Choose a topic

.. Epistemology
Language and thought

.. Art
Fake art

.. Cognition
General Artificial Intelligence
Observing My Experience

.. Epistemology
Consciousness defined
Dialectics and Evolution
Intentional Stance
Training vs learning
What is a Vegetable?

.. Epistmology
Dire Warnings

.. Evolution
Life is Amazing
What is a Species?
Why are Tropical Birds So Colorful

.. HUM
A Mind

.. Society
Adversarial Legislatures
Cut Energy Use
Emotional Plague
Improving Democracy
Jesus and the Money Changers
Merry Christmas
Misinformation and disinformation
Moral Hazard
Red flags
Red Rover Red Rover
Reusable Bags
Sleeping in a tent
Social Media

Culture is Ordinary

AI and Art
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Excellence is a Plateau
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
Bounded Rationality
Competence Without Comprehension
Consciousness is More Like Fame Than Television
Developmental Processes
Emergence and Cognition
Gender dysphoria
I Lost My Knife
Incomplete Information and Stories
Intelligence and Motivation
Is free will an illusion?
Natural Law
Necessary Illusions
On Affordances
Pencil and Paper
Post Phenomenology
Reflective Equilibrium
Return of the Law of Forms
Shifting Meanings
Structures of Understanding
Taking Things on Faith
The Hard Problem
The I Love You Gesture
The Imagined Order
The Phenomenology of Swim Bladders.
Thinking about medical procedures
Thinking About Risk
Underdetermination and Redundancy
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
What Does Google Know?
What is going on?

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?
Everyday Communism
Invisible Hand
Job Creators
Job Destroyers
Money and Value
Money is Different
National Accounts
Necessary Production
Paper Wealth
Post Capitalist Society
Profit Motive Fails
Rentier Capitalism
Social Wealth vs Surplus Value
Spending Money Into Existence
The Metaphysics of Money
The Ontology of Debt
Thinking about Money
Wealth is What Money Buys

Blowing Up Pipelines

Absolute Knowledge
I do not know everything
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
Rethinking Knowledge
Rethinking Knowledge
Semiotics and Body Language
The Curious Ineffectiveness of Facts
The Past and the Future.
Uncertainty and Unpredictability
Whatever happened to The Truth?

Body Plans
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
Freedom and Morality
Freedom From and Freedom To
Freedom in the Age of Convoys
Libertarian Coercion

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

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
The Sovereign Citizen
Tyranny of the Majority


Constructed Life
Correlation Wins
Quack Doctors
The Great Shattering
The Material Space
Thinking about Interconnection
Too Small to See
Watching Pigeons
Weirdness in Physics

A Job
A society needs a government.
Babies and Bathwater
Belly of the Beast
Cultural Appropriation
Drag Story Tellers
Family Values
Governance and Power
Griefers and Misinformation and Disinformation
I Distrust the News
Inclusion and Christmas
Its a Free Country
Life Extension
Moral Decline
Open Society and Falsification
Parents, Children, and Community
Rethinking Rights
Rules in a Knife Fight?
Sex and Gender
Should We Go to Mars?
Social vs Individual Responsibility.
Society and The State
Society evolved
Spheres of Influence
The Care and Feeding of Free Speech
The Collingridge Dilemma
The Common Good
The Dual Meaning of Power
The Homeless
The Problem with Hedonism
The Rule of Law.
Thoughts on Justice
To the Moon
Trial by jury
Virtue Signalling
We Live in the Present
What is to be said?
What made freedom a bad word?
Why is there a shortage of nurses?
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

Everyday Communism

It's normal

When we talk about economics we are usually talking about a web of exchanges. Exchanges supposedly occur between equals without coercion and when done are done - the participants can just walk away from each other. Even gifting has an aspect of exchange because there is an expectation of reciprocity in a suitably disguised way. Gifting is a very subtle social dance that still involves a system of exchange transactions. Our whole economic narrative focuses almost exclusively on that web of exchange transactions. A lot of our political narrative about self respect and freedom is informed by that web of exchanges. We are supposed to be honest and give fair value for what we get. And once the transaction is done each is free to get on with their lives without worrying about the other. So the economic narrative ends up driving society to become more and more individualistic to the extent that economists can use the same mathematical tools to model economies as physicists use to understand gasses.

It's the statistics of non-connected particles bouncing around in a box where the energy exchange on each transaction perfectly balances. But do we really need to be so obsessed with equal exchange transactions?

I've looked at the idea of a very generous economic stipend that provides people the base income they need to participate in the exchange economy.
It drives some people crazy - it would mean giving people money for nothing - it completely subverts the dominant economic narrative.

Even though people would still be using money and there would still be a market the whole idea of fair value would go out the window. And once people had a stipend like that the stories we tell ourselves about freedom and self respect would have to change. We'd be the same people but we'd be into a time where we'd need a new narrative to account for freedom and self respect.

It's pretty hard to imagine what such a society would be like - but maybe we don't have to imagine it - we live it every day without realizing it. That is we are immersed in an everyday communist society without realizing it - it's sort of like the air we breathe and we take it for granted.

For example - any company's internal economy is basically communist. At my workplace a co-worker and I have a running joke. When I ask her for something, a pen, a document, some advise, whatever; she says "That will cost $100". I tell her to charge the Boss.

When I'm doing my work then I'm entitled to whatever resources the company has to help me get the job done. This is so normal that we don't even think of it as economic activity - but without that kind of communism all economic activity would cease. It's hard for us to think everyday communism as economic because it is completely outside of the narrative about the web of equal exchange transactions that we use to think about economics.

Everyday communism pervades every other aspect of our lives too.

At home we say things like "pass the salt" all the time without ever imagining it to be a transaction because we'd never think of exchanging pepper for the salt. Or you're out driving in a storm and get stuck and people just help pull you out. People would get insulted if you tried to pay.

Boy Scouts help old women across the street (durned commie kids).

Notice the sorts of situations where we find Everyday Communism - situations where the necessity of equal exchange just wouldn't be very efficient or effective. Why would it make any sense for a company to make it's workers go to the extra trouble of having equal exchanges to get what they need to do their work? And would it really be sane even for people to engage in equal exchange transactions for everything with the people they love? Would it make sense to make babies pay for mother's milk?

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.