Many disagreements are complicated by terms having several meanings. What if a claim is made up of more than one such term? How would we deal with that complexity? I look at an example about the benefits of free trade. Read more (7 min, 1800 words).
When we misrepresent other people, is it a mistake or do we do it on purpose? Neither explanation feels right to me. Rather, I think we should consider that we often perform "semitentional" actions, which is the result of our agency being more distributed than we think. Read more (6 min, 2900 words).
I comment on a critical article and take the opportunity to further elaborate on decoupling, charity, bad faith motives and complex disagreements. Read more (17 min, 5800 words).
Some reflections, comments and elaborations on my appearance on the Intellectual Explorers Club Podcast. Read more (9 min, 3200 words).
It's common to hear "postmodernism" used as a snarl word against an ill-defined lump of ideas and attitudes hostile to the idea of objective truth and standards. I sympathize with this but also recognize that this is an inadequate conception of postmodernism. In this article I talk about what it is, what it's often used to mean, and how we need words to refer to vulgarized academic ideas. Read more (17 min, 4200 words).
If all claims are mixtures of "is" and "ought", what does it mean to "believe" them? In practice it comes to mean endorsing models, while emphasizing the "is" aspect (and downplaying the "ought") for rhetorical purposes. Unfortunately this ruins the word for neutral, non-rhetorical use. Read more (8 min, 1900 words).
Our words' relationship to reality is far more complicated than we realize. Thus, when we say things we think we state facts but we also endorse certain uses of words. That has consequences, which causes public discourse to become a war zone where we fight for control over our common pool of mental and social equipment. Read more (13 min, 3300 words).