The Samovar

Change in comments policy
September 3, 2009, 10:17 pm
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I’ve made a minor change to my comments policy for this blog in the light of the growing number of spam comments making it past the spam filters which I have to delete by hand.

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What should I write next?

I haven’t written much on this blog for a long time, and I have five planned entries to write so I’m soliciting opinions about which people would prefer to read. Let me know what you think if you have any preferences. In rough order of which I think would be more interesting or more likely to complete:

  1. Nobody believes in God. In which I will argue that hardly any people who identify as religious behave in a way that is consistent with their really believing in God.
  2. Democracy. In which I will describe two somewhat uncommon (but by no means wholly original) views I have about what democracy means: democracy as a word without a fixed meaning but with Wittgensteinian ‘family resemblances’; democracy as a historical phenomenon designed to exclude tyranny rather than as a way to guarantee good or representative government.
  3.  Arationality and Honesty. In which I’ll talk about what it means to be rational, put forward the hypothesis that it’s impossible to be completely rational, relate this to the epistemological theory of pragmatism, then turn to ethics and the idea of coming to terms with our own inconsistency, and taking responsibility for your actions rather than trying to act according to a moral code, and finally talk about propaganda, cognitive dissonance and this alternative ethical theory.
  4. Capitalism. My eight reasons/meta-reasons for being opposed to capitalism.
  5. Religion and Politics. I’ve had this sitting in my WordPress drafts folder for over a year now so it’s fairly unlikely I’ll ever actually finish it. In it I’ll talk about terrorism, Islam, authority, hierarchy, democracy, politics and the possibility of irresolvable differences of opinion, and finally a suggestion that politics is much more important to talk about than religion.

Alternatively, if you have any suggestions for what I ought to write about instead – let me know…

Je vais à Paris
August 12, 2007, 1:38 am
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Yes, that’s right. I’m off to Paris from September for at least a year. I have a job at the École Normale Supérieure doing research in theoretical neuroscience.


Click the picture for a wider view.

So I have a job, an apartment, now all I need to do is learn French…

From my phone
June 8, 2007, 2:57 am
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Infantile, but…
April 25, 2007, 1:29 pm
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Looking at the BBC news front page I noticed this lovely juxtaposition: