[ExI] cynicism

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Tue Feb 5 23:14:46 UTC 2013

On 05/02/2013 21:48, Mike Dougherty wrote:
> Thanks for that.  Originally meant as a throwaway kind of tagline, it
> got more response than anything I've posted lately.  :)

That is sadly how most things work out :-)

> I'm curious though, especially in this group - does one "look good" as
> an idealistic cynic or as a repentant cynic?

I don't think cynics look good, because people are so used to fake 
cynics trying to look good as idealistic cynics (or at least smart, 
"hah! I can see right through it!"). So I would go with the repentant 
cynics, aiming at becoming critical thinkers.

There was a nice study a while ago showing that people who tended to 
believe in conspiracy theories also were more likely to want to join the 
conspiracy, which suggests that they are close to cynical cynics (and 
likely driven by a need to get social status - after all, conspiracies 
are also good attention-getters).

[ Today we in the FHI gang were accused by a visiting physicist of being 
cynics when we explained why a certain well-funded big research project 
was methodologically flawed, but we cheerfully explained that we were 
just philosophers. We *are* trying to change things, it is just hard. ]

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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