1. Summarize Bostrom’s Simulation argument.
2. Summarize what is, in your view, the best objection [i.e. the strongest criticism] against Bostrom’s Simulation Argument.
3. Why, according to Gardner, does scientific explanation have an absolute limit?
4. What, according to McKenna, are the three interpretation of Entities?
5. What was Anaximander’s most remarkable achievement, according to
6. Explain this excerpt from Techgnosis, by Erik Davis:
On a rational level, we will know that such computer programs are devoid of any animating substance; similarly, we might describe the loa as nothing more than culturally determined disassociative trance states catalyzed by Vodou’s ritual technology. But as anyone who has attended a possession ritual can tell you, these entities quickly take on a life of their own. The skeptical question that we may find ourselves asking the AIs and software agents of the future——“How do I know if you are a sentient being and not just a simulation?”——- could similarly be addressed to Vodou’s wise and mischievous entities. And the answer might very well be that it doesn’t really matter; by the time you reach the point of asking, “they” are already loosed into your world.
7. How did the Medieval period ( 500 A.D. to 1500 A.D., roughly) set the stage for the scientific revolutions that followed?
8. In our first excerpt from The Exegesis, how does Dick infer he has made contact with an alien? What is an alien, by his broad defining?
9. What is pareidolia? What is the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon? How do they contribute to our perception of synchronicities?
10. Summarize any two criticisms against David Pearce’s “engineered paradise’?
11. What are gradients? What role will they play, according Pearce, in our engineered paradise?
12. What is simulation? What reason, according to Bostrom, do we have to think we may be in one?
13. How might either the Prologue of henry V or “Tlon,Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”be cited in support of Bostrom’s simulation thesis?
1. Shakespeare, prologue of Henry V
2. Bostrom, “The Simulation Argument” and FAQ
3. Borges, “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”
4. Erik Davis, “Cyberspace: the virtual craft” from TechGnosis
5. Abraham, McKenna, Sheldrake, “Entities”, from Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness (1992)
6. McKenna, “Remarks to ARUPA, 1984”
7. Haule, “The Nature of Shamanism”, from Jung in the 21st Century, vol 2
8. Gardner, “Science and the Unknowable”
9. Rovelli, The First Scientist