Category Archives: Philosophy

The problem of making collective decisions

I see the vultures circling over Bitrague hill. Given today’s wind direction there is probably an updraft there keeping them aloft but in this hilly region, it’s certainly not the only place with a suitable updraft. There are about ten vultures. How did they collectively decide to circle over that hill and not somewhere else? I suspect they didn’t all have an equal voice in the debate. Perhaps they all follow a lead vulture. Or perhaps there’s a more complex hierarchy in which each vulture follows its immediate superior. I notice that they look content with their choice, wheeling around on the wind, each bird moving independently but staying in touch with the others. Continue reading

A one- to two-hour loop around Laval, St Julia-de-Bec, Moulin de Balence, and Chateau Marserau

This 11 km route is on sealed and unsealed roads. There is a gentle climb up to St Julia-de-Bec and down the other side, but nothing too strenuous. It’s open country and the views are great. I used my new bluetooth beanie to listen to some podcasts of David Deutsch being interviewed about his book The Beginning of Inifinity from a few years ago – I’m reading that at present – but you could probably listen to anything or nothing on this route. Continue reading


There’s something about holes. They’re real – everyone knows that. And yet, they’re not really real. A hole is really just the absence of the real stuff that surrounds it. It’s as real as a shadow. In fact, a shadow is a hole; a light-hole. I’m thinking about holes because the day after tomorrow I plan on walking with an organised group to a hole (I hope) in a mountain above a town in the Pyrenees. Continue reading

Being up for it

Over the last two weeks Tomos has faced some challenges. He has traveled to the other side of the world to a place where he knows no-one, other than his mum, and has enrolled at the local primary school in Quillan. It can’t be easy, given the travel, social, language, cultural, and academic issues.

Tomos could not have anticipated each particular challenge over the past two weeks and the challenges to come in the months ahead, but he knew from previous trips the scale of the challenge. He knew roughly what was he was letting himself in for.

Surprisingly, he went into this adventure willingly. Enthusiastically, in fact. Why would he do that? Continue reading

Living a life in Quillan

A week ago we finished our three-month-long stint in France. Leaving Quillan felt like a significant ending. I left with questions that cannot yet be answered with certainty. Will we ever return to Quillan? Years from now will we carry regrets about what we did or did not do while we had the chance? Will our children thank us or curse us for it?

Continue reading