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Episode 106: Pyrrhonian Skepticism According to Sextus Empiricus

On “Outlines of Pyrrhonism” from 200 C.E. Can you live while suspending judgment about all non-everyday matters?

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  1. Democracy and the Freedom of Choice

    by

    19

    There is a fundamental incoherence to the universal prescription of the freedom to choose: since any one choosing anything is impossible, the parameters of this freedom are who is choosing and what they can choose.

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The Partially Examined Life is a philosophy podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don’t have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we’re talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion. 

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Deep neural networks (DNNs) have recently been achieving state-of-the-art performance on a variety of pattern-recognition tasks, most notably visual classification problems. Given that DNNs are now able to classify objects in images with near-human-level performance, questions naturally arise as to what differences remain between computer and human vision. A recent study revealed that changing an image (e.g. of a lion) in a way imperceptible to humans can cause a DNN to label the image as something else entirely (e.g. mislabeling a lion a library). Here we show a related result: it is easy to produce images that are completely unrecognizable to humans, but that state-of-the-art DNNs believe to be recognizable objects with 99.99% confidence (e.g. labeling with certainty that white noise static is a lion). Specifically, we take convolutional neural networks trained to perform well on either the ImageNet or MNIST datasets and then find images with evolutionary algorithms or gradient ascent that DNNs label with high confidence as belonging to each dataset class. It is possible to produce images totally unrecognizable to human eyes that DNNs believe with near certainty are familiar objects. Our results shed light on interesting differences between human vision and current DNNs, and raise questions about the generality of DNN computer vision. See MoreSee Less

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Who better to get you into the holiday spirit than Zizek and Marx? See MoreSee Less

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www.rationalskepticism.org/psychology/the-gender-equality-paradox-t32654.html

"Some of the people on the "nurture" side of the video had obviously been picked because they were a bit more extreme than the average researcher, and/or their comments were selectively edited to make it seem like there was a stronger position being advocated. It’s important to remember that there has never been a field or approach to science which has been blank slatist, so the idea that major fields like sociology or areas within psychology believe or promote a blank slate approach is absurd.

Lippa then suggests that if these differences were learnt, then we’d expect them to change across cultures, and he points to a graph with two constant, unchanging lines, and says that this is evidence that something biological is going on. Obviously it isn’t. It’s evidence that there is a common underlying variable controlling both, which can be biological or learnt. This is the problem with most people’s interpretation of cross-cultural studies, they ignore the fact that cross-cultural behaviors can also be explained by species-specific environmental constraints which produce universal learning. As an example, look at the fact that all individuals, across all cultures and generations, eat hot soup from a bowl. Amazing, must be innate, right? Clearly not, there is no "eating-soup-from-a-bowl gene", and instead the common behavior is there because the guy who tried to eat it off a plate or flat leaf or whatever burnt his nutsack. The common factor of gravity produces this learnt effect. This isn’t to say that the behavior is learnt, but that it’s something that needs to be ruled out, not just shrugged off."
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"Kant believes in the fact of knowledge: what he requires is a piece of naivete: the knowledge of knowledge!
Friedrich Nietzsche
(Will To Power)
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I joined Reddit somewhat recently, and in the socialist subreddits, people seem to refer to the Soviet Union as state capitalism. Anyone have a clue as to what they mean by that, exactly? See MoreSee Less

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