Larry Sanger

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

Why Be Moral

This essay represents my basic approach to ethics, so although I do not feel quite certain about everything here, I feel comfortable enough to post this theory here on my blog. It is rather long for a blog post (well over 7,000 words), but different sections are often reasonably self-contained, so…

Against Cannibalism

I'm going to go out on a limb and declare that eating people is wrong. Psychologists Jared Piazza and Neil McClatchie, however, appear to believe this position is just a little bit unenlightened. If we are clever, as they are, then we will not be too dogmatic in our aversion to human flesh.…

Why I haven’t read Lolita

I posted a Twitter poll recently, by way of unburdening myself of the following opinion about Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, the book about a middle aged man who has a love affair with a 12-year-old girl. Here is the question: How many of you, like me, always found it bizarre and even a little hard…

Constantly monitor those in power

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" That's a question we should be asking more in this day and age of constant surveillance. I'm toying with a proposal: Anyone who goes into public office should have absolutely no privacy whatsoever. Every movement should be available on video, every email and…

On the misbegotten phrase “surveillance capitalism”

The loaded phrase surveillance capitalism has been in circulation since at least 2014, but it came into much wider use this year with Shoshana Zuboff's book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. The phrase means the system of extremely widespread surveillance by giant private corporations, entailing…

The challenges of locking down my cyber-life

In January 2019, I wrote a post (which see for further links) I have shared often since about how I intended to "lock down my cyber-life." That was six months ago. I made lots of progress, but it seems I'm far from finished, too. In that post, I explained three problems about computer technology…

Things I don’t understand even after they are explained to me

Why public art is so ugly. Why the public are not up in arms about the ugliness of public art. Why I continue to drink and even occasionally desire beer even though it isn't actually that tasty to me. Why people are evil. (Some people really are. No, some people are really, really evil, if you…

On the clash of civilizations

There is a global conflict underway. A good way to understand it is by looking at the different interests that are coming into conflict. And a good place to begin is, of course, with: The immigrants. People from the “global south” are immigrating north, inspired by the images of prosperity they…

Why Murder Is Evil

Why is murder wrong? It amazes me that you can find discussions of this question that manage to supply no clue about how to answer it, especially considering how many confused teenagers ask it as they grow up. Let us not pussyfoot around here. Just as you always thought, murder is not just…

Toward a social contract for social media

Last week, I led a "strike," or boycott, associated with the hashtag #SocialMediaStrike, directed at the giant, centralized social media services. Though throttled by Twitter and no doubt by others, the brief campaign led to massive use of the hashtag, many people carrying out the strike, as well…