William Nava is a philosopher, co-founder of pressingthebutton.com, Marketing Associate at Marginal Revolution University, and a Praxis apprentice.

He joins the show to discuss the “Would You Press the Button?” thought experiment and how thinking it through led him to question his beliefs about what the state is in his powerful essay of the same name.

The thought experiment goes like this: If there was a button, and pressing it would eliminate the state immediately, would you press it?

It is designed to make you weigh ethics against possible negative consequences, but when you think through what the state is, and what the button would do, it can change your world view and the way you pursue freedom.

In this episode:

  • What is pressing the button? And where does the thought experiment come from?
  • William’s intellectual journey
  • Understanding the history of an academic discipline
  • What lead to him writing his “Would You Press The Button?” paper
  • What is the state?
  • Collective Interpretive Framework
  • How beliefs about slavery changed
  • How experiences change beliefs
  • What you do when you want to get rid of the state


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