Let’s start with a caveat. This is blog, a kind of public sketchbook. I use this blog to write down and share ideas, to facilitate discussion, and so forth. However, nothing “published” on this blog counts as a serious publication, and thus, it shouldn’t be treated as such. These are sketches and ideas – some are more extensively researched than others; some are closer to my area(s) of expertise (if I have any), while others lay obviously outside that; but nothing here has been peer reviewed, and probably the vast majority of these posts wouldn’t survive review either.
With that out of the way, let’s explain a few other things. This blog is maintained by Lajos Brons, a Dutch philosopher and social scientist living in Japan. (I studied physics and philosophy as an undergraduate, but dropped out, only to return to the university a few years later, which resulted in a MSc degree in economic geography followed by a PhD for a thesis on a topic in the history and philosophy of social science. While I have a few social science publications from the early 2000s, virtually everything I have done from roughly 2008 onward has been philosophy. For a list of my publications, see here.)
Originally, I created this blog with a twofold purpose in mind. To “publish” writings that deviate too much from academic writing in style, substance, and/or approach to be published in an academic journal. And as a kind of public notebook in which I explore ideas and/or summarize research that may eventually lead to formal, “academic” publications. While this hasn’t really changed, I now (2022) doubt that I’ll ever publish any “serious” academic work again (for a number of reasons that I might one day explain in this blog).
The main topics addressed in this blog change a bit from time to time, depending on changes in my interests and changes in the world around us. Two of the most important recurring topics are philosophy and climate change. Critique of mainstream economics used to be an important topic, but hasn’t received any attention in this blog recently. “Social issues” do get a fair share of attention, but only if there is something I feel the need to comment on. Another important topic is Buddhism or Buddhist philosophy, which is closely related to my (former?) academic work.
To some extent, this blog is an extension of my last two books (or the other way around), The Hegemony of Psychopathy (2017) and A Buddha Land in this World (2022). The first of these is concerned with the culture of neoliberal capitalism; the second addresses the question whether a politically radical (i.e anti-capitalist) and naturalist kind of Buddhism (as advocated by several early 20th century Buddhists) is possible. Both can be downloaded for free (or ordered in cheap paperback format) from the publisher’s website.
Maintaining this blog costs money. Maintaining this blog’s writer costs more money, however, and unfortunately, that writer (i.e. me) doesn’t have it. I only teach at a university part time (as an adjunct professor). I used to have a research position at another university, but funds seems to have dried up. Occasionally, I can supplement my income by doing English correction and editing (or completely rewriting, usually) of papers written by Japanese and Chinese academics, but that’s about it. Hence, if you find this blog useful or important (or something like that), please consider making a small contribution to keep the blog and its writer alive. You can find this blog’s Patreon page here: https://www.patreon.com/fisma.
About the Name of this Blog
“𝐹=𝑚𝑎” is a representation of Newton’s Second Law of Motion. The formula:
states that the force 𝐹 needed to change the momentum of an object is the product of that object’s mass 𝑚 and the acceleration 𝑎. Acceleration is a change in momentum, and an object’s momentum is its motion status. Hence, acceleration is a change in the motion status of an object: from standing still to moving, speeding up, slowing down, changing direction, and so forth. Any change from moving at constant speed (which may be zero!) in a straight line is a change of momentum and thus an acceleration. Consequently, what the above formula says is that the “heavier” and object, and the bigger the change in its motion status, the more force is needed to cause that change. This is often referred to as the inertia of objects. Inertia is the tendency of objects to maintain their momentum – that is, to keep moving (or to stand still) at constant speed and in a straight line.
Social objects such as societies, institutions, ideas, ideologies, and so forth are as inert as physical objects. Changing their momentum (or motion status) also requires force proportional to the product of their mass and the extent of change (i.e. acceleration) desired or required. If we move the mass 𝑚 to the front of the above formula, we get:
which states that mass is force divided by acceleration, or in other words, that mass is resistance to change. And this is one of the main topics of this blog: the resistance to (necessary!) change of societies, ideologies, and (bad) ideas, and the force 𝐹 that is needed to overcome that resistance.
Although there is a possibility to comment on articles in this blog, I haven’t published any of the comments submitted yet, and it is quite possible that this won’t change. I do read all comments submitted, however (except spam and angry rants), and on a few occasions I made corrections in articles based on valid objections.