About Me and about this 'Blog

[This page is being constructed in lackadaisical manner.]

I am Daniel Kian Mc Kiernan. My name is properly pronounced /ˈdænjəl ˈkʌɪən mæk ˈkirnæn/, where r represents an Irish tap or trill. (I'm not offended by a substitution of [ɹ], the American /r/.) It's understandable that people would expect Kian to be pronounced [ˈkiən], but my birth announcement declared that Kian rhymed with lion.

I'm an American economist whose specific focus has, for some time, been decision theory. My work has concerned removing presumptions that agents fully order outcomes by desirability or by plausibility; I develop and present that work with a high degree of formality and rigor. I plan to show some rather profound implications in areas more familiar to most economist and most people more generally, once I have produced what I regard as a satisfactory model of individual decision-making. In the sidebar or in the drop-down menu (depending upon whether you're viewing the desktop or mobile presentation of this 'blog) you'll find links to my academic publications.

I'm also a programmer. I have learned many languages over the years; I confess to having forgot the details of some of these. I used to write more about practical programming than I now do.

Epistemologically, I'm an empiricist; I believe that all knowledge comes from sensation, from sense-perception, or from internal reflection. Moreover, I'm a nominalist of a radical sort. Nominalism is the doctrine that abstract concepts are constructed by the mind, in the management of experience, and have no existence independent of the mind. This doctrine is often associated with a belief that individuals exist but universals do not; however, that belief is confused both on the nature of individuals and of existence. Objects — including those objects that we have in mind as individuals — are mental organizations. (To infer that, because the words object and objective have a common origin, the objective world must be organized intrinsically into some set of objects entails an etymologic fallacy.) Our natural language normally serves also as a meta-language of various sorts; that is to say that we use it to talk about itself, and we use it to talk not only of things but of the concepts of those things. In the latter rôle, it can confuse us. A sentence such as Unicorns do not exist. Is not about things that are unicorns; it is about the relationship of the concept of unicorns to other things. When we seem to say that something exists, we are really saying that some idea refers to a thing. Existence and non-existence are properties of concepts, not of the things to which those concepts might refer (excepting any case of self-referential concepts). The concept of unicorn refers to no thing. To say that a universal exists is no more than to say that some concept corresponds to a collection of things; to say that an individual exists is no more than to say some concept corresponds to a thing. (And any apparent paradox in seeing that what seemed to be an individual is an assembly dissolves.) Further, I regard logic (within the scope of which I place probability) and mathematics as technologies, and the Promethean metaphor as extremely apt.

Theologically, I'm an atheist. (I'm not agnostic about gods for the same reason that I'm not agnostic about Santa Claus.)

Politically, I call myself a classical liberal extremist or Lockean liberal extremist. I avoid the term libertarian, because many people use that term improperly and because it is associated with a party that went off-track many years ago.

Here's how I looked on 1 August 2015: [image of me] (There's a separate page of pictures of me, but I don't know that it's worth a visit.)

For the curious, I have uploaded a sample of my speaking voice.

I am not in a relationship. (Readers of older entries may occasionally encounter reference to my former fiancée as the Woman of Interest; that otherwise somewhat opaque epithet originated in the 'blog that preceded this 'blog.)

This 'blog is the successor to one that was hosted on LiveJournal. This 'blog is not a commercial venture. I do not engage in SEO. (And, in any case, Google began pushing my entries down in its search-results after it became concerned to protect an ideologic narrative.) This 'blog does not carry paid advertisements.

I do not concern myself to maintain a simple, consistent, textual theme. Sometimes this 'blog is a personal journal; sometimes it's commentary on public events; sometimes it's musing on academic subjects. As an economist, I'll write about high theory, about material at an undergraduate level, or about public policy. (I do not enjoy writing about public policy, but occasionally feel an obligation.) Wearing other hats, I'll talk about philosophy, about the arts, or about information technology. I wrote about Q-tips® when I felt like doing so. Although I am not seeking for each and every of my entries be popular or helpful, I do like to write some that are; however, I quit logging visits because of privacy concerns, so comments are nearly the only guidance that I have on visitor response.

This 'blog uses WordPress. I developed its presentation software (theme) from what was once the default for WordPress. The most obvious differences are that my presentation software does not have fixed width, and that the sidebar is replaced by a drop-down menu in the mobile presentation.

[LJ Refugee]