It took a while to find an Individualist critique of the new book promoting equality, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, but here it is. Continue reading Do more equal societies really do better?
Sociologist Peter Berger wrote an article in 1997 called Four Faces of Global Culture, claiming globalization has four dominant cultures. These are: Continue reading Four Faces of Global Culture revisited
New Scientist has an article by Ed Yong on the dichotomy between eastern and western thought.
But there are more than two alternatives (western/individualist/analytic vs eastern/collective/holistic)… Continue reading East meets West: are there just two cultures?
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 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? Continue reading Virtual Goods and the Greatest Story ever Told
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?
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. Continue reading Is Belief in Free Will a Cultural Universal?