Best past posts

WordPress informed me that my last post was the 200th post on this blog. With that and the new year, it’s a good time for my idea of a post that collects some of the best posts from before, many of which have fallen way below the top of the list here but which I’d recommend people to read.

This is quite a lot of posts, but I have been posting here for years, so these really are just some of the best ones. I hope that you’ll click on something that you’ll find interesting. You can scroll down to see different “categories”, written in bold.

In particular, I think I’ve got some good old ones about critical thinking:

In addition to critical thinking, many of my articles overlap into what might called “scientific thinking” — how science works in general.

While I’m not a scientist, I also cover a few topics that could be said to be about science, be it evolution or psychology or something else:

Philosophy is the field I’m supposed to be studying, so the next ones will be miscellaneous philosophy.

  • Some difficulties in thinking about time looks at how assumptions about time pervade our thinking so much that they make thinking about the nature of time difficult.
  • The Decision Machine presents a thought experiment showing why it might be that we think that we are (or have to be) able to choose between different options when making a free choice — even if determinism is true. It’s just one of the many posts I have about free will.
  • The Ultimate Sceptical Argument (Leads Nowhere) — What things can we doubt? What can we know? Can we really refute all scepticism?
  • How Does Meaning and Purpose Emerge in a Mechanistic Universe? tackles the big question of how a mechanistic universe can become a humanly meaningful one.
  • In Two Kinds of Morality… Actually, Just One, I point out how there can be completely different bases for what people think of as “moral” — and how, once they are stripped of deceptive words, some ideas about morality turn out to be anything but moral.
  • In Possibility Is Just Lack of Contradiction, I analyse the notion of possibility and of possible worlds and give them a simple reductive explanation that accounts for all the facts and is justified by them.
  • The philosophical gap looks at a common phenomenon where really thinking about things makes it seem like what you knew was totally wrong — when really it only seems like that because you’re still stuck in the old view of how things “should” be.

Some of my posts combine popular fiction with philosophy:

I have also written about religion and spirituality from various angles, as a very well-informed outsider to organised religion.

I also have a number of posts that could be described as “answers to stuff I hear people say a lot.” Sometimes, there are things you keep hearing people say, but when you really think about it, they don’t really make sense.

  • In A Note on Things That We Cannot Understand, I talk about how people appeal to the idea that we have to accept that there are some things that we cannot understand… and why, while true enough, this doesn’t do what they want it to do.
  • In Fundamentalist on Others’ Behalf, I note how people rather absurdly complain when their ideological opponents are being too reasonable.
  • The Mythical Animal notes that people often have an automatic way of talking about what non-human animals are like… when they really mean to say something about humans and have little real knowledge to justify what they’re saying about all the other species in a huge blanket statement.
  • In Then why is it called “feminism”? (Like you don’t know.), I show that, quite aside from the fact that there’s nothing wrong with the name “feminism” in the final analysis, those asking why it refers to women if it’s about equality do already know why it’s thought appropriate — if only they thought straight instead of looking for ways to attack.
  • Finally, in These days, I talk about the minor but weird and ubiquitous phenomenon where people seem to automatically assume that anything that they observe now must be a new thing, even though they have absolutely no evidence about the past and the past may not even be at issue.

I haven’t written so many reviews, but here are a few I could highlight:

Some interesting stuff falls outside these rough categories, but that’s enough of a sample for now. I hope you’ll find some of these interesting.