My title and tagline aren’t jokes. This blog is about everything, or at least everything my nerdy, hyperabstracted thinking style can be applied to.
I’m a thirty-something generalist with “Analyst” as a job title and with math, philosophy, history, computer science, economics, law, psychology, geography and social science under a shapeless academic belt. As a result my thoughts are mostly about how different fields of study, ways of thinking and people differ from each other and how some pattern somewhere looks like another pattern somewhere else.
If there was a real field called “Everything Studies” where you got to apply patterns to things and integrate models and theories from different fields into a “System of Systems”, I’d be all over it.
One thing I do focus my efforts on is erisology, a made-up word for a hypothetical integrated field that does part of what I’d wish “Everything Studies” would do. Erisology is about disagreement (as in, difference of opinion) and argumentation (actual argumentation, not the idealized type you study in philosophy classes), drawing on many bodies of knowledge to make sense of the backlground reasons for the complicated process that is verbal conflict. Doing that has become more easier and more relevant now since there’s so much of it to see online (82% of everything on the internet is people arguing at each other and the rest is porn and cats). The conspicuous dysfunctionality of most of this cries out for explanation.
Most of my posts have some relevance to erisology. Some, like Science, the Constructionists, and Reality, Postmodernism vs. the Pomoid Cluster, Case Study: The War on Christmas and the very long A Deep Dive into the Harris-Klein Controversy, Anatomy of Racism and Erisology of Self and Will focus on particular issues, while The Signal and the Corrective, Partial Derivatives and Partial Narratives, Decoupling Revisisted and Conversations Going Critical are about the mechanics of disagreement more generally. Wordy Weapons of Is-Ought Alloy and its follow-up Beliefs as Endorsements deal specifically with interpretation of words and claims as an arena for battle.
People Are Different and its follower All the World’s a Trading Zone and All the Languages Merely Pidgins deal with the difficulties of communication between people with different temperaments, priorities and experiences. I wrote 30 Fundamentals as a way of informing people of my own background beliefs and attitudes.
I have a love-irritation relationship with traditional philosophy, which comes through in The Good, the True and the Undefined and a bit in The Big List of Existing Things.
The meaning of biology in the context of human thought and behavior is something I also discuss sometimes, most notably (besides Erisology of Self and Will) in Facing the Elphant, A Lament on Simler Et Al and Guest Post: Editing for All.
When I discuss culture/media/art it quickly turns to theorizing (note tagline again), examples are Reactions to Infinite Jest and Rant on Arrival, or the more abstract On Chords, Maps and Effects in Art and the further exploration of its consequences Voices on the Genius of the Bit Artists.
Perhaps counterexpectedly (that’s a word), I take a special interest in the spectacle known as the Eurovision Song Contest, and I try to write an article about it every year when it’s coming up. The first has the self-explanatory title Why I Love the ESC, the second is an analysis of voting patterns called The Eurovision Song Contest Taste Landscape and the third has the self-explanatory title The Eurovision Song Contest: A Meaning-Making Machine.
A longer backstory can be found in my first post Origin Story.
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I’m @everytstudies on Twitter. If you want to contact me by email, use jnerst at mailbox dot org. If you have the urge to support this blog financially, there’s a Patreon page.
9 thoughts on “About/Start here”
Hello John – Bennit Mueller here.
Just read Erisology: The Science of Arguing About Everything on the Atlantic (Jesse Signal).
My work is related to climate research and I had thought about some effects covered in this article about your work before – never in such a structured way though. Very interesting do you have any publication like papers, articles etc that I could use as a citable resource for talks etc ? Cheers.
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Hi and thanks for commenting! If you mean papers by me then no, I’m not an academic. Otherwise, well it depends on what exactly you’re looking for?