Philosophy and more by George Sowers

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Explore George Sowers' Philosophical Ideas

I am a deep thinker who is dedicated to sharing my ideas, arguments, and theories. My philosophical writings are as follows:

• The Doomsday Argument
• The Power Theory of Scientific Progress
• Power Based Consequentialism
• Philosophy in The Philosophy for the Future

The Doomsday Argument

My first published philosophy paper was my discussion of the doomsday argument, The Demise of the Doomsday Argument. When I first heard the doomsday argument, I knew it had to be fallacious. It took me a few tries to pin down the fallacy, but eventually, the paper was published. The reviewer commented that he felt my paper would probably be the last word on the subject, and as far as I can say it has been. No one has countered my refutation, and as far as I know, there have not been any papers published on the topic since my article came out in 2002 in Mind. I am still relatively happy with the paper and think my alternate-urn analogy is correct, but I would probably modify some of the ancillary arguments and the mathematical treatment based on discussions after the article was published.

The Power Theory of Scientific Progress

My second attempt at publishing a paper was The Power Theory of Scientific Progress. It was my first try at publishing original ideas based on my philosophy of power. It addresses and purports to solve one of the great, long-standing issues in the philosophy of science, that of understanding progress. I originally submitted it to the Journal of the Philosophy of Science. It was reviewed in detail but rejected. The major criticism was a lack of recognition of current work in the field by Giere and Kitcher. I dutifully obtained and read these works and rewrote the paper describing how my ideas related to theirs. I submitted again and was rejected again, but this time the criticism was that I did not give enough weight to the other ideas. Moreover, I had the temerity to misspell Kitcher as "Kitchner" consistently. In hindsight, I suspected that the reviewer was indeed Kitcher.

After correcting my disastrous spelling error, I submitted the paper to the British Journal of the Philosophy of Science. It was rejected again, but with the comment that my ideas were essentially correct and they wanted to see a more concrete treatment of the examples. I viewed this as primarily an acceptance if I rewrote it yet again. However, I got busy and never got around to it. I feel that my ideas were substantiated to a degree.

The Power Utility & Power Based Consequentialism

I wrote a paper called The Power Utility. I made a few attempts to get it published. The power utility is an exposition of the mechanics of my theory of power as it leads to an ethical theory. It follows a consequentialist approach (better known as utilitarianism) but employs a utility of power, not the traditional utility of happiness. The paper is written with spirit, making a strong argument for the power theory, and is thus somewhat out of character for most academic journals. As Walter Kaufmann points out, "Whatever professors of philosophy take up nowadays tends to become scholastic, and the rigor of the scholastics is rigor mortis."

I rewrote the paper to have a better chance of getting it published and in the process refined and improved some of the arguments. The latest version is called Power Based Consequentialism. This version has been rejected by three journals without even being sent for peer review. Discouraging, but also illuminating about the nature of academic philosophy. I still think the ideas are vital and perhaps I'll take another run at it.

Philosophy in The Philosophy for the Future

The Philosophy for the Future contains my views in most of the main branches of philosophy. Chapter 2 is a discussion of the fundamentals of analytic philosophy. Topics include ontology, truth, epistemology, logic, mathematics, and decision theory. Pragmatism emerges as a unifying theme. I am a devout believer in what works.

Chapter 3 contains my views on the philosophy of science and the scientific method. The first section is summarized in The Power Theory of Scientific Progress. Chapter 5 is a discussion of evolution from a philosophic point of view, while Chapter 6 gets into the philosophy of the mind. I believe I have (at least for my purposes) solved the so-called hard problem of consciousness.

Chapter 7 is the meat of the book and introduces the theory of power. Power Based Consequentialism is a summary of some of this chapter and provides a very new approach to ethics and a global theory of human action. Chapter 8 presents a vision for the future. Such a vision is a genuine novelty for philosophy nowadays.

Last year, I sent a copy of The Philosophy for the Future to Pat Hynes, the Director of the New Mexico Space Grant. She read it and then asked me to speak about the book at the annual International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight.