Superstition; or Why We Must Not be Pigeons

In Articles, Philosophy, Words by Ben

A psychological study (Skinner ’48) showed that pigeons developed superstitions when food was released to them at random intervals. They ended up perfoming any number of actions that they were doing when the food was released in the belief that they had some sort of control over the process. Tellingly, it took a lot more ‘failures’ to stop the behaviours …

Are You Helping?

In Articles, Philosophy, Words by Ben

John Stuart Mill: “As for charity, it is a matter in which the immediate effect on the persons directly concerned, and the ultimate consequence to the general good, are apt to be at complete war with one another.” Charity is quite a commitment. Doing what appears to be the ‘right thing’ may in fact lead to greater suffering in the …

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Surveillance in a Democracy

In Articles, Philosophy, Words by Ben

Any government, corporation or organisation is composed of a turnover of people. People are fallable. Some people ain’t no good. Surveillance increases the power that these unseen individuals have over me by increasing my visibility. Visibility is a trap, said Foucault, despite the idea that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear. I act according to what I …