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Philosophy is chiefly about thinking critically about the world and the way we evaluate it, and that’s an essential skill for anyone. But academic philosophy isn’t always written with non-academics in mind. These posts are about taking useful philosophical concepts and applying them to everyday life.
- What’s Philosophy?
- What’s an Argument?
- Critical Thinking
- Evaluating Ideas: How philosophy can help.
- The Most Important Feeling: It’s not what you think.
- Love: What we mean when we say it.
- Intimacy: How it relates to love.
- Mapping Relationships: How to map expectations.
- Relationship Wrapup: Answering possible objections.
- Problems Into Opportunities: Learning from problems
- Final Flight of Atlantis: How NASA learns from problems.
- Science is Awesome: The 3 best things about science I’ve been told are the worst.
- Dear Marilyn: An expansion of trust.
- Prisoner’s Dilemma: A question of rationality.
- More Dilemmas: Stacked Prisoner’s Dilemmas
- Dilemma Strategies: Brought to you by Batman.
- Back to Marilyn: Bringing the dilemma home.
- Games: Dealing with the Dungeons and Dragons of life.
- Jedi vs. Vulcan: Logic or emotion? Hint: it’s a trick question.
- Humane: A guest post by Jessey of Through the Void on what makes things humane.
- Juggling: You can do it, and you should.
- Linguistic Garbage Can: Can’t: Why I don’t use the word ‘Can’t” anymore.
- Be Wrong: It’s not that bad.
- Concept Crucible Goes to the Movies
We spend a lot of time talking, but don’t spend a great deal of time on how to talk. To each other, to friends, to loved ones, the simplest things can often make the most difference. These posts are about how we can change the way we talk with each other.
- Asking and Telling: Knowing the difference between these is crucial.
- Defending Belief: It’s a fallacy.
- Bad Words: There’s no such thing.
- Saying Sorry: What I think we mean when we apologize.
- Opinion: What it is, and why everyone has one.
- “My Opinion”: Don’t sell yourself short.
- “Your Opinion”: Or the other person.
- Realms of Opinion: Art and film aren’t opinion-based either.
- Opinion Wrapup: It’s still useful, but be cautious.
Theories of ethics are about your actions and whether you should do them. While often sorting things into right and wrong, it’s rarely that simple.
- Good Advice
- The Golden Rule
- Happy Days Are Here Again
- Categorical Advice
- Paragons of Virtue
- Advice Roundup
- The Toddler Test: Evaluating moral relevance
Epistemology is the study of knowledge, and deals with questions about the nature of truth, justification, and belief, as well as examining our justifications for how we know things.
- We’re Not Talking About the Truth: It does not mean what we think it means.
- Beliefs: What they are, and how they work.
- Trust Your Gut: Why you shouldn’t, and why you don’t.
- Grading: Thoughts about how we evaluate things.
- Different Strokes: Be suspicious of “Different epistemologies”.
Words of Power
I have a lot of magic words, small ideas which unpack into larger ideas which inspire and motivate me. In Words of Power, I share those words in the hope that it’ll inspire you as well.
- Sacred: Bollocks on the sacred.
- Whoville: Though much is taken, much abides.
- Mirror of Erised: Believing what we want is a lost cause.
- Wizards: The world needs more wizards.
- Fight the Future: We can’t. It’ll get here eventually.
- Delenn: Why see things as they are when you can see how they could be?
- Boots: These are my boots. There are many like them, but these ones are mine.
- Knights: Not the real thing.
- Letters: They can be powerful things.
Things I Don’t Get
There are a lot of things that I don’t understand. These are some of them. I’m hoping you can help me figure them out.
- Gender: Why is this still a thing?
- Santa Claus: Lying to kids is still lying.
- Arguments for Santa: Addressing some of the reasons for the season.
[column width=”45%” padding=”5%”]Pulp Philosophy
Here I take a look at individual characters and the kinds of things they can teach us about applying complex philosophical concepts.
- Escape! There’s always a way out.
- At What Cost? We can learn from villains too.
- A Study in Intersectionality: More than merely one dimension.
- Batman: A Study in Support
- Beer With the Takeout: Sometimes the biggest change…Isn’t.
One of my areas of interest is social media, in why we use it, how we use it, and how we should use it. For better or worse, it’s changing the shape of our communities.
- Why You Should Be on Twitter: What it can do for you.
- Ethics and Social Media pt 1: A stakeholder theory of social media.
- Ethics and Social Media pt 2: A few best practices as ethical obligations.
- Things I Learned at 140: My takeaway from 140 Ontario.
These are reflections on situations I run into in my life, personal insights I’ve had and things I thought were worth sharing. Expressions are about what I’m thinking about and how I’m thinking about it.
- Why Philosophy? Why I study philosophy and do what I do.
- Two Step Program: Two steps to a better life.
- Watch Me for the Changes: We’re going to rearrange some things.
- Classical Studies: Why we should all study classics.
- Movember: Three people who taught me why I mo.
- Grey Areas: Not a stopping point.
- One Year: Concept Crucible’s birthday.
- Winter Survival: Why I care about homeless people.
- Differences: We can all do something to make change.
- Things I See on the Bus: Finding inspiration in the strangest places.
- Graduation Time: Recommitting and taking writing seriously.
- The Moving Event: Sometimes you just need a little help.
- Moving Resolved: Proof that the internet can solve your problems.
- Fear: Sometimes I’m afraid. This was one of those times.
- Woodchips: A reflection on how we think about moments.
- Muddling: I think we’re all just trying to get through the day.
- Trying New Things: Recommitting on some new projects.
- Comics: Pulling valuable lessons out of pulp.
- Child’s Play: I am lucky.
- Encouraging Skepticism: I think everyone listens closer if they think you might be messing with them.
- Home: Why I’m attached to my neighborhood.
- Poppies: I don’t wear one, but there are reasons.
- Minecraft: Making your own fun, block by block.
- Thesis Week: A break, so here’s a video.
Lessons in Logic
Formal logic is a language which has a lot of uses every day. It can help us map our own thinking, evaluate whether something should be true or not, and just stand apart from a situation to see how the facts fit together.
- Introduction: A set of necessary definitions.
- Operators: Essential functions that connect facts
- Rules of Inference: The conclusion necessarily follows from true premises.
- Proofs: Using the rules you’ve learned.
- Counterexamples: How to refute arguments.
- Contradictions: Both a problem and not one.
- Substitution Rules: Transforming premises.
- Rule Index
- Assumptions in Proofs
- Indirect Proofs
- Making it Work
- Being Charitable
Poetry and Fiction
About three years ago I got bored of handing in standard essays which no one would read, and started turning them in in poetry. They’re philosophical curiosities, and a lot of fun, so I invite you to take a look.
- Descartes Doggerel: 17th Century philosophy in a Seussian vibe.
- Epistemology of Love: How do we really know someone loves us? Something?
- QBism: An ode to quantum mechanics.
- Story time: A children’s story I wrote. Part 1. Part 2.
- A Qualia Poem: What’s it like to be a bat?
- Chinese Room: I don’t know why I keep writing poems about AI.
- Many Worlds part 1 & part 2: Or quantum mechanics.
- Second Part of Descartes: With 100% more music