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Future of Life Institute Podcast
90 min2020 DEC 2
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Sean Carroll on Consciousness, Physicalism, and the History of Intellectual Progress


Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist at Caltech, joins us on this episode of the FLI Podcast to comb through the history of human thought, the strengths and weaknesses of various intellectual movements, and how we are to situate ourselves in the 21st century given progress thus far. Topics discussed in this episode include: -Important intellectual movements and their merits -The evolution of metaphysical and epistemological views over human history -Consciousness, free will, and philosophical blunders -Lessons for the 21st century You can find the page for this podcast here: https://futureoflife.org/2020/12/01/sean-carroll-on-consciousness-physicalism-and-the-history-of-intellectual-progress/ You can find the video for this podcast here: https://youtu.be/6HNjL8_fsTk Timestamps: 0:00 Intro 2:06 The problem of beliefs and the strengths and weaknesses of religion 6:40 The Age of Enlightenment and importance of reason 10:13 The importance of humility and the is--ought gap 17:53 The advantages of religion and mysticism 19:50 Materialism and Newtonianism 28:00 Duality, self, suffering, and philosophical blunders 36:56 Quantum physics as a paradigm shift 39:24 Physicalism, the problem of consciousness, and free will 01:01:50 What does it mean for something to be real? 01:09:40 The hard problem of consciousness 01:14:20 The multiple worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and utilitarianism 01:21:16 The importance of being charitable in conversation 1:24:55 Sean's position in the philosophy of consciousness 01:27:29 Sean's metaethical position 01:29:36 Where to find and follow Sean This podcast is possible because of the support of listeners like you. If you found this conversation to be meaningful or valuable, consider supporting it directly by donating at futureoflife.org/donate. Contributions like yours make these conversations possible.