What is social ontology?, by Tony Lawson

What is social ontology?, by Tony Lawson

We already know that social reality is in part constituted by social rules. Indeed I think that identifying them is one of the less contentious contributions of scientific ontology; social rules (or rule systems) may even constitute the most significant and pervasive features of social reality. I think too we know their form. Social rules […]

How things in nature tend to sync up

Mathematician Steven Strogatz shows how flocks of creatures (like birds, fireflies and fish) manage to synchronize and act as a unit — when no one’s giving orders. The powerful tendency extends into the realm of objects, too.

Is cruelty the key to prosperity?

Is cruelty the key to prosperity?

According to many politicians, removing benefits is necessary to compel the unemployed to work even if their children suffer as a consequence. What’s the origin of this idea? There’s actually a rationality here that’s rooted in the bifurcated view of human nature that emerged in Anglo-American culture in tandem with the birth of a new […]

Experimental Philosophy Confirms We’re Prejudiced

Experimental Philosophy Confirms We’re Prejudiced

Imagine that you’re walking across town one sunny afternoon, and as you near the stop for the trolley, you see five people tied down on the tracks ahead. You hear the next train coming up fast from behind, and your heart races. Then, as you step closer to the stop, you see a lever. If […]

Daniel Dennett on the birth of words

Pruning the neurons, competence without comprehension, the soul of white ants, eukaryotes, memes as rogue cultural variants, words are memes that can be pronounced, memes are thinking tools, words are not unlike viruses, free-floating rationales, ‘deep learning’, genetic algorithms, we are living in the post-intelligent design era, affordances… Here are just a few seconds of […]

‘Fully automated luxury communism’ (FALC)

'Fully automated luxury communism' (FALC)

Located on the futurist left end of the political spectrum, fully automated luxury communism (FALC) aims to embrace automation to its fullest extent. The term may seem oxymoronic, but that’s part of the point: anything labeled luxury communism is going to be hard to ignore. “There is a tendency in capitalism to automate labor, to […]

Adina Roskies on Neuroscience and Free Will

Adina Roskies on Neuroscience and Free Will

Some recent research in neuroscience seems to point to the conclusion that free will is an illusion. That’s certainly the conclusion that some have drawn. But Adina Roskies is sceptical. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast she explains to David Edmonds why she thinks that that conclusion isn’t supported by the facts. via […]

The iron cage revisited: on normative isomorphism

The iron cage revisited: on normative isomorphism

The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields Paul J. DiMaggio, Walter W. Powell (1983) People hired with similar education backgrounds will tend to approach problems in similar way… Read the article here