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Post 0

Friday, July 12 - 9:28pmSanction this postReply
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I was planning to write an essay explaining the method of rationally resolving conflicts and always acting on a single idea with no outstanding criticisms. It would followup on my essay Epistemology Without Weights and the Mistake Objectivism and Critical Rationalism Both Made where I mentioned the method but didn't explain it.

I knew I'd already written a number of explanations on the topic, so I decided to reread them for preparation. While reading them I decided that the topic is hard and it'd be very hard to write a single essay which is good enough for someone to understand it. Maybe if they already had a lot of relevant background knowledge, like knowing Popper, Deutsch or TCS, one essay could work OK. But for an Objectivist audience, or most audiences, I think it'd be really hard.

So I had a different idea I think will work better: gather together multiple essays. This lets people learn about the subject from a bunch of different angles. I think this way will be the most helpful to someone who is interested in understanding this philosophy.

Each link below was chosen selectively. I reread all of them as well as other things that I decided not to include. It may look like a lot, but I don't think you should expect an important new idea in epistemology to be really easy and short to learn. I've put the links in the order I recommend reading them, and included some explanations below.

Instead of one perfect essay – which is impossible – I present instead some variations on a theme.


Popper's critical preferences idea is incorrect. It's similar to standard epistemology, but better, but still shares some incorrectness with rival epistemologies. My criticisms of it can be made of any other standard epistemology (including Objectivism) with minor modifications. I explained a related criticism of Objectivism in my prior essay.

Critical Preferences
Critical Preferences and Strong Arguments

The next one helps clarify a relevant epistemology point:

Corroboration

Regress problems are a major issue in epistemology. Understanding the method of rationally resolving conflicts between ideas to get a single idea with no outstanding criticism helps deal with regresses.

Regress Problems

Confused about anything? Maybe these summary pieces will help:

Conflict, Criticism, Learning, Reason
All Problems are Soluble
We Can Always Act on Non-Criticized Ideas

This next piece clarifies an important point:

Criticism is Contextual

Coercion is an important idea to understand. It comes from Taking Children Seriously (TCS), the Popperian educational and parenting philosophy by David Deutsch. TCS's concept of "coercion" is somewhat different than the dictionary, keep in mind that it's our own terminology. TCS also has a concept of a "common preference" (CP). A CP is any way of resolving a problem between people which they all prefer. It is not a compromise; it's only a CP if everyone fully prefers it. The idea of a CP is that it's a preference which everyone shares in common, rather than disagreeing.

CPs are the only way to solve problems. And any non-coercive solution is a CP. CPs turn out to be equivalent to non-coercion. One of my innovations is to understand that these concept can be extended. It's not just about conflicts between people. It's really about conflicts between ideas, including ideas within the same mind. Thus coercion and CPs are both major ideas in epistemology.

TCS's "most distinctive feature is the idea that it is both possible and desirable to bring up children entirely without doing things to them against their will, or making them do things against their will, and that they are entitled to the same rights, respect and control over their lives as adults." In other words, achieving common preferences, rather than coercion, is possible and desirable.

Don't understand what I'm talking about? Don't worry. Explanations follow:

Taking Children Seriously
Coercion

The next essay explains the method of creating a single idea with no outstanding criticisms to solve problems and how that is always possible and avoids coercion.

Avoiding Coercion
Avoiding Coercion Clarification

This email clarifies some important points about two different types of problems (I call them "human" and "abstract"). It also provides some historical context by commenting on a 2001 David Deutsch email.

Human Problems and Abstract Problems

The next two help clarify a couple things:

Multiple Incompatible Unrefuted Conjectures
Handling Information Overload

Now that you know what coercion is, here's an early explanation of the topic:

Coercion and Critical Preferences

This is an earlier piece covering some of the same ideas in a different way:

Resolving Conflicts of Interest

These pieces have some general introductory overview about how I approach philosophy. They will help put things in context:

Think
Philosophy: What For?

Want to understand more?

Read these essays and dialogs. Read Fallible Ideas. Join my discussion group and actually ask questions.



Post 1

Wednesday, July 17 - 12:55pmSanction this postReply
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Elliot:

Regarding 'problem' as in:

"So, problem 2: a *person* wants to make an asteroid move at twice as fast as the speed of light. "

That sounds(to me) very similar to 'goal'

(Whether it is a reasonable or rational goal in this Universe is another discussion.)


There are usages of 'problem' that are neutral ("He solved a math problem") and there are usages of 'problem' that are negative ("He had a problem solving the math problem.")

So is your usage of 'problem' above more neutral, as in similar to a goal?

In what ways is meaning different than 'goal?'

"All problems are soluble" doesn't translate well to "all goals are achievable," so there must be something that distinguishes goal from problem. But in the illustrative example

"a *person* wants to make an asteroid move at twice as fast as the speed of light ", which sounds just like a goal, is identified as a problem.


"On the way to achieving a goal, it is possible to encounter and overcome problems." In that usage, problems are speed bumps--impediments-- on the path to achieving a goal.

But in that case, if "all problems are soluble" then "all goals are achievable" including irrational goals.

So how is this loose relationship(that I've introduced, maybe in error)between problems and goals disambiguated?

regards,
Fred



(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 7/17, 12:57pm)




Post 2

Friday, July 19 - 6:22amSanction this postReply
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Elliot:

Only persons have problems, in their mind. I understand that. Only persons have goals, too, in those same minds.

"All problems are soluble...by giving up irrational problems, does not translate well to "All goals are achievable...by giving up irrational or unachievable goals."

All rational problems are soluble?

regards,
Fred








Post 3

Saturday, July 20 - 1:12pmSanction this postReply
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(Busy FYI, haven't looked over the other threads and replies yet, will read through it eventually.)

"All problems are soluble...by giving up irrational problems, does not translate well to "All goals are achievable...by giving up irrational or unachievable goals."

All rational problems are soluble?

Yeah so "goal" isn't the same thing. Because if you change your goal, that may solve the problem motivating the goal, but not achieve the goal.

All problems are soluble. You don't need the qualifier "rational" because irrational problems can be solved by becoming more rational, changing your approach to the problem (perhaps even discarding it as a bad problem). I think that does constitute a valuable solution to a real problem you had.

Regarding, "Only persons have problems" -- well, this is kind of a terminology matter. what i might say is that only the problems persons have matter to any persons. however, "2+2=?" is still a problem, of sorts, even if no person cares about it.

in one of the links i used the terminology "abstract problem" and "human problem". i pointed out that abstract problems never have time limits and never hurt anyone. human problems do have time constraints and the potential to hurt people, but due to their attributes they are easier to deal with than abstract problems. so i think it's an important distinction.

I'm not really sure why the focus on terminology, but if you are interested in the idea that "all problems are soluble" the must-read book on the topic is BoI: http://beginningofinfinity.com/ http://www.amazon.com/dp/0670022756?tag=curi04-20

I learned about the idea from David. His book explains it. (I also particularly recommend the Popperian epistemology discussions in both of his books.)



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Post 4

Sunday, July 21 - 7:06amSanction this postReply
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Elliot:

Well, the focus on terminology is a consequence of trying to understand ideas expressed via terminology.

This will be somewhat recursively self reflective, but suppose I had a 'problem' integrating the assertion "all problems are soluble." Because, in my existing understanding of some uses of the term 'problem,' not all problems are soluble, unless we include 'giving up on them, moving around them' as part of what is meant by soluble.

And in that, I recognize another set of observations made about the Universe, the concept of 'meander' as a mechanism for achieving an outcome. However, not just people 'meander' -- the same concept is seen in root systems, the development of plants, circulatory systems in life, the flow of rivers, the path of railroads and interstates, the waging of campaigns of war, etc., and even, economies.

We cut, we try, we assess gradient, we assess impediment, we alter direction, and then we cut and try again. Lather, rinse, repeat. We don't march to our destinations, our goals, in a straight line and solve every problem in our way; we meander towards a solution.

The concept is not quite the same as 'path of least resistance' but is related; we obtain one path, of many, of solution between where we are and our goals, via meander.

When we draw a straight line between point A and point B in some space, what lies between could be impediments to travelling that straight line; if we constrain ourselves to that straight line then by necessity we must overcome every problem that exists on that line. But by embracing the concept of meander, the problem of reaching our goal is solved by meandering around those problems along the way, not necessarily plowing through them.

And so those problems are 'solved,' as is my original problem of integrating the statement "all problems are soluble."

The Allies in WWII in the Pacific used the concept of "Island hopping" to achieve the goal of defeating the Japanese. The 'problem' of removing the Japanese forces from a given island was sometimes 'solved' by not taking it on. The Allied forces in the Pacific 'meandered' to their goal.

That is a different meaning of the phrase 'every problem is soluble' than 'every island campaign is winnable.'

The Axis had a problem to solve; winning the conflict with the Allies. The Allies had a complementary problem to solve; winning the conflict with the Axis. Both were problems. Were both soluble?

Only in the sense of giving one up.

regards,
Fred







Post 5

Sunday, July 21 - 10:26amSanction this postReply
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Fred,

Good stuff. Your poignant wit reminds me of H.L. Mencken (1880-1956).

It's usually not good to say really good things about people -- I mean really good things about them -- when it regards the development of events in the future, but I'm pretty sure that some of the things you say (here and elsewhere) will be catalogued in some future journal entitled Annals of Human Reason, or something like that. There! Now that I've said it, I hope I haven't jinxed you or made you feel like you will never measure up to others or even to an objective standard of goodness until or unless your name has become enshrined in the National Archives of Really Important People.

:-)

I just think it's cool that I get to intermittently interact with you. That's all.

Ed




Post 6

Sunday, July 21 - 2:31pmSanction this postReply
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Ed:

As usual, you are too kind. But that mythical future depends on what competing alternatives come to dominate the thinking of our tribe; the things we discuss here could also get us hung in effigy as examples of the worst scum imaginable. For instance, nothing like anything we say here will ever be kindly spoken by a Chris Matthews between his current racegasms.

One rule of conflict-- even conflict that we don't recognize as occurring, is that the winners write the new rulebooks. The Nuremberg Trials could have easily been the Annapolis Trials. They weren't because of one reason only; the Allies won the conflict, the Axis lost.

My father, passed in 2009, was a WWII vet who, when he talked about WWII at all, would say just that. One example he once quietly and sadly pointed out was the allied response to the Malmedy massacre; the allied payback was as bad and far worse(pows lined up on the road and driven over with halftracks, for example.) That, he said, was what war is; an ever escalating exchange of payback for what the other side did to the friends you'd die trying to protect until only one side is left standing. Don't even think for a second that there were any polite rules other than 'prevail.' What I admired about my father, maybe most of all, was that he came through that with his decency and humanity intact. But he and his generation had no ambivalence at all about the need to wage and win WWII; there was no other choice, it was an existential necessity.

Not so Vietnam, which confused and eventually disgusted him in the way it was entered, waged, and finally, walked away from. I had the opportunity to possibly attend West Point -- was recruited in HS to play football there, and my father was the one who talked me out of it. Go figure, he was an Army vet, TSgt in the 5th Armored(until it was all but destroyed in Holland)and then Patton's 2nd. His reason, in 1972? He thought the way our government was waging the war in Vietnam was insane, could not understand how our own government -- who by 1972 was making every indication that it was about to claim "never mind, America really didn't mean it" -- could ever justify waging any conflict if it was even remotely acceptable to end it like -that- with Nixon and other weasel lawyers cutting a deal with our supposed enemies. As I've pointed out here several times, that is apparent: if it is acceptable to end a conflict with "never mind, America really didn't mean it" then it was acceptable to have never entered the conflict to begin with. "Peace with Honor" was a Madison Ave concoction, a big lie insult to the nation. It was a monumental sign of weaseldom loose in our political leadership, either in the decision to wage the war, the choices made to wage it, or the choices made to end it. All might have been true at the same time: if it is necessary to enter a conflict-- a major war, where 55,000 of America's best ends up thrown into a meatgrinder -- then it is necessary to wage the war in such a manner as to win the war. If it is acceptable to not prevail in the conflict, then it is acceptable to have not ever entered the conflict, before the senseless throwing away of 55,000 lives and countless injuries and wounded. My father's sense of growing political weaseldom in the post JFK(they were almost exactly the same age)era grew with every passing year.

My father never attended college, but was one of the smartest people I've ever met. Was always reading something, our home was filled with not only books, but his example and curiosity. He was a master mechanic and tool builder, and ran the machine shop in a steel fab plant around here, worked for the same company for 40 years, took timeout only to go fight overseas.

Does modern America deserve what he and sixteen million of his buddies did for America 70 years ago, over 400,000 of whom perished?

We are pissing that America away. I pray there is no heaven, because at this point, I'd be afraid to face him and them, after what our generation has tolerated in this America, or whatever is left of it that is worth their spit.

regards,
Fred



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Post 7

Sunday, July 21 - 2:58pmSanction this postReply
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Fred,
My father's sense of growing political weaseldom in the post JFK(they were almost exactly the same age)era grew with every passing year.
I have a hypothesis about JFK and similar presidents, and how that relates to the growing weaseldom you mention. It is a conspiracy hypothesis: there is a collectivist cabal in America (immoral plutocrats lording over things behind the scenes) and those presidents who buck the cabal ... get shot.

As evidence, look at Lincoln, who bucked the collectivist system of lords and of lording over things (such as the lording over of slaves). He was shot. JFK, who bucked the collectivist system by lowering taxes (though he might have been in cahoots with evil people who wanted federal employee unions). He was shot. Ronald Reagan, who bucked the collectivist system, lowered taxes, etc.. He was shot.

But evil collectivist presidents, it seems -- presidents who want to turn their citizens into subjects (those who want at least a mitigated form of slavery in this country) -- don't seem to ever get shot. It's not a conspiracy theory because I haven't performed any research about it (I'm only remembering the 3 presidents right now). There may be perhaps as many as 10 presidents who were shot. I don't know. If anyone knows the number, please tell. My hypothesis is that it was always the good ones -- the ones against the evil collectivist cabal I so readily envision in my mind's eye -- and never the bad ones.

However, I will be the first to admit that evidence could overturn this conspiracy hypothesis ...

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 7/21, 3:00pm)




Post 8

Sunday, July 21 - 3:33pmSanction this postReply
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Ed:

Whether part of a larger conspiracy or not, there is one thing that is certain: America has not been the same nation since JFK was assassinated, not by a long shot.

JFK's era was America's peak-- on every important front. It has been a steady and continuous decline ever since in everything except ... the size of the federal government.

Eisenhower and JFK were very similar centrist American administrations, perhaps because they were both WWII VETS.

Neither would be electable in 2016.

Johnson and Nixon were weasels; the beginnings of the end. I still can't resolve how Eisenhower delivered Nixon to the national spotlight as his VP, and JFK Johnson. I guess, sadly, it was evidence of 'RealPolitik' influencing who our leaders were.

Perhaps JFK calculated that Johnson was harmlessly and safely parked as VP and was a safe RealPolitik play for a wealthy young New Englander Catholic in need of a marketing miracle against his middle America adversary marching on from the shadow of Eisenhower and a successful eight years of prosperity in post WWII America...which blows up big time for the nation when JFK gets assassinated.

The nation hasn't been right since, and that was 50 years ago...

So who planned JFK's assassination? It seems like there were folks lined up around the block with incentive. There was no shortage of incentive.

The Carlos Marcello prosecution/payback? Convergence with IKE's MIC/mafia connections established during WWII? Because JFK was about to stop Vietnam before the war contracts and money started rolling in? Just a single commie crank, Lee Harvey Oswald, and never mind the loose connections to Marcello's mob? Who knows? Much of the above for sure be thought of as a part of a "collectivist cabal." An unchecked and ever growing federal government (have we noticed? JFK's 100B is over 3800B today...)for sure has access to a lot of money and power.

But all that is left today on the topic of who assassinated JFK is the bullshit we are spoonfed fed, including all or most of the above...

Did POTUS Obama, Mr. Hope&Change, shed any light on the truth of this for a bewildered America, or, once inside the bullet proof limo, was it in his best interests to STFU, too?

Since JFK, at least, it seems like our government has indeed been taken over by something-- something perfectly able to convince each succeeding POTUS "we did it to JFK, we'll do it to you, too, guaranteed." Would any new POTUS believe them? Because in fact, JFK is long dead, and it remains a mystery to the public. Something that by now must have so much utter contempt for the American public that it operates the thing it took over in the manner we see today...with utter contempt for the American public.

How else to explain the facts in DC and this nation?

regards,
Fred



Post 9

Sunday, July 21 - 7:42pmSanction this postReply
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I just visited the grassy knoll in Dallas for the first time 2 weeks ago. On the radio, I heard a conspiracy theoretician revealing how it might be that every post-JFK president gets taken aside into a room with no windows and is shown video of the JFK assassination -- video from a specific angle which has never been seen before by either the press or the public. At that moment, after seeing the video taken from that never-seen-before angle, the tall men in shiny black shoes ask the president:

Any questions?

:-)

Ed




Post 10

Tuesday, July 23 - 8:51amSanction this postReply
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Ed:

At that moment, after seeing the video taken from that never-seen-before angle, the tall men in shiny black shoes ask the president:


Think about that; JFK was assassinated two and a half generations ago. Today's enforcers would not have even been born when JFK was murdered.

That would require institutional longevity; recruitment, renewal, and effective secrecy.

Unless it was the most powerful institution on earth. Then...secrecy only from institutions with far less access to money, resources, and power.

In the 30's there used to be quaint movies about the mob being chased by G-Men. RFK's investigations might have been the pinnacle of all that. And then.... pfffft. And did I mention...RFK was assassinated, too?

Did the mob disappear in America? Did the G-men win the war on organized crime?...or did it effectively take over the federal government? Would G-men pursue ... themselves?

And so, since JFK, endless public distraction -- 4 year constant horse races, American Idol competitions about who gets to ride in the bullet proof limo and pose for the cameras and put on the pony show of Democracy...and it matters little, because every year, the federal overlord vig just gets bigger and bigger...

I once joked, at least the Mafia would know not to bleed its victims totally dry. Maybe that was true with the old school Mafia, but now almost three generations since JFK's era, the 'kids' might be not so old school.

In the existential struggle that was WWII, and the pressing need to grease the skids of the Arsenal of Democracy, all kinds of expedients were made, including, deals with the Mafia to keep the unions lined up...with a patriotic Mafia, willing to do its part, wave the flag, and rake in easy millions while schmucks like my father laid in frozen trenches reeking of their own piss and shit with other twentysomethings fighting for their lives. Just like every war since.

Without consequence?

regards,
Fred




Post 11

Saturday, July 27 - 2:18pmSanction this postReply
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> This will be somewhat recursively self reflective, but suppose I had a 'problem' integrating the assertion "all problems are soluble." Because, in my existing understanding of some uses of the term 'problem,' not all problems are soluble, unless we include 'giving up on them, moving around them' as part of what is meant by soluble.

We mean that all problems are soluble, including both types. Human problems may require dropping some issue and moving on, but that does indeed solve the human problem. For example, if McDonalds is closed due to flooding, I might get taco bell. That solves my human problem of getting a meal. The problem of McDonalds being closed is also soluble by repairing the flood damage, that is possible too. There's nothing insolvable part anywhere.

The main qualifier David talks about is the laws of physics. If your problem is "How do I violate the laws of physics?" you can solve the human aspect of that problem -- improve your preferences -- but you can't solve it directly by violating the laws of physics.

Another interesting qualifying issue (which I pointed out to David) is there are some things no one wants to do. So they don't get done. E.g. many objectively evil things that are hard to do. The knowledge required to accomplish them is so much that anyone who could do it would have enough moral knowledge not to do it. (This isn't a problem, it's just saying basically that "How do I violate the laws of morality?" causes similar issues to the same question for physics.)

But basically, in short, all problem are soluble. And terminology isn't the issue. You thought our claim was false and then assumed we must not mean it and looked for terminology issues. But we do mean it.

> The Allies in WWII in the Pacific used the concept of "Island hopping" to achieve the goal of defeating the Japanese. The 'problem' of removing the Japanese forces from a given island was sometimes 'solved' by not taking it on.

The problem the Allies faced was to win the war, as well as some subsidiary goals. They solved that problem. Removing the Japanese forces from every single Island wasn't their problem so they didn't do it.

Had they wanted to remove Japanese forces from every island, that was possible, not an impossible problem. Just because they didn't do it does not mean they couldn't have. All problems are soluble doesn't mean people will choose to solve all of them, only that they *could*.

> The Axis had a problem to solve; winning the conflict with the Allies. The Allies had a complementary problem to solve; winning the conflict with the Axis. Both were problems. Were both soluble?

There are no conflicts of interest between rational men, as Rand explains. All seeming conflicts can be solved by people learning more philosophy and improving their preferences and that kind of thing.

It's not possible for both the axis and the allies to win the war at the same time. That would violate the laws of physics. Germany can't be both victorious, free, unconquered, and also be defeated by the Allies, at the same time.

It doesn't violate the laws of physics for Germany to win or to lose. Both are possible. It does violate the laws of physics to have both at once. (Unless you want to get picky about the meanings of words, in which case we'd have to discuss some detailed scenarios where some German cities conquer the UK while others are conquered by Russia, or something. But I think you can figure out what I mean.)

As abstract problems, things like bombing particular cities, destroying particular armies, establishing new Governmental structures in particular regions, and so on, are all very possible.

The human problems involved are all soluble too, and as usual those solutions may involve improving one's preferences.



Post 12

Saturday, July 27 - 3:33pmSanction this postReply
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Elliot:

"improving one's preferences" is terminology for "giving up on them, moving around them"

It sounds a tad lawyerly to yet claim 'all problems are soluble' by including 'not solving them' as 'improving one's preferences'

It's like Nixon 'solving' the problem of Vietnam by declaring, in the same breath, 'America really didn't mean it' and 'turning and running is now Peace with Honor; problem of Vietnam solved.'

I'm perfectly happy with understanding 'improving one's preferences' as solving problems by meandering around them, and what that logically implies about the assertion 'all problems are soluble.'

And when you say 'we really mean it' I believe you. All of you.

regards,
Fred







Post 13

Saturday, July 27 - 4:19pmSanction this postReply
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I don't get the joke about "all of you". Are you trying to make fun of me for saying "we" when explaining a view held by multiple people? That wouldn't be nice or productive. But I don't know what else it would mean.


Suppose I am interested in going to dinner with you and suggest a Mexican place. That's my initial preference: we go to dinner at that place.

You say you're allergic to beans and suggest an Italian place. I modify my preference. Now I have changed my mind and prefer the Italian option. I don't mind doing this because I agree with your reasoning about why it's a better option, so I now too consider it a better option, and therefore prefer it.

So we go get Italian. Problem solved. Changing preferences in this way (only to objectively better ones, as you judge them for yourself) is genuine problem solving, not problem-evading. Improving one's preferences is actually crucial to problem solving, improving one's life, learning, etc

If you don't think this always works, please give a clear example. Vietnam isn't suitable, that's a messy topic. IMO the problems the USA faced in the era were possible to solve, but were not in fact fully correctly solved. People's failure to solve some problem, and also false claims they did solve it, do not imply the problem had no solution. But I do not wish to debate Vietnam here. (BTW you seem to have mixed up the issues of whether Nixon did solve Vietnam and where Vietnam had a possible solution. If you want to understand this topic you'll have to keep clear the difference between something having a possible solution and actually being solved.)



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Post 14

Sunday, July 28 - 5:49amSanction this postReply
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Eliot:

It's a long term bias of mine. I interpret others speaking for 'we' to be similar to speaking for "S"ociety, God, the Common Good, the Social Contract, Justice, What is Best for Mankind, the volcano spirit, etc., and other blatant leglifting tactics. It just seldom passes my B.S. filter when it is someone expressing an opinion. Exception: A group elects an official or unofficial spokesmen to speak for 'we.' Happens all the time. Perhaps I didn't understand the 'we'. If by 'we' you mean 'folks who believe as you do,' then that is a tautology, and kind of unnecessary to point out, but conveys no additional meaning.

You assert -all- problems are soluble...and then you step around the 'messy' problems. You 'solve' the problem of defending the assertion 'all problems are soluble' ... by stepping around those that are not. No more problem; problem solved.

Forgive me for referring back to terminology again, but maybe I just had difficulty understanding your use of the words 'all' and 'soluble' in the assertion 'all problems are soluble.'

My present understanding of your meaning is that you include in the subset 'solved' problems that are 'solved' by ... giving up on them. But you paint that 'solution' as 'improving one's preferences.' Yes, the Axis and Allies both had problems to solve which were mutually exclusive. So we future observers of their past problems can 'solve' both problems by considering them as a single one bone, two dog problem(just like the M.E. and Jerusalem), and consider that singular problem 'solved' when one of those in the conflict 'improved his preferences' by not solving his component problem...and we'll just sweep under the carpet our usage of the word 'all' in this regards, because that also solves a problem.

That is totally sort of reasonable, I just need to understand your meaning of 'soluble.' I'm also glad that it wasn't the Allies who improved their preference in that conflict, now that I understand your meaning of the words 'improved their preference'.

regards,
Fred







Post 15

Sunday, July 28 - 11:31amSanction this postReply
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Suppose I was explaining capitalism so some lefties. I might say "we capitalists think..." This does have a different meaning than "I think" because it conveys that it's not just my personal individual opinion, it's a common opinion held by the people on the side i'm advocating. So they can know to expect to run into the same opinion when talking to someone else on the same side. They can also know it's not my original idea to take credit for.

So I don't agree with you that "we" is "kind of unnecessary to point out, but conveys no additional meaning" vs "I".


If you want to talk about problems being soluble, read The Beginning of Infinity and/or propose an actual clear (counter-)example of an insoluble problem.

I don't think I'm sweeping anything under any rugs.



Post 16

Sunday, July 28 - 8:05pmSanction this postReply
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Elliot,
Suppose I was explaining capitalism so some lefties. I might say "we capitalists think..." This does have a different meaning than "I think" because it conveys that it's not just my personal individual opinion, it's a common opinion held by the people on the side i'm advocating.

But it would be better to say that: "good capitalists think ..." -- because man is fallible. That means that some people who are capitalists will be capitalists for the wrong reasons, though some capitalists (e.g., Rand, John Allison, Jimmy Wales, George Reisman, Ed Hudgins, etc.) are indeed capitalists for the right reasons. Men are not all the same, but good is always good. As Aristotle said (though not in so many words): The good is always good and is always the same, whereas the bad could be something different every time that we revisit the issue. This is true because bad is nothing other than missing the mark of goodness -- and you can miss the mark in a million different ways.

Ed




Post 17

Sunday, July 28 - 8:17pmSanction this postReply
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It's only better to add clarifying details if they are relevant and useful. I think that one, typically, isn't.

Typically I don't categorize bad capitalists as capitalists. I don't think that categorization is helpful in general. But this is a bit of a tangent. Shrug.

I certainly agree with you that people typically called "capitalists" vary.

I don't know why you included Jimmy Wales on that list. I know him and wouldn't include him. Will you tell me why you included him?



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Post 18

Monday, July 29 - 8:29amSanction this postReply
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Elliot:

And again, speaking just for me, this is just my long term bias; I'd never speak "for all capitalists" or for "good capitalists" or for all or good anything; I -- speaking only for me, regard such constructs as unconscious acts of leg lifting -- a seeking of an imagined authority based on a totally mythical mob of people standing behind our words. If the ideas I express die stillbirth, they die stillbirth; if I have to appeal to the manufactured authority of a mythical mob standing behind me in lieu of argument, then those ideas -should- die stillbirth.

It is a circular tautology to say -- even if unconsciously -- "I agree that people who think like me are good people when they believe what I believe" -- that is known without saying it, and so, what purpose is there in pointing to that group that really isn't standing behind you or me when we, as individuals, express our ideas in words? If our ideas stand up, then they stand up -- there is no need to lean on the crutch of an appeal to a mythical mob that doesn't even exist.

Speaking only for me, when I hear appeals -- coming from an individual -- based on what 'we' believe, my -- not the -- B.S. filter goes off. I see it as a tell, an unconscious appeal to leglifting an idea, as opposed to an idea.

Perhaps some do this -- even me from time to time -- without realizing it. 'We' all make mistakes. 'We' all have blind spots without knowing about them. Either you agree with 'us' on that, or you are confused, right? There is no third or nineteenth choice...

I can't help that, it's my bias, it is just me. Always was, always will be. If I ever join The American Society of Capitalists and they elect me spokesmen, I might feel other than embarrassed to claim to be speaking for them. But I've looked in my wallet, and that free association membership card is not to be seen. I strongly doubt there is one in yours. So that leaves the mythical leglifting groups which can mean anything at all when standing in for 'the mob behind my ideas, which need leglifting props.'

I'm just one guy. I don't know how many you think you represent, but this is my bias(I put it in writing here a long time ago: One Skin, One Driver.) So when I bump into fellow singular skins speaking for 'we'..."S"ociety...God...the Common Good... etc., they might as well wave a blue handicapped parking sign in front of me, because it is perceived as a defacto crippled argument requiring artificial props.

Politicians do it all the time. So do carny hucksters. There is nothing special about the tactic.

'We' all do it. And before you know it, with such arguments based on mythical groups that dont' exist, we have entire departments of Commerce dedicated to poring over the relative wealth of quintiles in order to direct real guns at real individuals and adjust the amount of wealth to be found in one of five non-existing freight trains. (Aside: how can the quintile or decimile distribution of anything in our nation be the basis for directing force at individuals? Name one thing you or I or anyone in America ever does primarily as economic actors, as members of a quintile or decimile? We don't even line up and pile unto one of five freight trains every year to have our wealth counted. Quintiles do not actually exist, except in spreadsheets. They are not real economic actors. The 1040 still says INDIVIDUAL at the top. It is not filled out by 'we.'

'We' is an entirely overused concept in our nation, most often used amorphously with no apparent context other than the imagined mob standing behind our individual words and ideas.

regards,
Fred






Post 19

Monday, July 29 - 10:28amSanction this postReply
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"Are you with us?"

"come and join us."

"We believe:"

"We believe in the value, the dignity and the freedom of Man."

"As a first step and a first declaration of what we stand for, we offer you the following principles:"

"Let us have an organization"

"Such is our definition of Americanism and the American way of life."

"We do not know how many of us there are left in the world. But we think there are many more than the Totalitarians suspect. We are the majority, but we are scattered, unorganized, silenced and helpless."

-- Ayn Rand

http://fare.tunes.org/liberty/library/taifc.html





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