I thought this essay extraordinary for the insight provided so efficiently.
It reminds me of the many times people have commented that this website has no business talking about social sciences and politics, but I would challenge any thinking person to distinguish intellectual inquiry in the social sciences or politics from studies in the hard sciences. Except, of course, for the uncertainties–they are much more prevalent in the soft sciences.
The dangers of Utilitarianism, the importance of the individual but the need for society and civility, the role of philosophy in assessing the discuoveries of science.
This writer provides a lot to chew on.
I think philosophy should be assessed as multifaceted–for example ethics/morality/politics are applied philosophy and essential to a study of the human condition and the social/societal dynamics of human existence.
I can allow for metaphysics to be a mind game however I think it important not to push the envelope too far on the mysteries of how we came to be and what is unique about self-aware cognition.
Complexity, as Thomas Nagel has emphasized, maybe be resistant to our scientific as well as philosophical inquiries.
I am with philosopher Thomas Nagel (NYU University Professor) when he says that we are up against a wall when we claim to understand evolution and the relatedness of living things, or thee nature of consciousness–I am not a creationist but I think the Dawkins selfish gene is silly anthropomorphism.
The Darwinian modification/selection theory has big holes in it–most of all the silliness of ignoring functional complexity. Too often evolutionists jump on some intra-species modification and adorn it as another “proof” of evolution when it doesn’t come close to explaining the question of diverse functional complexities and the vast array of functionally complex living things that metabolize and reproduce with incredible accuracy and reliability. A mysterious force for functional complexity is yet to be discovered.
I also agree with Nagel that consciousness is beyond our comprehension and sometimes neuroscience is just looking at what we can measure and see but an exercise in magical speculations.
There is functionality of the brain that we cannot comprehend in terms of digital switching or even cloud type software. A couple of pounds of brain that can’t be built or duplicated should give pause to those who keep promoting the future of Artificial Intelligence as the answer. A really, really big computer is still not a brain.
Nagel and I can and must live with the uncertainties.