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.. Society
We Live in the Present

10 Views of Landscape
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Culture is Ordinary
I pay rent.
Listening to Corn
The Reform vs Revolution Paradox
What is Public Schooling For?

AI and Art
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Is this picture real?
NonFungible Tokens
Public Art
Tearing Down Statues
What is Art?
Working With Reality

Artificial Intelligence and the Collingridge Dilemma.
Bird Brains
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Competence Without Comprehension
Consciousness is More Like Fame Than Television
Developmental Processes
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I Lost My Knife
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On Affordances
Pencil and Paper
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Thinking about medical procedures
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Underdetermination and Redundancy
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
What Does Google Know?

A Country Is Not Like A Company
Alternate ideas lying around waiting for disaster
Blood and Money
Can Capitalism Survive?
Do Our Minds Own Our Bodies?
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Invisible Hand
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Money and Value
Money is Different
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Post Capitalist Society
Profit Motive Fails
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Social Wealth vs Surplus Value
Spending Money Into Existence
The Metaphysics of Money
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Thinking about Money
Wealth is What Money Buys

Blowing Up Pipelines

Absolute Knowledge
I do not know everything
Rethinking Knowledge
Rethinking Knowledge
The Curious Ineffectiveness of Facts
The Past and the Future.
Uncertainty and Unpredictability

Competition and Cooperation
Dr Malthus would be pleased
Error Correction
Evolution Defended
Evolution is not Religion
Evolution of Cars
Forces of Nature
Is Natural Selection Obsolete?
Politics and Evolution
The Evolution of Purpose.
The Problem with Natural Selection.
The Source of Bad Behavior
Thinking about Tails
Why Does a Leopard Have Spots?

Free Speech in the age of Twitter
Freedom and Badness
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Freedom From and Freedom To
Freedom in the Age of Convoys
Libertarian Coercion

Levels of Abstraction
Levels of Abstraction and Minds
What is a newspaper?

As Much As Possible
Zipfs Law

Emotional Plague
Memes: Imitated Behavior.
The Problem with Memes
What is a replicator?

Beyond Rules Based Morality
Freedom and Morality
Moral Realism.
What do we owe animals?


Maps and Territories
Metaphysics Without Absolutes
Philosophy Buds
Sincerely Held Beliefs
Sorites Paradox
Stereoscopic Vision and The Hard Problem
The Gorilla in the Room of Science
The Purpose of Science
What is Going On?

If It Walks Like a Duck
Right Wing Freedom
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Constructed Life
Correlation Wins
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Too Small to See
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Weirdness in Physics

A society needs a government.
Belly of the Beast
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Rules in a Knife Fight?
Sex and Gender
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The Dual Meaning of Power
The Homeless
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To the Moon
Work - Productive, Useful, Worthless, and Bad.

Implications of Very Productive Technology
Modest Proposal
Problems with Universal Basic Income
Tormenting Unlucky People
Why there are oligarchs

Alternate ideas lying around waiting for disaster

Even Friedman recommended a UBI

" The late economist Milton Friedman wrote about what he saw as the mission of right-wing economists like him:
"Only a crisis -- actual or perceived -- produces real change.
When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.
That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies,
to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable." "
Now - let me be clear - he did it.

He was associated with the Chicago School - a very influential right wing think tank.
He was no dummy. Long ago he said that a Universal Basic Income (UBI)) was needed to keep the economy functioning. What he did was get billionaires to sponsor thinktanks around the world that paid right wing thinkers to provide articles and opinion pieces to the media Pieces that consistently promoted the idea that government is always incompetent and a drag on the economy.

The idea was to displace other ideas - not allow them to be published.

We're talking about billionaires supporting an ideology here by manipulating the information available to people. They talked about welfare queens with Cadillacs as if that was a huge problem. Their influence sort of crystallized around the notion of "starve the beast". Make government so small (by reducing taxation) that it could be drowned in a bathtub.

Canadian writer Naomi Klein has written about this. She calls it the shock doctrine. ( The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is a 2007 book by the Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein. In the book, Klein argues that neoliberal free market policies (as advocated by the economist Milton Friedman) have risen to prominence in some developed countries because of a deliberate strategy of "shock therapy". This centers on the exploitation of national crises (disasters or upheavals) to establish controversial and questionable policies, while citizens are too distracted (emotionally and physically) to engage and develop an adequate response, and resist effectively. The book suggests that some man-made events, such as the Iraq War, were undertaken with the intention of pushing through such unpopular policies in their wake. "

What Friedman was doing was establishing ideas everyone takes as normal; conventional wisdom - not because they were good ideas but because no other ideas were being spoken. He was making an environment with only some ideas 'lying around"

Klein showed how in times of trouble those ideas get picked up as if they were the solution to the trouble because there is nothing else available.

And it gets crazy. If the government faces a huge deficit because it's unable to meet it's obligations; what do you do? Well - for a lot of people the idea just lying around was "we need to reduce taxes on the rich". An idea with no connection to reality

For me a vivid example was 911 - when that happened I said to my friend Fred that this was going to be an excuse for a major attack on civil liberties. And it was. I didn't anticipate that it would lead to war in Iraq - an ill considered and bad move done in a time of crisis when the President said; "trust me" (though he was lying)

Hats off to Milton :-(
But his basic idea, when stripped of his right wing baggage is actually sound I've been practicing it myself. I've been developing and promoting ideas like the UBI. I have no political power at all. But the internet is allowing ideas to propagate outside the media controlled by billionaires and now memes like the UBI are ideas just lying around.

Basically the UBI is the idea of giving everyone a basic income no matter what. Impossible it was said 15 years ago. Pandemic hits
OK - let's give everyone a basic income no matter what is suddenly possible.

What do you think?

Star I present regular philosophy discussions in a virtual reality called Second Life. I set a topic and people come as avatars and sit around a virtual table to discuss it. Each week I write a short essay to set the topic. I show a selection of them here.

I've been thinking and reading about philosophy for a long time but I'm mostly self taught. That is I've had the good fortune to read what interests me rather than follow a course of study. That has it's limits of course but advantages. It doesn't cost as much and is fun too.

My interests are things like evolution and cognition and social issues and economics and science in general.