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from Disenchantment 30 Apr 2021 12:48
I guess this page was originally about the TV show, but I don't actually have much to say about that, so it turned into something more intellectual...see also re-enchantment
from animism 30 Apr 2021 08:48
that these metaphors are implicitly built into the ideas, languages and tools we use to build computational systems;
See also vitalism and neovitalism. And of course it's pretty directly related to agency. And probably re-enchantment. All of these things are closely related.
The belief or stance that various things not normally thought of as agent-like are alive in some sense, perhaps contain an animating spirit. Animism used to be the human default; and while modernism and science have done their best to eliminate it, it just won't go away that easily.
from capitalism 30 Apr 2021 08:40
The word “magic” refers to a broad range of beliefs that include animism, charm(s), divination, enchantment, fantasy, fetish, glamour, illusion, miracles, the occult, shamanism, sorcery, spells, the supernatural, superstition,trickery, and witchcraft. In this respect, it is “society casting spells on itself” (Taussig 1980: 136)...anthropologists, as well as the occasional scholar from other disciplines, have suggested that magical practices are alive and well in contemporary industrialized societies, where finance and trade, government gatherings, the law (including intellectual property and trademark law), medicine and health, technology, advertising, marketing, cultural production, and consumption all, at one time or another, operate according to magical premises.1
from group agency 28 Apr 2021 11:48
A blog post on group personhood from a conservative philosopher
from Notes on Daybreak 25 Apr 2021 11:59
I find this personally challenging, probably because I haven't reconciled my own moralism with my own anti-authoritarianism.
In Human, All Too Human, the work preceding Daybreak, Nietzsche began a long effort to free morality from the metaphysical world to which Kant and Schopenhauer had connected it. He set out to show that one need not posit the existence of such a world to explain the so-called "higher" activities - art, religion, and morality- which are often taken as signs of human participation in a higher or metaphysical realm. He wanted to explain these "higher" things in terms of the "lower," the merely human...
For this reason the animals learn to master themselves and alter their form, so that many, for example, adapt their colouring to the colouring of their surrounding ... Thus the individual hides himself in the general concept 'man', or in society, or adapts himself to princes, classes, parties, opinions of his time and place: and all the subtle ways we have of appearing fortunate, grateful, powerful, enamoured have their easily discoverable parallels in the animal world. Even the sense for truth, which is really the sense for security, man has in common with the animals: one does not want to let oneself be deceived, does not want to mislead oneself, one hearkens mistrustfully to the promptings of one's own passions, one constrains oneself and lies in wait for oneself; the animal understands all this just as man does, with it too self-control springs from the sense for what is real (from prudence) is not improper to describe the entire phenomenon of morality as animal.
from shame 24 Apr 2021 12:07
Michael Lewis, Shame: The Exposed Self, cited in Emotion Machine along with
from Emotion Machine 24 Apr 2021 09:44
Emotion Machine
from Discordianism 24 Apr 2021 08:58
from Inventive Minds 23 Apr 2021 05:41
A collection of Marvin Minsky's essays on education. I contributed an introduction and the essays are introduced by some stellar figures, including Hal Abelson and Alan Kay.
from Introduction to Inventive Minds 22 Apr 2021 03:24
When your ideas seem inadequate, remember someone more expert at this, and imagine what that person would do.
It’s also important to know multiple ways to represent things, so that if one method gets stuck, you can switch to another.
Quoted in Walter Bender, Charles Kane, Jody Cornish, and Neal Donahue, Learning to Change the World: The Social Impact of One Laptop Per Child (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
from Patterns of Refactored Agency 20 Apr 2021 10:32
Agency is a quality that seems to contradict physicalism – because in physics nothing is ever initiated, nothing acts. “In physics there are only happenings, no doings.”
  • Stuart Kauffman, Reinventing the Sacred, p74
 Yet we can’t understand the world without it – if agency is a fiction, it’s a necessary fiction. We live in a world of goals and actions, not merely mechanical forces guided by differential equations, and thus we are assigning agency constantly. Whether machines (including us) actually have agency is a philosophical black hole that we will try to avoid being sucked into. But the problematic status of agency frees us to consider it as not necessarily a fundamental feature of the universe, but more plausibly a kind of way of talking about phenomena. Agency is a conceptual framework, and one more suited to real life than pure science.
In fact, the grammatical subject of a sentence is not always the agent. Agent and patient are technical grammatical terms that are distinct from the subject and object. The passive voice switches the usual roles of subject/object while leaving the agent/patient distinctions intact.
For some reason I feel a need to apologize whenever I pretend to know something about Buddhism, although my knowledge of some of the other things I write about is equally incomplete. But: a key Buddhist idea is that the self is not a solid thing, and that thinking of the self that way is at the root of a good deal of human suffering, and that you should stop. (see anatman)
from Livia Polyani 18 Apr 2021 09:28
This book made an impression on me because it focuses on an area where I am painfully cognizant: the artificiality of people's daily, casual, self-narration. She opens with a story from her own life: how she went to Sweden (I think) as a visiting academic, and noticed glitches in her own social interactions with the natives. They would ask the anodyne question of how she happened to be in Sweden, and would be shocked or just not accept her straightforward answer that it was a work opportunity.
They thought that demonstrated character deficiencies, because a Swede would never leave home for such a narrow, self-interested reason. Or more precisely, they might do that, but they wouldn't admit it in conversation because it violates some standard of Swedish life-stories.
from Ethnomethodology 18 Apr 2021 09:10
Harold Garfinkel founded the discipline called ethnomethodology, which is the empirical study of everyday practical activity. Like Heidegger and Wittgenstein, Garfinkel found that meaning lives in interaction. But whereas they derived their conclusions from informal reflection on personal experience, ethnomethodology observes other people doing meaningful things in meticulous detail—typically through obsessive analysis of video tapes. Particularly interesting for me are the many ethnomethodological studies of laboratory scientists running experiments.
from Meaningness 18 Apr 2021 09:07
His other major recent work is Meaningness, which is even more ambitious in that it attempts to diagnose and fix the human condition as such (whereas the Eggplant book only wants to fix our thinking, a smaller task). Buddhism informs a lot of this, along with Heidegger and Ethnomethodology. He's got a very useful guide to his major influences.
from situated action 18 Apr 2021 09:07
The situated action approach to artificial intelligence involved a radical rethinking of all aspects of its problem domain of intelligent action. It was deeply influenced by Heidegger, Ethnomethodology, and phenomenology, and a few other strains of thought that are not very common in technical discourse, or at least were not at that place and time (1980s MIT AI lab).
from play 18 Apr 2021 09:07
Why are Rooie Rules Nice 
from haecceity 18 Apr 2021 09:06
Isn't this about the same as that other advanced vocabulary term, ipsissimosity? (Note: this has some bearing on my quarrels with Rationalism and the "objective spirit")
While terms such as haecceity, quiddity, noumenon and hypokeimenon all evoke the essence of a thing, they each have subtle differences and refer to different aspects of the thing's essence.
Haecceity thus enabled Scotus to find a middle ground in the debate over universals between Nominalism and Realism.
from Patterns of R. Agency Footnotes 17 Apr 2021 07:28
4 – I have a lot of quarrels with the design patterns movement in software, but I have to admit that the pattern people (and Christopher Alexander whose style they have somewhat crudely appropriated) have invented a uniquely useful way of speaking and thinking.
This section catalogs a number of refactorings or patterns4 of agency. Each pattern describes a method in which agency is transformed or viewed from a non-ordinary perspective. This listing (not yet qualifying as a taxonomy) is tentative and almost certainly incomplete. Almost all of these patterns are well-known and in some cases have been the subject of study for millenia. But as far as I know the attempt to collect all these different modes of thought together is somewhat novel. I’ve tried to make a nod towards possible pragmatic justifications for each pattern, and also indicate some possible pathologies that might arise from it.
Pragmatics: The burden of everyday agency can be overwhelming in modern lives – so many tasks, responsibilities, and decisions cry for our attention, and having external cognitive scaffolding can be a great help in structuring time.