Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

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]

Technology and the End of Reality: Is the infocalypse imminent?

It is now common to hear people fret about the power of technology to distort our perception of reality. With the advent of deepfakes, cheapfakes, fake news, and filter bubbles, it seems that technological forces are aligning to make it harder for us to sort fact from fiction. Some take this fear to an extreme. They worry that advances in technology will bring about the end of a shared sense of reality. No longer will people debate a common core of shared facts and assumptions about the world. Instead, everyone will live inside their own bubbles and dismiss the views of outsiders. We are living, according to these critics, in the shadow of the “infocalypse”. Will this happen? What are the mechanisms that might bring it about? And does it really matter if it does? In this article, I want to try to explore and tentatively answer some of these questions. Although the claim about the imminent end of reality is common, I’m not sure that it is always well defended. It is easy to point to an emerging technology such as deepfakes and say something provocative about its power to bring about the end of reality; it’s harder to prove that this will actually happen. I don’t claim to provide definitive proof in what follows, but I do hope I to provide some clarity on how it might happen. In brief, I want to suggest that the mechanisms that could bring about an end to a shared sense of reality are more complex and pervasive than is commonly assumed. This should be a cause of concern [More]