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.. Epistemology
Semiotics and Body Language

.. HUM
A Mind

...HUM
Culture is Ordinary

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

Cognition
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
Genius
GIGO
I Lost My Knife
Illusion
Incomplete Information and Stories
Instinct
Is free will an illusion?
Metarepresentations
Natural Law
Necessary Illusions
On Affordances
Pencil and Paper
Post Phenomenology
Reflective Equilibrium
Return of the Law of Forms
Shifting Meanings
Superstition
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?

Economics
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
Markets
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

Environmentalism
Blowing Up Pipelines

Epistemology
Absolute Knowledge
Equivalence
Exists
I do not know everything
Rethinking Knowledge
Rethinking Knowledge
The Curious Ineffectiveness of Facts
The Past and the Future.
Uncertainty and Unpredictability
Unpredictability
Verificationism
Whatever happened to The Truth?

Evolution
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?
Networks
Omicron
Politics and Evolution
Roles
The Evolution of Purpose.
The Problem with Natural Selection.
The Source of Bad Behavior
Thinking about Tails
Why Does a Leopard Have Spots?

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

HUM
10 Views of Landscape
Affect and Effect
Dataism
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?

Mathematics
As Much As Possible
Zipfs Law

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

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

pending
Police

Philosophy
Agency
Being
Maps and Territories
Metaphysics Without Absolutes
Philosophy Buds
Ratchets
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?

Politics
If It Walks Like a Duck
Right Wing Freedom
The Sovereign Citizen
Tyranny of the Majority

Programming
Loopsidaisy

Science
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Correlation Wins
Fields
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Quack Doctors
The Great Shattering
The Material Space
Thinking about Interconnection
Time
Too Small to See
UFOs
Watching Pigeons
Weirdness in Physics

Society
A society needs a government.
Antisemitism
Belly of the Beast
Civilization
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Cultural Appropriation
Family Values
Governance
Griefers and Misinformation and Disinformation
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Inclusion and Christmas
Magic
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Privacy
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
Totalitarianism
Voting
We Live in the Present
Why is there a shortage of nurses?
Work - Productive, Useful, Worthless, and Bad.

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







Illusion

Not as bad as it sounds

Let's say provisionally that an illusion is a perception of something that isn't really there.
A proto-typical illusion is a mirage seen in a desert. It seems like there's a shining body of water just over there. What is being experienced is light being reflected from a layer of hot air rather than a surface of water. The illusion comes in when we mistakenly interpret the experience.

I'm not surprised that we are prone to illusions because I think our whole understanding of our world is based on ongoing interpretations of our experience. Kant pointed this out when he said that we don't experience reality (the thing in itself) but rather we experience our interpretation of what our perceptions mean. Which of course leaves us open to misinterpreting the perceptions;
et voila - illusion!

Many people were pretty gleeful about that.
They took it to mean that since the process that leads us to understand is prone to illusion then all our experiences are illusions. For me this doesn't follow. People can create illusions of course; stage magicians do it all the time. But that's a pretty highly developed skill. The amazing thing about how our experience and understanding works is that it's so reliable for most people.
Illusions are quite rare.

When we are going about our day in the physical world we rarely have illusions about things like cars or the way the people around us are moving on the sidewalk or the price of butter at the store. This works best when we are dealing with physical reality because that gives us pretty strong and immediate feedback about our interpretations. Not everything we encounter is so clear. We live among people and people are not predictable like curbs and sidewalks. So a person who is perfectly capable of finding a store to buy milk can also think that the world is run by a secret cabal of pedophile cannibals.

A question emerges here: if I'm wrong about something is that the same as illusion? I would say not.
Illusions are like mirages - pretty direct experiences even if the interpretation is mistaken. But what we know is never complete and so we may have an impression that is correct given what we know but that becomes wrong when we learn more.

People live in societies and societies teach their members lots of ideas about how to interpret information about reality. It is very hard to think that something is a wrong when your society thinks it's right Lots of strife ensues when societies with different structures of understanding compete.

I think some illusions are beneficial. Canadians generally have the illusion that everyone has civil rights. Not all societies have that illusion. And the illusion kind of blinkered us to things like the abuses of First Nations people with things ranging from residential schools to bad water and onto bad housing But personally I think it's a good illusion to have even as we often fail to live up to it.

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.