On the Whole

Republished in June 2022. It is common to see the world as fundamentally divided. We think that we are separate from other people, and that people are separate from the natural world. Some philosophers agree. Nature, as early-modern Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza put it, is divided between the properties of thought and matter. Plato thought … Continue reading On the Whole

Berkeleyan Platonism: A philosophy of pure ideas

There is an argument by Kurt Gödel that I find fascinating. Gödel argued that his predecessors’ attempt to create a complete set of logical axioms to ground mathematics was doomed to fail. Instead, mathematical ideas must subsist unto themselves (as must, presumably, logical ideas). Ideas cannot complete each other. They are sufficient unto themselves. But … Continue reading Berkeleyan Platonism: A philosophy of pure ideas

Hobbes, the Person of the State, and the Beginnings of Balance

In the beginning, there was a simple thing — be that nothing, something, or everything at once. From this simple, eternal implosion of reality exploded the elaborate fantasy of this divided physical realm. Perhaps even then there were seeds of division immanent to the physicality of this world. Before time and space, however, can we … Continue reading Hobbes, the Person of the State, and the Beginnings of Balance

The rise and fall of the private state

There are three characters in our play of politics: Capital (or the economy), Commonwealth (or the polity), and Culture (or the society). Hobbes’s Leviathan: free from privatisation? To privatise a state (Hobbes’s ‘commonwealth’), capital either: Weakens commonwealth, allowing culture to dominate (indirect privatisation); orStrengthens itself to such a degree that capital can dominate (direct privatisation). … Continue reading The rise and fall of the private state

On power: Tech, the state, and class

Power comes in many forms. Productive power is a relationship between society and nature, whereby people transform nature through technologies (or ‘forces of production’, as Marx called them). Social power is a relationship between people, involving both coercion (the use of threats and rewards, most often to maximise power over production) and legitimation (the use … Continue reading On power: Tech, the state, and class