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Vincent's books

Currently Reading (View all 6)

Kim Stanley Robinson, Kim Stanley Robinson: Ministry for the Future (2020, Orbit) 4 stars

Established in 2025, the purpose of the new organization was simple: To advocate for the …

Review of 'Ministry for the Future' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

To me this felt a bit like a left-wing Ayn Rand book: it purports to take place in the real world, but people and the world in the book work just differently enough that it's practically impossible to gain insights about it about the real world - supposedly one of the book's goals.

Oh, and the author verbed "blockchain". Ugh.

Review of 'At Swim-Two-Birds' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I don't know how I slogged through the first half. Whether because I'm not familiar at all with Irish folklore, or because I wasn't reading it in my native language, but the whole Sweeney-thing and hopping-from-tree-to-tree and recounting of other haphazard stories did nothing for me. I somewhat liked the story of the characters interacting with their writer, but in the end the book felt to me to be about 50 pages worth of interesting storylines, most of it in the second half, and the rest filler content that I could not make heads or tails of.

Who knows, maybe I just wasn't ready for this book yet.

Sam Harris: The Moral Landscape (2010) 4 stars

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values is a 2010 book by Sam …

Review of 'The Moral Landscape' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I was quite excited about reading this book. It'd be incredibly interesting to read a compelling or at least clearly articulated explanation of how science can determine human values.

Unfortunately, the main argument Harris makes in this book is a lot weaker. Essentially, it comes down to the following:

1. Take as an axiom that everybody experiencing maximum well-being is morally better than everybody experiencing maximum suffering. (I was hoping this wouldn't be taken as an axiom but would instead be argued for, but OK, I can accept this axiom.)
2. People's well-being is a consequence by physical realities, such as the state of their brains.
3. Science can help us better predict what physical realities our actions will lead to.
4. Ergo, science can theoretically help us determine what constitutes more and less ethical behaviour (the moral landscape).

Which, sure, is convincing enough, but dodges all the actually interesting …