Yaron Brook is "looking for an objectivist who is an expert on Karl Popper"

I found this a few minutes ago (3min40s clip starting at 1:04:00), and felt compelled to share it here for obvious reasons.

His analysis is pretty bad. He seems to think Popper is a skeptic, which isn’t surprising given that the ARI philosophers also seem to believe that.

He sounded potentially open to having a non-ARI person on to talk about Popper though (he mentioned DD), so it might be worth emailing him @Elliot ? He also said he plans on reading BoI.

Feel free to email him.

Brook is specifically looking for somebody who doesn’t like Popper and is an expert on Popper and objectivism.

Some links that are relevant to Popper and objectivism that could be included in an e-mail:


You’re right. I re-watched it, and I don’t think I quite picked up on that when I watched it the first time. E.g. I noticed that he specifically says he’s looking for someone to critique Popper, and

It also occurs to me that I was severely underestimating the hostility of ARI philosophers to Popper (like Peikoff has personally done a lot of work on induction stuff), and Brook would never in a million years take seriously anyone who dissents from them. edit: I also noticed that he’s CC’d on that authoritarian email that I linked.

I no longer think it’s worth emailing him. I’m embarrassed that I made this thread.

There’s no way to avoid errors. You think you’ve now corrected an error – and done it quickly – so if anything you should feel proud. Feelings of embarrassment encourage you to be silent more and to hide potential errors, which gets in the way of improvement and discussion.


You were completely right! This just came out:

I bet that some parts of this interview are good, but I skipped to the Karl Popper section (starting @ 31:38), and it’s bad. Binswanger is indeed someone who doesn’t like Popper. He called Popper “the enemy.”

I don’t consider myself to be someone who understands Popper very well, but I know enough to see that Binswanger doesn’t get it. Some mistakes I noticed:

  • Binswanger believes Popper is wrong/naive because of a simple reason. Binswanger says, in speaking of the theory being used to falsify another theory, “if it’s not verifiable, you couldn’t falsify anything.” He thinks Popper believed we can refute theories in an absolute/infallible way, which would require infallible knowledge of the theory being used to do the refutation. But actually, Popper was only saying we can refute a theory assuming the theory being used to refute it is true.

  • Binswanger criticizes Popper’s philosophy for implying you can’t “prove” [he means infallibly prove I assume] that balls fall down when you drop them. He talks as if he thinks this is equivalent to believing that you can’t know that balls fall down when you drop them, and that Popper is therefore a skeptic.

  • Binswanger has a bad take on Popper’s solution to the demarcation problem: he seems to think that Popper believes all theories which can’t be empirically falsified are meaningless, a belief which—as Binswanger pointed out—would be self-refuting. Binswanger is wrong because the line of demarcation was only meant to distinguish between scientific and non-scientific theories. (By the way, I’ve noticed that when people who don’t know anything about Popper talk about Popper, this demarcation criterion thing seems to be the one thing that they “know”).

Fun fact: At one point he mentions an objectivist defender of Popper named “Elliot… uhm… something”.

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Also relevant (re what sort of person HB banned, and whether I’m really an Oist or have contributed anything to Oism):



That’s pretty wild.

It’s dishonest for Binswanger to use this example to say I was wrong.

The description he gives to Yaron Brook about your time on HBL is also dishonest. He doesn’t mention that you were banned for dissenting, and instead says you were “reduced in the end […] to saying ‘maybe plants and stones are conscious.’” People who hear his statement are going to think that you are also a skeptic, and that HB’s rational arguments backed you into a corner where you had nowhere to go, and then you quit HBL in disgrace.

Binswanger says infinity is a mistake and even says that very large numbers don’t exist, like 10^(100^100)

I actually remember hearing him say something similarly awful about mathematics in a Q&A a while ago. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it was so wrong and ignorant, and said in such a cocky manner, that it almost turned me off of Oism (I was just starting to get into it at the time).

I did not say that! I don’t even think animals are conscious…

Another CF poster tried to debate HB about Peano’s Axioms – which HB claims to accept and which imply that large numbers exist – but was unable to make any headway.

Neither the word “plant” nor “stone” appears at Curiosity – The Harry Binswanger Letter Posts

“Peano” appears 34 times though, e.g. Curiosity – The Harry Binswanger Letter Posts


I posted this in the comments of the Yaron Brook video featuring HB:

32:38 The dishonesty by HB here is amazing. The conversation between HB and “Elliot something” [Elliot Temple] that HB is referring to is available in its entirety on curi[dot]us (just web search the site for “Harry Binswanger Refuses To Think”). Elliot did not say what HB is claiming in this video - read it yourself. Elliot got banned for dissent, nothing else.

It disappeared/got removed from the comments.

I reposted a “lighter” version:

32:38 The dishonesty by HB here is amazing. The conversation between HB and “Elliot something” [Elliot Temple] is fully available to read for anyone online. Nowhere does Elliot say what HB is claiming in his (HB’s) conclusion of the discussion. Elliot got banned for dissent, nothing else.

This comment seems to have not been deleted as far as I can tell. The second comment lacks information on how/where to find the discussion between Elliot and HB though.

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If I had to guess, I would say it probably got auto-deleted because you included a link. Yaron Brook has some really strongly dissenting people in his chat (rude people too, unlike your comment), and he doesn’t seem to ban them unless they start saying antisemitic / racist stuff or spamming.

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He also thinks Einsteinian relativity is somehow wrong/bad, at 1:34:22. I don’t understand his criticism but I am deeply skeptical of it, because apparently Binswanger thinks he knows that space time curving is only a metaphor. Not unlike how in FoR Deutsch talks about the inquisition thinking that heliocentrism was only a metaphor.

If I had to guess, I would say it probably got auto-deleted because you included a link. Yaron Brook has some really strongly dissenting people in his chat (rude people too, unlike your comment), and he doesn’t seem to ban them unless they start saying antisemitic / racist stuff or spamming.

That sounds reasonable to me.

The Fountainhead:

“The sculptor?” said Toohey. “Wait … let me see … I think I did know it… It’s Steven … or Stanley … Stanley something or other… Honestly, I don’t remember.”


This is a partial transcript:

binswanger: popper is mini kantian who destroyed the right wing the way marx destroyed the left wing?! conservatives think he’s great. he’s evil, he’s horrible. actually, i’m not so cure he’s evil. he’s under the spell of kant. i’m not sure how volitional it is. i would have to read a lot more of him but…

brook: and there are a number of any rand fans who are big popper fans. they think there’s a lot of overlap between the two.

binswanger: i had them on hbl for a year: elliot something. and he thought he could persuade us of subjectivism. that popper was a good guy on our side and we should embrace him and become Popperians. And he was reduced in the end, when I said “”okay, enough is enough”, to saying “maybe plants and stones are conscious”. how do we know they aren’t? So the interesting question is “what was popper’s main mistake?” I think he wants to reduce induction to deduction. i think the only model of knowledge that he has is the syllogism. syllogism is great: any rand praises it, aristotle discovered it and named it. but induction comes before deduction. and popper doesn’t realise that none of his testing would be possible without induction, which he’s challenging as not verifiable. it’s falsifiable, he says, but it’s not verifiable you couldn’t falsify anything. but what’s his main mistake: it think being a kantian. but if you ask me how exactly i really don’t know off the top of my head.

I’ve listened to a bit more, but it hasn’t got any better so far so I don’t think I’ll continue.

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It was a month not a year. This is lies through and through. The syllogism thing is lying too – that’s literally something I’ve opposed and criticized.

When HB attacks ET, he lies about what ET said and what ET’s beliefs are. He also omits ET’s name, link, or any way to find him via web search.

When ET attacks HB, ET quotes HB a bunch, names him, and links him.

From this, you can get a pretty good idea of who is right.

People are highly resistant to this kinda meta analysis sometimes, but not other times. It’s a meta analysis because I didn’t discuss the content of the dispute between HB and ET. I looked at attributes of the discussion and discussers. I chose attributes that are easy to objectively judge. E.g. it shouldn’t be very hard, subjective or controversial to judge whether or not ET gave HB’s name or used accurate quotes. It’s the kind of factual matter that most people should find easy to decide and to agree with everyone else about. You’d expect everyone to reach the same conclusion about it. That’s different than the content of the dispute between ET and HB – you’d expect different people to agree with different philosophical positions and for it to be hard to reach a clear, objective conclusion.

A similar meta analysis can be done for the dispute between ET and DD. ET wrote down arguments in public. ET asked for a conflict resolution discussion. ET said grievances – things that are not OK that he wants to stop. DD did not make arguments, did not express grievances, and is unwilling to attempt conflict resolution. So, regardless of who is right about various particulars under dispute, we can look at these meta issues about how people are handling the dispute. (The particulars are hard to list since DD hasn’t even tried to name them, but we can infer some. E.g. there’s presumably a dispute about whether the DD’s statement, that ET claims is a lie, is a lie or not a lie. Presumably it is DD’s position that it’s somehow not a lie, though it’s hard to imagine how he could argue that position, which is perhaps why he hasn’t argued it.) This meta analysis seems to damn DD.

If people would respect meta analysis like this in general, it could be used as a very powerful tool (some might say weapon). E.g. we could find a point of disagreement between ET and pretty much any public intellectual, then consider meta facts like who is willing to debate and who isn’t. But people won’t take that seriously, integrate it into their thinking, and practice it until it’s intuitive. Nor will they give counter-arguments.

One difficulty is it’s fairly common to lie that you gave lots of great arguments and the other guy didn’t and won’t debate. But investigating meta facts like those is broadly easier than figuring out the issues themselves. Those kinds of claims should be easier to reach clear conclusions about and get widespread agreement about, if people would actually try.


People don’t like such kind of meta analysis. They ask why are you being so obsessive or why are you splitting hairs or that you need to calm down and chill