Choose a topic

.. Cognition
Intelligence and Motivation

.. HUM
A Mind

.. Society
Drag Story Tellers
I Distrust the News
What is to be said?

Structures of Understanding

Culture is Ordinary

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
Semiotics and Body Language
The Curious Ineffectiveness of Facts
The Past and the Future.
Uncertainty and Unpredictability
Whatever happened to The Truth?

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 society needs a government.
Belly of the Beast
Cultural Appropriation
Family Values
Griefers and Misinformation and Disinformation
Inclusion and Christmas
Open Society and Falsification
Rules in a Knife Fight?
Sex and Gender
Should We Go to Mars?
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
We Live in the Present
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


The times they are a changin

I like living in Canada and don't want to move. I read the news and see that there are lots of people on Earth who are not so lucky.
These days Canada takes in about 200,000 economic immigrants a year. I don't know the process for doing that. I know it's hard and takes years and is expensive. The whole process of setting yourself up in a foreign land is daunting. People don't do that for trivial reasons. And they are the lucky ones.
We get about 100,000 asylum seekers a year. And we have maybe that number of undocumented immigrants residing here. I think that those numbers would be higher except that we have a fairly effective border walls called the USA to the south and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to the east and west.
So we can be pretty lax at the border.
It's not actually illegal to avoid official entry points. I've seen pictures of Mounties helping asylum seekers hop across a ditch at the border.

I see that elsewhere in the world illegal migrants and asylum seekers are a huge problem. Desperate people from the Middle East and Africa are climbing over mountains and swimming over seas to get to Europe. Most of these are fleeing intolerable violence or starvation .
This is also the case at the American southern border.
The hardship these migrants are willing to endure to try to get to a safe place is a measure the badness of the conditions they are fleeing.

We have a moral obligation to treat these people humanely.

I've been doing a cultural studies class at UBC. An underlying thread of the class is the history of Canada's treatment of indigenous people.
First Nations have vivid experience of what can happen when foreigners take over your land. There can be social problems.

I've been reading for quite a while about how the demographics of the USA has been changing. For a long time it had mostly a white population. We are close to a time (maybe past it) when white people won't be a majority. The right wing has been calling this "the Great Replacement" as if it was some kind of leftist plot.
It's not a plot but it's certainly happening.

And many people are afraid that they are about to be treated like they treated the First Nations people.

In many ways the discourse about immigration is wrong headed on both sides of the debate. We talk as if the President could actually do anything about the problem at the southern border. We assume that it's a rational problem that can be solved with policies and force. I don't think it is like that.

On the one hand people assume that the tide of people can be commanded to go back like Canute at the seashore commanding the tide.
On the other hand, even a cursory look at how legislatures work shows that they are not rational agents.

As a rational agent I can see various positive ways to deal with the problems.
First off we need to stop all these wars that are plaguing humanity now.
Second we need to give everyone a good livelihood where they are so there isn't a pressure to move.
Cutting the birthrate so human population declines would be part of the mix.

But I feel like the little boy who was having a wonderful dream and then fell out of bed and woke up.

What do you think?
I open the floor

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.