Showing posts from April, 2020

Free and Easy Conversing

by Aaron Novick and Liam Kofi Bright (All citations are to Ziporyn ) Liam: the Warhol museum really is the best in the city, thanks for inviting me! Tell you what, it’s such a lovely evening, why don’t we walk into town just for the stroll, rather than going home straight away? Aaron: Definitely! I can’t stay out too late, though—I’m meeting with a student tomorrow to discuss the Zhuangzi, and I need to do some prep work tonight. Liam: Don’t worry, we can just walk around the cultural district a bit and then I’ll get the bus home. Very cool that you have a student interested in the Zhuangzi, what will you be discussing? Aaron: We’re going to be talking about the happiness of fish passage. Liam: Nice! I love that passage. I love that Zhuangzi doesn’t always win his own dialogues. Aaron: Oh, no, I don’t agree with that! It’s one of many stories where he comes out on top against his fussy friend Huizi. I have the text here—see for yourself: Zhuangzi and Huizi were s

The Masque of Rona

by Liam Kofi Bright and Richard Bradley In the face of a global pandemic whose scale and impact is for most of us entirely new, governments around the world are adopting policies that severely interfere with our daily lives. I know this has lots of people wondering about whether such decisions could really be justified. And even if we accept that this action is justified we might still be interested in how one can sensibly reason about taking action in the face of unprecedented problems. So for the sakes of introducing the topic to a wider audience, in today’s post I am joined by my colleague Richard Bradley , an expert on making rational decisions under conditions of uncertainty. Let’s be very clear about this: we are not epidemiologists or medical or social scientists - so we are not going to offer any direct policy advice. What policy should be adopted depends a lot on empirical particulars, and the pertinent domains of expertise for this would be quite distinct from ours.