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.. 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

Money is Different

A long story

I've been working my way through Mariana Mazzucato's very interesting book "The Value of Everything". I'm a slow reader these days and am still only about 1/3 done. She's taking a Foucaultian approach and examining how the concept of value evolved over time as society evolved.
Some people thought that land was the basis of value. Others thought it was gold. Others pointed at labor The subtitle is: Making and Taking in the Global Economy. She says that we can't rationally think about making and taking without having a clear idea about what value is. She takes a Dreyfusian view on this: Unfortunately there is no agreement about what value is.
Maybe we can make progress by looking at how we actually use the idea rather than get into ontological quibbles about what value is.

We value things for all sorts of reasons. That evaluation can be seen as an interpretation of reality. We know that we are endowed with the capacity to interpret sense data and make it meaningful. This is a fairly low level system that other higher level systems like morality or language or perception use. So we might say that when we think something is beneficial to us in some way or another then we speak of it's value.
We value things for lots of reasons.
Many things have use value.
Many things have sentimental value.
Many things have aesthetic value
And many things have money value.

I value my fork because it's a good tool for eating many foods. I have a spoon that I got from my mother that I wouldn't part with for anything. Each of these values is quite personal - it's my fork or spoon I value. Aesthetic value has the property that the aesthetic experience can be shared by many people at once and that the actual value interpretation can vary a lot among viewers.

Money is different. At a simple level (leaving out complexities like buying and selling money itself) money is a medium of exchange that enables transactions. I hold a $2 coin. It's not much use for anything in itself. I have no sentimental attachment to it. It's too common to be noticeable as beautiful. I can exchange that for something that I do value for other reasons; say a warm drink on a cold day. The thing I purchase soon gets consumed and disappears. But not the $2 coin. It just gets transferred to a new owner in exchange for the drink. The new owner trades the coin to a bank in exchange for the balance of the account rising by $2. The bank transfers the coin to another person and deducts $2 from their account. The same $2 coin can pass around that way for decades. And what matters is that there be enough $2 coins to satisfy all the transactions at any one moment and not the absolute monetary value of all the coins that are extant. That enables an interesting phenomenon - the coins can accumulate in jars - the general term is: we can save money. Other sorts of value don't lend themselves to saving. When I lived in the woods I had an axe and a shovel. I had no motivation to have 10 axes and 20 shovels. I could only use one at a time of either. But I did have motivation to accumulate money.

Accumulated money gives power to those who control it in a way that accumulated shovels don't.

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.