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Showing posts from June, 2010

Sampling Reality

I've been writing a book, tentatively called "Mind Out Of Matter" which puts the case for a revived materialist philosophy and sociology, taking in the latest findings of neuroscience and information theory, together with some outside-the-mainstream ideas from philosophers such as Spinoza and Santayana. My goal is to help "legitimise" the emotions as essential, biological and inescapable components of reason - that is, to rescue them from being treated with suspicion by rationalists and fetishised by romantics. The whole work, in two parts, is still under revision, and I'm having a tough time finding a paper publisher given the book's uncategorizable nature. 

I've therefore decided to release the earlier part, which covers some new ideas about information theory and neurophyisiology, as a separate work via the web, free of charge, just to get the ideas out there. You can download this abridged work, called "Sampling Reality" under a Creativ…

An Algebra of Xenophobia

I start from the paradoxical axiom, that:

    "There are two kinds of people in the world: those who believe there are two kinds of people in the world and those who believe there's only one kind of people in the world".

The proposition is then that I belong to both kinds.

OK, it's a variation on a very old logician's joke, but playing with it for a while can illuminate a few political truths. People of the second kind might be humanists who believe that we are all of the same species and all have the same rights, regardless of skin colour, religion, culture and so on. The people who wrote the UN Charter of Human Rights were believers of  this sort (but so also were the Jacobins). However people of the second kind might equally be religious or secular pessimists who believe that all humans without exception are greedy, violent, egotistical, thoroughly bad lots: they long for the end of the world or the extinction of our species like a few Deep Greens or extreme …