Choose a topic

.. Epistemology
Semiotics and Body Language

.. HUM
A Mind

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
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
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

Metaphysics Without Absolutes

Beats me

Wikipedia introduces metaphysics thus:

Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:
Ultimately, what is there?
What is it like?

For a long time this was considered to be a matter of both reason and revelation observation was not considered an ultimately reliable source of knowledge about reality. It's not hard to see why. Observation is too variable.

But perhaps there was a deeper reason once we came to see ourselves as minds then it was easy to project that idea onto all sorts of things in the world that affect us. The tree whose root you didn't notice that made you trip is a mind that tried to trip you.
The weather that is good one year and bad the next is a mind that must be kept pleased and satisfied.

But of course when I interact with a person who is a mind I'm interacting with a mind that is physical I can touch the body that is a mind.

I can't touch the body of the mind that is the weather and the methods of controlling the weather are very abstract. We see rituals and ceremonies and sacrifices. It's not much of jump from this to imagine disembodied minds very powerful disembodied minds to be common in reality watching us.

This kind of thinking isn't nearly as obvious to contemporary people who know a lot about how physical reality it isn't a forced conclusion now. But if you look at the history of philosophy in even a cursory way you can see that it was a forced conclusion for many people in the past. We can follow the logic of this using goodness as an example. What makes something, anything, good? Well we compare a particular to other good things to see how the stand up.

But what is good depends on the situation so we are drawn to the idea that all good things have the common attribute of goodness. This goodness came to be absolute it was perfectly good and had no contradictions and was always the same. And this absolute goodness seems to have been considered to be more real than any actual goodness because well actual goodnesses are always a mixed bag good here and not so good there.

More recently another concept of the absolute has arisen it's quite similar but it's based on the truths of math. For instance there are many instances of 3 things; 3 apples, $3, Trinity, etc they all share the attribute of threeness but that attribute is obviously immaterial.

It's also perfect and eternal 3 is only 3 and nothing but 3 and will never be anything else. We see the same idea when we consider a square a square is a 4 sided figure with right angles at the corners and a particular ratio comes up when you divide the length of one side into the other. It is said that the ratio is 1. Note, the trick of language here the use of the word 'is'. Generally the word 'is' applies to things that actually exist. So the numerals 1 or 3 actually exist as numerals we can see them it makes sense to say that numeral is a 1 or a 3 or whatever.

The clear way to talk about the ratio of the sides of a square is to say that the ratio equals 1, and not that the ratio is one. The ratio is a number but does it make sense to talk about numbers as things that exist?

Why not just understand what it means to say one or three. Here's what I think happens logically with so called absolutes they are tautologies and the truth and eternalness of a tautology is trivial not ultimately important. ratio = side a/side b = 1/1 = 1 : to say that 1/1 = 1 is a tautology and that's all a ratio is.

A metaphysics without absolutes works out to be a metaphysics without tautologies. What do you think can there be metaphysics without tautologies do tautologies really teach us anything about what ultimately is?

Note that this is not saying that metaphysical questions aren't important what exists? That's a really interesting question. Why? Important question too.
Does that mean there has to be a definite thing that exists or a reason for that existence?

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.