Trust And Trustworthiness

Scott Alexander, a psychotherapist, is one of my favorite bloggers. All his patients, he says, give calm and considered analysis of their problems. This isn’t the experience of all psychotherapists. Many of them often have patients who have emotional meltdowns. Why is this so, he wonders.  Scott doesn’t think they are all making things up. They are

Why Paul Bloom Is Wrong About Empathy

I think the most impressive critique of Paul Bloom’s views on empathy is that of Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu. Usually, critics of Paul Bloom disagree with everything that’s true in his work. I find it impressive that Ingmar and Julian acknowledge all that’s true in Paul Bloom’s thesis. But unlike other critics, they’re really

The Problem With Effective Altruism

  Ruritania, let’s suppose, is flooded with water. There are 100 people in Ruritania, half of them Muslim and the other half Hindu. You hear that aid flows from Muslims in other countries to Muslims in Ruritania. If you’re an alien from Mars who wants to really help the flood victims in Ruritania, what would

Are Social Justice Warriors Snowflakes?

Philosopher David Livingstone Smith begins his book Why We Lie with the story of Mel, a little girl who digs out corm, an edible bulb, from rock-hard Ethiopian ground in the dry season when food is scarce. Little Paul watched her. When Mel was done, Paul started crying loudly. Paul’s mother came out and ran after Mel, assuming she had

The Myth Of Mental Illness: The Case Of Asperger’s Syndrome

“The most popular theory of autism is that of Simon Baron-Cohen, who thinks autistics have an extreme male brain. Men are better at understanding systems (systemizing) and women are better at understanding other people’s mind (empathizing). Autistics are better at systematizing, and bad at empathizing, and this has led to the extreme male brain theory. But

Robin Hanson And Kevin Simler’s The Elephant In The Brain

Read my essay on Robin Hanson And Kevin Simler’s The Elephant In The Brain: “Our ancestors weren’t nice people. They kept slaves, looked forward to wars and sent people to concentration camps. It is easy to dismiss them as moral retards, but that would be setting the bar way too low. Slavery is bad, war is violence, and sending

The Pragmatic Case for Understanding Neurodiversity

Read my article The Pragmatic Case for Understanding Neurodiversity in Quillette. I am convinced understanding neurodiversity is very important for moral behavior. I’m glad that economist Tyler Cowen blogged about this essay on Marginal Revolution. Edward Nevraumont,  Gordon White, psychologist Geoffrey Miller,  economist Alex Tabarrok, Christina Hoff Sommers, the fired Google engineer James Damore  and actor Travis Wester tweeted it.

An Anatomy Of Greatness

Robert Greene thinks intelligence is the most sensitive trigger point for envy. A sensible man would regard this “insight” somewhat suspiciously, because intelligence is also his greatest strength. But Mr Greene can say in his defence that he understands people really well. When he writes about the faults and foibles of little people, he does it

Man Smart? Woman Smarter!

H L Mencken, who died on January 29, 1956, was the first celebrity intellectual and one of the greatest journalists of all time. He was a witty polymath, and knew more about the American language than almost anyone. Today, the “misogyny epidemic” is much debated in the Indian media and social networking websites, but very

Meet Dr. Priyamvada Gopal

Priyamvada Gopal, a lady who teaches English at Cambridge, feels traumatized by a porter at King’s College who didn’t call her Dr. Gopal. She isn’t Priyamvada. She isn’t even Dr. Priyamvada Gopal. She’s Dr. Gopal. Ah, the constant racist profiling and aggression of privileged, white male porters. With deep regret, sadness and 17 years of hard