I folliow up on "Cat Couplings" from 2019 with a bunch of new examples and further thinking on how and why cat couplings work. Read more (13 min, 3300 words).
What are the equivalents of the word "ahistorical" for other disciplines? Read more (6 min, 1400 words).
A quick-and-dirty piece on what the hell people mean by "eugenics", promted by the fallout from a tweet by Richard Dawkins.
Read more(7 min, 1700 words).
Are mental illnesses actual illnesses or are they unusual preferences? Or maybe this is a non-issue because it's only about words? Well, that's not so only. Read more (8 min, 1900 words).
"I prefer honest argumentation to dishonest rhetoric." Do I mean that rhetoric is essentially dishonest, or am I talking about the kind of rhetoric that's dishonest? That's a cat coupling. Read more (7 min, 1800 words).
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.)
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).
We feel there should be a clear answer to the question of whether some thing exists or not. I argue that often there isn't, because follwing our self-contradictory intuitions leads us to weird places. Instead we should interpret talk about what exists as talk about how we best represent the world. Read more (12 min, 3100 words)
I love philosophy but have plenty of frustrations with it. The use of words as if they had definite meanings is one, the unhealthy obsession with its own history is another. Ultimately I’d want philosophy to show its modern and relevant face more and be less about prescientific word-wrangling. Read more (16 min, 3900 words)