Tag Archives: philosophy

The Tao that can be expressed

[This is an essay I wrote in 2008, on an old blog.] The following is the first part of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching — it’s my favourite piece of eastern philosophy. I’ve quoted it many times, ever since I … Continue reading

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Is there any such thing as “nothing”?

Perhaps we have to start by asking what a “thing” is. Let’s try the following definition: a thing has the attribute of location in space and time. Further, we might conclude that in order to locate something, we must have … Continue reading

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The “Streetlight Effect”: a metaphor for knowledge and ignorance

Here’s the beginning of my latest 3QD piece: There is a story that I think anyone interested in human knowledge ought to know. It comes in many forms. Here is one version, incarnated as a joke: ‘A policeman sees a … Continue reading

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What do we mean by “Nature”? And what do we mean by “Human Nature”?

Here’s the intro to my latest 3QD essay: I’ve always had a problem with the word ‘nature’. It seems to serve as a label for multiple, mutually inconsistent notions. This in itself is not a reason to dislike a word … Continue reading

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Me and My Brain: What the “Double-Subject Fallacy” reveals about contemporary conceptions of the Self

My latest essay for 3 Quarks Daily is up: Me and My Brain: What the “Double-Subject Fallacy” reveals about contemporary conceptions of the Self Here’s an excerpt: What is a person? Does each of us have some fundamental essence? Is … Continue reading

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Does dopamine produce a feeling of bliss? On the chemical self, the social self, and reductionism.

Here’s the intro to my latest blog post at 3 Quarks Daily. “The  osmosis of neuroscience into popular culture is neatly symbolized by a  phenomenon I recently chanced upon: neurochemical-inspired jewellery. It  appears there is a market for silvery pendants … Continue reading

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From Cell Membranes to Computational Aesthetics: On the Importance of Boundaries in Life and Art

My next 3QD column is out. I speculate about the role of boundaries in life, curiosity, and identity. This image is a taster: If you want to know what this diagram might mean, check out the article: From Cell Membranes … Continue reading

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