1/ Random geeky thought. Yesterday I re-watched the Star Trek Voyager episode 'Tuvix', where the characters Tuvok and Neelix are merged after a botched teleportation, bringing into existence a 'third' person, Tuvix, who combines characteristics of both original characters.
2/ (Tuvix is in a sense actually nicer than both Tuvok and Neelix!). This scenario obviously gives rise to all kinds of philosophical questions pertaining to the metaphysics and ethics of personhood. But one thing I had not noticed when I first watched the episode many->
3/ -> years ago is that it is in practice a trolley scenario. Once the means to undo the merge are established, Tuvix does not want to be 'unmerged', he wants to remain alive as Tuvix. However, if he stays alive, then Tuvok and Neelix are in practice 'dead' as individuals.
4/ (🚨Spoiler alert🚨) Captain Janeway eventually decides to go through with the 'unmerging' procedure, which seems to be the same as pulling the lever in the classical trolley scenario. (Doing nothing would amount to letting Tuvix live but Tuvok and Neelix would die.)
5/ The episode does convey the complexity of the moral dilemma in question, in particular as the (holographic) doctor refuses to perform the procedure as it entails a breach of his 'do no harm' oath. So the end is rather melancholic, which is quite appropriate given the dilemma.

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More from @cdutilhnovaes

19 Jul
Hello new followers 👋 I've had a surge of new followers prompted by my new Stanford Encyclopedia entry, thanks for your interest 🙂 Here's a 🧵 with links to my recent work on argument and argumentation. 1/n
In 'The role of trust in argumentation' I argue that I trust plays a fundamental role in argumentation, w 2 examples: vaccination hesitancy & the undermining of the credibility of traditional sources of information by authoritarian politicians. 2/n
In 'Who’s Afraid of Adversariality? Conflict and Cooperation in Argumentation' I argue that specific instances of argumentation are (and should be) adversarial or cooperative to different degrees, depending on how much interest alignment there is. 3/n
Read 15 tweets
1 May 20
THREAD on 'following the experts'
1/ @NewYorker piece w detailed discussion of the differences btw how Seattle and NYC each reacted to covid19. Seattle followed advice of experts, whereas in NYC politicians, esp. @NYCMayor made a complete mess of things.
2/ However, 'following the experts' is not a foulproof method either, as we know from the disastrous response to covid19 in the UK, meticulously documented in @guardian. Following the 'wrong' experts, or too few of them, can lead to disaster...
3/... especially when there is so much we don't know yet & scientific consensus has not emerged (unlike climate change). The same thing happens here in NL, where the advice of OMT has been described as 'too narrow' (eenzijdig) bij former @rivm director.
Read 12 tweets
25 Mar 20
1/ Thread on some puzzling reactions by philosophers to the #COVID2019 pandemic.
Many people reacted with shock and horror to the piece by Giorgio Agamben piece of Feb 26, calling the pandemic a 'unmotivated emergency': positionswebsite.org/giorgio-agambe…
2/ One such reaction by philosopher @a_n_a_berg can be found here, where she describes Agamben's interventions as 'symptomatic of theory’s collapse into paranoia': chronicle.com/article/Giorgi…
3/ Another puzzling position is articulated by Dutch philosopher (and former GP) Marli Huijer, in an interview with @SiccodeKnecht: 'We must accept that the risk of death is part of life'. She also questions the severity of measures being taken.
Read 11 tweets
3 Dec 19
THREAD: A marxist analysis on why peer-review in journals takes too long
The last couple of days the long waiting times that authors have to endure before hearing back from the journals they submit papers to became a topic of discussion again here on Twitter. A number of... 1/n
...journal editors (myself included) have pointed out that the main problem lies with securing reliable referee reports. It's very common to have to ask 10, 15 people before finding two good souls who say 'yes' to the referee requests for a single paper. Sadly, it's also... 2/n
...common that referees then fail to deliver a report, despite reminders, and so 2,5 months later the editor needs to look for a different referee. In other words, even with the most diligent of editors, it's not uncommon that it takes months before 2 referee reports are in. 3/n
Read 13 tweets
3 Jun 19
1/ A thread with my thoughts on the current controversy on trans people and gender critical positions. I have stayed mostly silent so far, but I’ve been reading all of the main recent pieces published on both ‘sides’ of the controversy.
2/ As I understand the gender-critical position, there are two kinds of claims being made: metaphysical claims and policy-related claims. On the metaphysical side, it seems to be a version of biological essentialism, especially on the point that a person who was ‘born male’...
3/ ... can never become female properly speaking, and the insistence on sex rather than gender as the relevant category. On the policy side of things, there is the demand for safeguarding female-only spaces (which is supported by metaphysical claims)...
Read 13 tweets

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