I pick apart the concept of racism and find out that it's a self-driving cycle, a knot in idea-space, a bag of unrelated phenomena and an ideology that shares important properties with consciousness, intelligence and explosives. Read more (32 mins, 10700 words.)
I use pretty pictures to illustrate how we can use many partially overlapping belief systems to get a better image of reality than any one model can offer. Read more (4 min, 1100 words).
I've spoken before about how it's difficult to interpret texts written by people with very different background assumptions, interests and preoccupations from you. Here I experiment with enumerating my basic beliefs in the hope that it'll make the meaning of my writing more transparent. Read more (13 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).
My third yearly article about the Eurovision Song Contest, where I argue that the contest is set up in a way that maximizes return on investment in terms of meaning experienced in context vs. real world meaning out of context. Read more (17 min, 4300 words).
"The Elephant in the Brain" had an interesting effect on me, which made me think up a typology of ways reading can change the structure of your mind. Read more (10 min, 2500 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).