Author Archives: philogen

The (Real) Third Way

With the debate over Affirmative Action going to the Supreme Court, most people believe there are only two possible outcomes: The court overturns Affirmative Action because people should be judged as individuals, not as members of an ethnic or racial group, or The court upholds Affirmative Action because otherwise certain ethnic and racial groups would… Read More »

People differ

Matthew Stewart’s claim that the top 9.9% of Americans form a new Aristocracy contains a telling phrase: “The neighbors, seeing that the rough-cut teenager had something special, pitched in to send him to [college]”. Some of us show early promise (“something special”) through traits like ambition, charm, intelligence, drive, confidence, and ability to defer gratification, and society… Read More »

Alternative theory of brain function

John Adams, the second president of the United States, was a man full of anxieties, vanities, narcissistic traits, and personal grudges and vendettas.  Let’s pick one of his traits for study: narcissism. Not everyone is vain and narcissistic, which brings us to our first observation: Not everyone expresses all human traits.  Extreme narcissism, as we… Read More »

How concepts are represented in the brain

I’m shocked at how little progress has been made in the past 3 decades to understand how the brain is organized at a conceptual level. At best, we’re shown glowing MRI scans of brain regions that are supposed to tell us something. They’re correlated with cognitive states and differences in human preferences, temperament and personality, but no… Read More »

A Theory of Inequality

Just published, “A Theory of Inequality” explores why people differ and how the diversity of traits among us leads to inequality. It then offers a remedy for inequality based on how lucky you are. If you never chose your traits and early experiences—if they are assigned to you by lottery—then you bear only limited responsibility for the… Read More »