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15 years. May you have another 15. I've never had time to read blogs anymore. Part of that owes to the fact that I work for 'old media' - print newspapers. I also work for an organisation that works with what used to be called 'new media', and now is just called 'digital'. I miss the old days of blogging, but the climate has changed so much, even since 2014 when I started working in 'old media', the terminology is out of date to 2020's climate. I think maybe its comparable to how games had moved across generations, but maybe had lost something along the way.
Toggle Commented Jul 13, 2020 on Fifteen Years Today! at Only a Game
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I'm a late adopter. I recently received a new phone which allowed for google pay. I discovered that I not only can add my bank cards to it, but a gamut of loyalty cards! I've recently been interested in this phraseology called EDC (Everyday Carry), which seems to be linked to the prepper movement or people who have interests in tactical/security, but EDC as a term has recently gained currency among other places. I think there's something about modern life that makes EDC a concept - there are so many things we can do with the fancy electronic devices, that a universal convergence of those items becomes desirable. I regularly using my Sainsbury's nectar card and my Boots card generally gives me quite a bit of bonus value from not using it very much. The institution of cash money is the idea of a promise or covenant ('I promise to pay the bearer') where the physical money itself is not the value but the belief in the institution of that currency (institution used in the sense that Kant might refer to a promise as an institution). Digital or contactless cash just seems that next step. The convenience of NFC payments does make me (for better and worse) neglect the security or privacy implications of using such an innovation. Apparently my watch is capable of NFC payments too. If I start using my watch to do payments, maybe I won't even need my phone! It's been too long since I've read your blog, Bateman. Been too busy.
Toggle Commented Sep 19, 2018 on Contactless Payments at Only a Game
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I am a little bit touched that my selection reached the top. I wonder if there's a difference between obscurity and 'books no-one recommends' (I'll get to that in a moment). I really like the MacIntyre and Stirner selections. I have been party to the Catholic MacIntyre crowd who think that he is the successor to Aristotle/Aquinas. I think there is something worthwhile in connecting the cultural issues of our time to these age old philosophical issues, otherwise what relevance does philosophy have? I ought to go into the importance of G. Buchdahl's text. For me (being self-indulgent), the connection between history of science and metaphysics and epistemology is a very obvious connection after reading this text and a notion that is very important to me. Philosophy must not be separate from the discourses which they are supposed to be about. There is a page in the Buchdahl text consisting of a diagram linking systematic philosophical issues to contemporary science (of that time) that is so horrifying that I still think to myself: I have reached my limit in philosophy and I cannot go any further. What does it mean for no-one to recommend a philosophy text? I suspect that there is a bit of an hegemony in philosophy (and this extends to philosophy teaching and philosophy disseminating) where certain voices and certain ideas are amplified and repeated more so than others, to the hindrance of other voices who should be heard more. For every dozen quotes from Marx and Wittgenstein, there is a Georg Simmel (author of philosophy of money) being ignored. I have been thinking a bit more about philosophy books that no-one recommends that should be recommended. One would be ' A Survey of Symbolic Logic' by CI Lewis (later editions preferably!), which introduces the foundations of non-classical logics. This should be read by people who want to look at the connection between philosophy and computer science. The connection between computer science and philosophy through the ideas surrounding 'ontology' may shape the future of computing and our conceptualisation of the world in coming centuries. FOr now, this idea remains supremely obscure. Another book I thought other people would recommend that should be recommended is 'Love's knowledge'. Love's knowledge is a series of vignette pieces/essays by Martha Nussbaum concerning the role of the emotions and the insight of literature on our emotions. In this work, Nussbaum implicitly challenges the maleness of philosophy and the kinds of focuses men have when philosophising. The ideas within Love's knowledge revolve around thoughts that I continually revisit through my life. All in all I thought these recent posts are very interesting. A couple of these texts I might have to visit in the near future (and in the case of Buchdahl, revisit, if I ever find a copy in print!). All the best M
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The Blondel work sounds absolutely fascinating. I'm curious about the Catholic connection with phenomenology and philosophy of action. [I'm not so hot on Prisig or Wittgenstein being in a list of 'books no one recommends' - because they are most definitely books that many people bring up in my circles. However there's something to be said about how ubiquitous Prisig's novel is particularly to non philosophy people I know].
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Hello Chris! I wonder where you are going with this. By this I mean, what are the taxonomy of positions out there in terms of being able to manage open forums of knowledge? You have pointed a distinction between the people who edit wikipedia daily against the possibly casual wikipedia editor. Using your catholicism metaphor, the former camp are the clerical caste and the latter are the laity. I suspect (not thinking exclusively wikipedia here) that there are other modalities at play. For example: corporate influence vs non corporate influence. An example in point would be the Wikia strain of encyclopaedias on fictional universes such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Dragonball z etc.. These fonts of knowledge often have an advertising and revenue bent to them. With the Marvel owned properties, there is a weird thing about adhering to canonicity (particularly in Star Wars or distinguishing between MCU Marvel or 'Earth 616' Marvel). Wikis for fictional universes are for 'franchises' - that is, when we engage in trying to find out about Game of Thrones characters or or who was name dropped in the latest X-Men film; we are consumers of products and not active cultural agents (or at least there's a tension between the two. There is another dimension at play in my view: the organisation (and editing) of knowledge (or articles, content etc.) being run and operated by humans (who have all sorts of issues epistemically and socially) against having it automated and run by analytics and other fancy API type machinery. All the best, Michael
Toggle Commented May 16, 2016 on Deleted from the Wikipedia at Only a Game
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Hello Chris - I hope this counts as a comment. I've been on a premium of time lately and as such had less time to comment on your blog ... but I have still been keeping an eye on you. Except for those 2 days feedly were down. Best wishes to you
Toggle Commented Jun 16, 2014 on Meta-campaign Score at Only a Game
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You've basically created a new area of investigation for yourself and you still want to be recognised as a philosopher. I think it's fair to say that after all you've achieved it's still good that you are hungry. Don't see it as being a sign of a failure, but see it as still having your drive that you still want that platform of being a philosopher. Kant didn't have a platform until he was in his middle age, largely due to economic reasons, but also it meant teaching other subjects gave him a wider systematic perspective. So, a mid-life crisis? So long as you don't buy a sports car or a modded xbox 360 with blue lights and a jet fan, I don't think there's too much to worry about, Chris :) In other words: There's still time to get a platform! Yours Michael (Noumenal Realm)
Toggle Commented Jan 31, 2013 on Platform Blues at Only a Game
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I can understand for someone who has made their bread and butter and trade out of the games industry to look out for new games out there. Although I am one who understands more that life just gets in the way. The only times I've really started playing games lately is when I am too tired to do anything else or think about anything else, or if its social. I think recently, much more than ever, games that have a social component have been much more of an appeal. So this has been Christmas (where multiplayer games of the console sort are a tradition) and playing with friends. At the moment it seems a very stale time for consoles. The next generation is really overdue, and I've found my gaming needs satisfied beyond the console of late. Apps like Foursquare (even Google Maps on my phone); Mapmyrun which is more for logging walking and running; fitocracy and little app games like draw something and the non-copyright infringing not-scrabble game I'm playing with my friends keeps me going. I sympathise with your view about the dire state of consoles. I've also heard a bit of news about Valve getting in on the market. Perhaps variation might change the state of affairs for the dominance of Sony/Microsoft(/Nintendo) We've talked in the past about how many games have relied on the lazy thinking and design of being basically an improvement of the previous model (CoD for example), perhaps this is how such a model might implode on itself and leave for something different and new! Regards Michael
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2013 on What Would Make Me Buy a New Console? at ihobo
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I'm a bit behind on reading other people's blogs right now, but I have managed to read part I of the Wood interview. Very penetrating. I quite liked the discussion you had with him on Parfit. It's refreshing to hear from an historian of philosophy on issues outside of Kant, to see the ways in which Wood with his imbibing of Kant's work and as a professional philosopher, perceives the US Political situation. I've yet to read part 2, but I'm sure its just as riveting as the first. Really enjoyed this interview! Especially about a person whose work I've essentially spent a good deal of my adult life reading! Michael
Toggle Commented Nov 26, 2012 on Allen Wood on Ethics at Only a Game
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I'm reminded of your post on Jonathan Haidt's work on how political views can be associated with factual and normative issues like birth control or climate change. So when you said that positivism limits our knowledge of the world to the testable I thought that was utterly disagreeable. Then I thought more about it. The first thing is that positivism is a bit of a straw man on the one hand, and on the other, who or what is a positivist? I've hardly heard anyone identify with being a positivist living and those who are dead, very few actually did, if we are talking about 'Logical Positivism', well that's a whole can of worms that I find objectionable. But that's another story... Let's be charitable about your point about a really strict kind of scientific mindset. I think Scientism would be a better word than positivism. That's also a possible straw man too but at least we can imagine someone who favoured the primacy of scientific research over all other things. It's fair to say that people who are committed to a view like scientism or some strong empiricism have a value programme. This would namely be something like: the importance of peer review, the elimination of bias or discrimination perhaps and the importance of evidence and perhaps something like transparency of publications or results. I'll grant that these are outside of an epistemological scheme, but would you consider these values as a form of mythology? A point about value neutrality and maybe a bit about the Vienna Circle. If I were to take the token positivists (Comte, Durkheim, or the Vienna Circle philosophers) individually one would almost invariably find an implicit normative doctrine within their work. Many of the early social scientists were liberal-humanistic pro-democracy types. Some were even socialist of various stripes (before that word had a different meaning to how it's tarred today) Perhaps one 'myth' about the positivists is the idea of progress. Progress in science and progress in human development are common staples for positivists. This is hardly a value-free idea, as an academic and scientific establishment is needed, this would need certain political and social conditions to encourage research. The idea of progress is held by probably most of the people we might putatively consider as positivists. Otto Neurath as part of his corpus developed a highly symbolic and rationalised ideal langauge called ISOTYPE, which I believe was an example of his wider theory of symbols and culture. Isotype was intended as a pictographic language to indicate certain kinds of messages without using words. Neurath originally considered this language to have a political and artistic potential to be subversive as well as informative. Popper considered science and the idea of scientific progress as a way of overcoming the politically motivated prejudices of things like 'Race studies' or Marxist ideology. I think its fair to say that the positivists did indeed have a normative, value based agenda in their work, but maybe this is seperable for your intents and purposes from the positivist epistemology. But I think they are certainly compatible. I don't think it's a coincidence that these kinds of values came from a group of philosophers who were living during the rise of Nationalist Socialism, and its a sign that these philosophers didn't live in a vacuum. So let me make a conclusion that I would agree that a scientific mindset does have certain mythologies, value based mythologies (progress, democracy etc.). I certainly would not say that Religion has a better set of mythological values. I say this because all religions have different kinds of values, some are potentially universal, and others are purposely discriminating. But where do we go from here? You've correctly highlighted the Kurtzweill/de Grey mythology of technological immortality (it's one of my rational blind spots). I think its fair to say that most scientists or scientifically minded people would want to dismiss this sort of view. But I agree that it is a form of narrative that is present in literature and elsewhere. There are good myths and bad myths. Popper's open society = Good. Kurzweill's singularity thesis = pseudoscience (the idea that Moore's law will reach a point where human and computer interface will be one and the same thing). The same is with religions. There are great values from religious traditions, such as tolerance, forgiveness or consideration for the less fortunate. But there are other things like homophobia, patriarchy and other forms of intolerance as well. I think this is where facts and values can have a relationship with each other. Many anti-homosexuals make empirical claims such as gay parents make for worse parents, and while this is a value oriented issue, its something that empirical research can look into. There's even a body of research looking into the flaws of peer process too! Talk about self-undermining and being self-reinforcing at once. Very thought provoking conclusions about mythologies. Michael
Toggle Commented Sep 19, 2012 on Positivist Mythology at Only a Game
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You have my sympathy. I have a niece who is of 'carrying' age and I'm often taking her down the stairs. As my balance is not very good I often worry about this. Hope you recover soon. I'm super glad that your son is alright too!
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2012 on Falling Down the Stairs at Only a Game
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I think I'm with Aristotle on this one. Ethics proceeds politics. There is a distinction you make, or suggest, that a really engaging moral question of our time is really a political question. I agree with this to some extent, in the sense that there are legislative and governmental issues inextricably linked to them. I think something like the ethics of social media; journalism in the internet age; anonymity or the ethics of military drones are moral issues, they also relate to law government and are therefore political issues. There are aspects to these issues that have content that are not political but ethical for example: the moral significance between a distinction of a controlled remote or AI driven drone. I also think there is a difference between character-driven ethics and right/wrong driven systems, this is distinct but not necessarily separate from the political/ethical division. So long as we hold this as a meaningful distinction, ethics still has a kind of value to people's lives and ethical deliberation is important. For me personally, I've been thinking less about the political/normative kinds of ethical questions, partly due to a sense of desperate hopelessness with news stories and the way the economy is going. However, I've been thinking about a different kind of ethical frame of questions: namely, how I personally can exercise good character. In recent months I've taken up Badminton, I'm really bad at it, but I try my hardest. There comes a point where I'm using so much of my physical resources that I endure a great amount of pain, even though my friends are better than me they do respect that I'm working harder than them, and they can also tell when I'm not putting in my best when playing. This kind of sportsmanship I consider to be an aspect of character, that I'm trying to cultivate. I've also been thinking about trying to motivate myself, and trying to exemplify the values that I hold. It's one thing to believe or respect a moral trait (like determinedness, being friendly, being brave), but its very much a different thing to exhibit it. This kinds of focus is always going on in my mind during my everyday life. One particular thing I want to prove to myself is that I can get out of my comfort zone, whether that means going to a new place, or try something new and unfamiliar. I find as I get older more of my friends are set in their ways, which often means basically dismissing things unfamiliar to them. My attempt to go to new places and jump into the unfamiliar is my way of trying to shake myself out of being set in a mindset. Michael
Toggle Commented Aug 17, 2012 on Does Morality Still Matter? at Only a Game
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What a day to have a birthday! Happy birthday in advance of the day! It's one of those milestone ages. Quite symbolic from the point of view of the Gregorian calendar. I will be looking forward to the Doctor Who special, as has been the regular tradition in recent years. Michael
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