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.. Society
We Live in the Present

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

Art
AI and Art
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Is this picture real?
NonFungible Tokens
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Weave
What is Art?
Working With Reality

Cognition
Artificial Intelligence and the Collingridge Dilemma.
Bird Brains
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Competence Without Comprehension
Consciousness is More Like Fame Than Television
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I Lost My Knife
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Is free will an illusion?
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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?

Economics
A Country Is Not Like A Company
Alternate ideas lying around waiting for disaster
Blood and Money
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Do Our Minds Own Our Bodies?
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Thinking about Money
Wealth is What Money Buys

Environmentalism
Blowing Up Pipelines

Epistemology
Absolute Knowledge
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Exists
I do not know everything
Rethinking Knowledge
Rethinking Knowledge
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The Past and the Future.
Uncertainty and Unpredictability
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Verificationism

Evolution
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Dr Malthus would be pleased
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Evolution is not Religion
Evolution of Cars
Forces of Nature
Is Natural Selection Obsolete?
Networks
Omicron
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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
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Freedom From and Freedom To
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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
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What do we owe animals?

pending
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What is Going On?

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If It Walks Like a Duck
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Weirdness in Physics

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A society needs a government.
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Rules in a Knife Fight?
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The Homeless
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To the Moon
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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







Weirdness in Physics

Its not turtles all the way down

Physics has always been one of my favourite topics. Once I thought I would become one but life took a different course. I like physics because it talks about reality shorn of social conventions or expectation. It talks about reality as it IS.
Whatever that means.
And the more we learn the weirder what we learn seems to be.

I've been used to the weirdness of physics since I was studying it in University 50 years ago On the one hand you had the weirdness of relativity and on the other hand the weirdness of quantum mechanics. And though both have experimentally verified to extreme precision and the really weird thing is that they are completely incompatible with each other.

Of course there have been attempts to resolve that incompatibility but those just appear to be even weirder.
String theory proposes strings vibrating in 11 dimensions as the basis of physical reality (how weird is that?) and still leaves open the reductionist question of "what are the strings made of?"
And this is a theory that's been worked on for decades now and as far as I know has produced no test that would verify it.

Another attempt called loop quantum gravity is based on the idea that reality is some sort of cellular automaton.
I like that idea quite a bit because I've done quite a bit of playing around with CAs there's even "a new kind of science" based on them.
But that runs straight into the reductionist issue of what sort of reality would support that? The CA's I work with are code running on a computer that produces an image on a screen. How can reality be visualized as being like that?

https://www.quantamagazine.org/crisis-in-particle-physics-forces-a-rethink-of-what-is-natural-20220301/
This article discusses the issue in terms of "the naturalness problem".
The Higgs boson has been discovered but it is very very much lighter than it "should" be - that is, it is unnaturally light.

Long story short (and the article has much more detail) but this turns out to be related to the incompatibility of relativity and QM.

Relativity applies to matter on the scale of galaxies and superclusters and solar systems.
QM applies to matter on the scale of electrons..

Reductionism implies that there is a direct connection between things that happen on each scale - that somehow the rules that govern galaxies can be reduced to the rules that govern electrons and photons.
Perhaps this assumption is mistaken.

Consider a fluid like water. It has properties like viscosity that emerge from the atomic details of water. But nobody who is concerned with a river deals with those atomic details in their work.

It seems that the macro and the micro are levels of reality that are disconnected to each other.
So maybe we can say that the weirdness in physics is an artifact of our assumption that reality can be reduced to fundamental components that will behave in ways we expect from out experience of a macro world.
The micro level certainly is real. We've measured it and use it in our tech - but it doesn't fit expectations built in a lifetime dealing with cars and buildings and other people.

I'm trying to understand this weirdness on a level that doesn't involve our expectations.
Is it significant?
Perhaps it is, and perhaps significance can illuminate the issue a bit.
When a river erodes a course down a mountain things like the speed of the water are significant and the details of quarks are not.

And if you are looking at quarks you are not looking at anything like a river.

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.