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.. Epistemology
Language and thought

.. Art
Fake art

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General Artificial Intelligence
Observing My Experience

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

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Dire Warnings

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

.. HUM
A Mind

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Cut Energy Use
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Jesus and the Money Changers
Merry Christmas
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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
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Is free will an illusion?
Natural Law
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On Affordances
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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

Job Creators

Ken Lyotier RIP

Ya gotta love job creators. They have an idea and the wit to develop it and in the process create employment - employment upon which most of us depend.

I know a job creator - Ken Lyottier - he founded the company I work for and now is a member of the Order of Canada. He was living on the streets scrounging money by collecting pop and beer cans and turning them in for the deposit. He and a few colleagues got tired of being hassled by grocery stores (and the stores were tired of being hassled by the binners) So they set up a container recycling centre - 20 years later we have just moved into brand new custom built premises. We have a staff of 40 in the depot now, and another 50 work in a lane cleaning project - basically a needle sweep of the neighborhood.

Hehehe - we're now even recycling cigarette butts - really. (We have bins on poles outside pubs and a person gets paid minumum wage to go around and empty them every two weeks. This was not our initiative - there is a multinational corporation working on it - and they have contracted us to do the work.) Container recycling in BC is a very effective social enterprise. It provides a lot of employment for people who are hard to employ because the work is hard so the barriers to entry are low. And it's effective because we collectively recycle about 95% of the aluminum used in containers in BC. Ken is a job creator. He's a pensioner now living just up the street on a modest Canadian pension. He's not a millionaire trying to dodge taxes.

The story took an interesting twist a while ago. Ken was a binner and set up an organization that binners were comfortable in. (Binner: One who collects recycleable material from garbage bins) An organization that emphasized freedom for it's employees. People could come in and work a few hours and then be paid in cash when they wanted to leave. Then they could come back later (after they'd had the fix or whatever) and work a few more hours and be paid in cash again. That's changed now - more on that later. And the depot itself is a huge social service - we inject many thousands of dollars in cash into the poorest neighborhood in Canada. And this is a profitable outfit - we don't live on government grants or charity. Our existence is enabled by the custom in Canada of paying a deposit on drink containers to encourage people to bring them back to be reused. I remember scouring construction sites when I was a kid to get the bottles the workers would leave behind to turn them in for a 2 cent refund for each bottle. Let me be plain - the only reason Ken could create the jobs he did was because Canada had established a system of paying deposits on drinks - it's been around forever. We're all used to it. Certainly nobody thinks of the deposit we pay automatically for our drinks as a tax. It's just a part of the price. So certainly Ken is a job creator and he did a brilliant and original thing. But he didn't do it on his own. The whole project would be impossible in a society that didn't automatically collect deposits for drink containers and repay those deposits when the containers are turned in.

So let's think about what this means for job creation. Well - we see several elements here - Ken's good idea in a particular economic situation that let's lots of people participate easily.

Our company is different now - Ken resigned from the Board a couple of years ago. What happened is that our operation had grown into a very profitable one with no financial controls at all. We were doing all sorts of interesting social projects; flower store, bike repair shop, computer repair place that weren't making money.

And of course we were being ripped off right left and center. The company had to straighten up and fly right and that changed the culture a lot.

I got to watch the transition - in fact I'm actually have been making software that helps enable it. We got a board of directors composed of business people instead of community activists and they have done a good job for us in that they have returned us to financial viability in a new facility. And the new facility is important - the old place was a rat and roach infested place where the structure was so rotten the floor would move as you walked on it And it was so crowded and chaotic that it would make people be crazy.

In the new place there is MUCH less insanity even though the people are the same. I've seen a change in the spirit of the place - now it's sort of normal and boring - before it was an adventure every day. And a big change is that we're no longer going to specialize in employing hard to employ people - before long unless you have good attendance you will be out of a job at United We Can.

That's unprecedented for us What does this tell us about job creators? That they are sparks that fall on dry tinder that flares up into a process that develops on it's own. Who creates the jobs? The spark? Or the tinder?

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.