A long review, with further musings, of "Cynical Theories". Read more (30 min, 7600 words).
I reread a book that influenced me a lot when I was younger and review it. Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate by Ullica Segerstråle chronicles the intense discussion in the wake of E.O Wilson's book "Sociobiology" from 1975. Read more (20 min, 5100 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).
If we want to sound friendly and appealing when presenting thoughts about human behavior we should avoid analytical, distancing language. But what if the value of an analytical and distancing perspective is part of what you want to communicate? Read more (11 min, 3500 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 read The Elephant in the Brain by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson and discuss its implications for the structure of the mind (and how I was wrong about it), our tendency to value loyalty over expertise, my own blindness, and the future of institutions. Read more (27 min, 6800 words).
I pick up the "hit" concept "decoupling" from my article about Sam Harris and Ezra Klein and develop it further. There are five different ways to describe it, four categories of disagreement that builds on it, three factors that determine whether someone does it or not in a given case, two ways to handle dangerours ideas, and one new ideology needed to save political egalitarianism when the importance of biology becomes undeniable. Read more (22 min, 5500 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)
Part 7 of a series adapted from my 2009 Bachelor's Thesis in philosophy. This last part is a summary and some thoughts on how to deal with the problems described in the series, why a hardline attitude is counterproductive and how we want freedom and responsibility to be metaphysically real. Also criticism from present-me. Read more (15 min, 3700 words)
Part 4 of a series adapted from my 2009 Bachelor's Thesis in philosophy. It discusses some scientific disciplines with bearing on the self, and how their results are interpreted differently by the traditional paradigm vs. the scientific. Read more (11 min, 2700 words)