Andrés Gómez Emilsson writes at IEET, “If you don’t think about these questions, you are at risk of being killed by bad philosophy.”
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In my junior year at Stanford I started inviting David Pearce (IEET Fellow, who advocates the “abolition of suffering”) to give talks there. I was able to hang out with him over the course of many afternoons, and even had the chance to interview him once. He made me aware of the causal relevance of the Stanford Transhumanist Association (it is a force multiplier, memetically speaking), and solidified my commitment to prioritizing suffering over everything else.
In addition to that, we talked at great lengths about philosophy of mind. This is a thorny subject, you see. In the rationalist community the most prevalent philosophy of mind is (neuron-resolution-level) functionalism. I used to have the strong view that functionalism was the only possible theory of mind (this lasted for four years), so I know what motivates this particular theory of consciousness.