Philosophy of tech, an outline of theories

This bibliography includes

Communication theory

  • Technological or Media Determinism by Daniel Chandler
  • Sociolinguistic variation is the study of the way language varies (see also the article on Dialectology) and changes (see Historical linguistics) in communities of speakers and concentrates in particular on the interaction of social factors (such as a speaker’s gender, ethnicity, age, degree of integration into their community, etc) and linguistic structures (such as sounds, grammatical forms, intonation features, words, etc). The study of sociolinguistic variation has its roots in dialectology, emerging in the 1960s partly as a result of inadequate methods in earlier approaches to the study of dialect, and partly as a reaction to Chomsky’s generative programme. Unlike earlier forms of dialectology, it uses recordings of informal conversations as its data (and occasionally reading exercises to examine the role of formality in dialect use); argues for the role of quantitative analysis in highlighting dialect differences; and is interested in how social groups variably select different dialect forms. This article outlines some of these important issues and suggests the salient topics that should be taught in a course on this subject.
  • Giovanni Sartori, a scholar of comparative politics, has written about what he calls “conceptual stretching” — casually applying a concept to new cases and expanding its meaning beyond a previously shared understanding.
  • sense and reference wiki
  • Introduction to Methods and Generalizations by Gilles Fauconnier
  • Overliving. Paradise lost. — “I must now change my notes to tragic.” In Paradise Lost, Adam asks, “Why do I overlive?” Adam’s anguished question is the basis for a critical analysis of living too long as a neglected but central theme in Western tragic literature. Emily Wilson examines this experience in works by Milton and by four of his literary predecessors: Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, and Shakespeare. Each of these writers composed works in which the central character undergoes unbearable suffering or loss, hopes for death, but goes on living.
  • Nostos (Ancient Greek: νόστος) is a theme used in Ancient Greek literature, which includes an epic hero returning home by sea. In Ancient Greek society, it was deemed a high level of heroism or greatness for those who managed to return. This journey is usually very extensive and includes being shipwrecked in an unknown location and going through certain trials that test the hero.[1] The return isn’t just about returning home physically but also about retaining certain statuses and retaining your identity upon arrival.[2] The theme of Nostos is brought to life in Homer’s The Odyssey, where the main hero Odysseus tries to return home after battling in the Trojan War. Odysseus is challenged by many temptations, such as the Sirens and the Lotus-eaters. If Odysseus had given into these temptations it would have meant certain death and thus failing to return home.[2] Nostos is used today in many forms of literature and movies. [Wiki]
  • Raymond Chandler - the art of murder? (link)
  • Semiotics Institute Online [Archive]
  • The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate
  • Recommended Readings for International Advertising and Advertising & Society
  • Many Voices One World, also known as the MacBride report, was a 1980 UNESCO publication written by the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems, chaired by Irish Nobel laureate Seán MacBride. Its aim was to analyze communication problems in modern societies, particularly relating to mass media and news, consider the emergence of new technologies, and to suggest a kind of communication order (New World Information and Communication Order) to diminish these problems to further peace and human development. (here)
  • The Situationist International Text Library/The Society of the Spectacle
  • “How the Media Frames Political Issues” by Scott London
  • Social movement theory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • howard rheingold’s | the virtual community | Virtual community - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia | Internet forum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Many different terms have been coined to represent the essential nature of humankind: homo faber (philosophical man), homo economicus (rational man), homo politicus (political man), and, of course, homo sapiens (wise man). Walter R. Fisher, an academic, proposed homo narrans (storytelling man) as an important addition to this list in 1985.

The digital

  • The Basic Psychological Features of Cyberspace Elements of a Cyberpsychology Model [link]
  • The ultimate proof of our understanding of natural or technological systems is reflected in our ability to control them. Although control theory offers mathematical tools for steering engineered and natural systems towards a desired state, a framework to control complex self-organized systems is lacking. Here we develop analytical tools to study the controllability of an arbitrary complex directed network, identifying the set of driver nodes with time-dependent control that can guide the system’s entire dynamics. We apply these tools to several real networks, finding that the number of driver nodes is determined mainly by the network’s degree distribution. We show that sparse inhomogeneous networks, which emerge in many real complex systems, are the most difficult to control, but that dense and homogeneous networks can be controlled using a few driver nodes. Counterintuitively, we find that in both model and real systems the driver nodes tend to avoid the high-degree nodes. [Nature]
  • How to make anything signify anything, William F. Friedman and birth of modern cryptanalysis by William H. Sherman [link]
  • Website of Barry Shein [Archive]
  • History of computer science [Wiki]


Political economy and regulation

  • Constitutional patriotism (German: Verfassungspatriotismus) is the idea that people should form a political attachment to the norms and values of a pluralistic liberal democratic constitution rather than a national culture or cosmopolitan society. It is associated with post-nationalist identity, because it is seen as a similar concept to nationalism, but as an attachment based on values of the constitution rather than a national culture. In essence, it is an attempt to re-conceptualise group identity with a focus on the interpretation of citizenship as a loyalty that goes beyond individuals’ ethnocultural identification. Theorists believe this to be more defensible than other forms of shared commitment in a diverse modern state with multiple languages and group identities. It is particularly relevant in post-national democratic states in which multiple cultural and ethnic groups coexist. It was influential in the development of the European Union and a key to Europeanism as a basis for multiple countries belonging to a supranational union. (link)

  • In 1975, Michael Oakeshott’s On Human Conduct [see yesterday’s Daily Quiddity entry of this blog] distinguished between ‘nomocratic’ and ‘teleocratic’ regimes. The latter, he claimed, seek to impose an abstract vision of human flourishing onto contingent historical circumstances. Teleocratic regimes take their orientation from a particular philosophical goal, or telos, and slash through the dense web of custom and tradition in order to implement it. In teleocratic regimes, the law shapes history. Nomocratic regimes are more modest. Rather than attempting to alter their societies, these regimes seek to protect the traditional liberties and social norms of their citizens, their nomos. Whereas the teleocratic regime is universal and philosophic, its nomocratic counterpart is local and historical. One might point, for example, to the early-modern British Common Lawyers, who (as J.G.A. Pocock has shown) sought to erect a legal order upon precedent and prescription. In nomocratic regimes, then, the law reflects history. Oakeshott saw the teleocratic regime as uniquely modern. Yet he said little about how such a regime might evolve from a nomocratic one, and was vague about where, historically, the border between them lay.

  • In his Erinnerungen an Professor Ludwig Bernhard (Poznań: 1936, p. 7), Wegener noted that “Schmoller dealt extensively with the past,” while the liberal Brentano, friend of the working class and trade unions, “liked to make demands on the future.” Bernhard, however, “was concerned with the questions of the present.”

  • Disjointed incrementalism - a pattern of decision-making in organizations, identified by American political scientist Charles Lindblom, in which decisions are taken step by step as a problem unfolds. The various incremental stages of decision-making are not closely integrated with the preceding stages.

  • Two Years, Not Ten Years: Redesigning Infrastructure Approvals [link]

  • Herbert Brownell. 1956 (link) Basically case backlog data from 1956.

  • Writing for the The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Contemporary Political Theory, political philosophers John Thrasher and Gerald Gaus review Buchanan and Tullock’s The Calculus of Consent:

    Calculus advances new methods in an attempt to solve an old problem: the problem of democratic justification. While democracy claims to be the “rule of the people” in any actual democratic system we actually find the rule of some people over others. More formally, the winning coalition in any election is able to impose its authority on the losers. This is true however large the majority happens to be, and however small the minority is, unless the vote is unanimous; and even then, there may be an excluded minority of those who did not or could not vote. Yet at the heart of the democratic ideal is the principle that all are inherently free and equal, with no natural authority to rule over one another. How odd then to start from freedom and equality and end with majority coalitions imposing their policies on minorities merely because they have the numbers to do so. Once we see this oddity we are confronted with the question: how could the authority of democratic assemblies over free and equal persons be justified? This is the problem of democratic justification, a problem that animates Calculus. …A feature of Calculus typically missed is its optimism. Public choice theory is commonly characterized as anti-democratic, or as undermining faith in the democratic process (Barry 1989; Christiano 1996, 2004). Rightly understood though, Calculus is an almost giddy endorsement of democracy (of a specific form) in the face of what looked like dire prospects for democratic theory.

  • Economic sociology links [Archive]

  • Economic Sociology []

Perception and cognition

  • An aphorism, properly stamped and molded, has not been “deciphered” when it has simply been read; rather one has then to begin its interpretation, for which is required an art of interpretation. Nietzsche
  • People come from different backgrounds and it is not possible to totally remove oneself from one’s background, history, culture, gender, language, education, etc. to an entirely different system of attitudes, beliefs and ways of thinking.[1] People may be looking for a way to be engaged in understanding a conversation or dialogue about different cultures and the speaker interprets texts or stories based on his or her past experience and prejudice. Therefore, “hermeneutic reflection and determination of one’s own present life interpretation calls for the unfolding of one’s ‘effective-historical’ consciousness."[2] During the discourse, a fusion of “horizons” takes place between the speaker and listeners.
  • Gadamer[3] defines horizon: Every finite presentation has its limitations. We define the concept of “situation” by saying that it represents a standpoint that limits the possibility of vision. Hence an essential part of the concept of situation is the concept of “Horizon.” The horizon is the range of vision that includes everything that can be seen from a particular vantage point…. A person who has no horizon is a man who does not see far enough and hence overvalues what is nearest to him. Contrariwise, to have an horizon means not to be limited to what is nearest, but to be able to see beyond it…. The working out of the hermeneutical situation means the achievement of the right horizon of enquiry for the questions evoked by the encounter with tradition. “Fusion of horizons” is a dialectical concept which results from the rejection of two alternatives: objectivism, whereby the objectification of the other is premised on the forgetting of oneself; andabsolute knowledge, according to whichuniversal history can be articulated within a singlehorizon. Therefore, it argues that we exist neither in closed horizons, nor within a horizon that is unique.
  • In the West, knowledge begins as a winnowing process. It goes back to ancient Greece, where the rich, free menfolk were debating politics and steering the state. Many opinions were expressed, but only some of them were true, so knowledge became the winnowing of those opinions defined to be rare gems of truth. That idea — that knowledge is what makes it through a winnowing process — not by coincidence fits perfectly with the paper medium that we used for it. Paper is expensive, libraries are small, very few people can get published. So we’ve thought of knowledge as that which makes it through a very small aperture. From
  • Exformation is everything we do not actually say but have in our heads when, or before, we say anything at all - whereas information is the measurable, demonstrable utterance we actually come out with.
  • Apophenia is the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. The term was coined in 1958 by Klaus Conrad, who defined it as the “unmotivated seeing of connections” accompanied by a “specific experience of an abnormal meaningfulness”.
  • Proprioception from Latin proprius, meaning “one’s own” and perception, is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body. Unlike the exteroceptive senses, by which we perceive the outside world, and interoceptive senses, by which we perceive the pain and movement of internal organs, proprioception is a third distinct sensory modality that provides feedback solely on the status of the body internally. It is the sense that indicates whether the body is moving with the required effort, as well as where the various parts of the body are located in relation to each other.
  • Noesis means understanding, as the ability to sense, or know something, immediately.
  • The noumenon (/ˈnɒuːmɨnɒn/) is a posited object or event that is known (if at all) without the use of the physical senses.[1][2] The term noumenon is generally used in contrast with, or in relation to phenomenon, which refers to anything that can be apprehended by, or is an object of, the physical senses. In Platonic philosophy, the noumenal realm was equated with the world of ideas known to the philosophical mind, in contrast to the phenomenal realm, which was equated with the reality as perceived via the physical senses, as known to the uneducated mind.[3][4] Much of modern philosophy has generally been skeptical of the possibility of knowledge independent of the physical senses, and Immanuel Kant gave this point of view its canonical expression: that the noumenal world may exist, but it is completely unknowable to humans. In Kantian philosophy, the unknowable noumenon is often linked to the unknowable “thing-in-itself” (Ding an sich, which could also be rendered as “thing as such” or “thing per se”), although how to characterize the nature of the relationship is a question yet open to some controversy.
  • Recognition-primed decision (RPD) is a model of how people make quick, effective decisions when faced with complex situations. In this model, the decision maker is assumed to generate a possible course of action, compare it to the constraints imposed by the situation, and select the first course of action that is not rejected. RPD has been described in diverse groups including trauma nurses, fireground commanders, chess players, and stock market traders. It functions well in conditions of time pressure, and in which information is partial and goals poorly defined. The limitations of RPD include the need for extensive experience among decision-makers (in order to correctly recognize the salient features of a problem and model solutions) and the problem of the failure of recognition and modeling in unusual or misidentified circumstances. It appears, as discussed by Gary Klein in Sources of Power,[1] to be a valid model for how human decision-makers make decisions.
  • People don’t maximize happiness they maximize satisfaction with their lives.
  • Epistemological modesty
  • Profanum et sacrum
  • A Framework for Representing Knowledge by Marvin Minsky – Classic text
  • Person A and person B exchange their ideas and opinions within a conversation. People come from different places have different opinions and this difference in background creates a set of prejudice and bias which provides various intrinsic values and meanings while the conversation is carrying on. By receiving the information from person A, a fusion of person B’s vision limitation are taking place and consequently, it broadens person B’s range of horizon. In other words, the totality of all that can be realized or thought about by a person at a given time in history and in a particular culture widens and enriches. Gadamer argues that people have a “historically effected consciousness” (wirkungsgeschichtliches Bewußtsein) and that they are embedded in the particular history and culture that shaped them. Thus, interpreting a text involves a ‘fusion of horizons’ where the scholar finds the way to articulate the text’s history with their own background.
  • The hiding hand principle is a theory that offers a framework to examine how ignorance (particularly concerning future obstacles when person first decides to take on a project) intersects with rational choice to undertake a project; the intersection is seen to provoke creative success over the obstacles through the deduction that it is too late to abandon the project. The term was coined by economist Albert O. Hirschman. Writing in The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell brought the concept to life, retelling the story of the construction of a railway tunnel through Hoosac Mountain in northwestern Massachusetts. Construction proved much harder than anticipated, but eventually was completed, with positive results. Gladwell was reviewing the book, “Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman,” by Jeremy Adelman (Princeton University Press, 2013). Bent Flyvbjerg and Cass Sunstein take issue with Hirschman’s principle and argue that there are really two Hiding Hands, a Benevolent Hiding Hand, which is the one Hirschman talks about, and a Malevolent Hiding Hand, which obstructs projects instead of creatively saving them.[1] In an empirical test of 2,062 projects, Flyvbjerg and Sunstein found that the Malevolent Hiding Hand applied in 78% of cases, whereas Hirschman’s Benevolent Hiding Hand applied in only 22% of cases, contrary to Hirschman’s belief that the Benevolent Hiding Hand “typically” applies. Flyvbjerg and Sunstein also argue that the Malevolent Hiding Hand is the planning fallacy writ large.

Journals, outlets and esoterica


I put Wikiholes and YouTube holes in the same genre. They are linked below.

First published Jun 22, 2021