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'm not a fan of the popular Political Compass. Here I explain why, list what makes a good 2-by-2 and rederive the meaning of the political left and right. Read more (10 min, 3300 words).
We have a tendency to feel that ideas are mutually exclusive even when they aren't. Sometimes this is because their indirect implications clash with each other, giving us the impression that they clash themselves. Read more (7 min, 2000 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).
A long postmortem of the conflict between Sam Harris and Ezra Klein over Harris's podcast with political scientist Charles Murray. I explain their disagreement as stemming from differences in interpretation of the original podcast, cultural expectations and psychological tendencies. Read more (36 min, 9100 words)
In response to an article by Kevin Simler I complain about how often people mistake "selfishness" in an evolutionary sense for selfishness in the normal sense. Read more (12 min, 2900 words).
I spent a week without a smartphone, prompting nostalgia about how things used to be done in the past and thoughts about smartphone addiction and what it does to our relationship with reality. Read more (12 min, 2900 words)