Choose a topic

.. Epistemology
Language and thought

.. Art
Fake art

.. Cognition
General Artificial Intelligence
Observing My Experience

.. Epistemology
Consciousness defined
Dialectics and Evolution
Intentional Stance
Training vs learning
What is a Vegetable?

.. Epistmology
Dire Warnings

.. Evolution
Life is Amazing
What is a Species?
Why are Tropical Birds So Colorful

.. HUM
A Mind

.. Society
Adversarial Legislatures
Cut Energy Use
Emotional Plague
Improving Democracy
Jesus and the Money Changers
Merry Christmas
Misinformation and disinformation
Moral Hazard
Red flags
Red Rover Red Rover
Reusable Bags
Sleeping in a tent
Social Media

Culture is Ordinary

AI and Art
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Excellence is a Plateau
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
Gender dysphoria
I Lost My Knife
Incomplete Information and Stories
Intelligence and Motivation
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
Structures of Understanding
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?
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?
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
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
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 Job
A society needs a government.
Babies and Bathwater
Belly of the Beast
Cultural Appropriation
Drag Story Tellers
Family Values
Governance and Power
Griefers and Misinformation and Disinformation
I Distrust the News
Inclusion and Christmas
Its a Free Country
Life Extension
Moral Decline
Open Society and Falsification
Parents, Children, and Community
Rethinking Rights
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
The Collingridge Dilemma
The Common Good
The Dual Meaning of Power
The Homeless
The Problem with Hedonism
The Rule of Law.
Thoughts on Justice
To the Moon
Trial by jury
Virtue Signalling
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

A society needs a government.

Hope it's a good one.

There is no way around it.
This seems to me to be driven by evolution.
People are variable. Some are better at some things than others. In this context, some people are more dominant than others.
Just as with markets that inevitably produce billionaires due to random variations in the success of transactions even if everyone starts off with the same wealth.
This random variation leads to strongmen who decide what to do.
That is, each isolated group of people would have one who would make decisions for the whole group. For large groups that one would need companions for advice and information and support. For a very large group those companions would evolve into what we might call a State with a government.
States would apply evolutionary pressure on each other.
Some would have good governance and good luck and expand in territory and population.
Others would be warlike and have good luck and expand in territory and population.
There would be a tension between those two tendencies and in fact there would be a similar tension among subgroups in society and then sub-subgroups within the subgroups. I see this as a sort of fractal pattern that can continue through many levels.

In an abstract way this framework seems to me to contain what I know about society and history.
But the devil is in the details.
Last time I looked the 7 billion people on Earth are distributed among over 190 countries. Canada is relatively small in size in that context but even we have dozens of subgroups and each of those has many sub-sub groups in the familiar fractal pattern.
Each country is a State and there is a huge variety in the character of various States and a lot of competition.

Let's return to the strongman concept here. I don't think a stupid or mindless strongman would create a prosperous society.
But now States are mindless and can be stupid.
On the one hand, even States now directly ruled by a strongman have that problem because their sources of information are flawed and so they are sort of flying blind.
But even States that have evolved past the strongman stage often get into divisive partisan struggles that prevent any sort of rational decisions about issues or problems.

I ran into an interesting governance problem the other day in terms of oil refineries. Seems they are being shut down due to old age. The last refinery built in America was in 1977.
Capitalist investors don't think it's viable to invest in new refineries or upgrades.
They can see the obvious - people have been talking about getting off fossil fuels for a long time now and electric vehicles are booming.
They don't want to invest billions in facilities that may only have a market for a short time.
They are like: If we're to build a new refinery then society will have to buy it's output for it's lifetime, thus locking us into fossil fuels.

The problem here is that during the switch away from fossil fuels we may go through a period where we are still dependent on fossil fuels but not enough is refined making shortages. And with an economy like ours with such long supply chains this could be a disaster.

One way out of this problem would be for the State to own it's own refineries. There's one for sale now that could be bought at a bargain price and the State wouldn't have to turn a profit.
Easy to say :-)
I do see the problems - doing that would go directly against the capitalist ethic of America but that ethic already has lots of problems too that need to be pointed to.
And truth be told - democracy has to work a lot better than it does now.
When a third of America believes Trump's lies (the many) democracy is in trouble.
And this is a global phenomenon.
But also I see the mainstream media promoting the lie that inflation and the gas shortage are all Biden's fault.
If Biden had direct control of the means of production then that might be a reasonable charge - but he doesn't.

Maybe we would do better to depend on the global AI called google. Use it as a seach term. What do we do about the oil shortage?
What could possibly go wrong with that ?

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.