Ep 5: Authenticity in the age of Photoshop; Is seeing still believing?

The guys discuss the idea that fictions could be more “authentic” than the realities they derive from.

Ryver defines Artifice and Simulacra.

Sean asks us to consider art and the role of representation.

Bruce points out the connection to altered and airbrushed images in history to our current notions of image editing.

The philosophers talk about the democratization of creative tools and the history of photos and fakery/ trust.

Ryver asks us to consider what we mean by authenticity and whether or not the spirit of the thing might not be more “authentic”.

Bruce expounds on how that relates to truth and our notions of it and how that translates to the history of science, epistemology, and ontology.

Sean introduces the idea of perspective as editing and the guys talk about how “true” our perceptions are in the first place.

The guys dig down on what it means to design technology for the perceptions of the majority.

Ryver brings nostalgia and the idea of our internal states change the “truth” of what we perceive.

Bruce and Sean debate the notion of truth and its role in our understanding of the world.

Sean wonders if we can “enhance” too much and the guys probe the idea of what value the “ugly” truth can have, and what role that has in understanding are and photo journalism.

A discussion breaks out of Arthur Schopenhauer’s metaphysics



Sean gets into the idea of intent, Ryver brings up dadaism and Sean responds by broaching the topic of expressive inference and we learn about Professor metals decoration tastes.

Kahn Bot is back for… Moral Kombat!

Round 2

Sean vs Bruce

Sean – Deontology

Ryver – Utilitarianism

Bruce – Virtue Ethics

“You are a “Guest” in one of Professor Metal’s re-education centers . A “Learning Facilitator” is about to hang your son who tried to escape and wants you to pull the chair from underneath him. He says that if you don’t he will not only kill your son but some other innocent “Guest” as well. You don’t have any doubt that he means what he says. What should you do?”

Bruce says he wont pull the chain and that it reflects who he is and any further deaths are the result of the “learning facilitator’s” choices. And gets “Godwin’s Law” out of the way…

Sean takes the stance that the other “guests” are the recipients of his duty. And that he must pull the chair out if it would even potentially save additional lives since he cant save his son anyway. He then attacks the notion that the “Learning Facilitator” is solely liable for his actions by suggesting that some acts set off a chain of events and that the initiator shares responsibility.

Bruce responds by pointing out that in real world equivalents of this situation the prisoner who pulls the chair out is often used as a cats paw for the guards and becomes more brutal than the guards would have been.

Sean responds that this is a slippery slope argument and that even if it has happened that way in the past it doesn’t mean that it will always go that way.

Bruce feels that virtue ethics tells us that we can only choose who to be and as such maintain agency.

Sean asks if choosing not to try to save a life isn’t also a forfeiture of agency? And attacks the idea that we cant bear responsibility of the actions of others by way of the example of passing false information. He follows up by suggesting that he has to think about the “right” action if it was someone other than him making the choice and that he would hope a fellow “guest” would choose to try to protect him by doing the unpleasant thing.

Professor Metal decides who won and Bruce takes a dip…

Ryver has the “Last Word” and discusses the erosion of trust in a world filled with the fear of deception and its effects on our ability to have connections with others.

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