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.. Society
We Live in the Present

10 Views of Landscape
Affect and Effect
Culture is Ordinary
I pay rent.
Listening to Corn
The Reform vs Revolution Paradox
What is Public Schooling For?

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

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

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
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
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

Sincerely Held Beliefs

Sincere Isn't Enough

The Roe vs Wade debacle happening at SCOTUS is a shock but not a surprise.
Senator Susan Collins professes to be surprised.
Both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh had assured her that Roe vs Wade was settled law and they wouldn't be overturning it. Collins had a sincere belief, she says.

This article explores that in some detail:
The point of the article is that she was either lying about her sincere belief or she was a dupe.
And that a dupe is even less trustworthy than a liar.
To make an analogy from going out on a limb: with the liar you know not to go out on that limb, but the dupe tempts you out onto a rotten limb that suddenly breaks.

Collins was a US Senator - one of the most powerful people in the world. She has a responsibility not to be a dupe. Sincerity is not enough to justify her betrayal.
Remember the context. Senator McConnell had succeeded in stacking SCOTUS with conservative justices by a series of very hypocritical legislative moves at a time when conservatives were being very aggressive against the right of a woman to have an abortion if she chooses.
So she says she sincerely believed that they wouldn't vote to overturn Roe vs Wade and now it looks like they are preparing to do just that at their first opportunity.

My point here is that a person in her position has to be right. Sincerity is not enough.
The pandemic has brought that out as a general thing.
There seem to be a lot of people who sincerely believe that reasonable public health requirements are an unacceptable attack on their freedom.
Now I have not dared delve into the dark regions of the internet where they seem to get their information. But I have noticed that they don't try to back up their position to people like me with any reasonable case at all.
Its just presented as a sincerely held belief that I have to accept.
And I think they need to be more persuasive.
The emergence into public awareness of LGBTQ people in the last 50 years or so illuminates this issue from a different direction.
As I watched that happen I was convinced by lots of evidence presented from many directions that gender is not the binary male/female thing that I learned from my culture when I was a kid.
But many people don't even credit gender identity as a belief; they claim it's just a fashion that people put on.
And the irony is that the one's most upset about trans people's access to toilets do it from sincerely held beliefs that they don't (imo) even try to defend.

The fly in the ointment here is that everyone has sincerely held beliefs. Those beliefs work very much in the background and largely determine what seems reasonable to each of us from moment to moment.
And returning to Roe vs Wade, if you actually believe that human life begins at conception then you are obliged to see abortion as the murder of a human that should be resisted.
And any means is justified that moves towards that end.

But I question their belief and their sincerity. It's not enough to just assert it.
For instance; this idea of human life beginning at conception is a very very questionable proposition that involves all sorts of false ideas like God.
I say false because I have never met anyone who can make any sense of the idea of God.
And a measure of the sincerity of people who say that human life has to be cherished from conception would be to see how much they cherish each baby that's actually born.

The point here is that if a person believes a new soul is created at conception then I would expect them to personally act on that and not even imagine aborting that soul. All good.
If a person does not believe that then there are many other factors that play into the decision about whether to bring a new baby into the world now.
These perspectives need not conflict
But when one person tries to inflict their own sincerely held belief on what another person can do with her body then they have to be way more than sincere.
They have to be right.

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.