 9:12 PM on January 15, 2019 | #11626 | reply | quote

Why Atlas Shrugged movies were so bad?

Anonymous at 1:39 PM on January 24, 2019 | #11712 | reply | quote

> Why Atlas Shrugged movies were so bad?

I watched the first one. I forget if I watched the second one. I did not watch the third one. So I can't really do a podcast on this.

The big picture reasons they're bad are that the people who made them are like ARI or worse. I did a podcast on ARI recently.

curi at 1:49 PM on January 24, 2019 | #11713 | reply | quote

what are some typical misunderstandings you've seen people have about memes?

Anonymous at 5:21 AM on January 25, 2019 | #11716 | reply | quote

Meme misconceptions podcast is posted. Here are some notes I used for it:

evo is metaphor (except with genes)

it's not just amateurs who are like this. ppl talk about this stuff in books and it's all vague handwaving. only DD took memes seriously and came up with a technical theory about them. no one else has done good work in the field, period (except ppl building on DD).

ppl don't get the epistemology tie ins

ppl don't take seriously static memes and what it means about their lives – that they are puppets of memes in major ways. they don't view that as a major, urgent problem – this serious lack of control over their own lives – and they don't focus much on researching what is going on there, what can be done about it, how can it be detected or defended against, etc. instead ppl just intuitively feel like it's false or something, and then trust their intuition. but vague intuitions are actually just the kind of things the static memes can control/influence/manipulate more easily (as against like objective scientific statements and math are places where it's harder to be biased).

curi at 12:12 PM on January 25, 2019 | #11725 | reply | quote

Dan Dennett has also taken the idea of memes seriously and has written about them in a number of books. In "Consciousness Explained" he proposed that "[h]uman consciousness can be realized in the operation of a virtual machine created by memes in the brain". Deutsch comments on Dennett's book in The Beginning of Infinity, but fails to mention that memes are a major part of Dennett's view on consciousness. Susan Blackmore also took memes seriously - she deserves credit for the idea that memes are responsible for our big brains.

Anonymous at 11:35 AM on January 26, 2019 | #11732 | reply | quote

I don't think Blackmore or Dennett's work on memes is any good. If you disagree you should use quotes or otherwise bring up details and specific sophisticated points.

curi at 11:41 AM on January 26, 2019 | #11733 | reply | quote

Do you really believe DDs theory of multiple universes is compatible with the concept of objective reality?

Anonymous at 9:47 AM on January 27, 2019 | #11737 | reply | quote

#11737 Yes. This question is hard to respond to because it doesn't say what it objects to, what problem it wants addressed. If it's coming from a place of unfamiliarity with MWI then I recommend reading DD's explanations of MWI in his books, especially FoR ch2.

curi at 9:48 AM on January 27, 2019 | #11738 | reply | quote

So just because in a lab experiment a single photon still acts like a wave you think the only possible explanation is that an infinity of parallel universes exist

Anonymous at 1:57 PM on January 27, 2019 | #11739 | reply | quote

There is no refutation of that view, and there are no other known non-refuted views. This is covered in FoR ch2.

Note that "parallel universes" is a high level approximation. The actual underlying issue is reality has more complexity than is readily visible.

curi at 2:30 PM on January 27, 2019 | #11740 | reply | quote

Nah - I'm not gonna defend Blackmore or Dennett. I agree Deutsch has done better work. Perhaps I don't see them as bad as you do and that is my mistake. I'm thinking more of Dennett than Blackmore. I know Dennett has some bad leftwing political views and that tells of bad philosophy. But I don't think he is completely bad. Has any FI person written some good crit's of Dennett's main ideas? Deutsch's criticism in BoI is inaccurate, as someone pointed out on FI list. Is Dennett even aware of Deutsch's work? If not, he is a shit scholar. If so, did he not think it worth writing about in his latest books/articles or commenting on in one of his many talks? Come to think of it, his silence is deafening. Yeah, maybe he is that bad.

Anonymous at 11:40 PM on January 27, 2019 | #11741 | reply | quote

#11741 was in reply to #11733

Anonymous at 11:41 PM on January 27, 2019 | #11742 | reply | quote

I agree Dennett's silence re DD's meme work is a major concern.

But OK let's take a look. I didn't want to watch a video so I found this:


First paragraph was bad, e.g. didn't say what a meme is, but then I got to the end:

> My talk will be

Oh, it's a talk transcript. I wanted an article. Skimmed a bit. Looked bad. Then:

> After all, even agriculture, in the long run, may be a dubious bargain if what you are taking as your summum bonum is Darwinian fitness (see Diamond, 1997, for fascinating reflections on the uncertain benefits of abandoning the hunter-gatherer lifestyle).

Worrying comments.

He goes on to talk about memes as basically mind-parasites as if good ideas don't also replicate. I think he has (in 1998) a vague concept of what a meme is instead of taking seriously that it's a replicator and then analyzing it that way. Cuz how do you get from "replicator" to (exclusively) "parasite"? What about, say, a cooking recipe, doesn't that replicate? Moms tell recipes to their daughters and people print copies of them in cookbooks and so on. If someone's analysis has missed that, that seems rather bad to me.

I skimmed to the end and it strikes me as a typical popular fake intellectual stuff that doesn't have much substance.

curi at 12:33 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11743 | reply | quote

> He goes on to talk about memes as basically mind-parasites as if good ideas don't also replicate.

I don't think he is saying all memes are basically mind-parasites. He's making an analogy with symbionts and says there are three types of memes:

> parasites, whose presence lowers the fitness of their host;

> commensals, whose presence is neutral (though, as the etymology reminds us, they "share the same table"); and

> mutualists, whose presence enhances the fitness of both host and guest.

So he's saying parasites are one type of meme. He uses the term "parasitized" in an imprecise way in some parts of the article and in a way that seems to contradict his definition. Also:

> Some memes are like domesticated animals; they are prized for their benefits, and their replication is closely fostered and relatively well understood by their human owners. Some memes are more like rats; they thrive in the human environment in spite of being positively selected against--ineffectually--by their unwilling hosts. And some are more like bacteria or other viruses, commandeering aspects of human behavior (provoking sneezing, for instance) in their "efforts" to propagate from host to host.

So he is saying some memes became domesticated and others are undomesticated. Just thinking if this a useful analogy. Thots?

Anonymous at 1:56 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11745 | reply | quote

Oh, I missed that when skimming. That's alright then. I still dislike the style and the Diamond praise. Is there an article you think is worth reading?

curi at 2:16 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11746 | reply | quote

Maybe "Consciousness Explained"? Except it's not an article. But if you search for "consciousness explained pdf" you should be able to download a pdf then just cruise through the meme stuff. Deutsch ignored it and focused on Blackmore instead but Dennett on memes needs a good critique. He styles himself as the world's foremost expert on memes after all!

Anonymous at 2:56 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11747 | reply | quote

The meme king hasn't had anything to say besides part of one book from 1991? No articles with new ideas? Seems damning.

I just read a little of the book and got bored. Is there a passage you think would offer value to me?

curi at 9:19 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11748 | reply | quote

He's written plenty of books since 1991 e.g., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea", "Freedom Evolves". Check out his wiki. His most recent is "From Bacteria To Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds" from 2017. That latest book has his most recent ideas but I've only flicked through it and noticed nothing about DD even though it has lots on memes. I'd need to go searching to find a passage as it has been a while since I read any of his stuff and most of it I haven't read.

Anonymous at 9:44 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11749 | reply | quote

#11739 The phrase "acts like a wave" is a floating abstraction that you are using to obscure the fact that you have no account of what is happening in single particle interference. The reality is that multiple versions of a photon go down all of the possible paths and interfere with one another at each point in a way that depends on how the photon evolved along each path. This is described in FoR chapter 2.

oh my god it's turpentine at 11:38 AM on January 28, 2019 | #11750 | reply | quote

Why pajamas have stripes?

Anonymous at 3:25 PM on February 17, 2019 | #11851 | reply | quote

> Why pajamas have stripes?

I don't know.

curi at 3:26 PM on February 17, 2019 | #11852 | reply | quote

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)