I think, therefore I am. — Descartes

This short essay attempts to make a valid argument for the case that the question “Are you conscious?”, as in “Are you experiencing something or are you just an empty body?”, when asked scientifically, is unsolvable. It does so in an informal but logically consistent manner. Given that we truly cannot devise such a theory, this article explores the moral implications in the light of new artificial beings like humanoids that show conscious behaviour but of which we are unable to tell if they are conscious. …

Project references require quite a bit of configuration, but once they’re set up, you’ll still be able to use all of those cool IDE features while all of your code is nicely separated. Code jumps will work across all sub-projects, and you won’t need to make sure the file is loaded in the editor for TypeScript to correctly refactor some symbol.

Let’s begin.

Setting Up Your Workspace Configuration

Basically, this file is only used so that your IDE knows how it should load the different sub-projects. Additionally, if you’re not doing anything fancy such as using Babel or Webpack you’ll be able to build all…

So you’re going to build a cool new web app. Great! You’ve created a new package.json using npm init and pulled in some packages you’ll be needing. You want it to be extra fancy so you’ve got a whole bunch of tools set up to automatically compile your project to the correct ECMAScript specification. Above that, you want to use TypeScript so much of your mistakes are caught before debugging. Oh, and while we’re at it, why not use a test runner to execute your unit tests?

Maybe your package.json looks something like this:

So far so good. Now…

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Source)

What is truth? It is the most difficult of questions, that has plagued us since the dawn of civilisation. Wars have been fought over it; cities have been burned to the ground in its name; armies have been slaughtered. Because the truth is power: power over who you are, what you think, and how you respond. Are you building a better society, or are you building a prison? Are you fighting in the name of God, or are you in it for the money? …

Looking at (former) communist countries, the limited amount of freedom those people posses is in sharp contrast with our world. Russia’s elections have been rigged for longer than I can remember, and China’s social credit system would even make George Orwell uncomfortable. The average Chinese citizen is constantly being watched, and, by 2020, will face severe penalties when he or she misbehaves. Walking through a red light already puts your face upon several billboards, as a way of “shaming”. Soon it will prevent you from getting a good insurance, or might even prevent your kids from going to a decent…

A scan of a brain tumor using fMRI (Source)

There’s a large discrepancy between what science and religion have to tell us about being able to make your own choices. In our daily lives it doesn’t matter much, because whether by choice or not you still have to buy some bread and go to work. However, there are times when an answer to this question becomes evermore important. When being convicted for criminal charges the question of whether you did something on purpose or by accident becomes life-changing knowledge. …

There are many articles that explain how closures work, providing all kinds of metaphors on how to think about them. To me, in this particular case the best option is just to learn by example.

Say we have the following little snippet:

$offset = 2;
$result = array_map(
function ($num) use ($offset) {
return $num + $offset;

The content of $result will be [3,4,5,6] when the call to array_map has completed. What happened? Well, you just have created your first closure, that’s what! Notice the use keyword right after our argument list? That’s a hidden feature of…

The Earth in digital dots. Welcome to the Information Age.

It is not often that I find myself in a situation to speak out. Though I have — I dare say — never had a problem of formulating my thoughts, I generally keep away from political debate. I’m a programmer. I write code, not political treaties. But something is very slowly creeping up on me. A feeling, an idea, that keeps me awake at night. A thought which never formulates, as if it is at the tip of my tongue. It is making me do the same errands over and over again at the canal next to my house. It…


In this article, it is my dearest hope that I will be able to answer some questions about what kind of ideas Train of Though embraces. This is far from easy, because, as any philosopher knows, language is deceiving. When you try to tell a complex idea, you will always stumble on certain barriers that make it difficult to explain exactly what it is you are trying to tell. Therefore, I must disappoint you, because the only way you truly will come to know what I have to say is by reading my full book that currently is being written…

The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk. — Hegel

An Ancient Greek coin depicting The Owl of Athena (Source)

In the preface of a book about modern philosophy I started reading a while ago, I could not help to get the impression that philosophy has reached its “end of the line”. The owl of Minerva, as the book proclaimed, has finally took off, to observe from a great distance that what has been told over the centuries. It is through this act that the owl, in all of its wisdom, is able to construct a final musing about the things that have been…

Sam Vervaeck

Just some guy trying to find his way through life. Very interested in philosophy, in the future of society and how emerging technologies might impact our lives.

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