Category Archives: Philosophy

Popper: “We all have our philosophies…”

“We all have our philosophies, whether or not we are aware of this fact, and our philosophies are not worth very much. But the impact of our philosophies upon our actions and our lives is often devastating. This makes it … Continue reading

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Protected: To Julius Evola

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Reject the conflict

This passage from Bruno Latour expresses a humility that I feel is disappearing from the world: “It is us, the social scientists, who lack knowledge of what they do, and not they who are missing the explanation of why they … Continue reading

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I had insomnia again last night and put on the audiobook of Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities. The best history is always disorienting, and this is premium disorientation, on the order of Inventing the Individual. According to Anderson, nations and nationalism … Continue reading

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Latour’s vocabulary

Bruno Latour changes his vocabulary and framework in every book. This is both irritating and valuable. It is irritating because there is too little continuity and much conceptual sprawl. Each book feels slightly out of control, and his corpus feels … Continue reading

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Designers develop hybrid systems

Reading Verbeek’s What Things Do, I’m reminded of Latour’s handy term “hybrid”, an entity that is neither purely subjective nor purely objective, but a fusion of both. In Latour’s eye, the distinction between nature and society, or subject and object, … Continue reading

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Let’s stop engineering philosophies

My pet theory is that philosophies have been developed in an engineerly mode of making, with emphasis on the thought system, and to be evaluated primarily epistemically: “is it true?” The Pragmatists improved on this by asking, “does it work”? … Continue reading

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10,000 foot view

The spew below might be a plan for a talk. Lately I’ve been reflecting on what strikes me as the most difficult and interesting challenge I’ve faced adjusting to service design after decades of practicing other flavors of human-centered design … Continue reading

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Design vs marketing mindset

What is it about the marketing mindset that makes it feel so familiar and so unfamiliar at the same time to my designer’s view of the world? Why do designers and marketers talk past one another if they aren’t very … Continue reading

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For the sake of one

Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi led Torah study yesterday. She focused on “the first thing Abraham did after becoming a Jew”: argue — and with God, no less, which she characterized as an essentially Jewish act. Then Adonai said, “The outrage … Continue reading

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At the boundary between physicality and symbol stands an object marking the line between the two: the pen. A pen can be seen as a herm, a Janus at the gate, a hand-mezuzah, by which thoughts become physical, and physical … Continue reading

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Personality and civility

I haven’t tracked this alleged Hannah Arendt quote, so it probably isn’t her: “Every generation, civilization is invaded by barbarians — we call them ‘children’.” Barbarians, how? I would say half of the children enter the world as me-less I’s, … Continue reading

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First, second, third people

First-person thought is perspectival, understood when it is inhabited, seen-from, felt-from, known-from, experienced from. Understanding first-person thought is about finding the from, from which the thought understands whatever is presented. It is “where you’re coming from” as hippies say. First-person … Continue reading

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Drops away into blindness

This passage from Voegelin’s Anamnesis sparked the insight I diagram as an asterisk. In the illuminatory dimensions of past and future, one becomes aware not of empty spaces but of the structures of a finite process between birth and death. … Continue reading

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Whitehead, Levinas, Schuon

Reading Whitehead’s Modes of Thought I’m reminded of Levinas’s dichotomy of totality versus infinity, and Schuon’s similar indefinite versus infinite. The former term (totality/indefinitude) is some particular conception of all possibilities, against which all particulars are defined; the latter term … Continue reading

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Public shaming as cruel and unusual punishment

Fron Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed: The common assumption is that public punishments died out in the new great metropolises because they’d been judged useless. Everyone was too busy being industrious to bother to trail some transgressor through … Continue reading

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From The Gay Science

From The Gay Science: What makes one heroic? — Going out to meet at the same time one’s highest suffering and one’s highest hope. In what do you believe? — In this: that the weights of all things must be … Continue reading

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Geometric Parables TOC

The four chapters of Geometric Parables could be: Ipsegraph Altergraph Genegraph Ethograph

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Less toxic ideology, more human-centered design

Yesterday, I opened a can of Johnny Letter on Fast Company, for running what I saw as an uninformed and blatantly bigoted opinion piece, “Design needs more feminism, less toxic masculinity”. Rather than complain about the bigotry, though, I chose … Continue reading

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Hammers, nails, arguments

If the only tool you have is argumentation, everything looks like an argument. That is, the means to resolve disagreements is assumed to be argument. * Prior to modernity, even science was a matter of argument. Show me an antimodern, … Continue reading

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