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Comment author: palladias 24 October 2014 09:19:47PM 0 points [-]

I suspect employers can make happy-enough-feeling employees by normalizing not having a life outside work.

Comment author: gjm 24 October 2014 09:52:22PM 0 points [-]

At least one of us is, I think, misunderstanding the other.

If in fact it's the case that employees with shorter working hours are (not only happy-feeling but) more productive for their employers, then sensible employers who come to understand this will give their employees shorter working hours. Not to make them feel happy, but to make them more productive.

Comment author: gjm 24 October 2014 05:49:28PM 4 points [-]

I agree that it's surprising that (1) working long hours seems to have been found ineffective in academic studies and yet (2) businesses tend to want it. Aside from startups, I remark that the finance industry is notorious for extremely long working hours, and yet you'd have thought that (say) a hedge fund could benefit a lot from having its very expensive very smart people working more effectively if shorter hours would achieve that.

One possibility I've wondered about is that maybe it's about latency rather than bandwidth. In other words: If you're at work for shorter hours, then you may get more done but when someone else needs you -- especially if it might be someone else in a different timezone -- then they may have to wait a lot longer, and that may end up outweighing your greater individual productivity.

(I think I've seen something very like this offered as an explanation for investment banks' punishingly long hours: one of the things an i-bank's clients are paying a lot of money for is knowing that at any time they can call up the person who's trying to put together a deal, and discuss it with them. That means that those people need to be around for long hours, which means that the people doing analysis for them also need to be around for long hours. I have never worked in an investment bank and do not know how credible this is.)

Comment author: palladias 24 October 2014 02:50:18PM 2 points [-]

I don't care this much about maximizing output for my company, period. I've been careful to avoid more Hill and SF-type take-over-your-life jobs, because I get a lot out of my flexible time (writing a book, offering hospitality to others, seeing theatre, building things) that I would not get out of a job and that are difficult to trade money for.

Comment author: gjm 24 October 2014 05:35:12PM 1 point [-]

Of course it's eminently reasonable for you (or anyone) not to care that much about maximizing output for their employer. However, employers might care about maximizing output, and if it turns out that long working hours (which are surely not optimal for the employees) aren't even good for the employers then that's pretty interesting, no?

And if that turned out to be true, and enough employers were convinced of it, then the range of options available to employees who don't want to work very long hours might increase a lot, which would also be interesting.

Comment author: Rubix 24 October 2014 01:27:49AM 21 points [-]

Survey surveilled!

Comment author: gjm 24 October 2014 09:43:21AM 4 points [-]

Nope. You've been surveilled, by the survey.

Comment author: PuyaSharif 24 October 2014 01:02:51AM 0 points [-]

I guess the bottom line is that, when it comes to fields like philosophy and history, the literature will be heavily biased by the authors, and if one really wants to reduce this bias the one must consult multiple sources.

Comment author: gjm 24 October 2014 07:39:02AM 0 points [-]

Yes. There's another single-volume history of philosophy, by Anthony Kenny, that's alleged to be good. I would expect Kenny to have a quite different set of biases from Russell's (and for what it's worth less like my own than Russell's). I have it on my shelves but it's one of the hundreds I haven't read yet so I can't endorse it (or the reverse) independently. I've no idea whether there's an audiobook of it.

Comment author: gjm 24 October 2014 12:56:51AM 6 points [-]

Not unwelcome.

Comment author: ciphergoth 23 October 2014 07:07:51PM 0 points [-]

Steve Fuller decides to throw away the established meaning of the phrase "existential risk" and make up one that better suits his purposes, in Is Existential Risk an Authentic Challenge or the Higher Moral Evasion?. I couldn't finish it.

Comment author: gjm 23 October 2014 07:29:43PM -1 points [-]

Steve Fuller writes a wrongheaded fuzzyminded self-indulgent article full of bloviating wankery. Also in today's news: Thomas Keller cooks a tasty meal, Bill Gates gives some money to charity, and a Republican congressman criticizes Barack Obama.

Comment author: Lumifer 23 October 2014 03:13:42PM 1 point [-]

a lot of the benefits may not be apparent for 10 years or more

I struggle to think of any benefits which become apparent after 10 years. Longevity could be one, but it kinda never becomes apparent. And for specific long-term results (e.g. you don't develop the metabolic syndrome in your middle age because you were a runner in your 20s and 30s) there's little hard data.

Comment author: gjm 23 October 2014 03:45:47PM *  0 points [-]

Longevity could be one, but it kinda never becomes apparent. [...]

That was rather my point. (Note that I said "10 years or more".)

[EDITED to fix a trivial typo.]

Comment author: Azathoth123 23 October 2014 03:39:41AM 1 point [-]

I would like to think people should still be able to decide on their own in the absence of judgement or coercion

What do you mean by this? While you believed that people had no choice about being gay/trans, you didn't seem to be at all bothered by the lack of choice.

Comment author: gjm 23 October 2014 03:40:56PM 0 points [-]

you didn't seem to be at all bothered by the lack of choice.

How can you tell?

In particular, what reason do you have to think that Jackercrack's former position was not something like this?

  • Beyond early childhood, no one has any substantial ability to change (1) whether they are sexually/romantically attracted to men, women, both, neither, etc., or (2) whether they find it highly distressing to have the sort of body they have rather than (e.g.) one with different sexual characteristics.
  • For exactly that reason, attempting to change those things is futile and the most likely effect is to distress the people it's applied to.
  • In particular, it should be up to them what sexual orientation they see themselves as having, what gender they present as, etc.
    • Not because they have a free choice about it, but because the alternative to leaving it up to them is for someone else to tell them what they have to be, in which case sometimes it won't match what they more-or-less-unalterably very much want it to be, and then they'll be miserable.
Comment author: PuyaSharif 23 October 2014 02:05:15AM 0 points [-]

Wonderful recommendation. I am listening to 'A History of western philosophy' at the moment and I enjoy every single minute of it. Its my clean and cook book. Not only is it a literary masterpiece, it is a well researched account of exactly what the name says. As a bonus you get the whole story commented by one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century.

Comment author: gjm 23 October 2014 03:27:11PM 0 points [-]

I have heard it claimed by people who know more about the history of philosophy than I do that it's less than perfectly reliable, and in particular that if Russell's account makes someone look silly then you should consider seriously the possibility that they were distinctly less silly than Russell makes them look.

(But I agree that it's a lovely book, and I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it.)

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