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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
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Gender dysphoria
I Lost My Knife
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Is free will an illusion?
Natural Law
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On Affordances
Pencil and Paper
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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
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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
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I Distrust the News
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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

Spheres of Influence

Whose country is it anyway?

Russia invades Ukraine. It's war and war is horrible and devastating.
A proximate issue is that of "sphere of influence". Russia is claiming that the invasion is justified to prevent NATO/EU from moving Ukraine into its sphere of influence.

The world has many countries that claim spheres of influence.
EU/NATO is one.
The former Soviet Union is one too.
NAFTA represents another.
China's claim to the South China Sea and Taiwan is still another.
The old American Monroe Doctrine claimed all of the Americas to be an American sphere of influence.

These all are situations where one country claims dominance over other countries.
This is presented as somehow obvious.
It seems obvious to Americans that other countries should not do things in the Americas that the USA doesn't want them to do.
Canada is proud of being an independent country, but a part of the reason for that is that our interests are quite a bit aligned with those of the USA and so we don't get into conflict.
The relationship is not perfect by any means but if we tried to join a military alliance with Russia or China it probably wouldn't end well.

This is not a benign situation.
Canada is a sovereign country with a democratic government.
Supposedly we should be able to decide on our own who we want to be allied with and if one country is abusing us, why shouldn't we look for a better relationship elsewhere?
What this reveals perhaps is that our government is not as democratic as it seems.
It seems there is a layer of our society determines what a government can do that hides in plain sight
This is the layer that owns the means of production.
This is the layer that finances politicians.
This is the layer that finances the media and chooses what information to sell to the public.
This media control is very important because it sets what people think is normal.

I think the technical term for this layer is 'capitalists' but lately I've been thinking of them as oligarchs - people who think society should advance their personal interest.

In Russia we see the dictator Putin working on behalf of a network of oligarchs to maintain political and economic control. The situation is similar in many respects to our own.
I do have the impression that Russia has an extra dimension of being a mafia state. But guess where I get that information from - sigh

It seems that the Russian oligarchs think the capitalist oligarchs are pushing into their turf. A cursory look at recent history shows that this is objectively true.
The twist is that people prefer living in capitalist oligarchic society by quite a large measure.
The Ukrainian people had already booted a pro-Russian regime because of it's mafia type oppression.

So I see two influences at work here.
One is that we really are seeing a clash of oligarchs who are trying to seize territory for their own advantage and this is leading to war with all it's horror.
Horror made worse by a looming threat of nuclear war.
The other is that people really do like living in the kind of society the capitalist oligarchs create. This is an existential threat to mafia states.
And its a hint about further human progress. We have to deal with the problems that the capitalist oligarchs create.

Spheres of influence are often what gets left over when empires die. Ukraine has been part of the Russian empire going back hundreds of years Ukraine wants out.
I'd say that that's their right.

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.