Damon Horowitz explores what is possible at the boundaries of technology and the humanities.
Damon Horowitz is a philosophy professor and serial entrepreneur. He recently joined Google as In-House Philosopher / Director of Engineering, heading development of several initiatives involving social and search. He came to Google from Aardvark, the social search engine, where he was co-founder and CTO, overseeing product development and research strategy. Prior to Aardvark, Horowitz built several companies around applications of intelligent language processing. He co-founded Perspecta (acquired by Excite), was lead architect for Novation Biosciences (acquired by Agilent), and co-founded NewsDB (now Daylife).
Horowitz teaches courses in philosophy, cognitive science, and computer science at several institutions, including Stanford, NYU, University of Pennsylvania and San Quentin State Prison.
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“Can you tell me what wrong is? No, don’t just give me an example. I want to know about wrongness itself, the idea of wrong.”
“Tony learns about the ontologically promiscuous, the epistemologically anxious, the ethically dubious, the metaphysically ridiculous.”
“We are here for knowledge. Our enemy is thoughtlessness. This is philosophy.”
“What are you going to teach me about right and wrong? I know what is wrong. I have done wrong. I am told every day, by every face I see, every wall I face, that I am wrong.”— quoting his student Tony, a San Quentin inmate
“What makes something wrong? How do we know that it’s wrong? Maybe you and I disagree. Maybe one of us is wrong about the wrong.”
“What Tony sees in that moment is the project of philosophy, the project that begins in wonder — what Kant called ‘admiration and awe at the starry sky above and the moral law within.’”