Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category


(not a post about Spike’s favourite soap opera) As an INTP, I generally try to make “rational” decisions — which is to say, ones I can rationalise and explain and logically support. That in turn is something I can rationalise, explain and support: I’m fairly good at logic, and I’ve been taught lots of ways […]

Respectful Disagreement

Early last month there was a short piece by Robin Hanson on his group blog titled Disagreement is Disrespect: But this does seem a handy opportunity to repeat that while disagreement isn’t hate, it is disrespect. When you knowingly disagree with someone you are judging them to be less rational than you, at least on […]

On perseverance

As part of trying to convince myself to commit to my next project I spent some time wondering just what it might mean if the project really is beyond my abilities. At what point does it make sense to say “don’t even try in the first place?” or “okay, you’ve given it a fair shot, […]


Faith is an interesting concept to try to disentangle from religion. faith n 1: a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny; “he lost his faith but not his morality” [syn: {religion}, {faith}, {religious belief}] 2: complete confidence in a person or plan etc; “he cherished the faith of a […]

On Chaos

I’ve been a fan of chaos theory and emergent order for a long time now — the idea that simple rules repeatedly applied build complex and creative results is just beautiful to me, and seeing the same principles apparently apply in different areas — from evolutionary theory to the Wisdom of Crowds — for equally […]

Designing Intelligence

With the recent Kansas Board of Education decision and the results in the Dover, Pennsylvania Board of Education elections, the Intelligent Design debate seems to be all the rage. It’s not really that interesting a debate, mostly being a rerun of the standard evolution versus creationism stuff with some new catchphrases. Even as a religious […]

I’m an Individual

…and you can’t beat that. Or, at least, I think that was some primary school slogan we had at some point. But Google knows nothing about it, so maybe I imagined it all. Surely, there isn’t still more in the universe than’s dreamt of in Google’s eight billion web pages… I think it might’ve had […]

The Wisdom of Crowds

Hrmph. Since my laptop keeps dying on the other post I’m trying to make, I might blog about James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds instead. Here’s a section from p187 about small group dynamics: Talkativeness may seem like a curious thing to worry about, but in fact talkativeness has a major impact on the kinds […]

Opinions and Insight

There’s an interesting dichotomy of opinions on opinions: half the time people are intensely interested in what everyone else’s opinions on things are, and half the time everyone’s nodding in wry agreement to comments such as “opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one”. This difference is also found in the reaction to government polling: sure, […]