Category Archives: Personal

My beliefs, updated

Back in 2015, I published a post listing my beliefs on various propositions. This post updates that list to reflect what I currently believe. The new table also has a new column, indicating the resilience of each belief, defined as the likelihood that my credences will change if I thought more about the topic.

Note that, although the credences stated in the 2015 post are outdated, the substantive comments included there still largely reflect my current thinking. Accordingly, you may still want to check out that post if you are curious about why I hold these beliefs to the degree that I do.

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My beliefs

My friend Brian Tomasik recently made available a table summarizing his beliefs on various issues. I thought recording my own credences on these propositions would be a fun and potentially instructive exercise, and decided to make my answers public. To prevent myself from being influenced by Brian’s responses, I copied the original table, pasted in on an Excel spreadsheet, deleted the column with his answers, and randomized the rows by sorting them in alphabetical order.  Only after recording all my responses did I allow myself to look at Brian’s, and I managed to resist the temptation to make any changes ex post facto. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at the degree to which we agree, and not very surprised at the areas where we don’t agree.  I also suspect that a few of our disagreements (e.g. on compatibilism about free will) are merely verbal. Below, I comment on the propositions on which we disagree the most.

If you think you might want to participate in this exercise, you can make a duplicate of this spreadsheet and record your answers there before reading any further.

Update: See also Michael Dickens’ responses in the comments section.

Update 2: There is now a new version of the table below, which reflects my beliefs as of November 2020.

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