Choose a topic

.. Cognition
General Artificial Intelligence
Observing My Experience

.. HUM
A Mind

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

Affect and Effect

English can be confusing

I've always felt a bit insecure with these words. I'm often unsure if I'm using the right one.
It's actually easy. Affect is a verb. Effect is a noun. Except when affect is a noun, or when effect is a verb.

To affect something is to change it somehow. The effect is the actual change.

This is the normal usage.

A person can try to cause a change to happen; that is they can effect a change. That's using effect as a verb. My doctor checks my affect when we meet. That's using affect as a noun. She's checking how I look; everything from my facial expression to my gait to my clothing.

In my HUM class this week I learned a new meaning for affect; there's an academic field these days called Affect Theory. Affect studies attend to those near-imperceptible, too-intense, interstitial, or in-the-making visceral forces and feelings that accompany and broker the entangled material - especially bodily - and conceptual potentials of an emergent or historical phenomenon.,an%20emergent%20or%20historical%20phenomenon.

uyup . . . whatever that means. (Have I ever said I dislike postmodernist writing:-)

But I think that the field is interested in the things that we don't notice that influence us. I think it relates to my doctors concept of affect in that usually we don't consciously notice our affect or the affect of those around us - but that affect has a strong influence over what we think and feel.

I relate this to my own concept of the reality/world distinction. Reality is the physical stuff we interact with. A world is what that stuff means to a person. Our senses give us information from reality but that information gets interpreted into meaning before we are aware of it. The information that doesn't fit into a meaningful structure is just discarded. We don't perceive it. I experience that all the time. For instance, there is a broken window that I pass on my daily walk. It has shattered in an interesting way. When I set out on my walk I wonder if the window has been replaced. Usually when I get home I can't remember if I saw it or not that day. I know that I walked right past it and that my eyes took the information in but I didn't perceive it.

A police force in Quebec has started training it's members by sending them into the community without guns or uniforms in structured meetings with community groups. The finding is that not having those symbols of authority changed the way the officers interacted with the people. Not having power was forcing the police to find other ways of interacting.

I'm seeing a variation of that on Hastings St nearby where a few hundred people have set up a tent camp on the sidewalk. The police want them to not be there but there are so many people that the police are powerless. Initially it was a huge hassle for the people living in the apartment buildings there. Tents would be blocking the door. Tempers were flaring. But eventually it settled down. The campers started being aware of things like doorways that shouldn't be blocked.

Of course one of the effects of the Hastings St affect is that I also avoid the area. But the camp itself is an effect of the affect of the vermin ridden places that poor people are often forced to live in.

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.