Science news and events started out the show. 45 minutes in, Professor Adam Elga came on the mic to speak on some thought problems in philosophy that are pertinent to his research. For instance we start with the problem of contingency: how concerned should we be that much of what we believe is contingent on, for example, the circumstances of our birth?
We then build up the conversation to his current research on cascading failures – this is when systems that depend on each other fail in a kind of domino effect. Think the 2008 Financial Crisis. This gets us in to topics like the Tragedy of the Commons, the Prisoners’ Dilemma, and his (and his collaborator Daniel Oppenheimer’s) new concept of Risk Pollution.
More information on the topics we discussed in the show, provided by Adam Elga:
- Problem of disagreement:
- Epistemology of Disagreement: the good news – David Christensen
- Disagreement, Dogmatism, and Belief Polarization – Thomas Kelly
- Why People are Irrational About Politics – Michael Huemer
- The Epistemic Significance of Disagreement – Thomas Kelly
- Problem of contingency:
- Irrelevant Influences – Katia Vavova
- Lucky to be Rational – Adam Elga
- Cascading Failures:
- This is an unpublished topic being worked on by Adam Elga and Daniel Oppenheimer (Carnegie Mellon). Once it is published, you can find more information here.