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Thread: Questions for CJ

  1. #381
    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Do you have any recommendations for Balzac? There's dozens of texts I've just downloaded and have no idea where to start.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  2. #382
    Administrator RevForum Administrator CornetJoyce's Avatar
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    Pere Goriot is of course thought to be his masterpiece, but he wrote a stack of short works of great merit. I liked The Chouans, which is set in the Revolutionary period. His Colonel Chabert is still popular and was turned into a movie.
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

  3. #383
    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Thanks for that, will read those.

    Remember this interview with Len McCluskey? Blairites are attacking him for saying MPs like Nandy were manipulated, because apparently that's sexist as it suggests that women are easily manipulated and whatever other nonsense they read into it to smear him. A perfect example of what I described as toxic neoliberal identity politics.

    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  4. #384
    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Any thoughts on this piece: http://www.ditext.com/quine/quine.html

    Particularly this part:

    The totality of our so-called knowledge or beliefs, from the most casual matters of geography and history to the profoundest laws of atomic physics or even of pure mathematics and logic, is a man-made fabric which impinges on experience only along the edges. Or, to change the figure, total science is like a field of force whose boundary conditions are experience. A conflict with experience at the periphery occasions readjustments in the interior of the field. Truth values have to be redistributed over some of our statements. Re-evaluation of some statements entails re-evaluation of others, because of their logical interconnections -- the logical laws being in turn simply certain further statements of the system, certain further elements of the field. Having re-evaluated one statement we must re-evaluate some others, whether they be statements logically connected with the first or whether they be the statements of logical connections themselves. But the total field is so undetermined by its boundary conditions, experience, that there is much latitude of choice as to what statements to re-evaluate in the light of any single contrary experience. No particular experiences are linked with any particular statements in the interior of the field, except indirectly through considerations of equilibrium affecting the field as a whole.

    If this view is right, it is misleading to speak of the empirical content of an individual statement -- especially if it be a statement at all remote from the experiential periphery of the field. Furthermore it becomes folly to seek a boundary between synthetic statements, which hold contingently on experience, and analytic statements which hold come what may. Any statement can be held true come what may, if we make drastic enough adjustments elsewhere in the system. Even a statement very close to the periphery can be held true in the face of recalcitrant experience by pleading hallucination or by amending certain statements of the kind called logical laws. Conversely, by the same token, no statement is immune to revision. Revision even of the logical law of the excluded middle has been proposed as a means of simplifying quantum mechanics; and what difference is there in principle between such a shift and the shift whereby Kepler superseded Ptolemy, or Einstein Newton, or Darwin Aristotle?

    For vividness I have been speaking in terms of varying distances from a sensory periphery. Let me try now to clarify this notion without metaphor. Certain statements, though about physical objects and not sense experience, seem peculiarly germane to sense experience -- and in a selective way: some statements to some experiences, others to others. Such statements, especially germane to particular experiences, I picture as near the periphery. But in this relation of "germaneness" I envisage nothing more than a loose association reflecting the relative likelihood, in practice, of our choosing one statement rather than another for revision in the event of recalcitrant experience. For example, we can imagine recalcitrant experiences to which we would surely be inclined to accommodate our system by re-evaluating just the statement that there are brick houses on Elm Street, together with related statements on the same topic. We can imagine other recalcitrant experiences to which we would be inclined to accommodate our system by re-evaluating just the statement that there are no centaurs, along with kindred statements. A recalcitrant experience can, I have already urged, bc accommodated by any of various alternative re-evaluations in various alternative quarters of the total system; but, in the cases which we are now imagining, our natural tendency to disturb the total system as little as possible would lead us to focus our revisions upon these specific statements concerning brick houses or centaurs. These statements are felt, therefore, to have a sharper empirical reference than highly theoretical statements of physics or logic or ontology. The latter statements may be thought of as relatively centrally located within the total network, meaning merely that little preferential connection with any particular sense data obtrudes itself.

    As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries -- not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits18b comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer. Let me interject that for my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conception only as cultural posits. The myth of physical objects is epistemologically superior to most in that it has proved more efficacious than other myths as a device for working a manageable structure into the flux of experience.

    Positing does not stop with macroscopic physical objects. Objects at the atomic level and beyond are posited to make the laws of macroscopic objects, and ultimately the laws of experience, simpler and more manageable; and we need not expect or demand full definition of atomic and subatomic entities in terms of macroscopic ones, any more than definition of macroscopic things in terms of sense data. Science is a continuation of common sense, and it continues the common-sense expedient of swelling ontology to simplify theory.

    Physical objects, small and large, are not the only posits. Forces are another example; and indeed we are told nowadays that the boundary between energy and matter is obsolete. Moreover, the abstract entities which are the substance of mathematics -- ultimately classes and classes of classes and so on up -- are another posit in the same spirit. Epistemologically these are myths on the same footing with physical objects and gods, neither better nor worse except for differences in the degree to which they expedite our dealings with sense experiences.

    The over-all algebra of rational and irrational numbers is underdetermined by the algebra of rational numbers, but is smoother and more convenient; and it includes the algebra of rational numbers as a jagged or gerrymandered part. Total science, mathematical and natural and human, is similarly but more extremely underdetermined by experience. The edge of the system must be kept squared with experience; the rest, with all its elaborate myths or fictions, has as its objective the simplicity of laws.

    (...)

    The issue over there being classes seems more a question of convenient conceptual scheme; the issue over there being centaurs, or brick houses on Elm Street, seems more a question of fact. But I have been urging that this difference is only one of degree, and that it turns upon our vaguely pragmatic inclination to adjust one strand of the fabric of science rather than another in accommodating some particular recalcitrant experience. Conservatism figures in such choices, and so does the quest for simplicity.

    Carnap, Lewis, and others take a pragmatic stand on the question of choosing between language forms, scientific frameworks; but their pragmatism leaves off at the imagined boundary between the analytic and the synthetic. In repudiating such a boundary I espouse a more thorough pragmatism. Each man is given a scientific heritage plus a continuing barrage of sensory stimulation; and the considerations which guide him in warping his scientific heritage to fit his continuing sensory promptings are, where rational, pragmatic.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  5. #385
    Administrator RevForum Administrator CornetJoyce's Avatar
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    I see little to quibble about. The equation of "posits" with the gods is apt, and I've known several scientists who made the same equation. But then I generally eschew epistemology so I may miss something crucial to the field.

    "Are we to appeal to the nearest dictionary, and accept the lexicographer's formulation as law?"
    Yes, mostly. It saves time.

    "Clearly this would be to put the cart before the horse. The lexicographer is an empirical scientist, whose business is the recording of antecedent facts"
    such as the expectations of the factmaking classes

    "Just what it means to affirm synonymy, just what the interconnections may be which are necessary and sufficient in order that two linguistic forms be properly describable as synonymous, is far from clear; but, whatever these interconnections may be, ordinarily they are grounded in usage. Definitions reporting selected instances of synonymy come then as reports upon usage."
    Indeed, usage is the lexicographical coin of the realm.
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

  6. #386
    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    He expands on the dictionary thing in a later classic piece, Translation and Meaning.

    How do you make a dictionary for a completely alien language? At a certain point you get to limits beyond which you cannot reach, as the kind of observation cannot be confirmed by translating it to your own language. So "Gavagai" being uttered whenever a rabbit is seen by the alien tribe remains fundamentally elusive. Unfortunately radical pomo types extend this to ordinary language, and claim that any kind of dictionary definition is elusive so one can make words mean whatever one wants it to mean. When they hit upon the limits imposed by conventional usage and they're called out on it, they'll whine about how they're being too "deep" to understand properly. But you can't really complain that most ordinary folks are easily convinced that you're being absurd when you're breaking the rules of conventional language use, which can be done by simply pointing to a dictionary.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  7. #387
    Leon Freeman
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    I found out that this website is one of the sources have created conspiracy theories [anti-Aryanism, anti-Zionism, anti-Westerncentralism] which are flooding my country.

    Give some remarks about this: http://mailstar.net/index.html

  8. #388
    Administrator RevForum Administrator CornetJoyce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riou Sora View Post
    I found out that this website is one of the sources have created conspiracy theories [anti-Aryanism, anti-Zionism, anti-Westerncentralism] which are flooding my country.

    Give some remarks about this: http://mailstar.net/index.html
    It certainly is a great web of conspiracies. Umberto Eco warned us there would be stuff like that.
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

  9. #389
    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    What are some of your favorite classical music pieces?
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  10. #390
    Administrator RevForum Administrator CornetJoyce's Avatar
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    My tastes are conventional bordering on trite, mostly or maybe entirely Romantic. The great Beethoven symphonies, the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky violin concertos, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, the Italian, Scottish and Reformation symphonies, Tchaikovsky's first and Rachmaninov's second piano concerto, Mahler's fifth symphony...
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

  11. #391
    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Thanks, haven't heard some of those. Will have a listen.

    I've always liked Bach a lot, probably my favorite. Been listening to some Wagner lately as well. This is quite good:

    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  12. #392
    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Favorite Bach piece:

    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  13. #393
    Administrator RevForum Administrator CornetJoyce's Avatar
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    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

  14. #394
    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Thanks, will try to download it.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

  15. #395
    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    What do you think of Rawls and his A Theory of Justice?
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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