Author Archives: Thrasymachus

About Thrasymachus

Thrasymachus is a junior doctor and amateur philosopher in the UK.

Expected value estimates you can take (somewhat) literally

Summary A geometric interpretation of tail divergence offers a pseudo-robust mechanism of quantifying the expected ‘regression to the mean’ of a cost effectiveness estimate (i.e. expected value given estimated value). With caveats, this seems to be superior to current attempts… continue reading »

My talk of how much good doctors do

I little while ago I was invited to speak by Medsin Imperial and GWWC:London about how much good doctors do. Thanks to Sam Hilton and Maria Qursashi for hosting me, Gemma Hodgson for the video (although watching myself remains mortifying!) and to all… continue reading »

Funding cannibalism motivates concern for overheads

Summary: Overhead expenses’ (CEO salary, percentage spent on fundraising) are often deemed a poor measure of charity effectiveness by Effective Altruists, and so they disprefer means of charity evaluation which rely on these. However, ‘funding cannibalism’ suggests that these metrics… continue reading »

Why the tails come apart

Many outcomes of interest have pretty good predictors. It seems that height correlates to performance in basketball (the average height in the NBA is around 6’7″). Faster serves in tennis improve one’s likelihood of winning. IQ scores are known to… continue reading »

Off duty

“Hi, single to the hospital, please.” “You’re not ill, are ya?” The bus driver teased. “No, no, I’m just training there.” He let her go with a laugh and she walked up the aisle of the bus. The white tunic… continue reading »

How good were the old greats?

Summary: In many fields, the ‘greatest’ (be they philosophers, playwrights, composers, etc.) are selected disproportionately more from those who lived in the distant past. I speculate as to what might be driving this bias towards ‘ancient greatness’, but one important… continue reading »


I am now a doctor. The result that I passed my finals came on Friday, and the declaration happened Sunday afternoon. I start work as the most junior of junior doctors – a Foundation Year 1 – at the end… continue reading »

God, Evil, and Appearances: A Dialogue

[Published in THINK (2013; issue 12, pp 9-23)] ADAM: Consider this: Neil and Kazumi Puttick, and their son Sam were, by all accounts, an idyllic family. One friend said: ‘If you could bottle up a perfect marriage, theirs would be… continue reading »

Why you shouldn’t believe the Resurrection happened

The 12th (and final) part in “20 Atheist answers to questions they supposedly can’t.” What accounts for the empty tomb, resurrection appearances and growth of the church? Short answer: We shouldn’t be that confident of these facts, but in any… continue reading »

Unfriendly AI cannot be the Great Filter

[Slightly odd topic, originally posted on LessWrong.] Introduction The Great Filter is the idea that although there is lots of matter, we observe no “expanding, lasting life”, like space-faring intelligences. So there is some filter through which almost all matter… continue reading »

« older posts