Welcome to my website. A selection of new material of all kinds is listed below.
You may be interested in my online papers, reading lists, Academic CV, General CV, my PhD thesis, my polemic against the gratuitous use of LaTeX, or my advice on how to win arguments and look good in seminars.
And there is a partial list of software I have written.
|Jill Stein, be careful what you wish for.||17 Nov 2016|
Jill Stein, the Green candidate in the recent US presidential elections, is right to reject accusations of “spoiling” the election in favour of Donald Trump but should be more careful in her enthusiasm for “ranked choice” voting (also known as “alternative vote”, “preferential voting”, and “instant run-off”).
|Philosophical logic reading list||16 Sep 2016|
This is a reading list for the Oxford finals “Logic and Language” paper, oriented more around philosophical logic than my other reading list for this paper. Students may wish to also consult the philosophy faculty’s reading list available through WebLearn.
Particularly significant readings are starred (*).
|Symptoms of depression given letter grades (now with co-morbid anxiety)||16 Sep 2016|
I have suffered from depression on and off since 2012 and probably a lot longer. In 2012 I came under a lot of stress, had a meltdown worse than any I’d had before, at a time when I couldn’t afford to just take time off to deal with it myself, and went to see my doctor, then a psychiatrist, then a therapist, and ended up taking sick leave from my job, a course of anti-depressants and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
A standard thing people try to do to help deal with depression is “taming the black dog”. The idea is that you get comfy with the idea that whatever you feel, however nasty, is part of you. You own it, it doesn’t own you. Another thing, part of CBT, is teaching yourself that even the worst thing that might realistically happen is not the end of the world (once you have your head around that, you can stop believing that it will happen). This page is an attempt to do both of those.
A few years ago now I gave humourous letter grades to the world’s flags. The last time I came back up from a bout of depression, it suddenly seemed like a stroke of genius to do the same to my symptoms (see Hypomania below). I have not attempted to review every possible symptom. Mostly, depression is no barrel of laughs. But in retrospect some symptoms are quite funny. So I have just chosen a few choice picks.
Before I begin, some caveats:
|The plot of every John Wyndham novel ever||08 Aug 2016|
I am a big fan of visionary English science fiction writer John Wyndham. I here present a rough plotline of every single one of his novels.
|Understanding the psychology of Brexit||20 Jun 2016|
They’re crazy, or at least that’s how it seems to anyone who isn’t English. What would they want to go and do that for? The government and the opposition are united against it. The World Bank and the trade unions are united against it. The US and the EU are united against it. The pro-Brexit politicians are a grab bag of political opportunists (IDS, Boris, the Labour Brexiteers), chronically counter-suggestible ideologues (Gove), crypto-fascists, or in some cases, all three (Farage). But somehow 40% of Britons are convinced.