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Gen Z is Turning Away From Religion in Order to Live Out Their Values

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/11/2021 - 5:24pm in

Generation Z, or those born roughly between 1995-2010, have come of age during two vastly...

A new project from FRIBIS: Universal Basic Income and Gender

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 03/11/2021 - 4:43am in

The Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies (FRIBIS), a network of several faculties at the University of Freiburg, has expanded with a new international team which focuses on basic income and gender issues, pulled together by Enno Schmidt. It uses as a starting point, the study by Prof. Toru Yamamori on the British women’s liberation […]

Social media repertoires

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 30/10/2021 - 1:05am in

I’d like to blog more about my research, but not sure yet how to go about it (e.g., whether to write more about research already completed or about projects currently in the works or both.. feel free to voice your preference). Today, I’m posting a link to a paper that was just published (and is available open access so no paywall to battle): Birds of a Feather Flock Together Online: Digital Inequality in Social Media Repertoires, which I wrote with my friend Ágnes Horvát.

There is some work (not a ton, but a growing literature) on who adopts various social media platforms (e.g., are men vs women more likely to be on Facebook or on Pinterest, are more highly educated people more likely to be on Twitter or on Reddit), but as far as we can tell, no one has looked at the user base of pairs of such services. (I am always very cautious to claim that we are the first to do something as it’s nearly impossible to have a sense of all work out there, but we could not find anything related. Do let me know if we missed something.)

Why should anyone care who adopts a social network site (SNS) and what’s the point of knowing how user bases overlap across such sites? There are several reasons for the former and then by extension, the latter. I started doing such analyses back in the age of MySpace and Facebook finding socioeconomic differences in who adopted which platform even among a group of college students. More recent work (mine and others’) has continued to show differences in SNS adoption by various sociodemographic factors. This matters at the most basic level, because (a) whose voices are heard on these platforms matters to what content millions of people see and share and engage with; and (b) many studies use specific platforms as their sampling frame and so if a specific platform’s users are non-representative of the population (in most cases that is indeed the case) and the research questions pertain to the whole population (or all Internet users at minimum, which is again often the case) then the data will be biased from the get-go.

By knowing which platforms have similar users, when wanting to diversify samples, researchers can focus on including data from SNSs with lower overlaps in their user base without having to sample from too many of them. Also, for campaigns – these could be health-related, political, commercial – that want to reach diverse constituents, it is again helpful to know which sites have similar users versus reach different groups of people. Our paper shows (with graphs that I am hoping are helpful to interpreting the results) how SNS pairs differ by gender, age, education, and Internet skills.

Making the Abundance of Philosophy on Video More Usable

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/10/2021 - 11:19pm in

An effort is underway to curate the vast number of philosophy videos that can be found on YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, and elsewhere on the web.

PhilVideos aims to create a free searchable online platform of philosophical videos selected not by algorithm, but by academics, and categorized not just by topic and speaker but also intended audience (e.g., introductory, advanced), type (e.g., lecture, interview, animation, movie clip), and accessibility. It also aims to include a chat feature by which viewers can get in touch with experts. Each video will be connected with corresponding topics or papers on PhilPapers.

The creators of the project write:

PhilVideos is a project born at the University of Genoa at the initial suggestion of Carlo Penco (professor of Philosophy of Language) and developed by Nicolò Metti (philosopher and videomaker) with the YOUniversity non-profit organization. Our platform begins with a database of hundreds of selected videos and grows through ongoing classification.

We aim to have a suitable platform by April 2022, after testing the reliability of the classification work. We also need to enrich our platform with new videos and provide the portal with all the normal features required (discussion space, blog, chat or video chat, intelligent search engine), and extend the classification work. The platform will be free to use for all.

The project is still in its development phase. You can learn more about it here, as well as donate to its fundraising effort or volunteer time to help with it.

You can also follow the project on Twitter and Facebook.

Using “Distant Reading” to Complement Close Reading

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 04/10/2021 - 10:48pm in



“I don’t think the computers will ever replace the people when it comes to interpreting philosophical texts. It’s rather that we humans can use computers to help keep ourselves honest and unearth patterns that would be difficult to detect if we did everything manually.”

How can those studying and intepreting figures in the history of philosophy avoid approaches that “warp or distort the philosopher being interpreted”?

Mark Alfano, associate professor of philosophy at Macquarie University, who studies Nietzsche, shares a technique, called “distant reading,” in response to a question from interviewer Richard Marshall at 3:16AM:

The basic idea is extremely flat-footed and simple-minded: I come up with a list of concepts or constructs that, based on my reading of Nietzsche over the years as well as my familiarity with the secondary literature, are probably important for him. Then I associate each concept or construct with the German words (actually word stems) that he uses to refer to or express it. For instance, the concept of  virtue  is associated with anything beginning with ‘tugend’. Some concepts are associated with only one word stem, others with multiple. This is made a bit difficult because Nietzsche updated his spelling in the mid-1880s. For instance, in his earlier work, he uses ‘instinct’ and ‘affect’, but later he uses ‘instinkt’ and ‘affekt’. In order to get all and only the word stems you want, you need to be aware of the text at a detailed level. Once I’m satisfied with the list of word stem(s) associated with a given concept, I then run an algorithm over the entire corpus to find out which passages contain which concepts. I initially did this all by hand via , which is an outstanding resource. It took months. But then I met a computer scientist by the name of Marc Cheong who figured out how to do it automatically in the course of about a minute. We eventually published a tool that anyone with minimal coding skills can use to replicate and extend what I did in the book. 

The next step is really the one you asked about: how to use distant reading to complement close reading? There are two main uses. First, this kind of analysis makes it possible to answer questions of the form, “What does Nietzsche talk about when he talks about X?” So for instance, what else does he talk about when he talks about virtue, or about courage, or about contempt, or about conscience? In the book, I visualize these interrelationships with (what I think are) pretty pictures using Gephi.

But the actual analysis is entirely structural and mathematical. Answering that question on its own doesn’t tell you how Nietzsche relates various concepts, but it strongly suggests that he does  relate them. This leads to the second thing, which is guided close-reading. The idea is that if Nietzsche keeps talking about X and Y in the same passage, he probably thinks they’re related in some way. So then I go through all of those passages with an eye specifically to the relationship between those concepts. This was a new way of reading for me. Previously, I’d either read cover-to-cover or would have a hunch and search for one or two relevant passages. Forcing myself to engage with all and only the passages in which concepts of interest crop up led me to formulate some new ideas, especially when it came to Nietzsche’s thoughts about perspectivism, about having a sense of humor, and especially about what he calls ‘solitude’. 

I want to be clear that I don’t think the computers will ever replace the people when it comes to interpreting philosophical texts. It’s rather that we humans can use computers to help keep ourselves honest and unearth patterns that would be difficult to detect if we did everything manually. But we are the ones to offer the interpretations, and our interpretations will always need close, careful, and contextualized reading. That (along with the pretty pictures) is what I think distant reading is or at least should be about. 

You can read the whole interview here.

Related: A Semantic-Network Approach to the History of Philosophy

Four Chinese students have been working with BIEN for three months

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/08/2021 - 5:48am in

From the 24th May to the 24th August 2021 four Chinese students undertook internships with BIEN. They attended a five day introductory course about Basic Income and the global Basic Income debate, translated pages and posts on the BIEN website into Chinese, summarised in English relevant documents in Chinese, constructed individual Basic Income schemes for […]

Democracy Rising – Call for Contributions

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/08/2021 - 9:30pm in



NCDD Member Tom Prugh is working with to launch a blog series on the site, titled “Democracy Rising.” The goal of the blog is to introduce the readership to deliberative democracy. He’s working with some fellow NCDD members already, but is looking to expand the list of contributors. What better way than to reach out to you, the NCDD network!

Below is a description of the series and its purpose from Tom. Read on for more information on how to express your interest.

Democracy Rising will be a series of blog posts for the website that will lay out the basics of deliberative democracy: why it’s powerful, why the time is right for it, how it works, and how to get it going in one’s community. I will curate the series and write some posts myself, as well as reach out to various scholars and practitioners for contributions. I expect to submit a post every week or two for a year or so.

The underlying premise is that our system of democratic governance is in peril. Many top-down tweaks to the system are possible and necessary, but they will not be sufficient. Changes to the machinery of politics can help fix what’s broken at the top—but not what’s broken at the bottom. DD can help with that: it has a proven track record of bridging divides, tapping our collective intelligence, and mitigating political animus. It is possibly the best means of promoting the education into citizenship that makes for strong communities—especially as we approach an era when increasing localization seems likely.

The problem is that while DD is well known among the many scholars, practitioners, and citizens from all over the world who have experience with it, it’s mostly off the public radar. The field doesn’t lack expertise or results—there is a deep well of both within the DD community. But you could scan the mainstream media for years without seeing a single mention of a town meeting, citizens’ council, or technology review panel. The local focus means local obscurity.

DD needs more evangelism—an effort to publicize it to the wider world and build a movement of “democracy preppers” who want to stockpile social and community capital rather than beans and ammunition. The Resilience readership is largely focused on preparing for a post-carbon world–one of lower energy, less economic growth, and rising ecological stresses–and DD has much to offer as a means for communities to weather the turmoil ahead. This is a largely untapped audience that seems primed for the deliberative democracy message. The Resilience website has had 3 million unique visitors.

In addition to posting on, contributors are welcome to post on their own sites, and NCDD will be cross-posting as well. Contributions may be recurring or one-time. Brief author bios appended to each post will allow contributors to reach out to this new audience with information about their professional services and/or scholarship.

Topics should aim to fit into one of five categories, particularly topics 3 and 4:

  1. history and surveys of examples
  2. theory and arguments for DD
  3. handbook-type posts on how to do it; there is a huge amount of info on the NCDD website already that could be adapted for posting
  4. strategies and tactics for seeding it in a community
  5. further research, ongoing musings (further into the project)

If you are interested in exploring this opportunity, please reach out to Tom at

NCDD hopes you will consider contributing your perspective, resources, and research to this project! This is an exciting opportunity to reach more folks and share the opportunities that deliberative democracy can offer us all in working through today’s toughest challenges together.

A comprehensive history of Basic Income

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/08/2021 - 10:25pm in


News, research

A comprehensive history of Basic Income is to be published this month. The publisher says this about the book:  Presenting a truly comprehensive history of Basic Income, Malcolm Torry explores the evolution of the concept of a regular unconditional income for every individual, as well as examining other types of income as they relate to […]

National Civic Review Summer Ed. – Access Code Included

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/08/2021 - 9:00pm in



The National Civic League, an NCDD member organization, released the National Civic Review (NCR) Summer 2021 edition and  NCDD members receive a digital copy of NCR for free! (Find the access code below.). This esteemed quarterly journal offers insights and examples of civic engagement and deliberative governance from around the country. Thanks to Rebecca Trout, NCL’s Program Director for All-America City Award & Communications, for sharing this announcement with the NCDD network!

Friendly reminder that the League is always seeking articles for NCR on community-based examples of civic engagement, public deliberation, co-production, and democratic innovation – more info here.

National Civic Review Summer Edition 2021 – Access Code: NCDD21

The summer issue of the National Civic Review celebrates cities that are making progress on addressing challenges such as racial equity, health equity and community resilience. Review authors offer insightful ideas on measuring the value of public participation, engaging urban residents through block clubs, promoting public trust with better service delivery and digital communication, and the most effective ways of seeking input from youthful residents. Former Missoula Mayor and Speaker of the Montana House of Representatives Dan Kemmis offers his ideas on what a small “d” democratic renewal movement might look like in the 21st Century.

You can access this edition by going directly to the table of contents and entering your access code: NCDD21.

One of the Nation’s Oldest and Most Respected Journals of Civic Affairs
Its cases studies, reports, interviews and essays help communities learn about the latest developments in collaborative problem-solving, civic engagement, local government innovation and democratic governance. Some of the country’s leading doers and thinkers have contributed articles to this invaluable resource for elected officials, public managers, nonprofit leaders, grassroots activists, and public administration scholars seeking to make America’s communities more inclusive, participatory, innovative and successful.

Summaries in English of some documents in Chinese

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 10/08/2021 - 6:55am in


Chinese, research

During the Summer of 2021 four Chinese students volunteered with BIEN, and one of the tasks that they fulfilled was to write summaries in English of a number of relevant documents in Chinese. Name of original document in Chinese Summaries 天上掉馅饼的全民基本收入设想劳拉泰森 Summary 1 中国失业保险制度改革方向纳入社省略助基于历史背景与功能定位的分析_李珍 Summary 2 丰裕社会的减贫实验西方全民基本收入运动及其困境林红 Summary 3 全民基本收入社会福利制度的创新还是空想徐富海 Summary 4 全民基本收入西方国家再平衡的一个尝试赵柯 Summary 5 […]