Larry Sanger

Online knowledge organizer. Co-founder of Wikipedia, Ph.D. Philosophy.

The Well-Ordered Life

The well-ordered life may be defined as that set of sound beliefs and good practices which are most conducive to productivity and therefore happiness, at least insofar as as happiness depends on productivity. The well-ordered life has several types of component: goals; projects, which naturally…

How to crowdsource videos via a shared video channel

I got to talking to one of my colleagues here at Everipedia, the encyclopedia of everything, where I am now CIO, about future plans. I had the following idea. We could create an Everipedia channel--basically, just a YouTube account, but owned by Everipedia and devoted to regularly posting new…

Could God have evolved?

1. How a common argument for the existence of God failed—or did it? As a philosophy instructor, I often taught the topic of arguments for the existence of God. One of the most common arguments, called the argument from design or teleological argument, in one formulation compares God to a…

On intellectual honesty and accepting the humiliation of error

I. The virtue of intellectual honesty. Honesty is a greatly underrated epistemic virtue. There is a sound reason for thinking so. It turns out that probably the single greatest source of error is not ignorance but arrogance, not lack of facts but dogmatism. We leap to conclusions that fit with…

Modern education and culture, or, what did you think would happen?

I. Modern education and culture Look at where we are in education and culture today. Let's catalog the main issues, shall we? School children are often not taught to read properly, and too many fall behind and grow up functionally illiterate. Yet students are kept in schools practically all day and…

Independent study, a replacement for college

There are many things wrong with higher education today, as I've argued on this blog. It's way too expensive.  The amount of bureaucratic overhead is simply ridiculous. The focus on education as vocational training has deeply undercut appreciation and practice of the liberal arts. It…

On the Purposes of the Internet

SISCTI 34 February 28, 2009 Monterrey, Mexico Introduction I am going to begin by asking a philosophical question about the Internet. But I can hear some of you saying, “Philosophy? What does that have to do with the Internet? Maybe I will have a siesta.” Well, before you close your eyes, let me…

Why study higher mathematics and other stuff most people don’t use in everyday life?

This video was posted in a Facebook group of mine here: I find it ironic that some of the most listened-to speakers about education explain that the cure to our educational ills is to point out that education is unnecessary. I call this educational anti-intellectualism. Here's another…

How the government can monitor U.S. citizens

Just what tools do American governments—federal, state, and local—have to monitor U.S. citizens? There are other such lists online, but I couldn't find one that struck me as being quite complete. This list omits strictly criminal tracking, because while criminals are citizens, actual crime…

Why do smart people say such stupid things about politics?

Hey to all my friends who are smart people. (And if you wonder whether this "who" is restrictive or nonrestrictive, you may be one of my smart friends.) When Thoreau said, "Simplify," he was not talking about your political positions. The truth is complex. You know this. You are capable of doing…