Archive for March, 2009

Scott McCloud gets the Four Cultures

March 14, 2009

In this enaging TED talk from 2005, Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics, gets the four cultures. It’s about 6 minutes in.

Also, this is one of the best uses of powerpoint I’ve seen for a while.

Virtual Goods and the Greatest Story ever Told

March 12, 2009


Virtual goods make money

In a recent post about the profitability of online social networks in the US, China and Japan, venture capitalist Bill Gurley presents evidence that the more financially successful social network sites are those that downplay advertising revenue and focus on revenue from virtual goods. He points out that Users in Second Life are doing $450m annually in this business and taking out of Second Life $100m a year.

But why would anyone buy them? (more…)

How do we know what we think we know? What the Density Classification Problem tells us

March 10, 2009

How can we know what the world is really like?

We often hear fairly frank opinions about how things ‘really’ are. We probably make these kinds of claims ourselves from time to time: ‘the fact is…’, ‘that’s just the way it is…’;  ‘you know what it’s like…’

But how do we know what we think we know? And what makes us so sure that our assumptions are right?

(more…)

Is Belief in Free Will a Cultural Universal?

March 5, 2009

This is the title of a recent paper by a group promoting ‘experimental philosophy‘. This involves the “use of the methods of experimental psychology to probe the way people think about philosophical issues and then examine how the results of such studies bear on traditional philosophical debates” (Nadelhoffer and Nahmias, 2007: 123)

The paper examines two related philosophical concepts, determinism and moral compatiblism, and seeks to discover whether views regarding these differ across national cultures. Reading the paper through the lens of the Four Cultures is an interesting experience. (more…)

Welcome to the Age of Stupid

March 4, 2009

Fourcultures has previously mentioned The Age of Stupid.

And it’s finally here.

And here.

Political blogs – the curious case of the missing centre

March 4, 2009

There’s an interesting working paper on the culture of political blogs over at Crooked Timber.

Some highlights and discussion: (more…)

High Quality Blog Comments

March 4, 2009

David Hoffman of Temple University and the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale recently mentioned this site over at Concurring Opinions, a blog about law and policy. He said he thought the comments here were pretty good – so thank you to everyone who has commented on something written here. (more…)

The Four Cultures – No Way! Oh go on then…

March 3, 2009

greeneggMost of the dominant analyses of society allow for a straight choice between one of only two conditions. A clear example is political preference, the dichotomy between ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ or between left and right. But the Four cultures approach explored on this website proposes that there are four, not two basic ways of organising society (but there aren’t any more than that). It claims that when we think in terms of only two ways of organising society,  we are missing out on the other two, and then our understanding as well as our freedom of action suffers for it.

Since this post is being composed on Dr Seuss’s birthday, I’ll use an appropriate example: Green Eggs and Ham. (more…)


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