If fiction is defined as what is ‘imaginary’ problems arise because the move renders the phenomenon dependent on authorial intent. Three instances serve to illustrate problems with this approach to defining fictionality. First, suppose Dune, or some other text that describes what is at this point a future time, transpires to be in every detail […]

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In the beginning was the word or it was quiet, or disquiet, or a singularity, or an infinite sequence of prior beginnings or there wasn’t a beginning. Or a solitary consciousness, or a committee, or a rotary motion of cosmic revolution, or the makings of a divine bureaucracy, or a Miscreant, or nothing that was […]

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A Sceptical method of inquiry

Consider a question in the light of a conclusion, theory, or argument that seems right. The theory ought to be supported by examples, certainly, and perhaps other premises as well.  Think of those. Examples may be actual – bits of evidence for the theory. Or they may be hypothetical – possible instances that would support […]

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On fictional worlds of Philip K. Dick (excerpted from thesis)

1. the political The principle that casts fiction as thought experiment or speculative example can be broadly applied. Whether physical, metaphysical, political or philosophical systems are the focus, a text picks out a world that contextualises rules or underlying principles for the system, so going to the question as to what kinds of systems might […]

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Labor’s imminent change of heart on asylum-seekers

No doubt a change of heart from the Australian Labor Party on its inhumane asylum-seeker policy is just around the corner. IN 2007 and 2010 Labor wins elections, implements gradually harsher asylum-seeker policy, including ‘no advantage’ policy aimed at deterrence, plans to remove asylum-seekers from Australia to other countries – Malaysia, Indonesia – in the […]

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Why Abstract Propositions are of Utility, by way of Jabberwocky.

To illustrate the utility of abstract propositions, consider that Jabberwocky, in talking of ‘slithy toves’, references two fictional worlds, fw, at which a ‘slithy tove’ is a salamander, and fw’, at which a ‘slithy tove’ is an element absent from the inventory of the world of the text, iw.  In both cases, ‘slithy toves did […]

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Poll reporting and Margin of Error.

For good or ill – well, ill – polling has become a cornerstone of the Australian political process. This is not uncommon in and of itself: for nearly a century polling has been deployed in many countries as an instrument to measure public opinion, particularly with respect political parties, leaders, and their policies.  Australian political […]

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Defining Propaganda: criteria and examples

The term ‘propaganda’ has negative connotations in modern communications, meaning that it sometimes seems to equate to ‘bad’ or ‘unethical’ communication.  But this won’t do as a definition: to then say that propaganda is defined as ‘bad persuasion’ is circular. Possible Criteria for propaganda The first possible and most obvious definition for propaganda is that […]

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The Posthuman (a lecture)

 ‘In their ten-thousand, three hundred and ninth year of marriage, Leila and Jasim began contemplating death. They had known love, raised children, and witnessed the flourishing generations of their offspring. They had travelled to a dozen worlds and lived among a thousand cultures. They had educated themselves many times over, proved theorems, and acquired and […]

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Politics of and Approaches to Risk (an overview)

 Politics and risk   In the broadest sense the concept of security, or capable risk management,  defines the range of services a State is contracted by its citizenry to provide. The discourse of risk, in public and official channels is intrinsic to political discourse as a result of the close relationship between authority, those submitting to […]

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