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).
The truth often lies somewhere between two opposing views. But even among people whose opinions are moderate and balanced, it matters a great deal which of the two sides come first and which is simply a moderation of the other. Read more (15 min, 3800 words)
An article I received from the future, making a passionate argument about gene editing and inequality. Read more (5 min, 1200 words)
We pay lip service to the idea that people are different, but don't take it seriously enough. It needs to be something we keep in mind all the time. There are many ways people can be different and their thinking can be different, and we should learn to be aware of them all. Read more (5 min, 1300 words)
Doubting conventional wisdom doesn’t necessarily make you a conspiracy theorist - skepticism should be universal and not only applied to "legitimate targets". It’s not always irrational to not change your mind when confronted with a piece of contrary evidence, and it can sometimes even be justified to increase your confidence that you’re right. Read more (11 min, 2800 words)
Phrases like "fake news", "fact-resistance" and "post-truth" have recently become common. They support a narrative implying that a large segment of the population have lost contact with reality and become impervious to facts. This is a dangerous simplification that makes things worse. Read more (5 min, 1200 words)