Suggested readings, #93

Here it is, a rundown of interesting articles I’ve come across recently, to consider for your weekend readings:

Stoicism, cold and warm streams. (Medium)

Why your body sometimes jerks as you fall asleep. A closer look at hypnic jerks. (Medium)

The Dunning-Kruger effect may be a statistical illusion. Research finds the effect is statistically due to other psychological factors. (Psychology Today) There may go yet another major result from psychological research that turns out not to stand up to scrutiny. Remember that, the next time you rush to endorse the latest hot paper in psychology.

The irrationality of transhumanists. The unreasonable flaws in the movement’s big claims. (IAI News)

Our improbable existence is no evidence for a multiverse. Experts in probability have spotted a logical flaw in theorists’ reasoning. (Scientific American) Improbably, I completely agree with Philip Goff on this one. But I find it ironic that he, rightly, chastises supporters of the multiverse for the utter lack of empirical evidence, and yet is entirely blind to the very same problem concerning his own pet theory, panpsychism. The fact that I repeatedly pointed this out to him didn’t seem to have any effect.

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Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He blogs at and He is the author of How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life.

6 thoughts on “Suggested readings, #93”

  1. Transhumanists, to me, seem to start from the fallacious idea that evolution is about “progress,” and then think, “let’s just use human ingenuity to build on said ‘progress.'”

    Beyond your thoughts, are not the likes of Goff psychologically compelled to find fallacies in explanations of human existence that, per Laplace, have no need for that panpsychism hypothesis?

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    1. Agreed on transhumanist fallacy. I was honestly baffled by Goff’s article. It takes a large amount of tolerance of cognitive dissonance for him not to realize his inconsistency.


    2. I think panpsychism is way worse, it’s largely incoherent label switching. I’m more agnostic about multiverse and don’t think it’s what physicists should spend their time on.

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  2. As a statistician who worked for 30 years in psychology, education, and pharmacy, I’m not a bit surprised when I hear about accepted theories being re-interpreted as misunderstandings or mistakes, or confidence in findings being reinterpreted as mere hubris. This is due in part to the incentive structures in modern academic science: you’ll have a hard time getting tenure (or federal grants) doing the vital/necessary replication studies that journal editors don’t want to publish, for example. I fear we are just starting to notice the extent of the BS out there. It may be worse in the soft sciences than the hard, but the academic structure and culture is the same throughout academia. Psychologists as well as physicists in 2071 will laugh at those of 2021, but they still won’t grasp that they will be the ones being mocked in 2121.

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  3. Also re transhumanism, and also re something like Mark Twain’s late classic, “Captain Stormfield,” outside of a Tithonus-like fear of death, who would really want to live to be 200 unless one addresses a plethora of social psychology issues along with it?

    Related to THAT? Transhumanists seem to trend hardcore libertarian politically, meaning they’re generally not really interested in addressing that plethora of issues.

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