Category Archives: internet

The Practical Ontologist

I’ve launched a new website called The Practical Ontologist. From its about page:

Every few hours a computer at a datacenter scans the web for new philosophical content. It then analyzes, processes, and formats the information. This creates an always updating website for easy perusal.

I built this site to highlight all the public philosophy that is posted every single day online and as a way for people to discover philosophically oriented websites. While there are already many excellent websites that post links to philosophical content, *The Practical Ontologist* is focused on staying fresh and not being a Balkanizing social network. It is the Google News of philosophy blogs.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Posted in internet, news, philosophy.

XKCD on the Ontological Argument

Posted in fun, internet.

Awesome Tattoo!

DuckRabbit by itsch on DeviantArt


Posted in fun, internet. Tagged with , .

Xmas post

Happy Holidays!

As is my Xmas tradition, I watched “Die Hard”. Surprisingly one of the characters reminded me of the current state of internet philosophy:

Posted in internet, news, philosophy. Tagged with .

xkcd on the Trolley Problem

Posted in internet. Tagged with .

Site Update 2014

After running this site for 7 years, I have done a comprehensive update of the systems that run it, namely migrating it to a brand new database. This has increased the site speed, noticeable in page loading times especially on the calendar. The calendar is going strong, with many talks and events for the Fall of 2014. Please check it out if you are in the New York City metropolitan area.

Posted in internet, news. Tagged with .

NYC Area Philosophy Calendar Spring 2014 update

I’ve updated the NYC Area Philosophy Calendar for Spring 2014. As per usual, there are some great talks and conferences to check out.

I’d love feedback about the calendar, so please get in touch if you have any comments or suggestions.

From my website statistics Brooklyn, NY has the heaviest calendar users. Hello Brooklyn.

Posted in internet, news, NYC, philosophy.

Site Update

After running this blog for over 6 years, I’m thinking it is time for a site update. I’d like to give a thanks to the community for making great blogging software freely available, and for providing site hosting at a reasonable price.

That said, there is a good chance I am going to mess something up. The site has been running on the same underlying (MySql) process, perhaps from the start, without any maintenance on my end. So I am going to shut it down and do a clean install.

!!EDIT!! Apparently my website hosts ( are way more competent at running websites than I am. When I went to restart the database, I saw that they had already cleaned the thing up from its old, monstrous self to a new, smaller, updated process. So I’ll just be doing more cosmetic updates than anything (I’ve not once changed my WordPress theme in these 6 years. Thanks Ocadia theme!). This may still bork the site, but there is less room for error now.

Hopefully I’ll see you on the other side.

Posted in internet, news.

Fifty Shades of Late Capitalism

Something fun to read:

“…What Fifty Shades of Grey offers is an extreme vision of late-capitalist deliverance, the American (wet) dream on performance-enhancing drugs. Just as magazines such as Penthouse, Playboy, Chic, and Oui (speaking of aspirational names) have effectively equated the moment of erotic indulgence with the ultimate consumer release, a totem of the final elevation into amoral privilege, James’s trilogy represents the latest installment in the commodified sex genre. The money shot is just that: the moment when our heroine realizes she’s been ushered into the hallowed realm of the 1 percent, once and for all.”


Posted in economics, internet.

Philosophy Carnival #141

Welcome to the one hundred forty first philosophy carnival. In my internet travels I found some really cool philosophy inspired posters by Genis Carreras, which I have paired with the links to pretty up the carnival.

Zombies, because philosophers like zombies.

An introduction to the philosophical discussion of zombies
and dualism by Tom B. over at Philosophy of… which looks like a promising new blog contributing “in some humble way to this movement of the popularizing of philosophy, and try to convince a few of you that it’s not so boring, obscure and irrelevant as many assume.”

Jason Zarri at Philosophical Pontifications
posts a more in depth post on the consciousness of a scattered zombie brain. See what happens if at first we have zombie brain, except that this brain is made of people working all over China to simulate brain activity. What happens if parts of the brain (people) are replaced by neurons, ending up with a normal (if scattered) brain?

Professional level zombie discussion!
Richard Brown vs. Dave Chalmers, with Dr. Brown discussing the use modal operators when arguing for the conceivability of shombies (a subspecies of zombie). This discussion goes from possible worlds to identities, and leads to a revised argument which concludes that non-materialism is false. Go check out the argument!


This is my favorite post of the carnival: U-Phil: Deconstructing Dynamic Dutch-Books? by Deborah G. Mayo. It is about dogmatism in Bayesian epistemology when considering Dutch Book arguments, as viewed by a frequentist. This is great stuff.

Is There a Difference Between Memory and Imagination? Ok, this has little to do with dogma, but I had nowhere else to put it. Greg argues that remembering is closer to imagination since it is a reconstruction.

Experimental Issues

Tomkow proposes
that philosophical experimenters need to take more care in separating their philosophical intuitions from biasing their results. This makes me wonder if there are further chances for a philosopher to bias their test subjects beyond psychological factors– can philosophical opinions be projected in new and unusual ways beyond what we account for?

What happens when people are placed under linguistic constraints and need to communicate? Experimental semiotics provides some insight with combinatoriality (recurrence of basic forms), but Gualtiero Piccinini argues that natural language is more complex. He says it requires potential infinite complexity, which may not occur with only combinatoriality. Still, ES leads him to hypothesize the “Gavagai Game” of language generation, which could provide insight into language.


Two different ethical views are propounded this carnival:

James Armstrong discusses a humanistic approach to the basis of certain rights, namely the right to freedom of movement. The argument is grounded in “the right of individuals to live a minimally decent life,” justifying a strong position on immigration.

Richard Chappell, however, outlines a position where acts are evaluated on utility, not the character of the person doing them. By evaluating acts and not the person’s character, individual accidents of psychology which may make one person much more (in)sensitive to certain issues than others may be separated from their moral will. He argues that this position is highly practical.

The Business of Philosophy

Gregory Wheeler has an interesting set of posts about sampling problems in our favorite school ranking system, the Philosophical Gourmet Report: The Sampling Problem and Educational Imbalance.

Secondly the smokers have posted and been discussing some cool research done in the area of tenure-track philosophy hiring by Carolyn Dicey Jennings. So you want a philosophy job? Take a gander and these numbers! [Go BU!]

Two takes on Rule Following

Murali at the Leage of Ordinary Gentlemen argues for a basis of law on a two tier system, the distinction between habit and rule following, and an internal point of view.

Dave Maier discusses semantic rule following in Wittgenstein. This is actually a really good discussion of how we get caught in a bind of wanting both definitions and revisability when it comes to identifying fundamental measures, but I’m actually posting this because I want to point out that my duckrabbit is better (and more stylish) than his duckrabbit. My duckrabbit should be the standard duckrabbit. And what if my duckrabbit were to significantly change? Would we have to revise all other duckrabbits to account for the change? Of course not. Since it is so inconceivable that my duckrabbit should become fundamentally different, if it were to change, it would signify that we had lost our minds. So there is no problem here at all.

But What is Philosophy

Another article by Dave Maier, What is philosophy, again?, but this one over at 3 Quarks Daily.

My contribution to the carnival is that I am starting a new blog, The Road to Sippy Cups. My inaugural post is I Sneeze, Therefore I Am. I say on the about page, “Philosophy’s goal is to wean us off ideas — even if they had sustained us — because those ideas no longer provide us with what we need, and, hopefully, onto better ones.” And I will be writing, “metaphysics with an eye towards values, humans and society.” So I encourage you to go check it out.

If you have made it this far…

… you might be an internet philosopher!

So go over to the philosophy carnival page and sign up to host or submit your work!

Posted in fun, internet, philosophy. Tagged with , .