Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Feeling Bored? Isolated? Insufficiently Supplied with Philosophical Weirdness? Watch or Listen to a Wide-Ranging Two-Hour Interview about My Work

Released Monday at Eclectic Spacewalk

Topics include:

* juvenile delinquency
* group consciousness and the "Chinese room"
* a cyberpunk spin on Kant's transcendental idealism
* ancient Chinese philosophers Mengzi and Xunzi on whether human nature is good
* science fiction as a form of philosophy
* garden snail sex
* approaching academic life with a childlike sense of fun
* and more!

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Bonus feature if you the YouTube video: You can play a new COVID19 themed game. Every time you see me touch my face, squirt a bit of sanitizer on your hands!



  • Eric’s dad was a grad student in the famous Harvard (Timothy Leary & Ram Das) LSD Studies, and invented the ankle monitoring system for arrestees (00:04:28)
  • Eric did his post graduate work at UC Berkley under John Searle of “The Chinese Room” thought experiment fame - a critique of “The Turing Test” (00:11:14)
  • What exactly is consciousness? (00:17:35)
  • Can collectives, societies, companies, ideas, or countries like the United States be conscious? (00:21:00)
  • Eric’s thoughts on Object Oriented Ontology and speculative realism (00:25:52)
  • Kant meets cyberpunk (00:29:38)
  • Unknown Unknowns, and the quest for consilience, and the Fermi paradox (00:34:31)
  • Part Two:

  • Philosophical outlook on altered states of consciousness (00:43:17)
  • The great debate between Mengzi & Xunzi about whether human nature is good or evil. (00:47:21)
  • Moral psychology, business ethics, and how much can someone gain from thinking philosophically? (00:53:08)
  • Making experiments to test philosophical and moral inquiries (00:58:17)
  • Science fiction as a philosophy & ethics of technology (01:01:37)
  • Upcoming anthology: “Philosophy through science fiction stories” (01:05:44)
  • Discussing films Ex Machina & Arrival (01:10:11)
  • The bizarre, weird, and complex lives of garden snails (01:15:24)
  • The love of writing, running a blog called “The Splintered Mind,” and everyone is really a philosopher and interested in the deepest mysteries of existence (01:22:55)
  • Eric’s new book: “A Theory of Jerks and other Philosophical Misadventures" (01:29:36)
  • The re-connection of psychology and philosophy (01:36:53)
  • Recommending Zhuangzi (Butterfly Dream) and John Stuart Mill (On Liberty) and Montaigne (Personal essays like On Solitude) (01:39:05)
  • How has teaching philosophy changed you? Different teaching methods starting with moral questions first. (01:42:38)
  • How has your influences changed over time? (01:49:01)
  • What can we gain philosophically from the idea of the “The Overview Effect?” (01:54:49)

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