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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

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?
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.