• Investing in Disaster: Technical Progress and the Taboo of Diminishing Returns

    Chapter 2 in a collection of essays published by Rowman and Littlefield (2019) Download: https://drw.frametheweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/witzling-investing-in-disaster-web.pdf Abstract If we in the West pride ourselves on our technological prowess, and distinguish ourselves as the tool-making animal, we risk deluding ourselves by glossing over the profoundly useless character of so much […]

  • Doing the Homeland’s Business: Social Media, Surveillance, and Redefining Citizenship

    Presented to the Law and Society Association 2020 Conference (online) Download: https://drw.frametheweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/witzling-lsa-2020-doing-the-homelands-business-lsa-2020-e.pdf Abstract From the disintegration of European feudalism as anonymous serfs sought work in cities, to the shared pen-name “Publius” used by the Revolutionary authors of the Federalist Papers, the development of modern citizenship is intimately connected […]

  • Exercises in Secular Heresy: Technological Determinism, Civil Liberties, and the Taboo of Diminishing Returns

    Presented to the Centre for Interdisciplinary Collaboration in the Arts and Sciences 2016 conference Download: https://drw.frametheweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/witzling-cicas-exercises-in-secular-heresy-2-f-pw.pdf Abstract While phrases like “technological evolution” and “technological progress” are frequently used in both the mainstream press and scientific journals to explain or justify broad social changes, closer examination reveals serious problems […]

  • Financial complexity: Accounting for fraud

    The following letter was published in Science on 15 April 2015.  It discusses the role of fraud in the 2008 financial crisis, and the importance of taking fraud into account when attempting to explain what happened.   The Policy Forum “Complexity theory and financial regulation” (S. Battiston et […]

  • Torture’s Inefficiency Long Established

    The following letter was published in Science on 4 December 2015.  It discusses the history of the CIA’s covert sponsorship of behavioral science research and the relationship of this research to the CIA’s torture practices.   In the 16 October issue, R. J. McNally reviews a book by Shane […]

  • Metaphysics and Number

    In the early 1700′s, the French Jesuit Joachim Bouvet introduced Gottfried Leibniz to the Chinese Classic, the I Ching. Following a dispute between Pope Clement XI and the Chinese Emperor Kangxi, Bouvet’s attempts to reconcile ancient Chinese wisdom with that of the Catholic tradition came to an official conclusion. […]

  • Piracy and the Captains of Industry

    This essay was originally prepared for bilingual publication in 2011, discussing some of the under-examined social dimensions related to digital piracy. 1. A Conflicted Metaphor Understood properly, the word “piracy” (when used in reference to the illicit distribution of commercial media recordings) is today used in a highly […]