Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Chris Port Blog #348. Atlas Snored… A Case Study on the Ayn Rand Institute

© Chris Port, 27 August 2013

Has anyone else out there been censored by the Ayn Rand Institute?

"I hope you will agree that cowardice, censorship and evasion of rigorous argument are contrary to your avowed Randian principles of objectivism."


Message sent today to the Ayn Rand Institute:

“I understand that the Ayn Rand Institute manages the Facebook site 'Atlas Shrugged' at https://www.facebook.com/AtlasShrugged/info. I would like to draw an apparent case of censorship to your attention.

I was recently engaged in some vigorous academic argument under the following post:

“By the essence and nature of existence, contradictions cannot exist.” | P1C10
https://www.facebook.com/AtlasShrugged/posts/10151644438199412

However, after recently checking to see whether there were any interesting replies to my last post, I noticed one of my opponents crowing that I had lost the argument, deleted my posts and ran away. I did not delete any of my posts and appear to have been blocked from further comment.

Being mindful of dirty tricks played by some less reputable pseudo-intellectuals, I kept a redacted transcript of the argument which you may read in my Facebook notes (see 'Atlas Snored' at https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/atlas-snored/668189409877917)

Please confirm whether I have been censored and, if so, the reason why.

I hope you will agree that cowardice, censorship and evasion of rigorous argument are contrary to your avowed Randian principles of objectivism.

If you would like to enquire further about my research, I would be happy to provide further details.

Thank you.”


* * * * * * *

ARI's stated goal is:

"... to spearhead a cultural renaissance that will reverse the anti-reason, anti-individualism, anti-freedom, anti-capitalist trends in today's culture. The major battleground in this fight for reason and capitalism is the educational institutions—high schools and, above all, the universities, where students learn the ideas that shape their lives."

Let's hope they can live up to their stated ideals...

See 'Ayn Rand Institute: The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism (ARI)'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand_Institute


* * * * * * *

Atlas Snored
https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/atlas-snored/668189409877917

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” ~ Paul Krugman

Conversation thread (ok, more of a trolling monologue) with some intellectually stunted Randian ‘objectivists’…

Atlas Shrugged
https://www.facebook.com/AtlasShrugged/posts/10151644438199412

“By the essence and nature of existence, contradictions cannot exist.” | P1C10

REDACTED COMMENTS

CP: Reductionist nonsense. Randian objectivists are always overlooking Wittgenstein's caution: "Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language."

By the essence and nature of existence, contradictions must necessarily exist. No logical premise is sound, but some are more valid than others. Contradictions are valid when they are complementary.

I suppose an example is called for. The complementary contradiction of 'Fate' and 'Free Will' is probably the most illuminating.

By 'Fate' we mean 'a predetermined course of events'. We assert that "things are this way because they could not be any other way".

By 'Free Will' we mean 'the ability to make choices'. We assert that "things are this way but they could have been another way".

Thus, 'Fate' and 'Free Will' appear to be mutually exclusive. If we accept that both concepts have their uses, then we seem to be trapped in a paradox.

Can we dissolve the problem by redefining our terms? Consider the following assertions:

Fate = Certainty.
Free Will = Uncertainty

These are complementary.

By 'certainty' we mean 'perfect knowledge'. Lacking omniscience, we work with a lesser definition. We assert that "all relevant things are known".

By 'uncertainty' we mean 'imperfect knowledge'. We assert that "all relevant things are not yet known".

Thus, the problem is not so much one of knowledge as one of relevance.

"There is no such thing as a fact. There are only stories. Choose different facts, and you get a different story." (Marty Gull)

Or:

"The conflict, therefore, is not between actions that are free and actions that are caused: our science of human nature applies indifferently to both and denies the reality of the contrast. The conflict is between attitudes that require us to overlook causality and attitudes that require us to attend to it, and to define what we see in terms of it." (Roger Scruton, ‘Modern Philosophy: A Survey’, 1994).

Quantum mechanics suggests that determinism emerges from perception. All possibilities co-exist simultaneously as probabilities. The act of measurement 'collapses' an indeterminate state into an actual one. Thus, the illusion of consciousness (qualia) somehow interferes with uncertainty.

In one sense, Free Will doesn't exist. In another sense, the illusion of Free Will creates reality. Thus, 'Fate' and 'Free Will' (or, more usefully, 'Certainty' and 'Uncertainty') are complementary. Neither exists in its own right. But both somehow exist in relation to the other.

The way I look at it, life is the 'dessert of the real'. I remember, as a small child, being offered a limited dessert menu. "Would you like ice cream, or strawberries?" I frowned suspiciously. "What's all this 'or' business? Why not ice cream AND strawberries?"

To reiterate: by the essence and nature of existence, contradictions must necessarily exist.

WD: Oh brother! Notice how those who deny the law of non-contradiction assume that it's being false excludes it being true, thus invoking the principle while denying it. Rand had a name for this fallacy. Anyone rember? Free wink if you do.

CP: ^ Thanks for the fraternal greeting :) Good luck with an objectivist definition of 'true' and 'false'! I'll take Wittgenstein over Rand any day :D

WD: A note on quantum mechanics. As Mortimer Adler said, " the empirical base of philosophy is common human experience." Rand, Maritain, and many others ,even Hegel, said similar things. Esoteric theories cannot confute it. the laws of Aristotelian logic are abstractions (not inductions) from your everyday experience. Bottom line: if you stop looking for your glasses after you find them you believe in the law of contradiction, no matter what you say.

CP: I don't know whether Rand ever read Wittgenstein's Tractatus. If she did, she may have grasped it as support for her ideas about objectivism. However, this would have been a crass misunderstanding. Brilliant though it was, Wittgenstein subsequently realized that it was almost completely wrong. Heisenberg would have agreed with him.

Quantum mechanics is often inaccurately invoked at the macro level, but nonetheless it IS fundamentally involved in the processes of human consciousness. Heisenberg had some interesting observations about Wittgenstein's earlier axiomatic excesses. I would say that Randian objectivists would come closer to reality if they acknowledged their axiomatic limitations:

Interview with Werner Heisenberg
http://www.fdavidpeat.com/interviews/heisenberg.htm

F. DAVID PEAT: "The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein originally started out by thinking that words were related to facts in the world, then later reversed his position to conclude that the meaning of words lay in their use. Is this reflected in quantum mechanics?"

WERNER HEISENBERG: "I should first state my own opinion about Wittgenstein's philosophy. I never could do too much with early Wittgenstein and the philosophy of the Tractatus Logico-philosophicus, but I like very much the later ideas of Wittgenstein and his philosophy about language. In the Tractatus, which I thought too narrow, he always thought that words have a well-defined meaning, but I think that is an illusion. Words have no well-defined meaning. We can sometimes by axioms give a precise meaning to words, but still we never know how these precise words correspond to reality, whether they fit reality or not. We cannot help the fundamental situation - that words are meant as a connection between reality and ourselves - but we can never know how well these words or concepts fit reality. This can be seen in Wittgenstein's later work. I always found it strange, when discussing such matters with Bertrand Russell, that he held the opposite view; he liked the early work of Wittgenstein and could do nothing whatsoever with the late work. On these matters we always disagreed, Russell and I.

I would say that Wittgenstein, in view of his later works, would have realized that when we use such words as position or velocity, for atoms, for example, we cannot know how far these terms take us, to what extent they are applicable. By using these words, we learn their limitations."

RC: Chris- By accepting the existence of both, fate and free will in one sentence, you necessarily deny the existence of free will. By arguing determinism as a basis for actions, you deny volitional choice. you say consciousness is an illusion. By this, all that proceeds from your consciousness will also be an illusion. Good bye reality.

BC: R is correct. Chris's post is self-refuting.

TT: If quantum physics was able to violate the law of contradictions, then quantum physics could be both true and false at the same time. If it was false, then it could not be in violation of the law of contradictions, and since it's true that it's false (even if it's true that it's true), then it can't violate the law of contradictions.

BC: MF "This was written before quantum physics was really understood. She is obviously wrong."

Why can't she be right and wrong at the same time since you claim contradictions can exist?

BC: WD is correct to point out that RA, BP and Chris Port are contradicting themselves and commiting the fallacy of the stolen concept.

CP: @RC& BC. My response is that, as Randian objectivists, you're being overly reductionist! That's why I started my argument with Wittgenstein's warning against becoming bewitched by language.

The problem with overly reductionist philosophies (such as Randian objectivism) is that they have been superceded by more complex and holistic scientific models of physical reality and interactions. Sometimes these give rise to apparently absurd contradictions which, nonetheless, are complementary and irrefutable.

Sometimes an aesthetic approach can help us to make sense of these contradictions. For example, Kant was (roughly speaking) a sophisticated objectivist. In his Critique of Judgment, he fused simple objectivism with simple subjectivism (a necessary contradiction).

While Kant claimed that the judgment of taste demanded agreement from everyone without exception (a simple objectivist viewpoint) he also allowed that the determining factor of such a viewpoint was the feeling of contemplative pleasure or displeasure aroused in the mind of the spectator (a simple subjectivist viewpoint).

Kant linked these two seemingly mutually exclusive viewpoints by giving this paradox the structure of an 'antinomy' (a contradiction existing between two apparently indubitable propositions). The key to understanding how these opposing viewpoints can co-exist is in Kant's emphasis on the 'free play' of the imagination which characterizes aesthetic judgments. In essence, this means that the spectator's imagination is free to introduce concepts which are not inherent in the text and then rationally defend such a judgment by reference to the feelings aroused by these concepts.

Turning now to the complementary contradictions of determinism versus free will, in order to understand how these can co-exist we need to first understand the illusory nature of consciousness (which is not the same as saying that it doesn't exist - again, beware the bewitchment of language!). I won't post too much science here, but if you want to check out the evidence please feel free to take a look at my blog post (link below).

Extract from 'Free Will: A Suspension of Disbelief in Our Own Ghost Stories (The Rugby Ball in the Mud, the Ghost in the Machine…)'
http://martygull.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/chris-port-blog-267-free-will.html

Consciousness is an ‘emergent property’ of particles and processes which are, in themselves, insentient. Physically, there is no such thing as “I”. That is not to say that “I” do not have physical mass. It is just to say that "I think therefore I am" infers too much. While 'existence' is a prerequisite for thought, identity is not. Who, or what, is "I"? Do new thoughts create new identities? Are you the same person that you were? These are clearly metaphysical questions rather than scientific ones.

Scientifically, it would be more correct to say "A thought, therefore something having it". "I" is a gestalt here rather than a singular entity. In some ways, “I” is an illusion, a biochemical bundle of sensations which combine to produce an effect that is greater than the sum of its parts. The atoms of a living man and the atoms of a dead man are exactly the same. The only difference between the living and the dead is in how the parts work together. There is no ‘ghost in the machine’. There is only the machine. So, all that “I” actually refers to is the processes rather than the object.

The upshot of all this phenomenology is that, in most human experiences, it doesn't really matter. The illusion is reasonably consistent and convincing as we walk around in a kind of reversed Matrix where the physical world is 'real' but we 'aren't', so we just go along with it because that's what our brains have evolved to do. The ultimate pathetic fallacy of consciousness only becomes problematic when put to the test by society's demands for 'accountability' and 'responsibility'.

I would argue that the framing of these problems, and their resolution, is not the task of science but the task of philosophy, and that the debate is located in relativism rather than objectivism, words rather than numbers, and feelings rather than data.

* * * * *

Free Will is a psychological concept, not a neurophysiological one. Deciding if, when and how to apply Free Will (or not) depends on sociological contexts, not scientific ones. Free Will is an illusion, but so is consciousness. Scientists aren’t suggesting that we walk around disbelieving in ourselves, and neither am I. Metaphysically I think we’re saying something very similar. There is no ghost in the machine. There is only the machine. But the machine is so complex that it thinks it has a ghost. The only way to exorcise this ghost is to dismantle the machine. Nature does that soon enough for us anyway, so why not just enjoy the ride?

This is an aesthetic justification for Free Will. Human beings sometimes throw themselves into the mud because they have become more than their machines. The illusion of meaning has become more real than the reality of futility. Ultimately, even scientists have to believe in some ghost stories...

BC: Chris Port also says 'By the essence and nature of existence, contradictions must necessarily exist'.

No, they cannot. Not only that, it is self-evident that they cannot.

CP: Another example. Someone recently asked me whether there is such a thing as 'absolute existence' (i.e. "something which exists whose existence is not relative to the perception of an observer?"

I replied that the question is nonsensical. It invites us to assert or refute that which (by definition) can be neither asserted nor refuted.

e.g. I may infer the existence of an antecedent universe. This preceded all consciousness. However, that inference is still relative to perception. Without consciousness, it cannot be claimed that the universe exists (for obvious reasons).

Therefore, all conceivable phenomena are dependent on perception. To claim that they are independent of perception is contradictory (again, for obvious reasons).

This is more than mere metaphysical pedantry. It is one of the key conundrums of quantum mechanics.

Compare these two assertions:

"... all conceivable phenomena are dependent on perception"

"It is overwhelmingly probable that these phenomena exist independently of our minds".

At first glance, these appear to be mutually exclusive. Actually, they are complementary.

I am not so egocentric as to believe that, when I die, the universe will somehow pop out of existence. I believe that it will continue to exist, just as it (probably) existed before my mind emerged. The confusion arises because of the phrase "our minds". This should not be read as "all minds".

Put simply, phenomena (probably) exist independently of any single mind. However, they do not exist independently of all minds. This is because minds are not separate from the universe but are a part of it. Taxonomies and meronomies are still dependent upon perception. The universe, as a totality, is indifferent to differentiation (as it is indifferent to everything, i.e. itself).

BC: Chris Port -"I replied that the question is nonsensical. It invites us to assert or refute that which (by definition) can be neither asserted nor refuted."

Your posts are nonsensical and existence exists.

You are just a pretentious idiot and your posts can be dismissed out of hand as your posts are self-refuting.

"I am not so egocentric as to believe that, when I die, the universe will somehow pop out of existence. I believe that it will continue to exist, just as it (probably) existed before my mind emerged."

The universe had to exist before you perceived it. This is self-evident. The fact that you deny means that you have no argument.

RM: Oh my. Some of the comments here are going to great lengths to try to create contradictions where they don't exist. I disagree with Rand on a number of things - mostly because she was lacking some context - but on this, I am in agreement. Quantum physics shows us APPARENT contradictions, but my understanding of the theory is that some particles can exist in a fuzzy sort of in-between state, and resolve into either "spin-up" or "spin-down" once they are observed. No one, to my knowledge, has stated that any particle can actually have two contradicting properties at the same time.

And dude. Contradictory is the opposite of complementary. Words mean things.

TT: "apparently absurd contradictions which, nonetheless, are complementary and irrefutable"

Mr. Port, the critical word here is "apparent". The contradiction appears to exist because the person does not understand the facts. But a contradiction is for something to be both true and not true simultaneously. A contradiction cannot truly exist.

A contradiction may appear to exist when one does not understand what is really going on. That means that we should investigate. Rand phrases this as "check your premises".

A contradiction cannot exist because facts cannot lie. When you run into a situation where the facts lie, it means one of your "facts" is not really a fact. That is when you should examine the facts and see which ones are truly facts.

BC: T, he will ignore you because he denies free will and posts contradictory, self-refuting rubbish.

CP: @BC. Some trite ad hominem snipes there, B :/ Doesn't pettiness contradict Rand's ideals? I can't see anything in your comments to suggest you've actually engaged with Kant or Wittgenstein or Heisenberg or Scruton or Sam Harris or (less impressively) me. Refute them if you can, but I think you're on dodgy ground calling them 'pretentious idiots'. I don't place myself in their league (I'm not that pretentious). All I've done is reformulate some of their ideas. What did you think of the neurophysiological evidence in my blog post, particularly Mark Hallett's 'Physiology of Free Will' (http://bioethics.stanford.edu/conference/hallett.pdf) and Sam Harris' 'Morality Without Free Will' (http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/morality-without-free-will/)? Or did you not bother reading the evidence? Tut. Contradictions, necessarily, are self-refuting. That's the whole point! Obviously I don't want to waste time bouncing my head against a tautologous dogmatist, so I'll just rest my case with a Wittgensteinian gag: "There is no language where a double positive can form a negative... Yeah, right."

@RM. I haven't argued that 'a particle can actually have two contradicting properties at the same time', so I'm not sure where you're going with this. I've argued that consciousness is a quantum mechanical process, that free will is an illusion, and that determinism arises from perception. The contradiction lies in the strange interaction between these two concepts. How would you refute Kant's antinomy? 'Complementary contradiction' is a literary oxymoron designed to reveal a paradox. As for 'words mean things', dictionary definitions are a useful starting point but only a pedant would stop there. As Wittgenstein never said (but perhaps should have done to keep it simple), "Language is as language does."

Incidentally, what do you think of Richard Feynman's one-electron universe hypothesis? Although all electrons are necessarily identical, wouldn't its simultaneous appearance here, there, and everywhere be a complementary contradiction? My point here is that Randian objectivism has fallen behind the language games needed to model an intersubjective relativistic objectivity (or metamodernism as we pretentious idiots are starting to call it).

Sorry, fellows, but I can't see anything interesting going on here, so I'll leave you to agree with each other and bid you good night.

RM: Chris Port: "The contradiction lies in the strange interaction between these two concepts. How would you refute Kant's antinomy? 'Complementary contradiction' is a literary oxymoron designed to reveal a paradox. As for 'words mean things', dictionary definitions are a useful starting point but only a pedant would stop there."

Ahem. I believe you are only harming your own argument. A "strange interaction" is not a contradiction. And if you don't define your terms, you can't argue anything, because, by your own assertion, your words don't mean anything specific.


CP: @ RM.Not really.

Consciousness, self-evidently, exists. It would be absurd and self-contradictory to argue otherwise. It is experienced as a discrete unity. However, this is an illusion. In reality, it is a gestalt phenomenon. Our experience is false (as in not the way things really are). However, it would be absurd (and quite possibly psychotic) to experience consciousness as it really is. The illusion must necessarily be more true than the reality.

Therefore, there is a contradiction between our experience and our knowledge. This contradiction is not due to a lack of facts or a false premise. It's just the way things are. Both are true in their own way. Or, put another way, both are false.

Again, to reiterate, this contradiction is not due to inadequate knowledge. You can re-examine your premises as much as you like, but you won't resolve it. It's impossible to argue that one is true and one is false without getting yourself into even more absurd contradictions.

"The trouble is that no one knows what a belief is, no one knows what a fact is, and no one knows what sort of agreement between them would make a belief true." (Bertrand Russell)

The 'strange interaction' is not the contradiction itself, but the process by which it arises. It seems to be built into the very fabric of the universe.

Proceeding on the assumption that Randian objectivists aren't being wilfully obtuse, I suspect the problem here is one of not seeing the wood for the trees. A fixation with axioms (none of which are sound) can become an obsession with minutiae and fixing meanings. Fixed meanings often end up contradicting used meanings. The question then as to which meaning is 'true' is clearly nonsensical. The more sensible question is which meaning is appropriate.

The perspective trick I'm asking you to see is the dialectic contradiction between 'hard' determinism and 'hard' free will. The synthesis of 'soft' determinism and 'soft' free will doesn't resolve the contradiction. It dissolves the problem by accepting it and saying there is no problem.

Here's a mind map I drew which gives a fairly concise overview:

PHILOSOPHY Epistemological Debate Map - Probability, Statistics and Bikinis
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B19dnXpLCCwgMWJhYmVmNTQtNzIwNi00ZDFkLWJjODYtYzkyNGI3ZDk2NTc0/edit?num=50&sort=name&layout=list&pli=1#


TT: I wouldn't go too far in refuting Mr. Port...

"By the essence and nature of existence, contradictions must necessarily exist."

and

"Contradictions, necessarily, are self-refuting. That's the whole point!"

hmmm... seems that someone skipped logic 101 in their advanced physio-political psychology reading. Apparently contradictions both do and don't exist. Amazing.

CP: *Sigh* I've addressed all that. Just try reading and thinking. It's difficult, I know, but rewarding.

CP: Anyway, I'm contradicting myself. I've already bid you good night. Zzzzzz

TT: Mr.Port,

It is incumbent on you to explain yourself in clear terms. I recognize the tactic of hiding ignorance behind a wall of words. Why would I waste my time reading 20 paragraphs of rambling psychobabble built on the fundamentally contradictory notion that contradictions both do and do not exist?

If you can explain yourself clearly and cogently in 200 words or less, I will give you a hearing, but I'm not impressed by a fancy chain of techno-babble, nor am I persuaded that it means something just because you can string it together.

TT: We have a real Bertram Scudder here.

CP: @TT. Good morning :) I've already explained myself in clear terms, T, and in a variety of ways too. Since you've already admitted you haven't read any of it - let alone done any thinking - you're still stuck on the bottom rung of Wittgenstein's ladder. The Bertram Scudder jibe (i.e. Wiki: "he never says anything specific in his articles") is contradicted by the evidence (which you clearly haven't read or understood).

Roger Scruton is rarely accused of 'rambling psychobabble'. Let me refer you back to my first post and 61 of his cogent words:

"The conflict, therefore, is not between actions that are free and actions that are caused: our science of human nature applies indifferently to both and denies the reality of the contrast. The conflict is between attitudes that require us to overlook causality and attitudes that require us to attend to it, and to define what we see in terms of it." (Roger Scruton, 'Modern Philosophy: A Survey', 1994).

Do. You. Un. Der. Stand. This?

If you do, then everything else I've said is merely a variation on this theme. If you don't, then yes, I can understand how it may look like psychobabble...

Consider the delightful philosophical paradoxes of the wonderful Richard Feynman…

"If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics". ~ Richard Feynman

“To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature ... If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in.” ~ Richard Feynman

“If I could explain it to the average person, I wouldn't have been worth the Nobel Prize.” ~ Richard Feynman

“We can't define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers… one saying to the other: "you don't know what you are talking about!". The second one says: "what do you mean by talking? What do you mean by you? What do you mean by know?" ~ Richard Feynman

“So, ultimately, in order to understand nature it may be necessary to have a deeper understanding of mathematical relationships. But the real reason is that the subject is enjoyable, and although we humans cut nature up in different ways, and we have different courses in different departments, such compartmentalization is really artificial, and we should take our intellectual pleasures where we find them.”

“...the "paradox" is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality "ought to be.” ~ Richard Feynman

cf. The Incomprehensibility of Car Mechanics
http://martygull.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/chris-port-blog-265-incomprehensibility.html

See also: Conversation Thread on Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged' - "What if all the creative minds of the world went on strike?"
http://martygull.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/chris-port-blog-82-conversation-thread.html

Addendum:

TT: I told you I would give you a fair hearing if you could defend yourself in 200 words or less. You have not. Do. You. Un. Der. Stand. This?

Brains come included. Some assembly required.


CP: "God is in the neurons"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPEdDcs_8ZQ

All hard science. No psychobabble involved. Thinking required
:)

* * * * *

Postscript

Interesting... I just flicked back to see whether there were any replies to my last post (see above) and read this:

TT: Would you look at that, it seems someone deleted all of their posts. See folks, you _can_ win a debate on the internet. I thought he was good for a few more rounds though.


Mr. Chris Port, in honesty and without pride... if the truth hurts, delete it? What kind of philosophy are you following if it requires you to delete the evidence? Who is more harmed by it, me or the man who subscribes to a theory he knows is untrue? You can hide from other men, but the truth is a relentless hunter and it will find you. You cannot delete uncomfortable truths, but truth can can delete you if you don't abide by it.

The best thing you could do is ponder the meaning of the words "People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I've learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication".

It's interesting because I didn't delete my posts. I'm guessing it was the site administrator as I'm no longer able to post on this page. Curious... Anyway, I'll chase them up to confirm if I've been censored and, if so, for what reason. All useful research.

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
https://www.facebook.com/RichardDawkinsFoundation/posts/576313662425413

CP: Has anyone else out there been censored by the Ayn Rand Institute?

"I hope you will agree that cowardice, censorship and evasion of rigorous argument are contrary to your avowed Randian principles of objectivism."
https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/atlas-snored/668189409877917?comment_id=86421049&offset=0&total_comments=4

GS: I can't imagine why I'd go there in the first place.

CP: I'm trying out Alinksy's 'Rules for Radicals'...
http://www.vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook/rules.html

Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.” 
 

31 comments:

  1. Update: For the record, subsequent to my email to the Ayn Rand Institute today, my comments and access have been restored.

    Further comments:

    TT: I'm not going to chase down links at your discretion. My time is valuable. If you were intelligent you'd understand that. Furthermore, I'm not operating under the premise that you are a philosophical savant, so your pretense and posing has little meaning to me. You are not proving your point by posting dozens of links to long-winded articles and obscure quotes of random experts. You are proving mine, because it demonstrates that you are unable to explain the ideas that you are presenting, nor are you willing to confront the issues without a wall of intractable data to hide behind.

    If you sincerely want my attention as my philosophical peer, please in your own words, in 200 words or less, resolve the contradiction where you said:

    "By the essence and nature of existence, contradictions must necessarily exist."
    and
    "Contradictions, necessarily, are self-refuting. That's the whole point!"

    Because if you can't explain that, then anything else you say is meaningless, and if you can then nothing you say is true.

    RK: Chris port, tells that contradictions exist and he asks us to think...I agree contradictions exist, not in reality but in your mind.

    TT: Would you look at that, it seems someone deleted all of their posts. See folks, you _can_ win a debate on the internet. I thought he was good for a few more rounds though.

    Mr. Chris Port, in honesty and without pride... if the truth hurts, delete it? What kind of philosophy are you following if it requires you to delete the evidence? Who is more harmed by it, me or the man who subscribes to a theory he knows is untrue? You can hide from other men, but the truth is a relentless hunter and it will find you. You cannot delete uncomfortable truths, but truth can can delete you if you don't abide by it.

    The best thing you could do is ponder the meaning of the words "People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I've learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication".

    ReplyDelete
  2. Subsequent comments:

    CP: Hello T. Apologies for the delay in reply. Reasons were as follows:

    Message sent today to the Ayn Rand Institute:

    “I understand that the Ayn Rand Institute manages the Facebook site 'Atlas Shrugged' at https://www.facebook.com/AtlasShrugged/info. I would like to draw an apparent case of censorship to your attention.

    I was recently engaged in some vigorous academic argument under the following post:

    “By the essence and nature of existence, contradictions cannot exist.” | P1C10
    https://www.facebook.com/AtlasShrugged/posts/10151644438199412

    However, after recently checking to see whether there were any interesting replies to my last post, I noticed one of my opponents crowing that I had lost the argument, deleted my posts and ran away. I did not delete any of my posts and appear to have been blocked from further comment.

    Being mindful of dirty tricks played by some less reputable pseudo-intellectuals, I kept a redacted transcript of the argument which you may read in my Facebook notes (see 'Atlas Snored' at https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/atlas-snored/668189409877917)

    Please confirm whether I have been censored and, if so, the reason why.

    I hope you will agree that cowardice, censorship and evasion of rigorous argument are contrary to your avowed Randian principles of objectivism.

    If you would like to enquire further about my research, I would be happy to provide further details.

    Thank you.”

    Not that you're interested, but just to let you know I posted a blog about this today. Just for the record:

    Atlas Snored… A Case Study on the Ayn Rand Institute
    http://martygull.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/chris-port-blog-348-atlas-snored-case.html

    Obviously I'll update this now my comments and access have been restored.

    In response to resolve the contradiction between:

    "By the essence and nature of existence, contradictions must necessarily exist."

    and

    "Contradictions, necessarily, are self-refuting. That's the whole point!"

    I don't resolve the contradiction. It's impossible to resolve it. I accept is as the way things are and dissolve the problem by saying there is no problem.

    The trick (for it is, indeed, a trick) to dissolving the problem is to accept that free will is simultaneously illusory and existent. If you reject this dissolution then you just run into more contradictions with determinism. In order to understand how this happens, you need to do the reading (which you don't want to do!)

    You say your time is valuable. Fair enough. So is mine. I've already answered your questions - just not in the reductionist terms you demand (which is the essence of the contradiction).

    ReplyDelete
  3. ^ Subsequent debate:

    TT: Mr. Port, I'm sorry to see you have suffered some sort of sabotage in your ability to access this page. Those who hide knowledge are indeed the most damnable. I'm glad to see that it was not you, and I'm sorry to see that such a person appears to be on "my side".

    To address your point:

    So in essence, you agree that contradictions must exist, and contradictions cannot exist. That's quite a contradiction. If it is true, then there is no such thing as truth, nor any way of finding truth because evidence must necessarily contradict the facts, and truth can contradict itself. Black can be white, up can be down, and truth can be false.

    In such case, how could you possibly know you were right, since the evidence you rely on may contradict reality? And even if your argument is right, it might also be wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  4. ^ Subsequent debate:

    CP: @Mr T.

    Yes, it is a bit of a head-scratcher :)

    I’m approaching the subject of contradictions from a Wittgensteinian perspective: the task of philosophy is not to solve philosophical problems, but to “dissolve” them.

    Wittgensteinians dissolve problems by “teasing out” the confusions in philosophers’ main use of language.

    The confusion here arises due to an “all or nothing” approach in traditional Randian objectivism.

    i.e.

    If determinism is “true”, then it must necessarily be true in all cases.

    If so, then free will must necessarily be “false” in all cases.

    Therefore, any philosophy based on free will is proceeding from a false premise.

    Or:

    If free will is “true”, then determinism cannot be true in all cases.

    If so, then determinism is false.

    Therefore (as Rachaita Chhabra put it earlier in this thread) “Goodbye reality”.

    Both determinism and free will are foundational tenets of Randian objectivism. Thus, if determinism and free will are truly contradictory - as in mutually exclusive - as opposed to the “complementary contradiction” I outlined earlier (see Kant’s “antinomy”) - then Randian objectivism is itself self-refuting.

    Rand’s sensible advice at this point would be to recheck our facts and premises, hence all the links I’ve posted. Having rechecked them (very thoroughly) I’ve concluded that the underlying problem is dogmatism.

    In some ways, classical logic is analogous to classical physics here (i.e. it works very well in some cases but doesn’t work at all in others). The problem is akin to the contradiction between Newtonian physics and Einsteinian relativity, and also between Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics.

    At this point, the arguments become extremely esoteric. Attempts to resolve these contradictions by invoking String/M/Brane theory - and imperceptible dimensions - have actually led to even more perplexing contradictions.

    Attempts to resolve these subsequent contradictions by invoking parallel realities and multiverses (while fascinating) have led to accusations that such concepts are untestable, unfalsifiable, and thus unscientific (i.e. Lee Smolin, ‘The Trouble With Physics’, 2006). This is obviously a very deep rabbit hole…

    My own version of a GUT (Grand Unified Theory) proceeds from the premise that the human condition is essentially self-contradictory. I’m a metamodernist which, for brevity’s sake, I’ll characterize as anti-dogmatism. Like so many modern ideas, it all goes back to the ancient Greeks (see Plato’s “Metaxy” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaxy).

    I don’t have a problem with the self-refuting nature of SOME contradictions. For me, it’s all a question of “appropriateness” (which is ultimately a question of aesthetics). That’s why I’m an anti-dogmatist.

    The problem here is that traditional Randians are dogmatists. They’re “over-extending” the law of identity and the law of non-contradiction and throwing the baby out with the bathwater. If you go for “hard” determinism and “hard” free will - then notice their contradiction - you undermine the essential premises of both Randian objectivism and the human condition itself. Hence my argument for “soft” determinism and “soft” free will - a Wittgensteinian ladder to a higher (and unspeakable) understanding.

    Or, put another way:

    “Don't worry about ‘reality’. You can never know it. I’m not sure if it even exists in any meaningful sense. Just know which game you’re playing. And learn the rules for that game. It’s the trick to a happy life...” ~ Marty Gull

    ReplyDelete
  5. INTERLUDE (i.e. not part of the debate on the Atlas Shrugged Facebook thread)

    "Fear, Philosophy and Madness." Pretty much a typical drama lesson then...

    "Look. There. There's a train coming through."

    "The signal must have failed."

    "It's speeding toward where the bridge got washed away at the flood."

    "It's certain death for those people on that train."

    "It's going in the river! And there's someone..."

    "Let me through. I'm a moral philosopher."

    * * * * *

    'Darkside' by Tom Stoppard. (starts at 04:12).

    "A new drama from legendary playwright Sir Tom Stoppard, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. The album topped the charts on its release in 1973, and it remained in the charts for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988. With an estimated 50 million copies sold it is the band's most commercially successful work and is frequently ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time.

    Sir Tom Stoppard was first approached with the suggestion of writing a play based on the album by a friend in 1973. Now, 40 years later, he's created a fantastical story about fear, philosophy and madness, which is woven together with the original music."

    'Darkside'
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b038xr3n/Darkside_26_08_2013/

    '... we need a paradigm shift, away from philosophies of drama education and towards the dramatization of philosophy itself."

    'Manifesto For Drama Education in the Twenty-First Century'
    http://martygull.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/chris-port-blog-110-manifesto-for-drama.html

    ReplyDelete
  6. CLOSING ARGUMENTS

    TT: It's not a head-scratcher if you realize that truth is true and lies are false. But rather than question the logic process that brought you to the point of claiming reality doesn't exist, you are assuming that you must be correct and reality is wrong. You are accepting that conclusion without questioning the process that brought you to it. It's a shame that people like you can vote.

    BC: Chris Port - TT has demonstrated that your arguments are fallacious and that your posts are pretentious waffle that says nothing.

    By rejecting free will, you are telling us that there is no point in debating with you since debate is not possible without free will.

    You can therefore be rejected out of hand.

    BC: "Please confirm whether I have been censored and, if so, the reason why.

    I hope you will agree that cowardice, censorship and evasion of rigorous argument are contrary to your avowed Randian principles of objectivism."

    Yet another childish whiner who thinks that the moderator of this page deleting his babbling posts is censorship.

    In fact, any Objectivist has the right to delete mumbo jumbo from his or her facebook page and, in fact, is entirely correct to do so since wasting time with people you know to be idiots is irrational.

    Chris Port, given that your posts are contradictory, there is no need to refute anything you say as you have already done so.

    CP: I rest my case :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. ^ Postscript

    BC: Chris Port rests his case and doesn't rest his case at the same time.

    TT: Mr. Port, how did you first come to discover this way of thinking? I'm curious, many people find Objectivism through Ayn Rand. How did you come to understand your philosophy?

    CP: @Mr T. I trained at the [Royal] Central School of Speech and Drama on their education course. Drama is an aesthetic experience, and all drama is conflict. So you could say I'm trained in conflicting aesthetics.

    My dissertation (1999) was a philosophical investigation of laughter, comedy and humour in the context of the Holocaust. I studied the conflicting aesthetics and contradictions of subjectivism, objectivism and relativism (which introduced me to Ayn Rand).

    My research led me into the arena of consciousness, free will and determinism. I’ve spent the last 14 years conducting literature reviews and up-dating my thinking for a PhD proposal. So, for me, this discussion is a form of Action Research.

    ReplyDelete
  8. ^ Fond Farewells…

    BC: "My research led me into the arena of consciousness, free will and determinism."

    Consciousness and free will exist. Determinism is false and self-refuting.

    Simples.

    TT: If that's so, then I think they did you an enormous disservice. When a man finds a disagreement between himself and reality, and educated man would question himself. But it seems that your education has taught you to question reality instead. Perhaps if reality had a degree, you might listen to it, eh?

    SN: If only they had classes on reality and degrees for it. But I suppose few would want to learn it nowadays

    CP: Thanks for all the jokes, everyone. I've had fun :)

    "If you ever come up with a Grand Unified Theory, try to include an equation for humour. Nothing warps the universe like a good sense of humour." ~ Marty Gull

    "A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes." ~ Wittgenstein

    And on that point...

    'Comedy comes to Cern with scientists' standup night'
    http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/aug/29/comedy-cern-scientists-standup-night?CMP=twt_gu&commentpage=1

    I’m looking forward to watching this (if only in the sense that I can’t look back on it yet). Most science jokes tend toward the arcane: e.g. “I’m sorry, we don’t serve tachyons in here.” A tachyon walks into a bar…

    Most scientists are stunningly unfunny people. This is because getting funding is a stunningly unfunny business. There were a few honourable exceptions, e.g. Richard Feynman, Douglas Adams. But these men were true geniuses. There are still geniuses out there. But they don’t get funding these days. So we never get to hear of them

    Most scientists are reductionists. Reductionism explains things unambiguously. Most comedians are bisociationists. Biscociation mismatches things simultaneously, bypassing explanations.

    So, science and comedy are like matter and anti-matter. The Large Hadron Collider is the perfect venue for such a mismatch. The laws of physics predict they should annihilate each other…

    But the laws of physics have nothing to do with comedy :D

    "So long, and thanks for all the fish." ~ Douglas Adams

    So long :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. ^ Follow up in Guardian comments: http://discussion.theguardian.com/comment-permalink/26489284

    Emilyisobel > gulliblemartyr

    Not true - there are loads of science comedians out there, they just don't get the attention that they deserve, mainly because the comedy requires some sort of knowledge to understand it.

    gulliblemartyr > Emilyisobel

    Thanks, Emilyisobel. At least we agree that 'most science jokes tend toward the arcane' then :)

    Freud explained the psychological process of jokes by the process of reduction. Elliott Oring explained this as 'the minimal transformation of a joke that maintains its underlying thought while destroying its value as a humorous communication' (which, perversely, made me laugh out loud).

    I love Dara Ó Briain's 'reverse reductionism', i.e. the minimal transformation of a concept that maintains its underlying thought while destroying its value as a scientific explanation :D

    e.g. " 'The neutrinos have mutated.' Now, for the non-nerds here: neutrinos are tiny, sub-atomic, really really almost massless particles, they're released in nuclear breakdowns, like in the sun, for example. Five hundred trillion of them pass through your bodies every second. They can't mutate. Their structure is fundamental to the structure of the universe. Right? They can't just change. He might as well have gone, 'The electrons are angry'."

    Clever man :)

    Please plug any science comedians you know. Science and comedy are two of my favourite hobbies. I love the idea of fusing them together.

    ReplyDelete
  10. 'Network-Centric Quantum Communications with Application to Critical Infrastructure Protection'
    Richard J. Hughes, Jane E. Nordholt, Kevin P. McCabe, Raymond T. Newell, Charles G. Peterson, Rolando D. Somma
    Cornell University Library, arXiv:1305.0305v1, 1 May 2013
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.0305?utm_source=feedly

    'Government Lab Reveals It Has Operated Quantum Internet for Over Two Years'
    The Physics arXiv Blog, MIT Technology Review, 6 May 2013
    http://www.technologyreview.com/view/514581/government-lab-reveals-quantum-internet-operated-continuously-for-over-two-years/

    'Declassified: The Government’s Quantum Internet'
    Benjamin Plackett, The Connectivist, 8 May 2013
    http://www.theconnectivist.com/2013/05/declassified-the-governments-quantum-internet/?utm_source=taboola

    'First Demonstration of A Quantum Router'
    The Physics arXiv Blog, MIT Technology Review, 3 August 2012
    http://www.technologyreview.com/view/428706/first-demonstration-of-a-quantum-router/

    'Experimental demonstration of an entanglement-based quantum router'
    X.-Y. Chang, Y.-X. Wang, C. Zu, K. Liu, L.-M. Duan
    Cornell University Library, arXiv:1207.7265v2, 31 July 2012
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1207.7265

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/first-draft-phd-proposal/397025593660968?comment_id=86355203&offset=0&total_comments=188

    ReplyDelete
  11. JOB OPPORTUNITY FOR STARVING PHILOSOPHERS
    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-moral-landscape-challenge1/

    Sam Harris (world famous neuroscientist philosopher) is offering his critics a chance to put up or shut up. He's offered a cash prize of $20,000 (about £12,800) to anyone who can convincingly refute his central argument for a scientific morality.

    Assuming no-one can refute him, there's a consolation prize of $2,000 (about £1,280) for the most interesting response.

    See FAQs in link for further details. Closing date for entries is 9 February 2014, so you've got time to buy his book and boost his royalties.

    INITIAL THOUGHTS

    Hmmm… Traditionally, science has been regarded as descriptive and morality as prescriptive. But science is also predictive. So, in Sam’s moral landscape, do good* predictions = good** prescriptions?

    * Falsifiable
    ** Beneficial

    Possibly. But if they’re truly equivalent, does it work vice versa? This leads out onto some very thin ice…

    The real question is always “Cui bono” (to whose benefit?). So I suspect that Sam’s thesis could only be refuted by reference to de facto cynicism rather than de jure principle (i.e. selectivity and performativity)

    Postscript

    I don’t actually want to refute Sam’s thesis (fortunately for me). I just want to qualify it (modesty is my only flaw). But, in order to qualify it, I’ll have to fail to refute it in a way that grabs his interest. So, all I’m really looking for is a fascinating aesthetic conundrum at the heart of his argument…

    See also:

    Can Science Answer Moral Questions?
    http://martygull.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/chris-port-blog-250-can-science-answer.html

    First Draft PhD Proposal
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/first-draft-phd-proposal/397025593660968

    Woolwich Threads
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/woolwich-threads/620407134656145

    A Crash Course in Aesthetics
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/a-crash-course-in-aesthetics/510545425642317

    Metamodernist Case Notes on a Think Tank Thread: Why Us and Why Now?
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/metamodernist-case-notes-on-a-think-tank-thread-why-us-and-why-now/478080715555455

    Notes on Metamodernism: The Pit and the Pendulum...
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/notes-on-metamodernism-the-pit-and-the-pendulum/431728890190638

    The Name of the Ghost
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/the-name-of-the-ghost/431724480191079

    Teachers Talking Rot (1 of 2)
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/teachers-talking-rot-1-of-2/606322266064632

    Teachers Talking Rot (2 of 2)
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/teachers-talking-rot-2-of-2/606331422730383

    See also: "Perhaps description is the key?"

    Marty Solves One of the Problems of the Universe
    http://martygull.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/chris-port-blog-114-marty-solves-one-of.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. 'Why we argue – and how to do it properly'
    Protagoras. The Guardian, 9 September 2013
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/09/how-to-argue-properly?CMP=twt_gu

    “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

    ~ President Theodore Roosevelt
    (writing to Henry L. Sprague on 26 January 1900).

    To some extent, Teddy was right. Coercion is a form of persuasion. The stick and carrot approach has its uses. But it’s a stopgap measure. True persuasion (a persistent, meaningful change in perspective) cannot be achieved by repression.

    Repressing thoughts with the threat of violence merely forces them to burrow deeper into the psyche. They bide their time, seething with resentment. The moment the oppressor loosens their grip, a sense of injustice boils over and explodes.

    Persuasion is both a psychic art and a physical science. Ultimately, we are seeking to diminish some neural connections and strengthen others.

    Dualism is a human trait. We learn from an early age to fake our behaviour. But we can’t fake our thoughts. If being human is anything, it is the way we think. So the true art of rhetoric (and education) is rhizomatic.

    Persuasion is not impersonal logic. This only serves to falsify thoughts, not ‘truthify’ them. True persuasion is a deeply personal process. In order to tap into a person’s neural pathways, we have to find an entry point. What INTERESTS this person?

    Films are an excellent place to start.

    cf. A Beginner's Guide to beating up other people's arguments.

    'An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments' by Ali Almossawi
    https://bookofbadarguments.com/?fb_action_ids=581873738536072&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map={%22581873738536072%22%3A490532944354215}&action_type_map={%22581873738536072%22%3A%22og.likes%22}&action_ref_map=[]

    ReplyDelete
  13. Comment thread in The Guardian
    http://discussion.theguardian.com/comment-permalink/26808658

    LabanTall > gulliblemartyr: "We learn from an early age to fake our behaviour. But we can’t fake our thoughts."

    I don't know about that :

    "Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity."

    Modern day examples might be :

    "Crime is falling, yet the prisons have never been so full" (© P. Toynbee)

    or

    "Why do the middle classes always get their children into the schools with the best results?"

    gulliblemartyr > LabanTall: I don’t dispute the persuasive force of coercion (or seduction). Consciousness = Qualia. Ergo, “If you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”

    Crimestop is an external censor, internalized as backward rationalization. However, this isn’t faking a thought. It’s repressing it, trying to avoid the discomfort of cognitive dissonance.

    ‘Volition’ is a teleological concept. A neuron ‘decides’ to fire if its synaptic inputs exceed its action potential threshold. It then emits a signal which the brain ‘imagines’ as a voluntary movement or idea. The conscious mind then has a ‘window of opportunity’ (somewhere between 150 to 200 milliseconds) to decide whether to ‘over-ride’ the signal or not.

    Discounting quantum effects here (for brevity’s sake) the neuronal trigger mechanism appears to be a deterministic phenomenon and is not ‘voluntary’. The conscious mind’s over-ride mechanism appears to be voluntary - but is also a holistic process involving the entire brain.

    Under this interpretation, it seems difficult to locate the concept of ‘voluntary’ in any particular neurophysiological mechanism.

    Winston Smith’s gin-soaked tear trickles because his mind is still under surveillance. His spirit is broken and has no place to heal. His qualia are controlled. He has no neurophysiological choice other than to spy on himself for Big Brother.

    However, foreboding (and depressing) though it is, 1984 is still a fiction.

    Consider the reality of Auschwitz. Survivors bore horrific psychic scars. Many suffered PTSD, depression, survivor’s guilt, etc. But were they persuaded to agree with the Nazis? Did they emigrate in the belief that they were subhumans, worthy only of extermination? Self-evidently not. Once the coercion was removed, the persuasion disappeared.

    Thus, Orwellian doublethink is only as permanent as its power to torture and kill.

    Laziness, cowardice and stupidity are more difficult to refute. I think I see a way to sneak in and change them. But that's a long story...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wittgenstein, you clever bastard :D

    ‘Formalizing common sense for scalable inconsistency-robust information integration using Direct Logic(TM) reasoning and the Actor Model’
    Carl Hewitt, Cornell University Library, arXiv:0812.4852v89 [cs.LO], 27 August 2013
    http://arxiv.org/abs/0812.4852

    ‘Because contemporary large software systems are pervasively inconsistent, it is not safe to reason about them using classical logic. The goal of Direct Logic is to be a minimal fix to classical mathematical logic that meets the requirements of large-scale Internet applications (including sense making for natural language) by addressing the following issues: inconsistency robustness, contrapositive inference bug, and direct argumentation.’

    Paraconsistent Logic
    http://www.iep.utm.edu/para-log/

    Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Mathematics
    http://stanford.library.usyd.edu.au/entries/wittgenstein-mathematics/

    ‘Wittgenstein’s Critique of Gödel’s Incompleteness Results’
    Martin Ohmacht
    http://sammelpunkt.philo.at:8080/1674/1/ohmacht.pdf

    ‘Are all contradictions equal? Wittgenstein on confusion in mathematics’
    Esther Ramharter,
    http://www.lib.uni-bonn.de/PhiMSAMP/Data/Book/PhiMSAMP-bk_Ramharter.pdf

    ‘Wittgenstein versus Turing on Inconsistency Robustness’
    http://lambda-the-ultimate.org/node/4302

    Wittgenstein, Mathematics, and Philosophy
    http://www.gwern.net/wittgenstein-thesis

    ‘Logics of Formal Inconsistency’
    W.A. Carnielli, M.E. Coniglio & J. Marcos
    http://clc.math.ist.utl.pt/ftp/pub/MarcosJ/zold/03-CCM-lfi.pdf

    ‘Wittgenstein and the Status of Contradictions’
    Louis Caruana, ‘Wittgenstein Today’, A. Coliva & E. Picardi (eds) (Padova: il Poligrafo, 2004), pp. 223-232.
    http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/699/1/L_Caruana_Contradictions.pdf

    ‘Reasoning about apparent contradictions: resolution strategies and positive±negative asymmetries’
    Dean Sharpe & Guy Lacroix, McGill University, 1998
    http://http-server.carleton.ca/~lacroix/index_files/attachments/Sharpe%28JoCL%29-1999.pdf

    ‘The Development of Wittgenstein’s Views on Contradiction’
    Laurence Goldstein, History and Philosophy of Logic, Volume 7, Issue 1, 1986
    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01445348608837090#.Uj1f_RA6_m4

    Abstract

    ‘The views on contradiction and consistency that Wittgenstein expressed in his later writings have met with misunderstanding and almost uniform hositility. In this paper, I trace the roots of these views by attempting to show that, in his early writings, Wittgenstein accorded a ‘unique status’ to tautologies and contradictions, marking them off logically from genuine propositions. This is integral both to his Tractatus project of furnishing a theory of inference, and to the enterprise of explaining the nature of the Satz (statement, proposition). Wittgenstein mantained that contradictions are not false. In his early writings this surprising thesis is a consequence of his view that contradictions are not statements. In his late writings he continues to advocate the thesis, but for quite different reasons. In these late writings, I contend, Wittgenstein succeeds in making the surprising thesis plausible.’

    ReplyDelete
  15. ‘Rules versus Standards: Competing Notions of Inconsistency Robustness in Patent Law’
    David Olson & Stefania Fusco, Alabama Law Review, Vol. 64:3:647
    http://www.law.ua.edu/pubs/lrarticles/Volume%2064/Issue%203/5%20OlsonFusco%20647%20-%20695.pdf

    Abstract

    ‘This Article applies a new paradigm from the field of computer science - inconsistency robustness (IR) - in order to analyze the competing ways in which the Supreme Court and Federal Circuit craft patent law standards and rules. The IR paradigm is a shift from the previous paradigm of inconsistency elimination. The new IR paradigm recognizes that modern, complex information systems must perform notwithstanding persistent and continuous inconsistencies. The focus on IR encourages system designers to recognize the reality of persistent inconsistency when building robust systems that can perform reliably. Legal systems regularly process a great deal of complexity and inconsistency, and thus, by necessity, have always been structured to be inconsistency robust. Accordingly, applying insights from the formal IR paradigm is helpful in analyzing the effective functioning of legal systems.This Article is the first legal article to formally utilize IR in analyzing the legal system. By using IR analysis, the Article examines a previously under analyzed persistent pattern within patent law. Specifically, the Article analyzes via example in five separate areas of patent law the ways in which the Federal Circuit and Supreme Court repeatedly diverge on the adoption of rules versus standards in patent law. The Article shows that IR analysis shows that this pattern can be explained by viewing the two courts as separate systems administrators operating from different positions within the system as each attempts to maintain an inconsistency-robust patent system. The Article further shows that if the courts take lessons from the perspective provided by a holistic view of IR, they can craft more optimal patent law by taking into account the costs and benefits of the law to all participants and administators of the patent law system.’

    Dialetheism
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dialetheism/

    Atlas Snored
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/atlas-snored/668189409877917
    http://martygull.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/chris-port-blog-348-atlas-snored-case.html

    First Draft PhD Proposal
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/first-draft-phd-proposal/397025593660968

    Notes on Metamodernism: The Pit and the Pendulum...
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/notes-on-metamodernism-the-pit-and-the-pendulum/431728890190638

    ReplyDelete
  16. 'Mathematics self-proves its own Consistency (contra Gödel et. al.)'
    Carl Hewitt, Seminar, Stanford, 6 June 2012
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B79uetkQ_hCKbkFpbFJQVFhvdU0/edit

    ReplyDelete
  17. Addendum to ‘Rules versus Standards: Competing Notions of Inconsistency Robustness in Patent Law’
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/first-draft-phd-proposal/397025593660968?comment_id=86023764&offset=150&total_comments=238

    From another forum (26 May - 14 June 2013):

    L1: Another story of Americans trying to declare 'ownership' or things they shouldn't
    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/may/25/embryologist-attacks-cell-cycle-patent

    J: I rarely go down the "corruption within the American elite" rabbit hole.... It's VERY deep, and quite scary!!!!

    L1: They keep trying to claim everything as theirs

    J: And getting it!!

    L1: Quite scary really

    CP: As far as I'm concerned, it's reasonable for new data and artificial processes to be patented in the same way that it's reasonable for new inventions to be patented. It's not reasonable for natural processes to be patented. I don't regard IVF as a 'natural process' or a 'basic human right'.

    That said, I think that the increasing commercialization of science is not healthy for science overall. The problem, as always, is funding. If commercial organizations are investing in R&D, it's understandable that they want to secure a profit on their investment. However, if taxpayers are funding the R&D, then the data should be available to the public without cost as they've already paid for it.

    L2: Just read the article. I'm speechless How.dare.they.

    CP: I have read it. I can't see anything in the linked Auxogyn Press Release http://www.auxogyn.com/eu-patent-release.php claiming patent of 'the duration of the first three cell cycles in a human embryo', merely the data that their 'predictive parameters' provides. If there is some sly legal chicanery in the patent application (not quoted in the article) that does make such a claim, then I'd like to see the actual wording.

    L2: It's unethical,worse,in my opinion.

    L2: I wasn't even looking at it from a legal perspective,but morally,I think you mentioned the correct word with "sly" Chris.

    CP: If they have tried to patent any aspect of human physiology, then that's not only unethical but, I predict, legally unenforceable. However, I haven't yet seen any evidence that they have done that - apart from the vague assertion: 'Fertility experts are infuriated because they believe the patent covers a naturally occurring phenomenon: the duration of the first three cell cycles in a human embryo.' If this is so, then I'd like to see the actual wording of the patent application that asserts or implies this. The broader objections seem to be that the new technique will make IVF 'prohibitively expensive', Maybe so, but only if health service providers actually use it. Perhaps it should just be a 'luxury' enhancement for private health services (which leads on to another argument altogether).

    ReplyDelete
  18. ^ CP: N.B. It's possible that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may have approved the substance of an application while overlooking a nuance. For all their endless codification, governmental departments are notoriously myopic when it comes to small print. Many years ago, I worked for an investments company. The company was in dispute with the Inland Revenue over the latter's interpretation of a tax relief clause in one of our contracts. I won't bore you with the details, but both the IR and the DTI had originally approved the wording, only to contradict their own decision a decade later. It was actually quite fun asking them to explain their logic. But I digress. My main point is that, if there's an ambiguity whether the patent covers an aspect of human physiology (rather than just an analytical technique), then it's far more likely to be incompetence than eugenics.

    CP: ' "laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas" are beyond the domain of patent protection. '

    'Supreme Court rules human genes may not be patented'
    Robert Barnes & Brady Dennis, The Washington Post, 13 June 2013
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-rules-human-genes-may-not-be-patented/2013/06/13/9e5c55d2-d43d-11e2-a73e-826d299ff459_story.html

    ReplyDelete
  19. The Enlightenment Haiku

    The Enlightenment
    illuminates monsters - let's
    see what's eating us.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6t8KHa6GSs

    ReplyDelete
  20. 'Life is a competition, confirms God'
    The Daily Mash, 23 September 2013
    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/life-is-a-competition-confirms-god-2013092379703

    Good and evil are fictional problems. That's why we have fiction. Without it, all facts would be equal - and that wouldn't be survivable. Ergo, morality is aesthetic...

    See 'Job opportunity for starving philosophers' for further details.
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-port/first-draft-phd-proposal/397025593660968?comment_id=86470418&offset=50&total_comments=242

    ReplyDelete
  21. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151850970185155&set=a.496176595154.294030.8798180154&type=1

    RDFRS: Are science and religion compatible?

    CP: Yes, in principle - in the same way that fact and fiction can be compatible:

    ≡ (iff) both adhere to the principle of falsification.

    In practice, religion is mostly unable to hold up its end of the bargain. This is because most religions are dogmas. Dogmas, by definition, are incompatible with falsification.

    My own view is that the beneficial aspects of religion (there are some) should be replaced by a better understanding of philosophy and aesthetics.

    The supernatural has its place. Where would fiction be without it? And the human condition (which religion seeks to explain) is ultimately a story as well as a selection of facts.

    ReplyDelete
  22. One for Gothic Horror fans. The haunted house as a haunted mind...

    'The Uncanny'
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01k2bvn

    'It's that sense of unease or disquiet at the heart of ghost fiction and horror writing, the stuff of bad dreams when the familiar is suddenly strange, a feeling of a place being unsettlingly out of place. The uncanny is everywhere.

    So why is it that the familiar, or that which is closest to home, can be so much more frightening to us than the truly exotic or unknown? Freud's extraordinary essay The Uncanny, from 1919, is like nothing else he wrote. It's a translation of the German 'un-heimlich' meaning 'not homely' or 'a feeling of not being at home'. But the term itself is strange. In German its meaning can shift so 'uncanny/un-heimlich' can be read, eerily, as 'homely but not at home' - a disquieting ambiguity.

    Freud tries to unravel that sense of the 'uncanny' that he sees everywhere in popular art and culture: in the fiction of Poe and E.T.A. Hoffman, in life-like puppets and mannequins which for a second we think are real, in doppelgangers and doubles, in the strange feeling of getting lost in a familiar place.

    He was arguably onto something. The uncanny really is discernible everywhere in fiction, film and art - from Mary Shelly to Asimov, from Invasion of the Body Snatchers to the Chapman Brothers. This atmospheric programme explores the power of the Uncanny in our culture - in all its strange, unsettling manifestations.'

    Freud's essay on 'The Uncanny' (1919)
    http://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/freud1.pdf

    'The Party' Scene 1. Ghosts.
    http://martygull.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/chris-port-blog-184-party-characters.html

    NARRATOR
    Ghosts. Some people say that houses have memories. That if walls can’t speak, they might sometimes whisper. Listen. Have you ever woken in the night and stood, unreal, at the top of the stairs? Thought you heard voices underneath the silence? Padded downstairs, like a burglar in your own home, and found only the furniture? You may think it’s your idle nerve-endings poltergeisting around, but a house remembers. Something always rubs off on a house, like the thumbprint on the light-switch as the last person leaves. And some nights, on the graveyard watch, when the hull of the roof creaks against the pack-ice dark, a house likes to remember.

    ReplyDelete
  23. https://www.facebook.com/woodrow.guthrie/posts/596042430437074

    cf. 'There Are Monsters… And Then There Are Us…'
    http://apps.3-way-split.com/Forum/message/index.cfm?topicGroupID=13650&topicID=27636&messageID=76118&start=1&last=1#76118

    http://martygull.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/chris-port-blog-122-there-are-monsters.html

    'With This Ring...'
    http://apps.3-way-split.com/Forum/message/index.cfm?topicGroupID=13650&topicID=30678&messageID=0&start=0&last=0

    http://martygull.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/chris-port-blog-317-with-this-ring.html

    ReplyDelete
  24. 'Steven Pinker is a jerk'
    Broderick Chow, 13 September 2013
    http://dangerology.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/steven-pinker-is-a-jerk/

    Comment thread:

    CPM: I generally like Pinker, but this was good, not-so-dispassionate criticism.

    CP: I'm strongly in favour of interdisciplinary links between science and the humanities. However, I'm strongly against neo-positivist dominance. Appropriateness is the key to symbiosis. The language of science is not suited to the negotiations of meaning. The language of the humanities is.

    It's important to differentiate between scientific 'facts' and the scientific method. Facts are provisional, not absolute. The scientific method is falsification. Anyone who accepts facts based on authority is being unscientific.

    The rest, of course, is politics :(

    CPM: I haven't read Pinker's article, so I'll reserve judgment, but I don't think your implied dichotomy of Science -- expensive, educated, elite -- and Art -- of the People -- is completely fair. There has been a tremendous push to "democratise" science as well in the past 40 years, but it has had a hill to climb: making it attractive to most people. Unfortunately this means photos of otter's holding hands, but it might also eventually lead to a wider embrace of the scientific ethos that promotes healthy skepticism. As Chris Port alluded to, this kind of scientific thinking should make one more wary of trusting authority and received knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
  25. ^ Comment thread continued.

    CP: A symbiotic perspective.

    'And Martians Shall Save the University Why do we need the liberal arts? Because it gives us sci-fi'
    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/113670/sci-fi-will-save-liberal-arts

    “How does one make the “clear and compelling case for the liberal arts?” asked an alarmed report submitted to Congress a couple weeks ago. It’s not hard. The most popular case, at the moment, is the preservationist one: The job of the humanities is “understanding, curating, and transmitting the first four thousand five hundred years of human consciousness,” as Columbia Sanskrit professor Sheldon Pollock put it at the Harvard gathering. Cultivating political character is another defense. The liberal arts education is said to give future citizens the historical perspective and ethical bent required to uphold democracy and avert totalitarianism. Then there’s the answer that flips the question on its head: The humanities are good for questioning whether knowledge has to be good for anything. Personally, I find all of these arguments “clear and compelling,” but I worry that budget-conscious politicians and the heads of cash-starved institutions won’t. If the criterion for funding areas of study must be that they add to American wealth and competitiveness, then I’d like to offer my own only half-unserious case for the liberal arts. I propose that they should survive, and thrive, because they give us science fiction, and science fiction creates jobs and makes us rich.”

    ...

    “The beauty of science is expressed in a totally different way from the beauty of traditional literature,” writes the Chinese science-fiction novelist Liu Cixin. But “the beauty of science is locked within cold formulas.” Sci-fi builds “a bridge to this beauty, freeing it from formulas and displaying it for all to see.” Science fiction—and all the non-scientific or social-scientific branches of knowledge that go into its composition—gives us the stories we need to understand a world increasingly dominated by technical processes too hermetic and complex for most people to question. And these stories give science a way to move forward...”

    BC: Christopher - I agree with you in some ways. But in a sense my critique is just a fightback against the fact that the government pumps money into science because it is a fragile neglected lamb while characterising the Arts as elitist in order to strip away funding from them. It's a double movement - impoverish a discipline at the same time as saying it's to rich.

    BC: Part two - sorry, pressed enter too early: Also, there's just material concerns. Democratising science is fine - but unless you have tons of money, you just can't do the research that scientists can. Promoting scepticism is great. But as Wiesenthal says in his critique, the Humanities do scepticism. All the bloody time. The scientific method - sure, let's make sure that people know what it is, and maybe we can be a bit more empirical. But that doesn't mean that we can DO SCIENCE.

    BC: I suppose it's back to Chomsky/Zizek debate, but in this case, Zizek is right, empiricism has no idea how to deal with ideology.

    ReplyDelete
  26. ^ Comment thread continued.

    CP: Agreed At the moment, mainstream debates are dominated by the language games (and logic traps) of 'performativity'. Further separation of science and the humanities can only make this worse. This is why I want to move in the opposite direction.

    The more we can engage the sciences in meaningful debate, the more we can bring the concept of falsification to bear on performativity. It's not the solution in itself. But changing the language game is the only way forward. And I can't see any other way of doing it.

    Fortunately, scientists are already moving into the territory of meaning. See Sam Harris' "put up or shut up" challenge... http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-moral-landscape-challenge1

    My initial thoughts:

    Traditionally, science has been regarded as descriptive and morality as prescriptive. But science is also predictive. So, in Sam’s moral landscape, do good* predictions = good** prescriptions?

    * Falsifiable
    ** Beneficial

    Possibly. But if they’re truly equivalent, does it work vice versa? This leads out onto some very thin ice…

    The real question is always “Cui bono” (to whose benefit?). So I suspect that Sam’s thesis could only be refuted by reference to de facto cynicism rather than de jure principle (i.e. selectivity and performativity)

    I don’t actually want to refute Sam’s thesis (fortunately for me). I just want to qualify it (modesty is my only flaw). But, in order to qualify it, I’ll have to fail to refute it in a way that grabs his interest. So, all I’m really looking for is a fascinating aesthetic conundrum at the heart of his argument…

    ReplyDelete
  27. ^ Comment thread continued.

    BC: Re: Sam Harris - see Žižek's critique - ah, it's not even a critique, he just pointed out that Sam Harris endorsed limited uses of torture. Anyways, my point is not just about science as a discourse, it's about science as a material practice. People like Harris aren't scientists when they write books about why science is awesome, they're ideologues. Science as a material practice is determined by flows of capital and funding mechanisms that are transparently instrumental. The gap between them is necessary for some distance - at least, I think.

    CPM: B: The enemy of both Science and the Humanities is commerce, and competition for funding. Within the sciences there is a similar pressure placed on scientists to produce profitable innovations, rather than to pursue their pet interests/knowledge for knowledge sake kind of things, despite the fact that several of the most important scientific discoveries to humanity were made by people unprofitably tinkering in the shed (see Maxwell's discovery of radio waves). Inappropriate substantive encroachment between the magisteria is one thing (and is, as you rightly imply, routinely practiced by science writers and not just Pinker), but if it comes down to competition for funding, or just significance in the eyes of the public, "the Humanities" would be better off extolling its own unique virtues than attacking the sciences.

    CPM: And I don't know the context of that Zizek quote, but I think ideology falls under the category of "crooked timber" and empiricism, in the formal academic sense, falls under "straight things."

    ReplyDelete
  28. Always worth rewatching, 'Copenhagen' is a classic dramatic superposition: science and ideology, fact and narrative, truth and motive, Werner Heisenberg as Daniel Craig...

    Plot Summary

    'In 1941 the German physicist Werner Heisenberg made a strange trip to Copenhagen to see his Danish counterpart, Niels Bohr. They were old friends and close colleagues, and they had revolutionised atomic physics in the 1920s with their work together on quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle. But now the world had changed, and the two men were on opposite sides in a world war. The meeting was fraught with danger and embarrassment, and ended in disaster.

    Why Heisenberg was sent to Copenhagen and what he wanted to say to Bohr are questions which have exercised historians ever since. In Michael Frayn's new play Heisenberg meets Bohr and his wife Margrethe once again to look for the answers, and to work out, just as they had once worked out the internal functioning of the atom, how we can ever know why we do what we do.'

    'Copenhagen' by Michael Frayn
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrwhDHYxPls

    ReplyDelete
  29. 'Call for Papers for the first issue in 2012: Performative Science – Reconciliation of Science and Humanities or the End of Philosophy?'
    Studia UBB. Philosophia, [Expired] Deadline for submissions January 15, 2012
    http://studiaphilosophia.wordpress.com/call-for-papers-2/call-for-papers-for-the-first-issue-in-2012-performative-science-reconciliation-of-science-and-humanities-or-the-end-of-philosophy/

    - Is a methodological link or an alliance between performative practices as met in the arts and scientific methods feasible or desirable? (performativity in science including “Geisteswissenschaften”)

    - Is such a link necessary to oppose an over-scientification of society?

    - Is Heidegger’s statement “Science does not think” (i.e. is perhaps ontic but never ontological) an irrevocable dictum?

    - Is performative science just a wishful thinking doomed to fail to give science a normative component and make it more human and closer to lifeworld?

    - Is performative science necessary to account for an increasing complexity and for a lack of proper methods in traditional science to treat processes, ephemeral and contingent phenomena?

    - Is it better to keep art and science complementary but strictly disjunct because otherwise science would tend to mysticism and art would become meaningless?

    - Is performative science ill-conditioned because in order to remain scientific it has to operationalise hermeneutics or to make implicit knowledge explicit, both of which are impossible?

    - Is a productive hermeneutics or hermeneutics of facticity within a scientific approach an oxymoron?

    'Performative Science – Reconciliation of Science and Humanities or the End of Philosophy?'
    Studia UBB. Philosophia, April 2012
    http://www.studia.ubbcluj.ro/download/pdf/703.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  30. Polchinski, J. (2013)
    Review: Black Holes Information, Entanglement, Complementarity, and Firewalls
    http://qpt.physics.harvard.edu/simons/Polchinski.pdf

    Almheiri, A., Marolf, D., Polchinski, J and Sully, J. (2013)
    Black Holes: Complementarity or Firewalls?
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1207.3123v4.pdf

    Susskind, L. (2012)
    Singularities, Firewalls, and Complementarity
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1208.3445v1.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  31. WG: If morality evolved for the purpose of fostering community, can we deduce anything about what is moral/immoral without committing the naturalistic fallacy? If so, what?

    Naturalistic fallacy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalistic_fallacy

    CP: Assuming evolution (and discounting intelligent design) we would be committing a teleological fallacy if we claimed that morality evolved for any purpose.

    See Teleological Argument
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleological_argument

    It would be less erroneous if we simply claimed that community evolved as a successful survival strategy. From this we can deduce that morality evolved from a natural hierarchical pecking order into etiquette.

    See Etiquette
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etiquette

    The problem of the 'Naturalistic Fallacy' arises because of a manmade distinction between natural and manmade.

    This distinction seems to be an inverted form of the anthropomorphic/pathetic fallacy.

    See Pathetic Fallacy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathetic_fallacy

    Man (i.e. homo sapiens) evolved IN the natural world. However, our intelligence evolved as another successful survival strategy. Eventually, this sapient differential resulted in misrecognition. We began to see ourselves as SEPARATE from the natural world.

    However, this separation is a fallacy. In (physical) reality, sentience is an emergent phenomenon. The artificial is still part of the natural world.

    From our initial premises, we can deduce that morality (i.e. evolved etiquette) can only exist in higher level consciousness. Therefore, we can deduce that morality is a complex emergent property.

    After that, we can only deduce that we are playing Wittgensteinian language games.

    See Language-game (philosophy)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language-game_%28philosophy%29

    In 'The Moral Landscape', Sam Harris proposes we should discard cultural relativism and quantify these language games in terms of 'the well-being of conscious creatures'. It's a logical deduction and a valid premise.

    See 'The Moral Landscape'
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moral_Landscape

    Whether his arguments are sound is still up for grabs though.

    Addendum.

    CP: If morality is ‘the well-being of conscious creatures’, then consciousness must precede well-being.

    This is a one-way logic gate. We can talk of consciousness without well-being, but it makes no sense to talk of well-being without consciousness.

    Ergo, existence must precede essence (sans Sartrean Free Will).

    Ergo, survival must precede morality.

    But survival of what? Individuals, communities, genes, or memes?

    These qualities are entangled and interdependent. But which is most important?

    Ironically, we cannot be equitable from first principle here. Unfortunately, we do not live in a deathless paradise. Therefore, in the physical universe, we can only talk of survival and morality in terms of priorities (e.g. dilemmas or conflicts of interest).

    The scientific method can quantify well-being. But can it qualify existential priorities? If not, then a scientific morality without aesthetic qualification has no system of prioritization.

    Ergo, does ‘scientific morality’ encounter similar inconsistencies to those identified in Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems?

    Raatikainen, Panu, "Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/goedel-incompleteness/

    ReplyDelete