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Fake art

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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
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Sleeping in a tent
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Culture is Ordinary

AI and Art
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Excellence is a Plateau
Is this picture real?
NonFungible Tokens
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Tearing Down Statues
What is Art?
Working With Reality

Artificial Intelligence and the Collingridge Dilemma.
Bird Brains
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Competence Without Comprehension
Consciousness is More Like Fame Than Television
Developmental Processes
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Gender dysphoria
I Lost My Knife
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The Hard Problem
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The Phenomenology of Swim Bladders.
Thinking about medical procedures
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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?
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Invisible Hand
Job Creators
Job Destroyers
Money and Value
Money is Different
National Accounts
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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
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Dr Malthus would be pleased
Error Correction
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Evolution is not Religion
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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
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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
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What do we owe animals?


Maps and Territories
Metaphysics Without Absolutes
Philosophy Buds
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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
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Tyranny of the Majority


Constructed Life
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Too Small to See
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Weirdness in Physics

A Job
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Belly of the Beast
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I Distrust the News
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Its a Free Country
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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
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The Common Good
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The Homeless
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Thoughts on Justice
To the Moon
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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

Wealth is What Money Buys

It's not so hard

For those who enjoy philosophy I recommend A. C. Grayling's Ideas that Matter. It's an interesting book. A bunch of short essays about philosophic ideas arranged in alphapbetical order without a table of contents. I call it a bathroom book - something short and interesting to read during those thoughful moments of the day. I was reading the passage essay on wealth today - and Grayling attributed an interesting idea to Aristotle - wealth is: "Whatever money can buy".

I couldn't find that quote from Aristotle; the closest I could find is this: "The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful for the sake of something else." --(from Nichmachean Ethhics found at

I found this to be a refreshing inversion that money itself is wealth.

Grayling points out that according to Aristotle's idea the miser with a million unstpent dollars in the bank is as poor as the man who cannot spend for lack of any money.

Aristotle's idea here can include within the idea of wealth immaterial things like education and culture - that is wealth isn't only material.

But I think it's interesting what's left out of the Aristotle's idea of wealth. Little things like love, happiness, health, reputation, etc People do try to buy those things but many of us think that they have to be very lucky to get what they think they bought Just like the rest of us have to be lucky to get the benefits of love, happiness, health, and reputation.
We can buy an education but not intelligence.
We can buy clothes but not a sense of style.

So people tend to think of intelligence as a sort of wealth - a sort that can't be purchased. But what if we think of those things as values and that wealth is a particular sort of value. For instance we have this concept of somebody who is poor in money but rich in happiness. What I wonder is where does this 'rich in happiness' linguistic construct come from? Why not just say that somebody is poor but happy?

I'm thinking in terms of sets here, and saying the set of VALUES includes the set of WEALTH as well as other sets like HAPPINESS and HEALTH. The conceptual advantage of this is that perhaps it makes it easier to deal with wealth and happiness as seperate areas to be considered. A lack of wealth is one thing and a lack of happiness. By keeping them conceptually seperate we can more easily resist the temptation to think that the lack of one is compensated by a surplus of the other. In fact, shouldn't a lack in any value be addressed in it's own right?

It's interesting that Keynes seems to have realized Aristotle's idea thousands of years later when he recommended that governments go into deficits when the economy is not prosperous. Unless money is being spent then wealth production plummets because nobody can afford to produce what isn't being bought. Which is of course a vicious circle. Keynes realized that money isn't wealth - that if the private economy isn't spending money then the government had to in order to enable people to produce the goods and services that are wealth.

One of the forms of wealth that money can buy is more money - this is what happens when people participate in some sorts of trade. That's what making a profit in retail means. That's what making a profit on the stock market means. That's what owning rental property means. It only works in certain circumstances but it certainly does work. If you get it going right then you end up with up with an exponentially expanding sum of money which can then turn into wealth like political influence.

Perhaps this can be seen as a paradox - the exponential expansion of pools of money threatens the very democracies that provided the environment that enabled that expansion.
How can we avoid that?

Perhaps one way is to think about what makes that catastrophic exponential explosion of pools of money? And clearly the thing that drives the explosion is using money to make money - basically lending at interest. But also the stock market and private investment.

What would a free market economy look like that didn't have a money market based on loans with interest?

What would a free market economy look like without a stock market. I'm not saying no investment - but the investment would be like buying shares in a Co-op that you can't sell to anybody but the Co-op at their face value.

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.