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The Future of Humanity & The Methods of Ethics

July 22, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm CEST

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The next 10–10,000 years. What can we expect? What do we want? What should we want? A discussion of Bostrom, Sidgwick and Scheffler, hosted by Peter Hartree.

In this salon, we’ll consider questions like:

Where should we start, if we want to think about the next 10–10,000 years?

How trustworthy are our intuitions about the future, and about what matters? How might we evaluate and improve them?

What duties might we have towards future generations?

What happens if we take Sidgwick’s “point of view of the universe” perspective seriously? How it that different from the “point of view of humanity”?

What kinds of people are attracted to thinking about ethics and the future? Why?

The current human condition: underrated or overrated?


Salon format:

First 15-30 mins: Introductions

Answer the following questions:

– What is one thing you hope will be the same in 500 years?

– What is one thing you hope will be different?

(Optional) Share an opening comment, question, or motivating interest.

Next 1-2 hours: Discussion

We’ll begin with: where should we start, if we want to think about the next 10-10,000 years?

Last 30 mins: Closing reflections

(Optional) Every attendee invited to share a closing thought.

This salon will be recorded and the recording may be shared on YouTube. You may request any or all of your contributions to be excluded from the public recording.


Required reading:

  • Nick Bostrom: The Future of Humanity (extracts, 5K words)
  • Nick Bostrom: Humanity’s Biggest Problems Aren’t What You Think They Are (17m video)
  • Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek: On Sidgwick & The Point of View of The Universe (extracts, 1K words)
  • Samuel Scheffler: Conservatism, Temporal Bias, and Future Generations (extracts, 5K words)

Link: Assigned extracts, and links to original papers


Suggested reading (optional):

Link: A longer, evolving list can be found here.


This will be Peter’s first Interintellect Salon. If it is not a total disaster, he may host more salons on philosophy and the future during the summer. Working titles are:

  • Giving Birth: Human Enhancement, Digital Minds
  • The Vulnerable World Hypothesis
  • Builders & Nervous Nellies: Visions for the Future, and What to Work on Next

Keep an eye on the ii newsletter for dates, or follow @peterhartree.


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July 22, 2021
7:30 pm - 10:30 pm CEST
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