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

Free Speech in the age of Twitter

Structure enables freedom

Elon Musk has launched a hostile takeover of Twitter claiming that Twitter wrongfully restricts free speech. He claims to be a free speech absolutist.
How quaint and out of touch is that?
Don't be fooled. There is nothing quaint about Musk.
He has been caught and fined for tweeting misinformation about taking Tesla private that sent the stock market into a tizzy to his profit.
He doesn't seem to be like Trump who just lies to pump up his own ego and self image. Musk seems way more calculating than that.

I looked into free speech absolutism and there are ideas there that I hold close to my heart.
Public discourse is best when all points of view are expressed and criticized. Then a well-informed and reasonable citizenry will make the best democratic choices.
Or as Voltaire pointed out: "good ideas inevitably drive out the bad ones in the court of educated opinion."

William O. Douglas (SCOTUS justice now deceased) had the view that "the Constitution forbids courts and legislatures from abridging any form of expression, including sexually explicit materials.
Douglas feared that a ban in any speech would shift the Bill of Rights away from protecting individual liberty and toward governmentally enforced social conformity."
Full disclosure: Long ago in my late teens in Saint John I was appointed to the "Obscenity Commission" by the mayor of the city because I was a prolific letter to the editor writer discussing exactly those issues - sexually explicit material and conformity.
This was an age where "Lady Chatterly's Lover" was considered sexually explicit.

I'm especially sensitive to the idea of enforced social conformity.
I've had long hair and a beard since I was 19 and back then I was a non-conformist and lots of people disapproved (including my Dad)

But there was an assumption that the citizenry would be reasonable and well informed.
Nobody then considered the possibility of a Donald Trump who could rise to prominence by lying all the time in a way that was entertaining to a huge proportion of Americans.
And Twitter became his main way of communicating with his audience.
This audience correlated with a segment of America that Hillary Clinton called 'deplorable'
The Deplorables are racist and uninformed and misinformed.
This violates Voltaire's idea that "good ideas inevitably drive out the bad ones in the court of educated opinion." because the Deplorables sure do influence public opinion but that's no longer a court of educated opinion.

What's happening now is that the purveyors of misinformation are claiming that they have a right to say whatever they want as a matter of free speech.
Willmoore Kendall viewed the absolute free speech as a counter-productive idea. Kendall argued that if a community treats every idea as refutable, 'such a society will become intolerant, one in which the pursuit of truth can only come to a halt'

So we see anti-vaxxers claiming that their 'truth' has the same weight as the vast majority of the medical profession.
And we get "Freedom Convoys" that block other people's freedom unless the anti-vaxxers get their way.

Once long ago when Thothica was popular we would attract griefers who took pleasure in disrupting the discussion in various ways like hurtful speech.
They defended themselves on First Amendment grounds and that they had the right to say whatever they wanted.
And I observed that they were actually restricting any discussion to their narrow range of interest. I got good at booting them.

So now we have Musk wanting to control Twitter so that there will be no restrictions on misinformation and disinformation.
He takes a 'you decide' stance to it all - as if everyone was being reasonable.
He ignores social dynamics altogether - well - not ignores - he wants to manipulate social dynamics by controlling information.
The technique - as with the griefers is to crowd out reasonable ideas with junk and insults

Is this a good idea?
What do you think?
I open the floor

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.