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

General Artificial Intelligence


I like ChatGPT. It's capabilities are pretty amazing. It has a dark side. Students are using it to write their assignments for instance which short circuits the process of learning to write. Lawyers are using it to write briefs for court cases and are getting caught when the bot fabricates legal references.
ChatGTP isn't really intelligent in the way we think of ourselves as intelligent. There's a lesson in that. Maybe the way we think of our own intelligence is wrong. Our concept of intelligence evolved at a time when people were thought to be animated by stuff like souls. Intelligence implied a spark of genius within us that was immaterial like a soul. Intelligence implied somebody understanding what was going on.
That's not the way ChatGPT works. I can't really describe how it works but it seems to detect a word sequence and then predicts what words would come next in the sequence. Nobody thinks that the bot even understands what the words mean. It's sort of an actualized version of Searle's famous Chinese Room where the room would be fed statements in Chinese and would respond in Chinese when none of the people within the room actually spoke Chinese at all..
ChatGPT goes quite a bit beyond Searle's thought experiment. The Chinese Room wasn't generating essays on any topic you cared to name. Nor could it write computer code with it. I've used ChatGPT to write python code and it actually works but isn't very useful. You can end up with a code snippet that is like a black box. It works but one has no idea how it works or how to change it.
This is a limitation similar to the one facing the students who use the bot to do their assignments. You don't get the benefit of the practice of figuring the code out yourself.
I've long thought that google is a sort of AI that we've been embedded in for years. It really is a wonderful tool. I admit that it has caused my library research skills to atrophy. I haven't used a periodical index for decades now. But google doesn't contain a spark of genius any more than a library does.
Many people are working towards developing a General Artificial Intelligence; something that does have that spark of genius. And the fear is that that spark of genius could turn malevolent like our spark of genius can.
But then, I don't think that spark of genius is the right way to think of intelligence. For one thing - we've looked and that spark is noplace to be found which is significant ever since philosophers rejected dualism.
What we have found is perhaps more wonderful and amazing than a spark. When we look in detail we find evolution at work. Evolution not only created brains that were more or less intelligent; if you look at how the brain processes information to decide what to do you can see evolutionary processes at work. (
In biology intelligence emerges in creatures that need to move to find resources and avoid being eaten. Wonderful as plants are, we don't think of them as being intelligent. Nor jellyfish. And there seems to be a continuum of intelligence capabilities. These all involve autonomous creatures going about their own projects for their own reasons. Let's call that natural intelligence (NI).
Natural intelligence is always embodied - that is, it occurs in creatures with bodies. People might be said to have general natural intelligence (gni) as opposed to general artificial intelligence.
Google may have billions of eyes and ears but it has no body. It can't move around. Same with chatbots.
Reality has no purpose but evolution creates purpose within reality. We can ask questions like "why did the chicken cross the road?" The chicken has a purpose. A rock rolling down hill doesn't.
Google has a purpose of course - but it's a human purpose of people gaining wealth and power - Google itself has no desire and no projects. As far as we know.
Science fiction has explored the theme of GAI's running amok a lot from Asimov's robots to Terminator so the danger is vivid to the imagination. It would be the end of humanity people fear.
Sigh - I look at the news and thinks - we're gonna do the job ourselves.
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.