Thanks for visiting my blog. About the top third of what I write goes into the "Above average quality" category, so that's a good place to start browsing. I have a book form PDF of my best essays titled "Something to read in quarantine: Essays 2018-2020". It's free and you can grab it here. If … Continue reading Welcome to de Pony Sum
If you're a young scholar and you want to understand debates in social theory, sociology, literature, political philosophy, history and the history of ideas, one of the most important and time effective things you do is read the communist manifesto if you haven't already. It's also one of the easiest things you can do. It … Continue reading Meet the spectre: Read the communist manifesto
I.עַ֚יִן תַּ֣חַת עַ֔יִן The Lex Talonis- "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". We're taught that our society rejected it as barbaric and harsh, and inclined itself further to mercy. However the maximum prison sentence in New York for felony assault is at least 3 years, and frankly, I'd rather lose … Continue reading Vengeance is thine: Miscellaneous thoughts about punishment
Many of my blog readers are probably also readers of Slate Star Codex- or, perhaps, were readers, as the blog has been taken down. A NYT journalist wanted to do a story on the blog- fair enough- but they insisted on printing Scott's True Name, a very dangerous thing for a practising psychiatrist with a … Continue reading Scott and the New York Times
r/Chapotraphouse has been banned. Even the people who posted there seem to agree this is a net good (edit: although a reader objects this is likely just them pretending to be not-made, rather than their real position). I often disagreed with Chapo but it was the largest far-left subreddit and so by extension the largest … Continue reading Reflections on a doomed subreddit: ?Vale r/Chapotraphouse
People don’t think as much about the possibilities of a machine that could tell whether people were lying as they should. Partly this is because many people erroneously believe that such machines already exist. Partly this is because fictional depictions of universes in which lying can be made impossible are unpopular- lying being of key … Continue reading The good things a working lie-detector could do
For an individual, a dollar is not always a dollar. I gain far more utility through my first 500 dollars a week than through my second 500 dollars a week income. Even more so is the value of Bill Gate’s “last” 500 dollars diminished, relative to the value of his first 500 dollars. Naturally this … Continue reading Who values money more- the poor or the rich?
Does it: Involve money or the economy Involve the military or foreign policy Involve criminal law. state violence or mob violence If the answer to all of the above is no, it's probably a bullshit issue that's being used to distract you. Even if it does involve one of the above it may still be … Continue reading Should you care about that issue?
We all know there is a suite of “existential” tragedies inherent to human existence. Defining the concept precisely is impossible, but I would say roughly that an existential tragedy is a tragedy that arises from very basic and universal, or near-universal, aspects of our experience. I thought it could be interesting to list them. Let … Continue reading Existential tragedies- a partial list
This is an interlude to "A Philosophy for a New Old Welfare Economics" but doesn't require you to have read the previous post 1. The broad outlines of the problem Sometimes a change makes everyone in a group better off, sometimes a change makes everyone in a group worse off, in these cases, it is … Continue reading So you want to know how well your society is going: an introduction to aggregate and average utilities
Theory: every aesthetic positions itself against another or multiple other aesthetics which it claims is childish. Since positioning yourself as "mature" against a childish other is the most adolescent act possible, every aesthetic is necessarily adolescent.