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I regard both the verification principle and Occam's razor [a] as good rules of thumb to detect BS, not grand, fundamental principles.

[a] Including the key caveat 'sufficient'.

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Arthur, that's right, I think a pragmatic use of either or both is very much warranted. To be honest, I also think that's what Hume intended. The logical positivists, by contrast, went too far and really did try to make it into a fundamental principle. It backfired.

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Mar 2, 2023Liked by Massimo Pigliucci

While 'verifiable' is a possible definition of meaningful, it would not seem to correspond to common usage.

The 'universe is infinite.' is not verifiable but is a consequence of theories that can be falsified (another rule of thumb).

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Indeed. But, as you say, I like Hume's Fork is a preliminary heuristic to cut down on bullshit. Someone makes claim X. I immediately ask: do you have empirical evidence or logically compelling reasons for X? If not, I suspect BS and move on...

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You could be wrong?! Never.

Seriously, a very interesting (though slightly over the head of a non-philosopher like me) essay.

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Believe it or not, I could be wrong...

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Sorry, but I cannot take that as true merely on faith. Need to stick a Humean fork in it.

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😆🍽️

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On P-Zombies- they offend my sensibilities in part because they are not conceived of as being truly human, despite their appearance to be truly human in all other ways. This reminds me of how racism dehumanizes the other. And besides, what mechanism operates them if not consciousness? It’s needlessly complicated to think that they are operating in a new and unique way different from the rest of us. It’s again like the racist belief that WE have souls, but THEY do not have a magic ghost in them.

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Bob, to be fair to Chalmers & co., dehumanizing definitely wasn't on their agenda, though I can see where your comment is coming from. The serious problem, philosophically speaking, is that p-zombies violate the known laws of physics. Of course one can always say "yeah but in another universe with different laws..." But what's the point of that?

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I should note that I have racists in my family that I avoid dealing with, as they are not capable of discussing without umbrage - or rage. So despite being a blue-collar white Anglo-Saxon Protestant by heritage, I am sensitive to anything that touches upon such views. I have worked to overcome them in myself during my adult life.

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I hear you. I have racists in the family as well.

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Mar 2, 2023Liked by Massimo Pigliucci

Agreed. As a layman and not an academic, my focus is on the practical and on what I can do now or understand about the world as it is. I didn't intend to malign the reputation of Chalmers or others, as thought experiments are valuable ways to explore possibilities and ask ourselves questions.

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Mar 2, 2023Liked by Massimo Pigliucci

Very informative, to me, discussion. It allows me to see these frameworks in a different way with a method that seems intuitively correct. Thanks again!

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Mar 2, 2023Liked by Massimo Pigliucci

This post reminded me of your earlier recommendation of Peter Adamson’s History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps. Thank you, I am enjoying it greatly!

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