A word on politics, free will, and God

While I'm still on the subject of the whole social conflict between free-will and deterministic explanations for things, I now want to directly readdress one of my earliest posts, where I proposed (in the final section) that the two major sides of the American political spectrum are aligned with the determinst and free-will-ist mindsets. Read more...

Disagreements are like onions II

(or "Why we shouldn't put all our arguments in one rhetorical basket")

...What was I saying? Oh yes, I think all of this can be generalized a little further. In the other post, I suggested that we should make a priority of separating the object level from the meta level, or different "degrees of meta", when analyzing a given disagreement. One obvious challenge that could be raised against this thesis is whether for any two "layers" of an argument one is really more "meta" than the other in some obvious way. Read more...

Speculations of my inner gadfly

It is a common criticism from those who have known me for long enough that I'm too gullible. Sometimes this is meant in the basic sense of believing false things (especially when I was younger), but also sometimes in the sense that I come across as much too immediately accepting of whatever broad narrative is pitched to me in defense of a particular view. Enough independent people from different parts of my life have expressed concern about this that it's only logical for me to conclude that the criticism is probably valid on some level. At this point in my life, it's more a matter of in which sense is it valid, what underlies this tendency, and which aspects of it are helping me as opposed to hurting me. Read more...