Choose a topic


.. Cognition
Intelligence and Motivation

.. HUM
A Mind

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

...Cognition
Structures of Understanding

...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
Semiotics and Body Language
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
Extinction
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
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Tyranny of the Majority

Programming
Loopsidaisy

Science
Constructed Life
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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Family Values
Governance
Griefers and Misinformation and Disinformation
Immigration
Inclusion and Christmas
Magic
Open Society and Falsification
Privacy
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
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







Philosophy Buds

What next?

It's often said that philosophy produced the natural sciences.
I read a particularly nice expression of that idea:

"Philosophy is a highly productive and consequential enterprise. An eye cast over the intellectual history of the modern world (from say 1600 CE onwards) would see that in effect philosophy gave birth to natural science in the seventeenth century, to psychology in the eighteenth century, to sociology and linguistics in the nineteenth century while in the twentieth century it played a significant part in the development of cognitive science. No doubt this somewhat simplifies matters, but not by too much, because philosophy is enquiry into important and central concerns that are not yet well understood, certainly not well enough understood to constitute self standing branches of study. When the right questions and the right methods of answering them become apparent the area of enquiry in question can become an independent pursuit. For a major example; as soon as philosophical speculation about the nature and properties of the material universe had identified appropriate methods of asking and answering it's questions in this case by empirical and mathematical means) the enquiry ceased to be philosophy and became natural science."

   A C Grayling Ideas That Matter p373 374)

This made me smile:-)
Philosophy buds off new studies. It sort of implies that philosophers are folk I can think about things they don't understand and can't understand yet they wonder anyway. And who can't know the answers but are willing to discuss it. And new knowledge has to come from someplace and wondering seems to be a good place to start and discussion a good place to go on to.

But if philosophy buds of new areas of enquiry I'm wondering what's budding now? Here at Thothica the theme has been contemporary philosophy. That's where my own interests have been and I'm not a teacher I like to think. And I am honored to attract many other thinkers who are interested in other areas of philosophy. It's a wonderful way to learn because you are continually challenged from outside your rut. I've seen that sort of thing growing in many situations ranging from internet discussion groups to real life Philosopher's Cafe.

What might that bud into?
Well what if out of that practice grew a series of questions and ways of answering them that showed us how to break up the polarization that sets us at each other's throats?

Another thing I notice is how it's now normal in philosophy to treat meaning as being the output of various sorts of interaction instead of something found in the world. And we're struggling to understand what that means in terms of the old ideas of objectivity and subjectivity and are finding that that process is transforming our ideas of objectivity and subjectivity. We're struggling to really grok how anything can be conscious some have said that that's a problem we can't possibly solve.

But others feel that the right question to ask about that is right on the tip of our collective tongues. And it's a curious thing often when you finally find the right question then the answer is right there. Who know what would bud out of knowing how anything can be conscious. But I must say that Grayling's characterization is to one dimensional. It's all about how philosophy influences but not about how philosophy is influenced.

The growth of the natural sciences has transformed the world within which philosophy is practiced, and it shouldn't be surprising that that changes the meaning of a lot of things. Philosophers have to be influenced by those shifts in meanings. Well actually many philosophers reject that new web of meaning even if it means rejecting the scientific knowledge that caused it.

But others are embracing that project of understanding within the new web of meaning. Because after all if philosophy is the project of trying to deal with questions that we don't know how to answer yet what could be generating philosophic questions more than physics or biology or even cognitive science? So maybe while philosophy buds new sciences new sciences bud new philosophies. Gasp! That's circular! We'll never reach the Omega Point that way :-)

Instead we reach a concept sort of like the multiverse idea philosophy continually uses science to bud new philosophies:-)

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.