Choose a topic

.. Society
We Live in the Present

10 Views of Landscape
Affect and Effect
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
Bounded Rationality
Competence Without Comprehension
Consciousness is More Like Fame Than Television
Developmental Processes
Emergence and Cognition
I Lost My Knife
Incomplete Information and Stories
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
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?

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
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
Freedom and Morality
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
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 society needs a government.
Belly of the Beast
Cultural Appropriation
Family Values
Griefers and Misinformation and Disinformation
Open Society and Falsification
Rules in a Knife Fight?
Sex and Gender
Society and The State
Spheres of Influence
The Care and Feeding of Free Speech
The Collingridge Dilemma
The Dual Meaning of Power
The Homeless
The Problem with Hedonism
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

Freedom in the Age of Convoys

Cui Bonno

Last winter Ottawa was beset by a protest that called itself the Freedom Convoy. Big trucks festooned with slogans about freedom sat blaring their horns for weeks.
The residents found it unpleasant and restrictive.

The truckers were protesting the requirement that everyone crossing the border from the USA had to show proof of vaccination - including truckers.
The protestors were a small minority of even truckers, let alone Canadians.
They claimed that common sense health regulations in the midst of a pandemic were an unreasonable restriction on their freedom.
After they got booted from Ottawa they proceeded to blockade several border crossings, preventing travelers, including other truckers, from going about their business - in the name of freedom.

I'm not quite sure what freedom means in that context and I admit that the concept is a bit fraught at the best of times.
A core issue for me is that I don't think we have free will. We always do things for reasons. We want to be doing things for our reasons.
Free will has an implication that people can do things for no reason at all - I met people in art school who tried to behave as if they were free in that sense but it was just a pose.
Like the rest of us they don't dart into traffic at random for no reason.
But I can step back from that way and say that we feel free when we do things for our own reasons. I like that feeling, I think most people do.

I think that concept of freedom is at the core of left wing thinking in a couple of ways.
First - leftists are concerned that everyone have a good livelihood so that they can have freedom to follow their own path through life. That's freedom
Second - leftists recognize that we are all unique and have different capabilities and likes and dislikes and that it's good to be as accommodating of that as we can. That enables freedom.

This concept is a relatively new one in historical terms. I'll call it FreedomL

People in the past were much less concerned with that sort of freedom it seems. They were more concerned with obedience to the will of the local god.
As revealed by various sorts of special knowledge revealed in dreams or esoteric interpretation of holy texts.
They felt free, I suggest, when everything went smoothly and everyone knew their place and how to act properly.
Churches are very often places that lift your spirit just by being in them and especially when you can participate wholeheartedly in the ritual.
You get to spend time in a mental space where worldly concerns fade away
That's a sort of freedom and it's very ancient. I'll call it FreedomR

There is a certain tension between FreedomL and FreedomR. There are many systems of FreedomR and they often are in tension with each other too.
FreedomR depends on a pretty large community sharing a lot of beliefs in common and taking those as normal and natural. When people act outside of those norms it seems to the community that those people are bad.
But also it causes a niggle of self-doubt - maybe the community isn't right.

I admit that FreedomL has been attacking FreedomR's sense of normalcy for a long time.
It started with science (to just make an arbitrary boundary marker in a continuum:-) Science started disagreeing with the revelations of dreams and holy books with irrefutable demonstrations. But it took hundreds of years for that to influence the social dominance of FreedomR.

But now FreedomR is feeling threatened in many many ways. They can see that their perspective is not seen as normal at all by large portions of society and are not pleased. I can sympathize in a way.

I'm not sure what freedom means to the Freedom Convoy - let's call it FreedomC.
The best I could tell is that they were a small minority demanding the freedom to dictate to the rest..
They were demanding the freedom to spread lies and disinformation as a free speech right.
But in this kind of crazy situation I need to look around and follow the money a bit.
It can't be cheap to drive a big truck across the continent and sit for 3 weeks blaring your horm with no income.

I take FreedomC to be a pretty direct attack on constitutional democracy and both FreedomL and FreedomR. And I wonder in whose interest FreedomR is being promoted.

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.