Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The philosophy of crap

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Philosophy - its just crap right? Well; not entirely. The problem with crap is the 'craper' rather than the crap. Its not that exists, its where people decide to leave it. Philosophy is an expression of people's thoughts.
I say, if the philosophy sounds like crap, it is probably because it is crap. i.e. If it is difficult for you to understand, it is because the author:
1. Never intended it to be understood
2. Had to bury it under so much crap that they needed to confound you in order to feel superior. You probably thought them more profoundly smart because you did not understand them. On the contrary, they are evading their own stupidity.

The point is - to the idealist who comes up with this crap; they want you to think they are profound because you could not suffer intolerable pain of reading their work. This is proof to them that they are not an imbecile. This is of course rationalism at its worst; and there is no good rationalism. They are deluded people, and they populate our universities, and they are a burden carried by society. Politicians love them because these parasites on the Western productivity machine sabotage what is good about society. They have always existed in one form or another, whether as religious scholars, children of religious or collectivist parents, or as the modern-day academic. They are of course supported by the average taxpayer who cares little for what their expropriated wealth finances. The modern-day academic is currently dreaming up a number of rationalisations to justify several distortions to society. There was Keynesianism in the 1920s. That had a long life. Now governments need another scam. They have several:
1. Animal rights - the influential person here was Peter Singer - nevermind that utilitarianism has been widely discredited. Peter had the desired effect of rationalising a framework for a lot of tragic souls to fight for animal rights. Governments duly got on board.
2. Climate change - The empiricists within academic, whom are really just a form of the idealist, have a disdain for ideas, so they ignore the intellectual framework upon which their ideas are based. They accept scientific method effectively on 'faith' rather than examining the quality of scientific work. If they did, they would realise that there are a number of flaws. i.e. Correlation is not causation.
3. Crime - Punitive discipline is the hallmark of good parenting right? Consistency is all important. They are the hallmark of rationalists who do not understand their game. Governments love to appeal to the communities desire for security. The problem is - they will never solve the problem; moreover they are making it worse because of the anti-intellectual approach to political discourse and justice. That's right, you asked for democracy, and you got it. You asked for it because you though you needed what others had. But in fact, you got what they didn't have, which was effective representation. Dream on! There is only one objective standard of value - rationality - and it does not come at the point of a gun, its not a numbers game, and it does not entail majoritism.

But back to my original point. How to tell the difference between crap. I often read philosophy; and some are utterly unreadable. Some are readable, but its like walking through a maze. e.g. John Rawls. Its apparent that these people are trying to hide something from themselves, as well as from you. On a psychological level, they are philosophical liars, rationalising that which they could not justify if they spoke in simple terms. I'm currently reading this hypothesis:

Chakravartty, Anjan, “Scientific Realism”, The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (Summer 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Read this quote and my simplification of it, and tell me that this 'wordiness' is necessary.
Original: "A final and especially important qualification to the general recipe for realism described above comes in the form of a number of variations. These species of generic realism can be viewed as falling into three families or camps: explanationist realism; entity realism; and structural realism. There is a shared principle of speciation here, in that all three approaches are attempts to identify more specifically the component parts of scientific theories that are most worthy of epistemic commitment".
My revision: "There are three approaches to identifying the components of scientific theories that are most worthy of epistemic commitment or speciation".
This is a reduction in wordiness of about 300%. You can't buy that type of productivity improvement in philosophy departments.
This is the modus operandi for too many philosophers. It is not even restricted to academia. Unsurprisingly, its the basis of legal discourse as well. Why would we be surprised given its connection with political discourse. It is destined to keep the layperson or voter entirely the imbecile. The challenge lies with sound thinkers to outline a rational, coherent and intelligible framework of ideas for readers. Philosophy is profoundly important; too important to be left to imbecile philosophers who get paid 'as academics' regardless of their output. Parasitism is the worst type of cancer. Understand that you are supporting these people with your tax dollars, then understand that you are sanctioning their stupidity with your complicity or passivity.
Andrew Sheldon

Friday, September 23, 2011

Relevance of Ayn Rand's villains today?

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Bill Gates as Howard Rearden? For the most part I agree with this; on the other hand, I have to argue that Microsoft Word was an unstable system from 1990 to 2007. Now, I can safely edit a document in Microsoft Word 2007 without it falling over. No instability problems at all. A belated thank you to Microsoft. But I conclude that Bill did not seem to love his product as much as Rearden. But maybe if Bill had a nagging wife at home, he too would have spent more time in the office. Insofar as Bill appears to have much greater love for "Billinda", perhaps we might argue that Bill Gates has exceeded Ayn Rand's expectations. In this context, I think you'd just say that Bill is less morally ambivalent than 'pragmatic' Rearden.

Andrew Sheldon

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Extortion by government and WikiLeaks

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WikiLeaks is back in the new with reports that it has released a 2nd encrypted file to its supporters. It seems probable that these 'secret files' contain embarrassing information for various governments around the world. It is interesting to reflect upon the moral legitimacy of the US and WikiLeaks actions over this 'privacy' tussle. The issues as I see them:
1. The government is supposed to be a custodian of the people's moral issues
2. The government ought to act in good faith to protect citizens
WikiLeaks, as a private agency is challenging that moral authority, or more accurately, challenging the way in which they exercise their moral legitimacy; whether its a question of methodology or organisation is not clear.

The problem for me with WikiLeaks actions is that not all of their 'leaks' make an intellectual argument. i.e. Some times they seem more interested in embarrassing or discrediting government for the wrong or ambiguous reasons. At the same time, they have themselves released information which was unfair to the interests of certain members of the community. The best example I am aware of is their disclosure of banking details for people with accounts in secretive tax havens in Switzerland. They are assuming that breaking tax laws is illegitimate at a time when they are challenging the legitimacy of the governments actions. By making 'the law' the standard of value, they are undermining their own legitimacy; as the government will probably have some statutory justification for doing what they are doing. For this reason, by asserting 'statutes', they are digressing from moral principles. i.e. Undermining their own position.

The implication of this issue is that we have two powerful authorities using the threat of injury to defeat the other. My expectation is that WikiLeaks will win their debate. Western governments will be forced to acquiesce. Not the best approach, but sadly, what do you expect with a democratic system of government, in which reason is not the standard of value.
Andrew Sheldon

ConvinceMe.Net - Anyone up for a debate?