November 22, 2021

In my recent writing (e.g. on “the West”) I have promised to return to several points. I’m creating this page to track some of those things. It’s just a list of stuff I’ll write about in the future. I can’t guarantee that it will all make sense yet, and I’ll update it as I go (most likely linking/crossing things off).

As a brief reflection, having written every day of November so far, I do find it hard to keep on top of the direction of the writing. It’s almost as if doing too much cognition prevents metacognition. I feel that it’s hard to keep going at speed and also navigate, so my apologies if I’m not always making sense.

Anyway, here’s the current state of things…

Things I said I’d return to

  • 2021-11-08 The Myth of the West IV:
    1. I said I’d write about Chinese philosophy (A. C. Graham) 2021-11-23 Sinitic Syncretism
    2. I said I’d write about Indian philosophy:
  • 2021-11-12 How the West Was Spun More on the imperative to rewrite (personal) history to make everything seem inevitable
  • 2021-11-17 Homogenizing Purges: I said I’d write about the evolution of saber-tooth cats.
  • 2021-11-20 On Perfection:
    1. Look at Nietzsche’s distinction between “good and bad” and “good and evil”
    2. Look at Schopenhauer on perfection Perfection: A real nuisance
    3. I mentioned that Spinoza’s notion of perfection is related to Vision and Abstraction and to untethering in the world; I need to read them side-by-side and think how.
    4. Further discuss Spinoza’s dependence on intersubjectivity of author/beholder relationship and “theory of mind.”
    5. Continue the anti-teleology (Epicurus, Darwin, Kuhn, but also Schopenhauer’s take on Lucretius, Francis Bacon, Spinoza)
  • 2021-11-21 More Perfection: I said I’d write about several things:
    1. Kuhn on Darwin’s removal of teleology.
    2. Darwin’s use of the word “perfection.”
  • 2021-11-25 Indian Philosophy I said I’d discuss how Greek philosophical schools guarded their secrets
  • 2021-11-26 The Aphoristic Form
    • Connection between the theological and the scientific
    • Write about ungulates and domestication
  • 2021-11-27 Callisthenes
    • A. C. Graham on Chinese excitement about rational debate
    • Nietzsche on Socrates

Where I’d like to go

  • Kuhn on Renaissance painting as a science (“When Art Was Science”)
  • When science was philosophy (demarcation problem)
  • Ratcheting effects in hypothesis, Zettelkasten, nature
  • Double mistakes (perfection in Spinoza, Schopenhauer)
  • Against Kant
    • Against time as precondition for experience
    • The time before time
    • Time as a hack on space
    • Einstein’s issue with a priori
    • Problem with science depending on the structure of the intuition
  • Mnemonics
    • Narratives as mnemonics
    • When is the first narrative?
  • Prehistoric promiscuity
  • Uniformitarianism/catastrophism moves from geology to biology (Darwin as geologist)
  • Killing the alpha?
  • Sous-chefing the alpha
  • Revolutions
  • Writing kills the animistic gods
  • Domestication and culture are both copied from animals, hence animism
  • Symbolic animal, webs of significance
  • Duhem/Quine: underdetermination of scientific theories
  • Croesus, purity of coinage leads to war… Purity leads to thoroughbreds, which leads to the concept of race?
  • Where does civilization actually start? Philosophy? Stable states?
  • Golden age of barbarians…
  • Jaynes, Mcghilchrist, and the function of art/literature to in part defamaliarize words and metaphors.
  • The artist and Buddha as cultural therapists, providing defamiliarization practices the improve the likelihood of civilizations identifying and amplifying their degenerates.
  • Dependent arising, Darwin’s “disuse,” Hebbian theory
  • History of cynicism, skepticism, Pyrrhonism, how it relates to pragmatism
  • Pragmatist views of truth (Peirce vs James vs Dewey)

Bryan Kam

I'm Bryan Kam. I'm thinking about complexity and selfhood. Please sign up to my newsletter or see more here.