Choose a topic

.. Epistemology
Semiotics and Body Language

.. HUM
A Mind

Culture is Ordinary

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
Whatever happened to The Truth?

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

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
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
Inclusion and Christmas
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
We Live in the Present
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

Working With Reality


One day recently I was looking at one of my snowflake prints in rl and discovered a way of folding it that made a cool shape that still showed the snowflake symmetry.
Presently I found a second way of folding that made a different shape.
I wondered what to do with such interesting objects. I decided that they were a perfect object to use in a "calder cascading mobile". I've always loved Alexander Calder's work and youtube showed a way to build one.

I made a first one and it was really hard to do. I'm using sticks and thread plus my snowflake prints. I'm working with hexagons. The method is to score the print corner to corner then fold the print into the folded state (let's call that a dangler) Then you cut sticks to length and tie them together with thread and then tie the danglers on. Then hang it up and adjust the position of the threads on the sticks till you get a balance.

Tying knots in thread is really hard - especially at the start when I was not practiced and hadn't found the right method. I think of stuff like that as working with reality.

I've written before about the world/reality distinction.
I think of reality as that which exists, and a world is a person's meaningful perception of that reality. So I'm dealing with paper and scissors and needle and thread and glue and a ruler and a knife. Those are all meaningful things to me in my world but are also real things in reality that exist apart from being meaningful to me. So I'm in my world manipulating reality.

Once you overcome the knot tying issue you find that the structure you have made is way prone to getting tangled. It's like computer cords get tangled no matter how hard you try to keep them straight. Unless it's hanging a mobile will tangle itself if you turn your back on it. Now the tangle was meaningful to me and also was real. I'd have cut it all apart and start over. Done that 4 or 5 times now.
But practice makes perfect so it's all good :-)

A mobile is a thing with a very delicate balance that where the height of all the danglers depends on the position of the threads on the sticks. Very small movements shift the whole structure. By very small I mean less than a millimeter on a 200 mm stick And a puff of air will cause the whole structure to spin and gyrate.
This is not metaphoric stuff. It's actually happening.

I look out my window at trees swaying in the wind. They are kind of like my mobiles. The tree is a structure in equilibrium like the mobiles are and a change in any part causes a change in all the other parts.

When I walk I'm constantly shifting my weight around and should topple over. I visualize this as being like my mobile. A shift in one part of the system is automatically balanced by shifts elsewhere. I have vertigo caused by an inner ear issue. This means that one of the ways that that balance is maintained is gone. I feel it quite strongly when I'm out walking. I couldn't ride a bike now.

Long ago my artistic medium was photography and that's generally a pretty representational medium. As time went on my interest was not so much what was being represented. I became interested in abstract patterns of black and white in clouds and water.

By the time I was a printmaker I wasn't interested in representation at all. I was interested in pattern - and pattern isn't representational. I'd say that the pattern itself isn't meaningful - it's provides a direct experience of reality

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.