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Aidan Kohn-Murphy
Harvard GenEd 2023
Apr 19, 2023
In The Future of the Future
I was especially interested in the intersection of philosophy and prediction because much of what we’ve learned about modern prediction falls within a very practical context. Prediction is often used to help in very practical ways in our everyday lives: informing clothing choices, our driving routes, etc. I was especially interested in Hall’s commentary on philosophy within theoretical prediction, as used by Newton and Mendel. A theoretical approach to predictions rather than empirical allows scientists to think beyond the data and on a larger scale and leads to the discovery of often accurate theoretical predictions. One question I would have asked is how can modern philosophers use philosophical principles to create predictions in a time in which accurate data is widely available for virtually any question. Many of the ancient philosophers we learned about earlier in the semester used theory to make predictions that often ended up being incorrect, so I’m interested in how philosophers can use theory to make predictions without falling into the traps of previous philosophers.
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Aidan Kohn-Murphy
Harvard GenEd 2023
Apr 12, 2023
In Health
I was very surprised by Lord Martin Rees’ assertion that to thwart the misuse and abuse of nuclear energy and biotech, the West must “give up on privacy” and “go the Chinese way.” While I agree that private companies should be strictly regulated and overseen by governments, I completely disagree with the conclusion that this means giving up on privacy. As I understand it, there aren’t many curious independent scientists or small businesses harnessing nuclear power in their living rooms. Rees does not provide reasoning for why such a wide scale invasion of privacy would be justified or even effective in achieving his end goal. I take issue with this assertion for several reasons. First, it’s a politically disastrous message to ask people to give up their privacy for the sake of achieving a blurry and unclear goal. Second, the “Chinese way” in terms of privacy has not even yielded the results Rees asserts: China generates double the CO2 emissions America does. Not only would such a statement alienate potential allies in the fight against climate change, but it disempowers individuals and strips them of civil liberties without justification. If I was able to interview Lord Martin Rees, I would dive further into his claim about privacy and try to figure out how to reach the balance of governmental power to curb biotech abuse while preserving individual liberties.
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Aidan Kohn-Murphy
Harvard GenEd 2023
Mar 29, 2023
In Earth
I was especially interested in Administrator McCarthy’s analysis of the role of uncertainty in climate predictions, which I had not thought about before. For decades, climate change skeptics were overly focused on establishing a level of certainty in climate change predictions. But Administrator McCarthy interestingly points out that when doctors inform patients that they are likely to experience a serious medical condition in the near-future, patients aren’t likely to interrogate the doctor on the likelihood and certainty involved in that prediction. Climate change is an incredibly time sensitive crisis that must be remedied with urgency, and the continued focus on certainty wastes time we don’t have, just as interrogating the doctor would. Administrator McCarthy discussed corporate inaction on climate change and stated that consumers haven’t used their power to push these companies to act. What power do we have as individuals, whether it be as consumers or voters, and how do we most effectively exercise that power?
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Aidan Kohn-Murphy

Harvard GenEd 2023
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