Topic Review
AI-Control Problem
In artificial intelligence (AI) and philosophy, the AI-control problem is the hypothetical puzzle of how to build a superintelligent agent that will aid its creators, and avoid inadvertently building a superintelligence that will harm its creators. Its study is motivated by the claim that the human race will have to get the control problem right "the first time", as a misprogrammed superintelligence might rationally decide to "take over the world" and refuse to permit its programmers to modify it after launch. In addition, some scholars argue that solutions to the control problem, alongside other advances in "AI safety engineering", might also find applications in existing non-superintelligent AI. Potential strategies include "capability control" (preventing an AI from being able to pursue harmful plans), and "motivational control" (building an AI that wants to be helpful).
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  • 15 Nov 2022
Topic Review
Aishvarya
Aishvarya (Sanskrit: ऐश्वर्य) which is a noun, means lordship or sovereignty, prosperity or royal or exalted rank. Prosperity, power and recognition by society are the three aspects of man’s life that constitute aishvarya which term also refers to the aishvarya or greatness of God and of Brahman.
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  • 10 Oct 2022
Topic Review
Ajativada
Ajātivāda is the fundamental philosophical doctrine of the Advaita Vedanta philosopher Gaudapada. According to Gaudapada, the Absolute is not subject to birth, change and death. The Absolute is aja, the unborn eternal. The empirical world of appearances is considered unreal, and not absolutely existent. Gaudapada's perspective is based on the Mandukya Upanishad, applying the philosophical concept of "ajāta" to the inquiry of Brahman, showing that Brahman wholly transcends the conventional understanding of being and becoming. The concept is also found in Madhyamaka Buddhism, as the theory of nonorigination.
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  • 04 Nov 2022
Topic Review
Allegory of the Cave
The Allegory of the Cave, or Plato's Cave, was presented by the Ancient Greece philosopher Plato in his work Republic (514a–520a) to compare "the effect of education (παιδεία) and the lack of it on our nature". It is written as a dialogue between Plato's brother Glaucon and his mentor Socrates, narrated by the latter. The allegory is presented after the analogy of the sun (508b–509c) and the analogy of the divided line (509d–511e). All three are characterized in relation to dialectic at the end of Books VII and VIII (531d–534e). Plato has Socrates describe a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them, and give names to these shadows. The shadows are the prisoners' reality. Socrates explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not reality at all, for he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the manufactured reality that is the shadows seen by the prisoners. The inmates of this place do not even desire to leave their prison, for they know no better life. The prisoners manage to break their bonds one day, and discover that their reality was not what they thought it was. They discovered the sun, which Plato uses as an analogy for the fire that man cannot see behind. Like the fire that cast light on the walls of the cave, the human condition is forever bound to the impressions that are received through the senses. Even if these interpretations (or, in Kantian terminology, intuitions) are an absurd misrepresentation of reality, we cannot somehow break free from the bonds of our human condition—we cannot free ourselves from phenomenal state just as the prisoners could not free themselves from their chains. If, however, we were to miraculously escape our bondage, we would find a world that we could not understand—the sun is incomprehensible for someone who has never seen it. In other words, we would encounter another "realm", a place incomprehensible because, theoretically, it is the source of a higher reality than the one we have always known; it is the realm of pure Form, pure fact. Socrates remarks that this allegory can be paired with previous writings, namely the analogy of the sun and the analogy of the divided line.
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  • 15 Nov 2022
Topic Review
Altruism
In biology, altruism refers to behaviour by an individual that increases the fitness of another individual while decreasing the fitness of the agent. Altruism in this sense is different from the philosophical concept of altruism, in which an action would only be called "altruistic" if it was done with the conscious intention of helping another. In the behavioural sense, there is no such requirement. As such, it is not evaluated in moral terms—it is the consequences of an action for reproductive fitness that determine whether the action is considered altruistic, not the intentions, if any, with which the action is performed. The term altruism was coined by the French philosopher Auguste Comte in French, as altruisme, for an antonym of egoism. He derived it from the Italian altrui, which in turn was derived from Latin alteri, meaning "other people" or "somebody else". Altruistic behaviours appear most obviously in kin relationships, such as in parenting, but may also be evident among wider social groups, such as in social insects. They allow an individual to increase the success of its genes by helping relatives that share those genes. Obligate altruism is the permanent loss of direct fitness (with potential for indirect fitness gain). For example, honey bee workers may forage for the colony. Facultative altruism is temporary loss of direct fitness (with potential for indirect fitness gain followed by personal reproduction). For example, a Florida scrub jay may help at the nest, then gain parental territory.
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  • 20 Oct 2022
Topic Review
Alvin Plantinga's Free Will Defense
Alvin Plantinga's free will defense is a logical argument developed by American analytic philosopher Alvin Plantinga, the John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, and published in its final version in his 1977 book God, Freedom, and Evil. Plantinga's argument is a defense against the logical problem of evil as formulated by philosopher J. L. Mackie beginning in 1955. Mackie's formulation of the logical problem of evil argued that three attributes of God, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence, in orthodox Christian theism are logically incompatible with the existence of evil. In 1982, Mackie conceded that Plantinga's defense successfully refuted his argument in The Miracle of Theism, though he did not claim that the problem of evil had been put to rest.
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  • 18 Nov 2022
Topic Review
Ambidextrous Organization
Organizational ambidexterity refers to an organization's ability to be efficient in its management of today's business and also adaptable for coping with tomorrow's changing demand. Just as being ambidextrous means being able to use both the left and right hand equally, organizational ambidexterity requires the organizations to use both exploration and exploitation techniques to be successful.
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  • 07 Nov 2022
Topic Review
Anatta
In Buddhism, the term anattā (Pali) or anātman (Sanskrit) refers to the doctrine of "non-self", that there is no unchanging, permanent self, soul or essence in phenomena. It is one of the seven beneficial perceptions in Buddhism, and one of the three marks of existence along with dukkha (suffering) and anicca (impermanence). The Buddhist concept of anatta or anatman is one of the fundamental differences between Buddhism and Hinduism, with the latter asserting that atman (self, soul) exists.
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  • 15 Nov 2022
Topic Review
Anaxagoras
Anaxagoras (/ˌænækˈsæɡərəs/; Greek: Ἀναξαγόρας, Anaxagoras, "lord of the assembly"; c. 500 – c. 428 BC) was a Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. Born in Clazomenae at a time when Asia Minor was under the control of the Persian Empire, Anaxagoras came to Athens. According to Diogenes Laërtius and Plutarch, in later life he was charged with impiety and went into exile in Lampsacus; the charges may have been political, owing to his association with Pericles, if they were not fabricated by later ancient biographers. Responding to the claims of Parmenides on the impossibility of change, Anaxagoras described the world as a mixture of primary imperishable ingredients, where material variation was never caused by an absolute presence of a particular ingredient, but rather by its relative preponderance over the other ingredients; in his words, "each one is... most manifestly those things of which there are the most in it". He introduced the concept of Nous (Cosmic Mind) as an ordering force, which moved and separated out the original mixture, which was homogeneous, or nearly so. He also gave a number of novel scientific accounts of natural phenomena. He deduced a correct explanation for eclipses and described the Sun as a fiery mass larger than the Peloponnese, as well as attempting to explain rainbows and meteors.
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  • 24 Oct 2022
Topic Review
Anthroposophic Medicine
Anthroposophic medicine (or anthroposophical medicine) is a form of alternative medicine based on pseudoscientific and occult notions. Devised in the 1920s by Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) in conjunction with Ita Wegman (1876–1943), anthroposophical medicine draws on Steiner's spiritual philosophy, which he called anthroposophy. Practitioners employ a variety of treatment techniques based upon anthroposophic precepts, including massage, exercise, counselling, and substances. Many drug preparations used in anthroposophic medicine are ultra-diluted substances, similar to those used in homeopathy. Homeopathic remedies are not medically effective and are generally considered harmless, except when used as a substitute for a scientifically proven and effective cure. In certain European countries, people with cancer are sometimes prescribed remedies made from specially harvested mistletoe, although no evidence of clinical benefit exists. Some anthroposophic doctors oppose childhood vaccination, and this has led to preventable outbreaks of disease. Anthroposophic medicine departs from fundamental biological principles in several respects. For example, Steiner said that the heart is not a pump, but that the blood in a sense pumps itself. Anthroposophic medicine also proposes that patients' past lives may influence their illness and that the course of an illness is subject to karmic destiny. Professor of complementary medicine Edzard Ernst and other physicians and scientists including Simon Singh and David Gorski have characterized anthroposophic medicine as pseudoscientific quackery, with no basis in reason or logic.
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