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


When you can't touch the bottom.

When I was young I loved to swim. I'm thin. I don't float very well. I took swimming lessons for years. I earned a Red Cross Junior Lifesaver certificate. I hoped to learn to scuba dive but didn't get that far.

I liked swimming underwater. I had a mask and snorkel and swim fins. I liked the experience of weightlessness. The underwater world was strange and foreign and so close. That was in sunny shallow water.

I spent my summers by a lake called Loch Lomond at my grandparent's summer place. I spent my days on and in the water. The lake was about half a mile wide at that point. The deep water was spooky. I remember being on the bow of a rowboat looking down into the depths. I could see rays of light converging at an invisible point down there someplace.
It was a bit terrifying for a small boy; I felt I was being drawn in and gripped the boat.
One day cousin Doug and I went over to the Minister's Face (a cliff across the lake) and I swam home across that deep water. I was fit and a good swimmer, so physically there was no problem and Doug was there with the rowboat if there was.

The water and the act of swimming was the same as in shallow water but I had a very vivid sense of being way above an unknown territory below. Since I don't float very well I was relying on my skill as a swimmer to keep from sinking into those depths. I found that swimming across the lake was quite different from swimming in shallow water. There isn't much to see. You just keep on doing the motions repetitively.
If it wasn't for the mild terror the experience would be boring.
As I approached the other shore I started to see the bottom. Then I could barely touch bottom with my toe. Relief!!! I kept on swimming because that was the only way to move forward. But the terror of the depths was gone

One of my friends from swimming lessons was a long distance swimmer. He'd do stuff like swim from New Brunswick to PEI in competitions. He was pretty fat. Not obese by any means. This guy was FIT. But his fat gave him two advantages for long distance swimming.
First, he didn't sink. If I float then the only part of me above water is the top of my head. He could float upright with water to his chest.
His fat was also insulation against the cold of water. When I was swimming I needed to get out of the water and warm myself in the sun quite often. That was part of the fun.

In a way humanity is swimming in deep water.

I feel that personally. I'm living on a pension now and am doing OK. But what if society changes and can't or won't provide the pension? In the vernacular; I'd be fucked.

How likely is a change like that to happen? When I look at politics I see a lot of people working to do exactly that - no more pensions.

Society as a whole swims through it's environment. We keep up on the surface by a whole set of interlocked actions that are like the swimming moves I was trained to do. If a part of the system that enables society to swim fails then society is in danger of sinking.

And we are beset with issues ranging from wars to culture politics to extreme weather to overfishing and overproduction. What could possibly go wrong?

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.