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Pencil and Paper

Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
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
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
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
Sex and Gender
Society and The State
Spheres of Influence
The Collingridge Dilemma
The Dual Meaning of Power
The Problem with Hedonism
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

Tearing Down Statues

Displaced violence

Let's face it - by progressive standards - a lot of the people honored with public statuary were pretty bad people.
They thought it normal to invest in slaves as like a prudent investment for their retirement even if they didn't personally own slaves.
And many of them did actually own slaves.

John A MacDonald, Canada's 'Father of Confederation' thought it was a good idea to assimilate First Nations people (back when they were called Indians) into White Society.
He set up a system of residential schools run by churches and tore kids from their families to send them there.
Literally thousands of children died in those schools and the whole thing was hidden. They were buried in unmarked graves and their families were not notified. A major horror.

Must say - John A isn't alone in being responsible for that horror. And it wasn't just a horror of kids getting sick and dying because of unsanitary conditions.
It was also a horror of pedophile priests preying on a helpless population and killing the uppity ones. I mean horror.

There are statues of him all over Canada honoring him for being the Father of Confederation. Lots of people with contemporary sensibilities don't like him being honored. They want the statues removed. Many have been vandalized and many have been removed after due process. And some have been hauled down by crowds of protestors without permission.

Gotta say - I'm of very mixed minds about that - On the one hand I'm like YES!! - go for it!!! - On the other hand I'm like NO! NO! NO! - please stop!!!

I had an up close experience of that this week.
I live in an area of Vancouver called Gastown. It's sort of where the first downtown area in Vancouver long ago. Now it's a tourist district with lots of 'heritage' buildings and fake brick streets.
Back in the day it was lit by gas streetlights - hence the name Gastown (I think) A tavern owner named Jack Deighton was a community leader then - a statue of him was erected at one end of Gastown when it was reconfigured by the city as a :heritage area" instead of a "down and out area" next door to skid row to attract tourists from cruise ships.
There was no movement at his time to set up a statue of him because his community thought he was such a great guy.
It was commissioned (as best I know) by some businessmen who were trying to revitalize Gastown in the late 1960s and made by sculptor Vern Simpson.
It was set up without permission on Friday, Feb. 13, 1970 and torn down on Feb. 14, 2022.

Well - Jack Deighton married young girls from the Squamish Nation. By young I mean 12. When he was 40 or older First one died after a couple of years (and I don't know why) Second one died at 90, long after Jack died. She was interviewed about him in 1948. She thought he was a big good man.

Times have changed.
It's no longer acceptable for rich white guys to marry First Nations kids.
Pedophilia is abhorred now as well.
First Nations women continue to be murdered and disappear.
This being the year that thousands of unmarked graves of First Nations kids were being found outside of former residential schools for further context.
The protest that tore down the statue was a march commemorating and protesting those missing women. They tore it down and then covered it in red handprints and splashed the ground with red paint.
The aftermath was quite dramatic.

I talked to several friends about tearing down statues.
They didn't like the idea. I don't either.

There were various reasons for the dislike.
One reason was that it was perceived as trying to erase history. The protestors had the view (I think) that they were removing an object honoring a dishonorable past. That is, removing it's message of honor from the present.
But contrary to that is the idea that, if we forget our history then we will repeat it.

One idea that everyone likes is that controversial statues like that need to be displayed along with other things that provide context.
That is, install plaques giving commentary and other art to change the context.
But who gets to decide what the commentary should be or what other art?
And a part of the context is that nobody trusts the state to be giving messages like that.

Given the event, I thought that the toppled statue spattered with paint was a very dramatic piece of public art that was created by the public that seemed to me to express the historic moment better than any plaque.
I thought it should have been preserved just as it was. Alas - it was not to be.
When I went past the site the next day the statue was gone and the paint was all cleaned away.

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.