Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

How would you respond to the Philpapers "What are your Philosophical Positions" Survey?

9 Post author: InquilineKea 11 April 2011 12:40AM

The questions are at http://philpapers.org/surveys/oquestions.html. The correlations can be intensely interesting to those who understand philosophical jargon (http://philpapers.org/surveys/linear_most.pl) - it doesn't take too long to look them up as you go - and I actually found it to be a fun way to learn new philosophy. I know that there was a LW thread about this several months ago, but it didn't have a section for people here to respond to the survey. I would be very interested to see how people here would respond.

I'll repost the questions here:

===

Original Survey Questions | PhilPapers Surveys

A priori knowledge: yes or no?

Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism?

Aesthetic value: objective or subjective?

Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no?

Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism?

External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism?

Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?

God: theism or atheism?

Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism?

Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism?

Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean?

Logic: classical or non-classical?

Mental content: internalism or externalism?

Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism?

Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism?

Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism?

Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism?

Moral motivation: internalism or externalism?

Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes?

Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics?

Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory?

Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view?

Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism?

Proper names: Fregean or Millian?

Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism?

Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death?

Time: A-theory or B-theory?

Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch?

Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic?

Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible?

===

And... which of the following philosophers do you identify with?

The philosophers available to choose from for the "which philosophers do you identify with?" question were:

 

Anscombe

Aquinas

Aristotle

Augustine

Berkeley

Carnap

Davidson

Descartes

Frege

Hegel

Heidegger

Hobbes

Hume

Husserl

Kant

Kierkegaard

Leibniz

Lewis

Locke

Marx

Mill

Moore

Nietzsche

Plato

Quine

Rawls

Rousseau

Russell

Socrates

Spinoza

Wittgenstein


 

Comments (37)

Comment author: JGWeissman 12 April 2011 10:14:13PM 6 points [-]

Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible?

Once I say that I consider zombies to be metaphysically impossible, saying whether or not I consider them "inconceivable" says more about how I interpret the word "inconceivable" than anything I think about zombies. I am just not sure if that word means what I think it does.

Comment author: Quirinus_Quirrell 12 April 2011 12:16:41AM *  6 points [-]
  1. A priori knowledge: yes or no? Yes
  2. Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism? Either, depending whether the second vowel has rising or falling intonation
  3. Aesthetic value: objective or subjective? Subjective
  4. Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no? Yes
  5. Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism? Internalism
  6. External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism? Skepticism. I haven't been able to take realism seriously since I left Hogwarts.
  7. Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will? No free will
  8. God: theism or atheism? Atheism
  9. Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism? Empiricism
  10. Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism? Can be any of these, or something else entirely, depending on the specific knowledge and how it interacts with the relevant interdicts
  11. Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean? Non-Humean
  12. Logic: classical or non-classical? Classical
  13. Mental content: internalism or externalism? Internalism
  14. Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism? Moral anti-realism
  15. Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism? Naturalism
  16. Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism? Depends whose mind we're talking about
  17. Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism? Non-cognitivism
  18. Moral motivation: internalism or externalism? Externalism
  19. Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes? The first box twice
  20. Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics? Consequentialism
  21. Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory? Sense-datum theory
  22. Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view? Further-fact view
  23. Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism? Snicker
  24. Proper names: Fregean or Millian? It's more complicated than that (some names are pointers, some are independent entities, and some can even communicate in binary by agreeing or disagreeing with a sequence of pronouns)
  25. Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism? Realism with some caveats
  26. Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death? Survival
  27. Time: A-theory or B-theory? Neither. These both claim the past and future are disjoint. What the fuck?
  28. Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch? Varies depending on mood
  29. Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic? Correspondence
  30. Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible? Actual
Comment author: JenniferRM 02 January 2014 11:37:54PM *  0 points [-]

I found this comment while wandering the archives and was surprised, in that context, that it didn't have more upvotes. Clicking through, I see that the playing field was relatively level and many upvotes would have been contextually unnecessary.

(Part of my personal enjoyment grew from the implicit dynamics between this copy of Quirinus and the most likely host of this copy of Quirinus. Too bad Clippy posts so rarely... it would be interesting to see that set of answers as well.)

Comment author: InquilineKea 11 April 2011 07:42:27AM *  2 points [-]

What I'm finding particularly interesting here: There are lots of people here who respond "yes" to a priori knowledge, but "no" to analytic-synthetic distinction.

Yet, on the philpapers correlation site, it says this: "Analytic-synthetic distinction:yes A priori knowledge:yes 0.456". This is one of the highest correlations on that site.

Comment author: gjm 11 April 2011 12:35:28PM 2 points [-]

0.456 isn't a terribly high correlation coefficient. It's not that surprising to find lots of people giving different answers to the two.

Comment author: endoself 11 April 2011 10:48:47PM 1 point [-]

Ooh I did that. I assign ~70% to the statement that all knowledge could be derived without making observations, if one was sufficiently intelligent. Something Tegmarkish could be one way of making that statement true for example. However, I think it is more likely that the Tegmarkian stuff is wrong, but there is another way of deriving such knowledge.

Comment author: [deleted] 11 April 2011 11:07:32PM 2 points [-]

I assign ~70% to the statement that all knowledge could be derived without making observations, if one was sufficiently intelligent. Something Tegmarkish

Makes sense, but in order to locate yourself within the Tegmark totality you'll have to open your eyes.

Comment author: endoself 11 April 2011 11:50:14PM *  2 points [-]

Yes, obviously I would agree with that.

Comment author: ata 11 April 2011 02:44:40AM *  3 points [-]

A priori knowledge: You can get knowledge of something by interacting with it or by being descended from ancestors who were selected by it. If you raised a human brain in a vat with no sensory input, it would not eventually discover arithmetic.

Abstract objects: Is this seriously still a thing in philosophy? Anyway, nominalism.

Aesthetic value: Subjectively objective.

Analytic-synthetic distinction: Yes, I suppose. There are things that are true by definition (but not a priori).

Epistemic justification: Seriously, they still actually classify their positions along these lines?

External world: There is one.

Free will: Shut up. (Or: my long answer, in response to the "Dissolving the Question" assignment. I still mostly agree with that comment even though I wrote it over three months ago.)

God: Atheism. Also, shut up.

Knowledge: Bayesian. (I don't think the old-timey "rationalism" vs. "empiricism" distinction is useful enough to keep around.)

Knowledge claims: I'm not going to bother trying to understand what this argument thinks it's about.

Laws of nature: This one too.

Logic: Classical logic (with all words removed) seems to be the most broadly useful, because you can make a logic gate that implements the AND and NOT operators, but not one that implements the modal "necessarily" operator (etc.).

Meta-ethics: Non-magical cognitivism.

Metaphilosophy: Naturalism.

Mind: Physicalism.

Moral judgment: A bit of both (moral assertions usually convey a mixture of both factual claims and emotional expression).

Moral motivation: Moral beliefs are obviously not universally automatically compelling. The degree to which they tend to be compelling to humans is a question for cognitive science.

Newcomb's problem: One box.

Normative ethics: Consequentialism.

Perceptual experience: I've not been able to determine exactly what all of these positions are after a few minutes of searching, but I predict that none of them is both true and non-trivial.

Personal identity: Patternism (best rescues the 'personal identity' intuition from uselessness).

Politics: Working on deleting all political views from my brain so I can start over with better epistemology now.

Proper names: As with many debates, the very premise of this one seems to be predicated on mind projection.

Science: Realist.

Teletransporter (new matter): Survival.

Time: B-theory seems trivially true.

Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): Switch.

Truth: Correspondence.

Zombies: Inconceivable!

Comment author: gjm 11 April 2011 12:34:53PM 1 point [-]

A priori: kinda, but it's not clear that "knowledge" is the right word. Abstracta: nominalism. Aesthetics: subjective. Analytic-synthetic: it's a useful approximation. Epistemic justification: externalism, if I've understood the distinction correctly. External world: non-skeptical realism. Free will: depends on definitions; at any rate, incompatibilist free will doesn't exist and may not even be a coherent notion. God: atheism. Knowledge: empiricism. Knowledge claims: contextualism, I guess. Laws of nature: tentatively non-Humean. Logic: classical. Mental content: internalism about the beliefs/attitudes themselves, but how we describe them, what we do with them, etc., have to engage with the external world. Meta-ethics: anti-realism. Metaphilosophy: naturalism. Mind: physicalism, kinda. (Minds are physical in the same sort of sense as computer programs are.) Moral judgement: mixed (roughly, I think moral judgements originate non-cognitively but then we process them with a lot of the same mental machinery as we use for propositions about matters of fact). Moral motivation: internalism. Newcomb: one box. Normative ethics: consequentialism, with the proviso that various human mental limitations make it advisable (on consequentialist grounds!) not to behave as a pure consequentialist. Perceptual experience: representationalism, I think. Personal identity: psychological, with the proviso that there are imaginable-and-maybe-possible situations in which the notion of "identity" breaks down. Politics: mixed. Proper names: approximately Fregean. Science: realism. Teletransporter: survival, with the same proviso as above. Time: B-theory. Trolley: switch. Truth: correspondence or deflationary; would need to think more to decide whether it matters. Zombies: inconceivable or conceivable but impossible, depending on how you understand "conceivable"; I prefer the former.

Philosophers: Hume, Lewis, Mill, Quine, Russell most. Berkeley, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Rousseau least.

Comment author: SilasBarta 11 April 2011 10:42:51PM 1 point [-]

Add two spaces to the end of a line to force a linebreak.

Comment author: gjm 12 April 2011 12:50:54AM 1 point [-]

Not doing so was a deliberate decision. I appreciate that tastes vary.

Comment author: SilasBarta 12 April 2011 02:34:23PM 8 points [-]

You just convinced me to change my answer to aesthetics.

Comment author: gjm 12 April 2011 08:21:46PM 1 point [-]

Wow! (So I checked what it is now. I'm relieved that you didn't change from subjective to objective on the grounds that my formatting was so Obviously Wrong that its wrongness had to be an objective reality :-).)

Comment author: SilasBarta 12 April 2011 09:00:08PM *  3 points [-]

Actually, that was the intended meaning, but since I was half-joking I didn't go through and change my original answer.

Comment author: gjm 12 April 2011 10:27:58PM 1 point [-]

D'oh.

Comment author: prase 11 April 2011 11:33:34AM *  1 point [-]
  1. A priori knowledge: Depends on the meaning of "knowledge". A priori beliefs yes, a priori truth no. In general, probably closer to "no".
  2. Abstract objects: Nominalism, but it may as well be a meaningless distinction.
  3. Aesthetic value: subjective.
  4. Analytic-synthetic distinction: no.
  5. Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism, as far as I can tell this is a meaningless distinction.
  6. External world: non-skeptical realism, if I understand correctly what the other options mean.
  7. Free will: compatibilism or no free will, depending on the definition of free will.
  8. God: atheism.
  9. Knowledge: empiricism.
  10. Knowledge claims: contextualism or invariantism, but this is probably meaningless either.
  11. Laws of nature: Humean.
  12. Logic: classical. Other forms of logic can be useful, but the position of the classical logic can hardly be shattered.
  13. Mental content: failed to find a comprehensible definition of either possibilities.
  14. Meta-ethics: anti-realism.
  15. Metaphilosophy: naturalism.
  16. Mind: physicalism.
  17. Moral judgment: non-cognitivism. Not sure what's the difference between this and moral anti-realism.
  18. Moral motivation: mostly internalism.
  19. Newcomb's problem: one box.
  20. Normative ethics: mixed.
  21. Perceptual experience: can't figure out meanings of the alternatives.
  22. Personal identity: there is no ontologically fundamental identity, a confused question.
  23. Politics: mixed.
  24. Proper names: Fregean.
  25. Science: scientific realism.
  26. Teletransporter (new matter): undecided, may depend on various details.
  27. Time: B-theory.
  28. Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch (and don't tell anybody).
  29. Truth: deflationary.
  30. Zombies: inconceivable.

Note that (1) I had to find the meanings of many of the terms before answering the questions and so I am probably mistaken about actual meanings of few philosophical positions, and (2) even in many cases where I gave a unique answer I tend to think that the distinction between the positions lacks practical importance and mostly is a matter of formulation; who has better intuition pumps wins. The answers where these disclaimers don't apply (either because I think one side of the debate is much more elegant than the other, or because I can conceive practical implications of the choice) are in bold.

Comment author: [deleted] 18 April 2011 09:37:24AM *  1 point [-]

(I wrote a little summary of my answers to the survey on my site, but they are somewhat outdated and partially confused. I'm in the process of reworking them, just as the rest of the site. These answers in particular have changed quite a lot over time already.)

A priori knowledge: no
Abstract objects: neither / invalid question
Aesthetic value: subjective
Analytic-synthetic distinction: no
Epistemic justification: invalid question; "external" is only true if you already know something external exists, so it's question begging
External world: skepticism, with pragmatic realism
Free will: no free will
God: atheism
Knowledge: empiricism, with doubts
Knowledge claims: invalid / depends on what you mean by "true"
Laws of nature: Humean, i.e. like Hume
Logic: strongly non-classical
Mental content: invalid / externalism
Meta-ethics: moral nihilism (in the sense that there are agent-dependent preferences and that's it)
Metaphilosophy: naturalism, i.e. "there is no magic"
Mind: I am completely confused and have no idea, pragmatically computationalism
Moral judgment: non-cognitivism (see above)
Moral motivation: neither (see above)
Newcomb's problem: one box, duh
Normative ethics: none (see above), pragmatically whatever feels nice (lots of consequentialism and recently deontology)
Perceptual experience: no idea (see above)
Personal identity: neither - I am my experience; I do not identify with my psychology, thoughts or biology, except in a pragmatic sense
Politics: no idea / neither, lean towards autocracy, but whatever works is fine by me
Proper names: not familiar enough, Frege seems sensible
Science: technically anti-realism, pragmatically realism
Teletransporter (new matter): probably death, but I'm currently confused
Time: strongly lean towards A-theory
Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do): lean towards switch, pragmatically probably freeze Truth: neither / invalid / horribly confused
Zombies: currently very confused; I'm working on a complete mapping of the argument and intuitively currently lean towards "conceivable, but not possible in this universe"

Comment author: DanielVarga 13 April 2011 11:15:14AM 1 point [-]

There were many commenters who did not bother to look up what the B-theory of Time is:

B-theorists maintain that the fact that we know much less about the future simply reflects an epistemological difference between the future and the past: the future is no less real than the past; we just know less about it. -- Wikipedia

I think it is good to learn this phrase, because many LWers have strong opinions about this idea without knowing its proper name in philosophy. Personally, I very strongly feel that B-theory is a legitimate and extremely fruitful way of looking at the world. I don't really care whether it is the only proper way of looking at it.

Comment author: [deleted] 13 April 2011 04:01:21PM 1 point [-]

The time-symmetry of (most?) fundamental (non-statistical) laws of nature seems to (weakly) encourage B-theory, as does (much more strongly) the relativity of simultaneity to the observer's velocity in special relativity. I'm not sure how A-theory is even tenable after Einstein.

Comment author: endoself 11 April 2011 06:54:23AM *  1 point [-]

A priori knowledge: yes, but such knowledge is fallible. I know 2+2=4 without making observations, but it is possible that I am mistaken.

Abstract objects: nominalism at a glance, but I am unfamiliar with the issue

Aesthetic value: subjective

Analytic-synthetic distinction: no

Epistemic justification: don't know what this is about

External world: non-skeptical realism

Free will: compatibilism

God: atheism

Knowledge: empiricism and rationalism are both valid ways of learning about things

Knowledge claims: don't know what this is about

Laws of nature: don't know what this is about

Logic: classical. Other systems of logic are not what is normally meant by the word.

Mental content: don't know what this is about

Meta-ethics: Yudkowskian moral realism

Metaphilosophy: naturalism

Mind: physicalism

Moral judgment: cognitivism

Moral motivation: internalism

Newcomb's problem: one box

Normative ethics: consequentialism

Perceptual experience: don't know enough about the different positions

Personal identity: meaningless

Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism? none of those

Proper names: Word should be defined in the most useful way for the purpose they're being used for.

Science: scientific realism

Teletransporter (new matter): survival, but that's not really meaningful

Time: B-theory

Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch

Truth: correspondence or deflationary. I'm not sure of the distinction.

Zombies: conceivable but not metaphysically possible

===

Descartes for making people question things, Leibniz for the principle of sufficient reason, which I find probable, Mill for ethics, Quine for turning philosophy into cognitive science, Russell for turning it into math, and Wittgenstein for turning it into linguistics

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 11 April 2011 06:07:06AM *  1 point [-]

A priori knowledge: yes for mathematics (and possibly priors) only.

Abstract objects: Platonism

Aesthetic value: subjectively objective

Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes, math is analytic, everything else is synthetic

Epistemic justification: externalism

External world: it exists, I assume that's non-skeptical realism

Free will: leaning towards compatibilism

God: Intersubjectively true

Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism? Both, for different types of knowledge.

Knowledge claims: invariantism (although contextualism may have some points)

Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean? I wasn't able to find a concise summary of what this means.

Logic: classical (with Baysean probability theory, which is derived from classical logic and mathematics, applicable in most cases dealing with non-mathematical objects)

Mental content: internalism or externalism? I can't figure out what this means.

Meta-ethics: moral realism

Metaphilosophy: probably naturalism

Mind: not sure

Moral judgment: cognitivism

Moral motivation: internalism or externalism? I can't figure out what this means

Newcomb's problem: one box

Normative ethics: something like consequential virtue ethics

Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory? These all seem to be talking about different things.

Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view? Probably further-fact view if it means what I'm guessing it means.

Politics: libertarianism

Proper names: Millian, to the extend this question is at all meaningful

Science: scientific realism (subject to the constrain that our current theories, at least, are as wrong as Newtonian physics)

Teletransporter (new matter): not sure

Time: A-theory or B-theory? This is at best a question of definitions and not a philosophical question.

Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): probably switch but with strong caveats

Truth: probably correspondence

Zombies: conceivable possibly metaphysically possible

===

Philisophers: Locke, to a certain extent Mill and maybe Quine (I don't know enough about him to be sure).

Comment author: JoshuaZ 11 April 2011 05:37:39AM *  1 point [-]

A priori knowledge: yes or no? Yes

Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism? Unsure it makes sense as normally phrased, but probably nominalism.

Aesthetic value: objective or subjective? Subjective.

Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no? No.

Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism? Externalism.

External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism? non-skeptical realism. (Although I'm not sure I fully understand this question enough to answer)

Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will? compatibilism

God: theism or atheism? atheism

Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism? both. Sorry, really. It isn't a good question.

Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism? Unsure.

Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean? Unsure

Logic: classical or non-classical? non-classical

Mental content: internalism or externalism? unsure

Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism? anti-realism

Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism? naturalism

Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism? physicalism

Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism? cognitivism

Moral motivation: internalism or externalism? unsure

Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes? one box

Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics? consequentialism

Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory? sense-datum

Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view? I don't know enough about the issue to comment

Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism? Don't know enough.

Proper names: Fregean or Millian? Don't know enough (my limited knowledge says Fregean)

Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism? scientific realism.

Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death? Ill-defined, but probably survival.

Time: A-theory or B-theory? Unsure.

Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch? switch.

Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic?

Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible? conceivable but not metaphysically possible.

Philosopher identified with: Quine.

Comment author: jimrandomh 11 April 2011 04:18:51AM 1 point [-]

A priori knowledge: Yes (in the restricted case of prior probabilities only, and knowledge about a statement has lesser status if it hasn't been updated on enough to minimize sensitivity to changes in prior.)

Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism? Reject both as confused

Aesthetic value: Subjective

Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no? Insufficiently familiar with the issue (Too confused to determine whether this distinction maps onto a distinction that I actually draw)

Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism? The question is too unclear to answer

External world: Realism

Free will: The question is too unclear to answer (it depends on the definition of "free will"; but for most likely definitions Compatibilism works)

God: Atheism

Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism? Accept both (but for distinct subsets of the things that can be known)

Knowledge claims: Contextualism

Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean? Insufficiently familiar (Find Hume's writing too confusing to determine whether it maps to what I believe or not in broad terms)

Logic: Accept both

Mental content: internalism or externalism? The question is too unclear to answer

Meta-ethics: Anti-realism (IsMoral is a two-place predicate and there is a fact of the matter; uncertain whether I got the mapping to philosophical terminology right)

Metaphilosophy: Naturalism

Mind: Physicalism

Moral judgment: Cognitivism (with the caveat that most ethical sentences express propositions that are underspecified in that they require an agent, agent-pool or utility function to make them unambiguous).

Moral motivation: Reject all (both sides of this debate depend on broken theories of mind)

Newcomb's problem: One box

Normative ethics: Reject all (I favor a combination of all three, with bounded deontological and virtue-ethical terms, but consequentailist terms scaling without bound)

Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory? Reject all (these are all just approximations of behaviors of the brain, and are useful as simplified models but occasionally wrong, and not ontologically basic.)

Personal identity: There is no fact of the matter (reduces to a statement about utility functions)

Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism? Reject all (these positions all reduce to decision theoretic heurestics and no more)

Proper names: Fregean or Millian? Reject both (confused beyond repair)

Science: Scientific realism

Teletransporter (new matter): Survival, with caveats (subject to empirical test that has non-transferrable evidence)

Time: A-theory or B-theory? There is no fact of the matter (looks like an argument over the definition of the word "real")

Trolley problem: Switch

Truth: Correspondence

Zombies: Inconceivable

And... which of the following philosophers do you identify with? None of the above.

Comment author: InquilineKea 11 April 2011 12:42:06AM *  1 point [-]

Here are mine:

A priori knowledge: yes or no? Probably, leaning towards yes (edited)

Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism? nominalism

Aesthetic value: objective or subjective? subjective

Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no? No

Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism? Externalism

External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism? Non-skeptical realism (but sometimes I secretly hope for skepticism)

Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will? Split between no free will and compatibilism.

God: theism or atheism? Atheism

Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism? Empiricism

Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism? Contextualism

Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean? Humean

Logic: classical or non-classical? Non-classical (<3 fuzzy logic and modal logic)

Mental content: internalism or externalism? Externalism

Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism? Moral anti-realism

Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism? Naturalism

Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism? Physicalism

Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism? Non-cognitivism

Moral motivation: internalism or externalism? Externalism

Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes? One box

Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics? Consequentialism

Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory? Probably representationalism

Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view? Probably psychological, but it has its flaws

Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism? Libertarianism

Proper names: Fregean or Millian? Fregean

Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism? Scientific realism

Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death? Death

Time: A-theory or B-theory? Leaning towards B-theory

Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch? Switch

Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic? Correspondence

Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible? conceivable but not metaphysically possible

===

And for philosophers I identify with: Probably Nietzsche, Hume, and Russell.

Comment author: Gray 11 April 2011 04:48:33AM 1 point [-]

Glad to see some respect for Nietzsche around here. I don't think most people truly understand what this philosopher was about.

Comment author: InquilineKea 11 April 2011 05:04:28AM 0 points [-]

Ah yes, I definitely agree with you. I don't think of Nietzsche as a philosopher - rather - I think of him more as a social analyst with penetrating insight.

Comment author: thomblake 25 May 2012 02:53:33PM 0 points [-]

I actually answered the survey and I think my responses are public somewhere. I'll have to see after if this matches up.

A priori knowledge: yes or no? Agnostic

Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism? Accept an intermediate view

Aesthetic value: objective or subjective? Accept an intermediate view

Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no? Agnostic

Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism? Accept another alternative

External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism? Lean towards non-skeptical realism

Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will? Accept compatibilism

God: theism or atheism? Accept Atheism

Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism? Accept both

Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism? Lean towards contextualism

Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean? Agnostic

Logic: classical or non-classical? There is no fact of the matter

Mental content: internalism or externalism? Agnostic

Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism? Accept moral realism

Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism? Accept naturalism

Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism? Accept physicalism

Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism? Accept both

Moral motivation: internalism or externalism? Accept both

Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes? Accept one box

Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics? Accept virtue ethics

Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory? Insufficiently familiar with the issue

Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view? Agnostic

Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism? Lean towards libertarianism

Proper names: Fregean or Millian? Insufficiently familiar with the issue

Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism? Accept an intermediate view

Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death? Agnostic

Time: A-theory or B-theory? Insufficiently familiar with the issue

Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch? Accept another alternative

Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic? Accept deflationary

Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible? Accept inconceivable

===

And... which of the following philosophers do you identify with?

Aquinas Aristotle Nietzsche

I would have written in Dennett and Emerson were there an option.

Comment author: Jack 01 May 2013 04:57:18PM 0 points [-]

I'd like to know your intermediate views, if you ever have time.

Comment author: thomblake 03 May 2013 01:47:54PM 2 points [-]

Let's see... I'll try to answer as I would have when I was taking this, for consistency...

Abstract objects: Aristotelianism. Forms are always instantiated, but are not completely arbitrary categories as nominalism would suggest.

Aesthetic value: subject-sensitive objectivism. There is a fact about what you find beautiful regardless of your say-so, but beauty depends on the observer.

Epistemic justification: subject-sensitive invariantism / contextualism: There is an external fact about whether a belief is justified, but it depends upon the context of the question and/or the person being asked, so the distinction is flawed. (see "knowledge claims")

Science: Models necessarily leave out facets of reality, and science simply aims to provide good models, so science will never fully describe reality by design. Thus, it does not achieve realism. However, the models are not arbitrary and do refer to reality.

Trolley problem: The question about what one ought to do is ill-formed. Humans are not designed to make that sort of decision, and so an ethics that answers trolley problem questions will be ill-suited to everyday use. Thus, what one should do is be virtuous in all one's activities, and I expect such a person would still freeze and panic if faced with the trolley problem. Or to paraphrase one philosopher's take on it, if you find the answer to the trolley problem easily, then there's something wrong with you.


There you go. I'm just guessing on what I was thinking on "science" and a bit on some of the others. I'd have to rethink the whole thing to answer it again - I haven't been running in philosophy circles for a while.

Comment author: army1987 13 November 2011 08:00:27PM 0 points [-]

There are pairs of questions between which much stronger correlations than were actually found wouldn't have surprised me.

Comment author: hwc 18 April 2011 01:24:33AM *  0 points [-]
  • A priori knowledge: yes or no? No
  • Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism? Platonism for mathematical objects, otherwise non-platonic
  • Aesthetic value: objective or subjective? subjective
  • Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no? I don't know what that means.
  • Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism? I don't know what that means.
  • External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism? I don't know what that means.
  • Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will? compatibilism, if I understand the definition
  • God: theism or atheism? atheism
  • Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism? I don't know what that means.
  • Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism? I don't know what that means.
  • Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean? I don't know what that means.
  • Logic: classical or non-classical? I don't know what that means.
  • Mental content: internalism or externalism? I don't know what that means.
  • Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism? I have not made up my mind.
  • Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism? I don't know what that means.
  • Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism? physicalism
  • Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism? I don't know what that means.
  • Moral motivation: internalism or externalism? I don't know what that means.
  • Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes? If I believe that Omega really knows me, one box.
  • Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics? consequentialism, with the caveat that the human mind can't do consequentialism well and must substitute rules of thumb.
  • Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory? I don't know what that means.
  • Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view? I don't know what that means.
  • Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism? a balance of the three, depending on what produces the best results
  • Proper names: Fregean or Millian? I don't know what that means.
  • Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism? realism, if I understand the question
  • Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death? survival, but it feels scary none-the-less
  • Time: A-theory or B-theory? I don't know what that means.
  • Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch? switch, but it still feels wrong
  • Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic? I don't know what that means.
  • Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible? I don't know the difference between "inconceivable" and "not metaphysically possible".
Comment author: jschulter 12 April 2011 03:10:29AM 0 points [-]

A priori knowledge: yes or no? no.

Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism? not Platonism. don't know if the other is simply the opposite or a separate claim.

Aesthetic value: objective or subjective? subjective

Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no? leaning no based on a brief reading of the literature

Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism? don't know.

External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism? non-skeptical realism

Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will? compatibilism, I guess.

God: theism or atheism? atheism

Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism? empiricism

Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism? contextualism

Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean? non-Humean (examples in favor of this were numerous on the page defining it), but it doesn't really matter. I'm not even sure the actual laws upon which the universe runs are expressible within it, we might only be able to asymptotically approach them.

Logic: classical or non-classical? classical

Mental content: internalism or externalism? externalism

Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism? moral anti-realism

Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism? naturalism

Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism? physicalism

Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism? don't know.

Moral motivation: internalism or externalism? externalism

Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes? I am committed to one-boxing. (You hear that Omega!?)

Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics? consequentialism

Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory? Whichever one Dennet espouses. not sure which of these that is.

Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view? I think it would be psychological view? If it thinks and acts indistinguishably from me, it is me.

Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism? libertarianism kinda.

Proper names: Fregean or Millian? don't care.

Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism? scientific realism mostly

Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death? survival-see personal identity

Time: A-theory or B-theory? both of these are stupid. The jury's out on whether physics is timeless, but in the meantime, I understand and can utilize special relativity(and perhaps general soon), which is an entirely sufficient description.

Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch? switch. I take the consequentialist view(whichever action kills the least people) on all the trolley problems, despite some internal disquietude.

Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic? correspondence I think? not clear on the terms

Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible? inconcievable!

Comment author: SilasBarta 11 April 2011 10:39:48PM 0 points [-]

A priori knowledge: no
Abstract objects: nominalism
Aesthetic value: subjective
Analytic-synthetic distinction: lean no
Epistemic justification: not familiar with terms
External world: non-skeptical realism
Free will: compatibilism
God: atheism
Knowledge: empiricism (as I understand the distinction -- odd to be "against rationalism" here)
Knowledge claims: contextualism (as I understand the distinction)
Laws of nature: not familiar with terms
Logic: not familiar with the terms
Mental content: guessing externalism based on the implied meanings
Meta-ethics: leaning moral realism
Metaphilosophy: naturalism
Mind: physicalism
Moral judgment: not familiar with distinction
Moral motivation: not familiar with terms
Newcomb's problem: one box
Normative ethics: lean consequentialism (can I factor in "acausal consequences"?)
Perceptual experience: don't know how my views map to these terms
Personal identity: don't seem to fit with any of these: I am all functions with my input/output dynamics
Politics: lean libertarianism
Proper names: not familiar with terms
Science: scientific realism
Teletransporter (new matter): lean survival
Time: not familiar with terms, but endorse Drescher/Barbour timeless physics
Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do): lean don't switch
Truth: correspondence
Zombies: inconceivable

Comment author: wedrifid 11 April 2011 08:52:26AM *  0 points [-]

A priori knowledge: yes or no?

Yes, given axioms.

Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism?

Don't know.

Aesthetic value: objective or subjective?

Both.

Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no?

Don't know.

Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism?

Um. Don't know,

External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism?

Non-skeptical realism. If it means what it sounds like it means.

Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?

It's a stupid term. 'Compatibilism' probably.

God: theism or atheism?

a-

Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism?

Stupid question. But the latter to the extent that there is a difference and possibly the former if their is some implied definition of 'rationalism' that somehow excludes empiricism.

Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism?

Don't know.

Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean?

Don't know.

Logic: classical or non-classical?

I like logic.

Mental content: internalism or externalism?

Still not terms with which I construct my intellectual identity.

Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism?

Realism - but quite probably closer to naive anti-realism than naive realism.

Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism?

Naturalism.

Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism?

Physicalism.

Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism?

Cognitivism.

Moral motivation: internalism or externalism?

Internal, at a guess.

Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes?

Oooh, a question that actually refers to an actual (counterfactual) decision instead of annoying 'isms' that I don't care about. One!

Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics?

Consequentialism. Mostly.

Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory?

Death to qualia theory. That is all.

Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view?

Hmm... I'm guessing the further fact view. Not because I know what it is but because the other two options aren't quite sufficient.

Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism?

Hmmm.... closer to the libertarianism than the other two. But certainly not enough to identify as libertarian.

Proper names: Fregean or Millian?

No idea.

Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism?

Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death?

Survival.

Time: A-theory or B-theory?

Oh come one... at least word length labels give me a chance at guessing which philosophical position resolves to sane. A and B give me almost nothing!

Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch?

Switch.

Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic?

Epistemic?

Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible?

Inconceivable (although I can conceive of the mental state of a philosopher who professes belief in zombies.)

===

And... which of the following philosophers do you identify with?

None of them. I don't identify as a philosopher. I'm told that Quine thought sane things though so I wouldn't be insulted by the comparison. Many of those names have an aversive association to me due to the way they quoted by 'intellectuals'.

My takeaway from this post: Lesswrong is not an offshoot of mainstream philosophy. If it was I wouldn't be able to understand everything on it while at the same time being unfamiliar with the countless isms that make up 'philosophy'.

Comment author: Tyrrell_McAllister 18 April 2011 01:56:26AM *  3 points [-]

Time: A-theory or B-theory?

Oh come one... at least word length labels give me a chance at guessing which philosophical position resolves to sane. A and B give me almost nothing!

The A-theory is identified with the view that "becoming" is somehow fundamental to the nature of the universe, and that it's not just an illusion created by, say, our only having memories of times t < t0 at time t0. A-theorists hold that, in some ultimate sense, points in time change their ontological status as they transition from the future, to the present, and into the past. To say "The event E will happen in the future" is not just to say that the time of E's occurrence has a larger coordinate than the time of the utterance. It is just to say that E will happen in the future, full stop. The process of becoming that is the universe just hasn't gotten to E yet. As this process of becoming unfolds, the truth-value of the statement will change.

At least, those are the kinds of things that A-theorists say. I have a heard time of making sense of it beyond its being a denial of the B-theory.

B-theorists subscribe to the "block-universe" view of time. All points in time have the same ontological status. All statements about the timing of events are really relative statements, perhaps about the relative timing of the statement's utterance and some event. Properly understood, the truth values of these statements are the same at all points of time. There is no becoming; this is an illusion, created perhaps by the physical state that our brains have at different points in time.

Comment author: XiXiDu 11 April 2011 12:08:31PM *  0 points [-]

A priori knowledge: yes or no?

Yes, if we're talking about extrasensory perceptions. I am pretty sure some of what we know is genetically programmed and therefore not a direct result of sensory perceptions. I guess a Boltzmann brain would have to agree.

Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism?

I think this is asking if the Mathematical universe hypothesis is true/false. I can't answer that, I would have to think about it. If someone would force me to answer then I'd pick Platonism (objects such as numbers and points exist naturally), because that sounds cool I guess.

Aesthetic value: objective or subjective?

Both.

Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no?

Huh?

Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism?

Whatever.

External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism?

"...non-skeptical realism is the philosophical understanding that things exist independent of the mind and that it is possible to say something meaningful about them." Hell, if I answer Yes to Platonism I can hardly deny reality now? I actually don't think it makes much sense asking such questions except if you enjoy philosophy for the sake of it.

Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?

Bring me a good definition of what is meant by "free will" and I will attempt to answer this question. I wish people would just drop that term.

God: theism or atheism?

Given only those choices I pick atheism of course. I first wanted to write "Probabilism" until I noticed it is a real philosophical doctrine that I don't agree with.

Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism?

I don't understand?

Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism?

I think none of those.

Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean?

...?

Logic: classical or non-classical?

Dunno.

Mental content: internalism or externalism?

Couldn't bother to read up on it.

Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism?

Some sort of agent-dependent realism. My beliefs and knowledge of the associated terminology are too vague.

Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism?

Naturalism means "the idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world" and "the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world." People who doubt this must be really confused.

Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism?

Physicalism if non-physicalism means something like "supernatural"...I guess that if you doubt it even for a second it means that you have a bad philosophical cold. But ideas like Platonism just sound so cool that it makes me want to believe although it is probably not even wrong as there is no justification either logically or practically to believe such a thing. But if I accept Platonism, e.g. that there exist timeless mathematical patterns, then it is hard to see how they could be regarded as "physical".

Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism?

Cognitivism, there are moral statements that are objectively true or false. But I still think those objective facts are dependent on the existence of different agents and not some sort of "natural laws". For example, it is an objective fact that I assign moral value to non-human beings and it is an objective fact that a paperclip maximizer doesn't. Maybe I am confused here, don't know.

Moral motivation: internalism or externalism?

I still don't know what this is supposed to mean. But I believe that our motivations to make moral statements are blurred between internal and external causations. Our moral intuitions are a fact about our genetic makeup, upbringing, education, culture and the circumstances.

Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes?

One box.

Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics?

Subjective consequentialism.

Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory?

I have no idea what all this means. The time I took to think about consciousness so far didn't allow me to wrap my mind around that topic.

Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view?

Utility-function. We are what we want, our values and goals.

Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism?

None of the above.

Proper names: Fregean or Millian?

I wouldn't name my child Fregean or Millian.

Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death?

Survival.

Time: A-theory or B-theory?

Hmm...

Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch?

Switch.

Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic?

Don't know.

Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible?

Inconceivable (for me at least).