More than one person in the recent past has called me a "moderate" This perturbs me! I'm sceptical of representative democracy and the parliamentary road to socialism, I want to end private ownership of the means of production and democratise all facets of the economy...
... and I am at the least pretty sympathetic to pacifism, open borders, and prison abolition. It's extremely fair to say that I am a highly ineffective agent at actually generating radical change - I'm a comfy bourgeois academic! - so if people saying I'm a moderate meant...
... I'm functionally no threat to the powers that be, then, like, fair, stings a bit but I'd have to own that. (I think a great many self-described radicals are in this sense moderates, so I'm in good company!) But I think people rather meant that I was moderate in my opinions...
... and this I think is just not true. My ideals, if even partially realised, would represent a near total overthrow of the present order of things. I think the impression I am moderate in this sense is driven by two things: 1. my toned-down affect and understated aesthetic...
... and 2. I am not invested in the squabbles-about-bourgeois-etiquette (do we capitalise the "B" in black!? should you read White Fragility!?) that constitute the emotional core of the culture war for many people. These are, I think, not good guides to political preference.
(trying out a new thing where when I am feeling really sad rather than bothering my friends with random apologies instead I write whiny self pitying threads on things that don't matter)

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More from @lastpositivist

25 Aug
Here are the current Teams in philosophy, as defined by me in a completely idiosyncratic way that I have no intention of trying to justify or even pretend is sociologically well founded in the slightest.
The LEMMings - once the ultra dominant group in Anglo American departments, developed a unified worldview out of work in the philosophy of language, epistemology, mind, and metaphysics. Will be remembered as the scholasticism of our age when it goes extinct in ~15 years time.
The Rearguard of the Vanguard of the Professional Middle Classes - up and coming youths of formerly excluded groups demand the right to enter and be taken seriously in elite cultural roles. Philosophers see what they say on Tumblr and develop elaborate post-hoc rationales for it.
Read 14 tweets
8 Aug
Ok for the sakes of organising things I am just gonna have one thread where I give all my White Fragility reaccs. First I'll gather the ones I have already done here, starting with...

Read 35 tweets
4 Aug
I think there's a fairly common (among mathematicians and theorists) understanding of mathematics wherein its truths are just something-like-definitional-consequences of choices we make when looking at axiom systems or measurement frameworks. ...
... so when someone says "2+2 always equals 4" it's natural to think this is something like saying "The symbols "2", "+", "=", and "4" are always such that "2+2 = 4" is a consequence of their proper application", in which case the natural thing to do is check other frameworks...
... and then it turns out that this is not true, since it turns out there are settings where we use these symbols in something-like-but-not-identical-with their typical use and "2+2 = 4" comes out false therein. Maths nerds then get excited about talking about these frameworks...
Read 7 tweets
31 Jul
Ok I've been thinking more about why it the culture war periodically generates heated disputes about, like, correspondence theory of truth or non-standard models of arithmetic - intensely abstract things related to formal science that don't seem to be of political relevance...
... one aspect of it (far from the only thing going on, but just what I am thinking about here) is surely the gap in expectations about what the pertinent questions are between people who work on those topics and IDW people who primarily experience them via online discourse...
... so, like, when as Enthusiastic Nerd you see suddenly everybody wants to talk about your weird pet topic, it's like: great! You're excited about all these surprising little known facts you can share, or to see people passionate about complex debates you find fascinating...
Read 10 tweets
26 Jul
One thing people say a lot which is just uncomplicatedly false is that philosophy of science makes no impact on actual science. With tolerable frequency ideas or concepts from philosophy of science make the leap over to scientific investigation. Some examples then a moral.
Sometimes it's because a philosopher does technical work which is followed up on by scientists. So Carnap seems to have been influential on early work in AI or machine learning by multiple paths, largely through his work in logic and probability.

Sometimes it's because disciplinary boundaries are porous and a philosopher is also directly working in the sciences. A rather illustrious example is Suppes en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_S… but this sort of thing still goes on. This is a lovely paper, for instance: cailinoconnor.com/wp-content/upl…
Read 7 tweets
12 Jul
I think the role of mathematics in various culture war arguments is regrettable. It often seems to me that team SJ are treated as peddling the most absurd and laughable relativistic position for suggesting that there could be cultural difference in theorems (2+2=4 often used)...
... whereas I think this is a perfectly comprehensible position and would be fascinating to think about. For instance, it seems to me a total contingency, something actually true but which evidently could have been otherwise, that we never encountered the following situation...
... Three civilisations developed mathematics to a high level in relative isolation from one another. One of them developed constructive mathematics, one of them developed classical mathematics, and the other actually developed a dialethic mathematics based on naive set theory...
Read 12 tweets

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