Philosophy Hurts Your Head

The blog of a cranky Philosophy PhD Student from Newcastle, Australia.

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Blog no longer active

Posted by Sam D on October 22, 2014

I’ve started a new (and hopefully more thoughtful and well-considered) blog – Fast Thoughts – Slow Oughts.


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Internet Censorship Round-up

Posted by Sam D on February 19, 2009

This past week-and-a-bit has seen the Australian newspapers website feature a number of it’s s0-called “Super Bloggers” giving opinion pieces regarding ISP level filtering.

Some of these articles were quite reasonable. However, I’m going to focus briefly on some that aren’t.

Clive Hamilton: Web doesn’t belong to net libertarians

I’m not sure where to begin with this offering. The first few paragraphs are unnecessarily lewd, presumably in an attempt to shock a fearful & conservative audience. In fact the depictions are so graphic that at least one person has lodged a complaint with ACMA. For a more thorough appraisal of this, go to SomebodyThinkof The Children! I’d just like to make one point (again!): Clive Hamilton writes in great detail and at length on the damage that pornography does to society, including adults. His opinions on this matter have never been published in a peer-reviewed journal. If someone has an idea about Climate Change, but this idea can’t survive peer-review, then it’s not considered good science. Why is ‘Public Ethics’ any different?

Stephen Conroy: Filtering doesn’t breach free speech

And why? Because the government says so. I’d apperciate some explanation for this position. This isn’t 15th century France,  Kevin Rudd is not the Sun King, so this ” I am the state” type of attitude is not on.

Seriously though, repetition does not equal truth. Why can politicians never learn this?

The comments on both of these articles came thick and fast, and anti-filter views were predominant for a while. Then a flood of pro-filter/anti-porn views hit the Australian. Many people though this was strange, but an explanation was found soon  enough. Apparently the Jim Wallace & Australian Christian Lobby had emailed their supporters asking them to show post comments in support of internet filtering on both of these articles. This was first reported on WhirlPool and was later picked up by SomebodyThinkOfTheChildren. The point is that the flood of support for the filters to defend us from the ‘filth’ that inhabits the internet was effectively manufactured, not to mention poorly informed. This isn’t a great move for the ACL, as their most effective lobbying was done when the general public not was aware of them. The more they try to influence debate and opinion on this issue, the more attention they will draw to themselves. And despite their standing in the Baptist and Pentecostal communities, they may yet turn out to be a political liability.

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Holiday Season Round-Up

Posted by Sam D on January 8, 2009

Another year begins and I’m back at work already.

The internet censorship debate continues even though all politician and many pundits involved are clearly still on holidays. Since I last posted, several blacklists from other countries have made thei way onto wikileaks, so there is at least half a chance that our will as well at some stage. This may not be a bad thing, as this eventuality might help those compiling this list to be extra careful about what they add to it.

I’m reading Oryx and Crake at the moment. I do wonder about Margret Atwood’s mood when she was wrting this.

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Is Australian Internet Censorship a Barrier to Trade?

Posted by Sam D on November 5, 2008

The answer is: Potentially, yes.
But with whom?
First up there is the European Union.
The European Parliament resolution of 19 February 2008 on the EU’s Strategy to deliver market access for European companies (2007/2185(INI)) specifically adresses this very issue, with the European Parliament calling on the Commission (to the European Parliament) :

“to specifically deal with all restrictions on the provision of Internet and information society services imported by European companies in third countries as part of its external trade policy and to regard all unnecessary limitations on the provision of those services as constituting trade barriers.”

It remains to be seen how much European content would be blocked before it is deemed an “unnecessary limitation”, but I think the potential is there.  On top of there is the objective outlined by the Commission to:

“keep the Internet as an open and censorship-free zone where all the world’s citizens can communicate freely with each other without needing to seek the permission of anyone else, including their governments, in line with internationally recognised fundamental rights.”

Full text here

This was in in an answer to questions regarding the European Parliament commitment to protect ‘cyber dissidents‘. INterestingly enough, the legislation that sets the background for the public hearign leading to the question being asked in the firstplace was this:European Parliament resolution on freedom of expression on the Internet . This resolution says a lot of differnt things, but I particularly like: 

“5.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to draw up a voluntary code of conduct that would put limits on the activities of companies in repressive countries;”

I know it’s voluntary, but wouldn’t it be a pity if European companies had even more limits on what business they could conduct here. In time this may apply to any European companies that contribute to the censorship effort. 

I’m still working on deciphering the Australia-US free trade agreement, to see if it contains anything relevant. I susupect there won’t be, but time will tell. 

There seem to be more arguments against the censorship of the internet everyday. I can only hope that Senator Conroy listens to reason and finds a way out of this mess.

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I’m back, for the moment.

Posted by Sam D on October 30, 2008

I’ve not blogged in for some time now, but it as only a matter of time till something annoyed me enough to return. Not that my break was a bad thing. In my absence I’ve completed another few chapters of my thesis, lectured on Critical Reasoning and tutored Media Ethics (again)

As I said, my return is primarily motivated by the need to speak out on an issue concerning Australia, but I’ll leave that for a separate post.

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Blogflare – test, and it probably won’t work.

Posted by Sam D on May 24, 2006

Philosophy Blogs - Blog Flare

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Posted by Sam D on December 5, 2005

I’m now contributing to a new collaborative blog, Epideixis, along with Martin Hill and Rowan Blyth. It is exciting and topical (perhaps) and a tiny bit more serious than here. Visit it, or else!

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What happened to Cognitive Abortions?

Posted by Sam D on October 19, 2005

I used to enjoy going to this Blog, but it has disappeared. Anyone know what happened?

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Yes, I am a little ray of sunshine this morning.

Posted by Sam D on September 20, 2005

I feel like what defines us is the inability to help others due to the amount of our own shit we have to deal with. Many people need help, but the only people they can possibly ask for it are themselves barely coping. I don’t know how widespread this is, but if it is, something is broken. We are pressurised to an extent where in order to do what we feel that we need to (very different to ‘real’ needs) we use too much of ourselves up, and have nothing left to give to others when they need it.
The above is my hypothesis. Below are (some of the) the phenomena:

Increasing suicide.
Marrige breakdown.
Dropping birth rate.
Loss of ‘community’.

Or am I wrong. Probably. Are we just so soft and weak that instead of sucking it in and geting on with things like our grandparents would have done, we moan about how unhappy we all are. Are we unhappy because we expect to be happy?

uhg. Thesis almost finished. I am going to get so drunk after that’s handed in.

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Posted by Sam D on September 13, 2005

Urg. Sorry to anyone who actually reads this about my lack of posting lately. I’ve been hard at work on this pesky thesis. I’m happy to say that I’m probably about 3 weeks away from having the damn thing finally finished, leaving only 8k of words on Socrates (2nd half of coursework) to do.

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