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Tag Archives: realism

There was a big fight over Quantum Physics, in which Einstein defended Realism and Bohr defended Instrumentalism. That is a massive simplification, it seems, but it is an accepted-enough® simplification, so much so that this pseudo-quote is assigned to Bohr by PBS Space Time:

“It is meaningless to assign reality to the universe in the absence of observation”

That is a dumb simplification, but the dumbness might not be so clear. So. Read More »

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Trapped by their fears, Realists retreat screaming whenever faced with a Relativist idea. Simply can’t swallow it. And they retreat into exactly the same lack of intellectual discipline they accuse litcrit of. Conditioned by our cruel education system, that treats children as cattle, they refrain from any philosophy not geared towards providing “correct answers to the test”. To win the argument, then, you should proceed not with sound argumentation — that would only lead them into rationalization — but instead with masking relativism’s sour taste of personal responsibility. Read More »

Old logics and old dialectics organized the kinds of arguments in such a way that the worst possible dirty trick in the bag was the ad hominem argument, and you became nicer as you progressed from opposing the person to opposing the person’s argument itself. Ok, but going against someone’s arguments is another way of going against this person and, also, to blur the lines between person and argument is another way of recognizing this person as a living breathing material real person. Although there is an angle to the old point of view, the game of arguments is more nuanced than that, and the rules of the game must be more comprehensive.

In fact, there’s a kind of exclusion right there, inside this scheme of arguments. Specifically, that it assumes there is only one possible set of values to orient the discussion, one set of motivations, and that therefore there is only one scale to measure arguments with. This in turn led to a bunch of misunderstandings, like turning “sincerity” into “truth” into “perfect language” into “the voice of bog”. Giving up the possibility that «truth» could be measured, we keep the measure of the intent of arguments and ideas, and this turns out to be more useful, although much less divine.

Starting from a different assumption, we instead say all arguments are equally fictional, they all stem from an alien subjective reality from which we are forever excluded. All arguments are the enemy. All arguments are forms of manipulation. And as the arguments rise in complexity they also expand our possibilities of action.

Another way to explain is that one argument on a higher level includes many arguments at a lower level. A judgement involves a lot of actions or the possibility of a lot of actions. It is a measure of complexity.

This measure can be roughly arranged into a typology that almost wants to be a scale:

  1. noise/silly
  2. Eris, or arguments towards arguments
  3. Ethos, or arguments towards judgement
  4. Thelos, or arguments towards actions
  5. noise/dumb

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Do you know all these people who bitch about “don’t be too Cartesian”? They think “Logics” is some kind of beast, some evil force that has absolute and unshakable disrespect for everything they feel. Feyerabend (as always) knows where that comes from. Turns out in Greece Logics only meant “how to speak” and they would learn it pretty much like in Brasil we do learn Portuguese. For them “this is illogic” didn’t mean “you are wrong by the powers of reason”, it just meant “i can’t even understand what you say”. The weird thing was when some guys (who actually did this public speaking thing as a kind of show) started using things that they took from Logics to seemingly prove opinion-independent facts. Read More »