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E-prime

It aims to be a semantically accurate form of the English, and goes by the name of "E-Prime". In essence, the idea is to avoid any sort of use of the verb "to be". The underlying reason seems to be to avoid assigning any sort of nature to the "things" of the world around us. That is to say, radical supporters of e-prime argue that one should never say something "is". Something "might be", it "could be", it maybe "should be", but it shouldn't be said that it "is".


The motivation for this argument would seem to stem from a simplified view of physics, stemming from an overemphasis on the phenomena of quantum physics (QP). In QP, for instance, it is an observed phenomenon that it is not possible to know both the position and the velocity of a quantum particle (such as an electron) with perfect precision - the two qualities are inversely related. As a result, one can only make a trade-off calculation, by sacrificing quality of information regarding, say, velocity, in order to get better information on position. Physicists working in QP thus often work, and express their results, in terms of probabilities rather than certainties.*


Radical e-prime supporters take this observation as an indication that all facts are thus subjective. And, given the decision that all facts are subjective, it follows that one cannot speak truly of an objective fact, for such a thing does not exist in nature.


Setting aside any observation of the mental leap required to assume that the qualities of QP phenomena apply to all other things in the universe, it it more fundamental to observe that e-prime thinking is itself logically, and semantically self-nullifying. One cannot say in e-prime - for instance - that "All things are relative", one might only say "All things might be relative", which in itself leaves room for the possibility that some things might be non-relative (possibly even objective). The e-prime argument cannot, to my knowledge, be successfully used to justify itself without making use of the standard English semantics of the verb "to be". To make the radical argument that it should be used exclusively in lieu of standard semantics thus seems rather silly.


That said, judicious (rather than ideological) use of the language of probabilities does tend to make a person a better writer. :-)


* Speaking in terms of probabilities isn't peculiar to quantum-physicists. Most credible scientists have ever had the sense to qualify their arguments somewhat, simply because such folk usually realize that mistakes happen, measurements are hard to make accurately, and rounding-the-math is standard practice.





Comments

( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
marcnicholas
Dec. 13th, 2005 08:44 pm (UTC)
Heaven's, me boy!

Get thy logical positivism away from my precious eprimery.

In essence, the idea is to avoid any sort of use of the verb "to be". The underlying reason seems to be to avoid assigning any sort of nature to the "things" of the world around us.

Wrong! Colin, you find yourself standing 180 degrees away from the truth. Eprimers do not "avoid" assigning nature to things. Instead, when it comes time to assign a meaning to something, they assume responsibility for it.

E-primers clearly delineate the relationship between the assignor and the object assigned. Non eprime language ignores this relationship, running the risk of getting entangled in dangerous semantic webs that manipulative bastards like myself can take advantage of.

Radical e-prime supporters take this observation as an indication that all facts are thus subjective. And, given the decision that all facts are subjective, it follows that one cannot speak truly of an objective fact, for such a thing does not exist in nature.

Once again, no.

No, no, no.

You need to acquaint yourself with non-aristotelian logic.

Let us destroy your argument, please.

Radical e-prime supporters
Radical as defined by who? You?
Now, your definition of radical in this case - you mean to say eprimers who consider all facts subjective, yes?
How many eprimers make this argument?
Second, can you share your sources?
Third, do you know that an eprimer can not make your above argument?

An e-primer won't say "All facts are subjective", they'll say "I consider all facts subjective". . . Though, actually, they'll probably say something more like "I have trouble escaping the subjective light with which I view reality, and I have yet to meet someone who did not suffer from a god complex who claimed to know the difference between objective reality and subjective truth".

Non eprimers fall into the arrogant trap of considering themselves intelligent enough to impose their personal understanding of reality on the entire universe, known and unknown, regardless of their personal limitations.

Eprimers do not deny the existence of objective facts, they only admit to their inability to determine objectivity in any meaningful way.

Colin, you have never proven, nor will you ever prove the existence of an objective fact. Your entire argument, in the end, will always come down to this : "It is objective because I say so".

You can write tomes about the objectivity of mathematics, but ultimately, it comes down to this : Math is objective because you say it's objective. Euclide's geometry was THE geometry of the universe up until recently. Do you honestly think you have the authory to rule out the possibility that a higher reality exists in which mathematics make absolutely NO sense whatsoever?

You can obfuscate the issue with clever sophisms, and I'll gladly tackle each one of them. If you want to get down and dirty about it, we can have a philosophical wrestling match ;)

The post-modernist vs. the logical positivist! This christmas on Pay Per View!

One cannot say in e-prime - for instance - that "All things are relative", one might only say "All things might be relative", which in itself leaves room for the possibility that some things might be non-relative (possibly even objective).

Colin, that paragraph betrays your lack of research on the matter ;) A good eprimer will NEVER under ANY circumstances use "might be". No is, no be, no are. Never. Ever. At all.

You stop using eprime the moment you use "to be".

Eprimers would not say "all things might be relative" but something along the lines of "I consider all things relative, though I haven't ruled out the possibility of objective facts".

Most e-primers leave room for the possibility of a non-relative reality. As I said earlier in my reply, the big deal with eprimers comes down to how they mark out the relationship between the assignor and the assigned. They do this to better understand the world around them, and to avoid the mental traps of thinking that their interpretations of reality coincide with reality itself.

marcnicholas
Dec. 13th, 2005 08:44 pm (UTC)
The map IS not the territory. A saying made famous by the dude who came up with e-prime, who had no problem using the verb "to be", but cautioned against the mental sludge that often came with it.

To make the radical argument that it should be used exclusively in lieu of standard semantics thus seems rather silly.

I agree. However, the intelligent use of e-prime will make a person far less susceptible to psychological manipulation. Ultimately, e-prime asks people to take responsibility for their own minds, and to clearly determine the meaning of the world around them by taking a careful look at the meanings they invest in the world, and how they go about attributing those meanings.

The reason I don't use eprime comes down to this:

"to be" acts like a hypnotic gun - A gun most people point at their own heads. Once you know how to use it though, you can start pointing it at other people.
ccord
Dec. 14th, 2005 06:42 am (UTC)
(continued...)

I agree. However, the intelligent use of e-prime will make a person far less susceptible to psychological manipulation.


"Intelligent" application of the semantics of e-prime requires two things:

i) coexistance with a second language or dialect that possesses the "to be" verb.
ii) the formation of an arbitrary decision as to when to stop using e-prime semantics, and switch to saying "to be".

Whatever the intention of author of e-prime, the result is a language that, if learnt or applied in isolation, removes the ability to think of things in terms of an objective reality. Someone who thinks in e-prime would not have the basis for thinking of anything in terms of an objective reality - all things would be seen as relative or subjective, wether they are or not.

And that's why e-prime is pretty silly.
ccord
Dec. 14th, 2005 06:21 am (UTC)
(I insert this at the beginning to emphasize that the original post was regarding e-prime as an idea, not e-prime as used in a particular form. That should clarify some of my follow-up.)

Wrong! Colin, you find yourself standing 180 degrees away from the truth. Eprimers do not "avoid" assigning nature to things. Instead, when it comes time to assign a meaning to something, they assume responsibility for it...

The question that's begged is not how any particular sub-set of e-primers use the idea, but what the underlying logic or motive behind e-prime's creation. When reading between the lines, particularly with regards to the emphasis on quantum physics (QP), it seems that the original intent was to semantically influence users to view reality in terms of a relativist paradigm.

But nonetheless, it could be that even the original intent is of no particular significance. It is more interesting (to me, at any rate), that the ideal of e-prime is to remove the use of the verb "to be" from common language. (One can say that this is the ideal, because e-prime, as defined as a language, would not contain any verbs that would seek to assign a particular reality to a given fact or event.)

The effect of speaking & thinking in terms of the semantics of e-prime, then, would seemingly necessarily be that one would grow-up with a very relativist sense of the world. Is that particularly good or bad?


Radical as defined by who? You?
Now, your definition of radical in this case - you mean to say eprimers who consider all facts subjective, yes?
How many eprimers make this argument?
Second, can you share your sources?


Hmmmm. The percentile sub-set of "eprimers" that would classify as "radical", as opposed to "moderate" wouldn't seem to matter. Is it of any importance?


Third, do you know that an eprimer can not make your above argument?


(You'll have to let me know which argument you mean, unfortunatly.)


An e-primer won't say "All facts are subjective", they'll say "I consider all facts subjective". . . Though, actually, they'll probably say something more like "I have trouble escaping the subjective light with which I view reality...


Well, the thing of it is, devoting oneself to speaking in e-prime does involve making a fundamental judgment on the nature of reality. By its structure, it forces one to abandon the notion of knowing anything, because all knowledge is assumed to be an ephemeral thing, as are all "things". One who thinks in e-prime can have suspicions, but not certainties, for even the fundamental statement of being, "I am", is not possible. A dogmatic use of e-prime tends to degenerate into solipsism, unless an arbitrary decision is made as to what point to stop applying the logic.


Non eprimers fall into the arrogant trap of considering themselves intelligent enough to impose their personal understanding of reality on the entire universe, known and unknown, regardless of their personal limitations.


Some do indeed.
marcnicholas
Dec. 14th, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC)
Well, the thing of it is, devoting oneself to speaking in e-prime does involve making a fundamental judgment on the nature of reality. By its structure, it forces one to abandon the notion of knowing anything, because all knowledge is assumed to be an ephemeral thing, as are all "things". One who thinks in e-prime can have suspicions, but not certainties, for even the fundamental statement of being, "I am", is not possible. A dogmatic use of e-prime tends to degenerate into solipsism, unless an arbitrary decision is made as to what point to stop applying the logic.

You consider this a bad thing? E-prime prevents people from making the mistake of assuming their view of reality correlates %100 with reality itself. It forces people to differentiate THEIR view of the universe with the actual universe, a universe they have no way of understanding save through their limited senses. Instead of assuming that something "is" they claim to only know what they perceive and nothing else.

You want to think, that by abstracting nature using the limited faculties of your mind, you can somehow determine what "is" and what "isn't". E-primers only know what "is" to them, and don't claim to know what is to anyone else. Solipsistic? Certainly, but also an undeniably correct view of the world.

To argue otherwise, you need to have the godlike ability to view the world from all possible lights, failing that, your holy grail of objectivity proves itself nothing more than an act of solipsism in denial, one plagued with an inflated sense of self-importance.

Colin, you claim to know anything for certain? I consider that highly improbable; unless you know everything, you can not know anything, for the simple fact that there exist the possibility that one of the things you don't know refutes what you do know. Suspicions give a person much more mental flexibility than certainties, and certainties inevitably crumble in the face of persistant questioning.

Why did socrates claim he knew but one thing, and that was that he knew nothing? Because he knew that if he asked enough questions, he could prove everyone wrong. And if someone pulled the same game on Socrates, the same thing would of happened to him.

Third, do you know that an eprimer can not make your above argument?

"All facts might be subjective". An e-primer wouldn't say that. They would take responsibility for the sentence, and put themselves in it. "I've never met a fact I didn't consider subjective."

Hmmmm. The percentile sub-set of "eprimers" that would classify as "radical", as opposed to "moderate" wouldn't seem to matter. Is it of any importance?

It does, because I've never ONCE met an e-primer who made the argument you've made. In fact, when I read your piece on e-prime, my first reaction was "where the hell did he get that idea?". YSo I'd very much like to know which eprimers have argued what you've argued, since at the moment, they remind me something like Yetti or Sasquatch. Nothing but your testimony claims their existence.

The effect of speaking & thinking in terms of the semantics of e-prime, then, would seemingly necessarily be that one would grow-up with a very relativist sense of the world. Is that particularly good or bad?

Amazing. Great. Fantastic. Using e-prime, you can't say things like "niggers are stupid. That bitch is a pain in the ass. He is really annoying", instead you have to take the time to attribute meaning to the things you can perceive, things you can touch and taste. E-prime avoids abstractions and forces people to live in the here and now, reduces the chances that they'll claim to know more than they know, and encourages them to take responsibility for their own reality.
ccord
Dec. 15th, 2005 12:25 am (UTC)
...A dogmatic use of e-prime tends to degenerate into solipsism, unless an arbitrary decision is made as to what point to stop applying the logic.

You consider this a bad thing?


Yes. (I expound on that in the next entry.) :-)


"All facts might be subjective". An e-primer wouldn't say that. They would take responsibility for the sentence, and put themselves in it. "I've never met a fact I didn't consider subjective."

You'll have to distinguish your arguments between people who attempt to talk responsibly, and those hypothetical people who actually think in e-prime. My main contention is that being unable to think in anything but terms of e-prime semantics would be a terribly degenerative & upsetting thing for a society. (see the next entry for expounding goodness.)

Is it of any importance?

It does, because I've never ONCE met an e-primer who made the argument you've made.


But does that really matter? We're discussing an idea - a meme if you will - and not a person. By analogy, for instance, I've never met a fundamentalist Christian who has made the argument that all science is impossible. However, if your ideology pushes you to purely view things in terms of a universe ruled by an capricious god, you shouldn't believe that the laws of nature are anything but mutable. In such a case, it would be easy to say "why bother with scientific exploration, when God decides everything anyways?".

Now, I have encountered Christian's who take the idea to a certain point. I've met any number of fundamentalists who have said, "macro-evolution doesn't exist.", but they often have a cut-off point where they stop applying they're own logic, often because it would fly in the face of their own experience with such things as heredity.

Similarly, e-prime as a meme would push its carrier to view things in terms of utter relativity. It would do so, because - failing the aquisistion of an opposing meme or mutation, or an arbitrary decision made of free will - e-prime does not allow for the formation of thoughts that are absolutist in scope.

I've never met someone who has been raised solely in e-prime, but I can imagine the limitations it would impose on such a person's outlook & understanding. The benefits are less pleasing than you might think.
marcnicholas
Dec. 15th, 2005 03:04 am (UTC)
You'll have to distinguish your arguments between people who attempt to talk responsibly, and those hypothetical people who actually think in e-prime.

E-prime, as practiced by people, has very little to do with your odd, perverted definition of e-prime. E-prime, ultimately, comes down to taking responsibility for your definition of reality by avoiding to use "to be" and instead describing things in terms of processes, not static "thingy" thoughts. When you get down to it, most logical errors people make come from confusing processes with "thingyness".

My main contention is that being unable to think in anything but terms of e-prime semantics would be a terribly degenerative & upsetting thing for a society. (see the next entry for expounding goodness.)

Elaborate, please.

But does that really matter? We're discussing an idea - a meme if you will - and not a person.

It does matter, because the idea we are discussing has very little to do with e-prime, and everything to do with your misinterpretation of it.

I've never met someone who has been raised solely in e-prime, but I can imagine the limitations it would impose on such a person's outlook & understanding. The benefits are less pleasing than you might think.

Personally, I go for a trade-off; keep "to be", but treat it like you would a curse word. Use sparingly, and realize that though you speak in absolute terms, you have no way of knowing if that absolute knowledge corresponds with reality, in the end. Also, certain languages exist in which the semantic equivalent of "to be" doesn't exist. The "limitations" on their outlook you talk of comes down to eurocentrism. You think your way of looking at the world is the correct one, and you think the ability to think in terms of absolutes is necessary for a healthy society. You think, you do not know. You just believe it.

Personally, I'd prefer a world without absolutes. Fuzzy logic, shades and more shades.
ccord
Dec. 15th, 2005 03:52 am (UTC)
E-prime, as practiced by people, has very little to do with your odd, perverted definition of e-prime.

Niet. :-)

E-prime is a language; a fundamental meme. The usage you're speaking of is an abstracted derivative of the meme. The forces brought to bear on someone who grows up in the english language & adopts the trappings of e-prime are not the same as those on someone who is raised in e-prime.

In other words, you are speaking of a community which has been infected with a meme late in life, and are making observations based on the characteristics of that group. I am attempting to isolate the meme, and extrapolate its effects by assuming infection of a "blank slate" host.


You think your way of looking at the world is the correct one, and you think the ability to think in terms of absolutes is necessary for a healthy society. You think, you do not know. You just believe it.


Nope, I do know it. :-)

Know how? Well, it's because the ability to think in absolutes is fundamental to creating a scientific community. If you do not think that something "is" and will continue to "be", scientific discovery becomes impossible.

All of the inventions that we tend to think of as scientific breakthroughs have come out of societies who believe in a fundamental continuance of an unchanging universe. This includes the fantastic community of Hindu mathematicians of ancient India, the Taoist & Confucian medics, the Druid astronomers, the Socratic Greeks, and all of their modern [memetic] decendants.*

A society without people who are driven by the need to discover [like scientists and pre-enlightenment philosophers] does not advance technologically, spiritually, or socially. You cannot know your fellow man if you are not capable of being certain you can understand them. You cannot discover calculus if you cannot know that arithimatic(sp?) always works. You cannot begin to understand chemistry & physics if you cannot think that physical laws are predictable.

My [relatively recent] ancestors, for instance, were Celts. Among the tribes to the east, towards Germany, it was common to believe in capricious pantheons ala. the Romans. Their greatest discovery? Hit a Roman over the head with something reaaaallly heavy, and 'is head will pop like a zit. Seriously - they had some skilled artwork, and progressive farming practices, but their range of discovery was rather limited, because they never developed a true scientific community. It's not surprising then that these were the guys that Hitler & Mussolini swooned over - the ideal man who knows that nothing is more true than his passions, and screw rationality.

Further to the west, we had tribes that were closer to the older legends of Danu, and a belief in the ultimate continuance of existance in a stable form through an infinite range of increasingly perfect dimensions. They built Stonehenge, saved parts of Greek Christianity and classical manuscripts, and were generally immunized against the "the universe is arbitrary" meme.

Granted, they also invented leperachauns, and occasionally threw people into bogs, but they were on the right track. ;-)

* That said, the Socratic community of thinkers had a better time of it, historically speaking, and I do think that their tradition was probably the most flexible - though the Taoist & Buddhist communities might have accomplished the same amount if they'd had as much blind luck.
nihilnovum
Dec. 21st, 2005 12:12 am (UTC)
E-prime is a language; a fundamental meme. The usage you're speaking of is an abstracted derivative of the meme. The forces brought to bear on someone who grows up in the english language & adopts the trappings of e-prime are not the same as those on someone who is raised in e-prime.

In other words, you are speaking of a community which has been infected with a meme late in life, and are making observations based on the characteristics of that group. I am attempting to isolate the meme, and extrapolate its effects by assuming infection of a "blank slate" host.


Let's hash this out. We are not talking about "e-prime", we are talking about "e-prime as understood by Colin". "E-prime as understood by colin" behaves and functions in a way that e-prime, as understood by the people who have defined it, developed it, and adopted it's use doesn't.

Your ideas of e-prime have little if any relationship to e-prime itself. You are not talking about e-prime. You are not isolating the "e-prime" meme. You are projecting your own ideas on to the word e-prime, and assuming that these ideas correlate with the real deal.

They don't. E-prime as understood by people who use it, and E-Prime as re-interpreted by you have little in common. In e-prime, certainty is NOT abolished. How a person deals with certainty changes, the idea of certainty does not.

Nope, I do know it. :-)

Know how? Well, it's because the ability to think in absolutes is fundamental to creating a scientific community. If you do not think that something "is" and will continue to "be", scientific discovery becomes impossible.


Colin, you think you know it.

You don't. You assume, and then rationalize your assumption with a twisted line of logic that proves nothing.

"I know it's true, because if it wasn't, we could not make scientific discoveries."

Experiential evidence suggests only that considering things on a continuum makes it possible to predict things. It does not prove that these predictions will continue to be accurate, it does not prove that this continuum will continue forever and ever, ad nauseum.

You assume only by using absolutes can we make scientific discoveries. Probabilities work just as well and are MUCH more accurate, without any preening pretentions of godlike infallibility.

You assume that just because it is useful, it is certain. I just consider it useful, and make no pretentions of knowing if it is certain or now.

I will not make claim certainty without proof. You have no proof, and do not offer any.

"It is, and it has been, so obviously it will always be. Who needs proof when you've got belief systems!"

All of the inventions that we tend to think of as scientific breakthroughs have come out of societies who believe in a fundamental continuance of an unchanging universe.

1. Believing in an unchanging universe doesn't prove the universe is unchanging.

2. All inventions? Easily refuted in the light of the last hundred years, where fuzzy logic has proven itself invaluable in the creation of thousands of inventions - especially in the I.T field.

3. For the sake of argument, let's assume you're correct and that all inventions are the result of "societies" that believe in an unchanging universe. This argument is similar to the one misogynists like to lobby against women. "All the greatest works of genius over the last 2000 years have been the works of men!". Just because it was true under certain cultural conditions, doesn't make it true under all cultural conditions. I can envision a post-modern society that does away with absolutes and is more inventive than this one.

When people do not use e-prime, they end up making the kind of logical errors you've made. They leap to unfounded conclusions that don't hold up under closer scrutiny. They think in terms of absolutes in a world governed by probabilities, and the man who knows probability will win out over the man who knows absolutes.

No matter how much you try to squiggle your way out if, you won't win this argument. Your propositions are easily refuted because you don't have the evidence to back them up, and you never will unless you reveal yourself as God. The evidence you've offered so far has obfuscated your arguments, it has not proven them.
nihilnovum
Dec. 21st, 2005 12:15 am (UTC)
A society without people who are driven by the need to discover [like scientists and pre-enlightenment philosophers] does not advance technologically, spiritually, or socially.

Agreed.

You cannot know your fellow man if you are not capable of being certain you can understand them.

Assumptions.

You cannot discover calculus if you cannot know that arithimatic(sp?) always works.

More assumptions.

You cannot begin to understand chemistry & physics if you cannot think that physical laws are predictable.

Predictable, certainly.
Certainly predictable, hardly.

Colin, in every case above, you make the mistake of assuming that just because things work now, they must always work forever and ever, proof be damned.

It is possible to make discoveries, to understand your fellow man, to understand chemistry and physics, to discover calculus without certainty.

How do I know this? Because every discovery ever made was made without the help of certainty. Probability? Lots of it! Certainty? None whatsover.

Just because a person thinks things continue to behave the same doesn't mean they know for certain that they will. They can't prove that things are and always will be. They can say it, they can claim it, they can't prove it.

Even though they know nothing for certain, they still keep making discoveries.
ccord
Dec. 21st, 2005 01:18 am (UTC)
You cannot know your fellow man if you are not capable of being certain you can understand them.

Assumptions.


Definitions, actually. I started writing a response, then realized your definition of "to know" may be different from the way I use it. "To know", in my case, would be defined as "to have a complete understanding".

You cannot discover calculus if you cannot know that arithimatic(sp?) always works.

More assumptions.


Really? But how would you discover calculus without an "=" symbol? If you weren't certain that 1 + 1 = 2, then what would push you to make the mental leap to calculus, which not only assumes the concept of an absolute equality, but also absolute negation (the numeral zero)?

You cannot begin to understand chemistry & physics if you cannot think that physical laws are predictable.

Predictable, certainly.
Certainly predictable, hardly.


Nope, that's not the argument. :-)

You're arguing from your own epistimological viewpoint. I'm arguing from my own viewpoint, but also from that of someone who has no concept of "=" or "zero". You're making a counter-argument about the predictability of physical laws, but my argument concerned the ability to understand physics or chemistry without holding a certain epistimological & ontological viewpoint.

So, the argument still stands: You cannot begin to understand chemistry and physics if you cannot think that physical laws are predictable. Your reply? >:-)

Because every discovery ever made was made without the help of certainty. Probability? Lots of it! Certainty? None whatsover.

Then this can't be a discovery: you're way too certain! :-D

But it doesn't matter, because it's simply not true. I've spent too much time around scientists to have such a belief. I've never known, communicated with, or read-from a scientist who didn't have a concept of certainty. Even quantum-physists operate from a basis of certainty of an underlying order - and they arguably have the least reason to be certain of anything. And that doesn't even get into the implicit certainties of mathematics...

Sorry!
nihilnovum
Dec. 21st, 2005 02:31 am (UTC)
Definitions, actually. I started writing a response, then realized your definition of "to know" may be different from the way I use it. "To know", in my case, would be defined as "to have a complete understanding".

Assumptions. You assume you understand someone completly. I assure you, you assume wrong. You have never met someone you understood completly; unless you're god and you're able to experience their lives as they experience it. Unless you get into someone's head, you won't have a complete understanding. The very idea of a complete understanding implies omnipotence.

Are you omnipotent?

If so, get out of my underwear, damn you! Pervert.

Really? But how would you discover calculus without an "=" symbol? If you weren't certain that 1 + 1 = 2, then what would push you to make the mental leap to calculus, which not only assumes the concept of an absolute equality, but also absolute negation (the numeral zero)?

The ability to think in terms of absolutes and certainties is different than being certain. You don't have to be certain that 1 + 1 = 2, you just have to know operate from a mindset in which certainty exists. In order to create calculus, you have to think in terms of absolutes, you don't have to be absolute. The difference between using an idea and believing in it.

You're making a counter-argument about the predictability of physical laws, but my argument concerned the ability to understand physics or chemistry without holding a certain epistimological & ontological viewpoint.

So, the argument still stands: You cannot begin to understand chemistry and physics if you cannot think that physical laws are predictable. Your reply? >:-)


Argh, I agree with that! If that was the argument, I would of agreed with it. I think I mentioned it earlier, but we're arguing towards the same point from different perspectives.

I would clarify my position as this : you can not understand chemistry and physics if you can not conceive the laws which govern them as predictable". Thinking, not belief. I'm for that ;)

But it doesn't matter, because it's simply not true. I've spent too much time around scientists to have such a belief. I've never known, communicated with, or read-from a scientist who didn't have a concept of certainty. Even quantum-physists operate from a basis of certainty of an underlying order - and they arguably have the least reason to be certain of anything. And that doesn't even get into the implicit certainties of mathematics...

A concept of certainty is one thing, a belief in that concept quite the other. Scientists succeed because of their skill in using ideas, the belief in those ideas is superfluous, and a scientific community that wasn't rooted in logical positivism would most likely find it's work far more accurate.

Operating from a basis of an underlying order is different than operating from a belief in an underlying order. In the first case, you have the freedom to move from that order if new evidence proves it wrong, in the second instant, you are much less likely to change your position in the face of evidence that refutes your beliefs.

You can create all sorts of geometric systems by choosing ARBITRARY systems of underlying order. People believe Euclid's geometry to be the geometry of the universe. Their belief in euclid's underlying order prevented the progress of science of geometry for nearly two thousand years.

I am not big on scientists, I've met more than my fair share of them, and they don't impress me as being any more logical than you're average person. The fact is, their schooling has limited their ability to see the world clearly, and though they might be very good at observing things from within the cultural matrix they find themselves in, they often suck at looking at things outside of it.
ccord
Dec. 21st, 2005 04:34 am (UTC)
Definitions, actually. I started writing a response, then realized your definition of "to know" may be different from the way I use it. "To know", in my case, would be defined as "to have a complete understanding".

Assumptions. You assume you understand someone completly. I assure you, you assume wrong. You have never met someone you understood completly; unless you're god and you're able to experience their lives as they experience it. Unless you get into someone's head, you won't have a complete understanding. The very idea of a complete understanding implies omnipotence.


Hah! You have a very stringent view of what complete understanding is. :-)

Personally? I subscribe to the view that's closer to complex-theory, or chaos-theory: simple rules leading to complicated outcomes. Knowing people is about learning the "rules", and keeping up with the changes; though some people are simpler to figure out than others.

Argh, I agree with that! If that was the argument, I would of agreed with it. I think I mentioned it earlier, but we're arguing towards the same point from different perspectives.

I would clarify my position as this : you can not understand chemistry and physics if you can not conceive the laws which govern them as predictable". Thinking, not belief. I'm for that ;)


I use the definition of belief as "an unsubstantiated assumption". So yeah, same difference. :-)

A concept of certainty is one thing, a belief in that concept quite the other. Scientists succeed because of their skill in using ideas, the belief in those ideas is superfluous, and a scientific community that wasn't rooted in logical positivism would most likely find it's work far more accurate.

Scientific success depends on a lot more that skillful manipulation. Then again, it may depend on how you define success. Scientific breakthroughs, ala General Relativity, or normal grunt-work?

I am not big on scientists, I've met more than my fair share of them, and they don't impress me as being any more logical than you're average person. The fact is, their schooling has limited their ability to see the world clearly, and though they might be very good at observing things from within the cultural matrix they find themselves in, they often suck at looking at things outside of it.

The only thing that a good scientist has over the rest of humanity is curiosity, and a drive to understand things. Bad scientists think they know everything once they've completed grad-school, and go on to write "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions". >:-D
nihilnovum
Dec. 21st, 2005 06:15 pm (UTC)
Hah! You have a very stringent view of what complete understanding is. :-)

Personally? I subscribe to the view that's closer to complex-theory, or chaos-theory: simple rules leading to complicated outcomes. Knowing people is about learning the "rules", and keeping up with the changes; though some people are simpler to figure out than others.


We're talking apples and oranges. Your conception of complete understanding is incomplete. You can know the rules which you can observe and the observable outcomes they lead to. However, you can not know that which you have no way of observing. A person's existential condition is beyond your reach. You suspect it's there, but whatever rules govern it, you know not. Obviously, if you don't have that knowledge, you're knowledge can't be considered complete. This goes back to solip, and solip basically guarantees that complete understanding of anything is virtually impossible. Settle for a partial understanding based on what you can observe, and strive towards being able to observe more. For all we know, there does exist a way to bridge the existential gap.

Further, though it is theoretically possible that you can learn all the observable rules which govern a person and therefore follow the ever multiplying consequences they lead up to, it is very unlikely.

I use the definition of belief as "an unsubstantiated assumption". So yeah, same difference. :-)

I much prefer the term unsubstantiated assumption. Far less loaded ;)

Scientific success depends on a lot more that skillful manipulation. Then again, it may depend on how you define success. Scientific breakthroughs, ala General Relativity, or normal grunt-work?

Scientific breakthroughs depend on onverturning assumptions. If those assumptions were certain, you couldn't overturn them. I don't have a problem with the drive towards certainty, I have a problem with saying "we got it!". Certainty may or may not exist, but the drive towards it has certainly proven valuable.

The only thing that a good scientist has over the rest of humanity is curiosity, and a drive to understand things. Bad scientists think they know everything once they've completed grad-school, and go on to write "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions". >:-D

Haha, I still haven't read Kuhn's work. Curiosity and a drive to understand things... In other words, they have more questions than answers. More uncertainty than certainty. That's what I like :P
ccord
Dec. 21st, 2005 11:05 pm (UTC)
Hah! You have a very stringent view of what complete understanding is. :-)

Personally? I subscribe to the view that's closer to complex-theory, or chaos-theory: simple rules leading to complicated outcomes. Knowing people is about learning the "rules", and keeping up with the changes; though some people are simpler to figure out than others.

We're talking apples and oranges. Your conception of complete understanding is incomplete. You can know the rules which you can observe and the observable outcomes they lead to. However, you can not know that which you have no way of observing. A person's existential condition is beyond your reach. You suspect it's there, but whatever rules govern it, you know not. Obviously, if you don't have that knowledge, you're knowledge can't be considered complete. This goes back to solip, and solip basically guarantees that complete understanding of anything is virtually impossible. Settle for a partial understanding based on what you can observe, and strive towards being able to observe more. For all we know, there does exist a way to bridge the existential gap.



Okay, now re-write that in e-prime, and remove references to untestable theories. :-)


I use the definition of belief as "an unsubstantiated assumption". So yeah, same difference. :-)

I much prefer the term unsubstantiated assumption. Far less loaded ;)


Aye, 'just rolls off the tounge it does. ;-P

Haha, I still haven't read Kuhn's work. Curiosity and a drive to understand things... In other words, they have more questions than answers. More uncertainty than certainty. That's what I like :P

Yep, "more questions than answers" is the hallmark of good scientists & philosophers. They're certain that they can't be certain of everything. :-)
marcnicholas
Dec. 22nd, 2005 12:53 am (UTC)
Okay, now re-write that in e-prime, and remove references to untestable theories. :-)

Done.

You have an incomplete conception of complete understanding. You can only know those rules which you can observe, and the observable outcomes they lead to. However, you can not know that which you have no way of observing. For example, you have no way of penetrating a person's existential condition. You suspect that it exists, but you have no way of knowing for sure, and no way of determining which rules govern it. Obviously, if you don't have that knowledge, you can't consider your knowledge complete. This goes back to Solip, and basically proves the impossibility of understanding anything completely. Settle for a partial understanding based on what you can observe, and strive towards increasing the reach of your observations. For all we know, there does exist a way to bridge the existential gap.

The whole thing about "untestable theories"? Colin, there may come a time when people start figuring out ways of testing the untestable.


Aye, 'just rolls off the tounge it does. ;-P

The price of accuracy ;)
ccord
Dec. 22nd, 2005 01:59 am (UTC)
You have an incomplete conception of complete understanding. You can only know those rules which you can observe, and the observable outcomes they lead to. However, you can not know that which you have no way of observing. For example, you have no way of penetrating a person's existential condition. You suspect that it exists, but you have no way of knowing for sure, and no way of determining which rules govern it. Obviously, if you don't have that knowledge, you can't consider your knowledge complete. This goes back to Solip, and basically proves the impossibility of understanding anything completely. Settle for a partial understanding based on what you can observe, and strive towards increasing the reach of your observations. For all we know, there does exist a way to bridge the existential gap.

...Except that Solip only thinks that nothing can be proven completely, and that idea was one of two equally plausible contingencies that we came up with without resorting to utilitarian arguments. So, yes, on the contingency that complete knowledge of anything is impossible, it is not possible to know someone. However, using the contingency that complete knowledge of some things is possible...

But in any case, neither contingency is, so far, provable from within its own bounds of logic. Which is why its hilarious to get into arguments that get into deep, epistimilogical/ontological territory. :-)

Btw, "Settle"? Me? What, you been hitting the crack-pipe, ne? Ain't happening. ;-)
ccord
Dec. 21st, 2005 12:49 am (UTC)
Let's hash this out. We are not talking about "e-prime", we are talking about "e-prime as understood by Colin". "E-prime as understood by colin" behaves and functions in a way that e-prime, as understood by the people who have defined it, developed it, and adopted it's use doesn't.

E-prime is a meme like any other; an idea that is spread through imitation. What you may want to consider is how a particular meme interacts with other memes. Using the semantics of memetics, what you are describing is a form of e-prime which has settled into a pre-existing memeplex. Using genetic parlance, it would be a gene that has been inserted into an existing genome, in viral fashion.

Memes, like genes, are highly contextualized by their position in the system. An ideological meme, for example, has a much different effect if it is learnt early in life than if it is learnt in adulthood. What you are describing is not e-prime, it is a particular contextualization of the e-prime meme in which it has been adopted by individuals with already complex memeplexes/selfplexes. My contextualization involved extrapolating the effects of building the personal memeplex with e-prime as [one of] its fundament[s].

You assume that scientific discoveries are only possible if something is and continues to be.

Experiental evidence suggests only that scientific discoveries are possible so long as something "is" and continues to "be". They do NOT prove that whatever continues to be, will CONTINUE to be forever and ever, ad nauseum.


Hmmm, no, that's not correct. It is the *belief* in continuance & universality that are essential - not the reality. Nobody in their right mind would spend their lives studying quantum-mechanics if they didn't think there was some sort of order to be discovered beneath all the "spooky behaviour". That's not an argument that there *is* an order, just that the belief in one is necessary for scientific progress to be made. The epistimilogical debate is another thread. :-)

That is an assumption taken on FAITH not proof.

It would be yes. But, then again, faith isn't really necessary, though it is far from absent among scientists.

1. Believe in the fundamental continuance of an unchanging universe doesn't prove that universe is unchanging.

Of course not! That would be a silly thing to say; it would be solipsistic to think one's beliefs created reality. :-)

2. All inventions? A lie easily refuted in the light of the last hundred years, where fuzzy logic has proven itself invaluable in the creation of thousands of inventions - especially in the I.T field.

Hmmm, careful there. The words I used were "the inventions we tend to think of as scientific breakthroughs". I was thinking of specific cases of invention in the modern era (ie. lasers, and integrated semiconducting circuits), but that may not have been clear. Replace "invention" with "discovery" to make the argument more general.

3. Even if, for the sake of argument, "all inventions" have been the result of "societies" that believed in an unchanging Universe, that would NOT prove that "societies" which believe in a changing universe are incapable of invention.

Never said it did :-). It does, however, make it difficult to form scientific communities, and it discourages investigation. It takes a very driven or very "crazy" individual to go about trying to understand things if her community doesn't believe in things being ordered in some fundamental fashion.

This exactly WHY people should use e-prime.

But, what kind of kids would you end up with if e-prime was the fundament of the self and what sort of society would they create? Put another way, what would a society of solipsists look like, and why do you think it would look that way? In a nutshell, I argue that growing-up in e-prime lends itself to solipsism, and discourages the search for scientific discovery. I've argued further that the only way for an individual solipsist to lead a happy life is to not be a solipsist all the time.

I think you've argued yourself that you shrug your shoulders and accept things as they appear at a certain point.
nihilnovum
Dec. 21st, 2005 01:52 am (UTC)
Memes, like genes, are highly contextualized by their position in the system. An ideological meme, for example, has a much different effect if it is learnt early in life than if it is learnt in adulthood. What you are describing is not e-prime, it is a particular contextualization of the e-prime meme in which it has been adopted by individuals with already complex memeplexes/selfplexes. My contextualization involved extrapolating the effects of building the personal memeplex with e-prime as [one of] its fundament[s].

I was actually going to point a similar thing out to you. But it was more a side-thought since the real issue I want to deal with is that you haven't extrapolated the effects of building a personal memeplex with e-prime as one of it's fundaments... You've extrapolated the effects of building a personal memeplex using your interpretation of e-prime as one it's fundaments.

Again, it comes down to the fact that you're extrapolating something based on a misinterpretation of the facts available to you. You aren't using e-prime, but your version of e-prime. And we can argue memes all we want, but you've labeled something that isn't e-prime, e-prime.

Put it this way, removing "to be" does not equate removing all concepts of certainty and absolutes from the english language - it only means removing the most abused semantic term for certainty.

Hence, someone raised in e-prime would still learn about certainty, however they learn about it would be different. And yes, they would most likely use more probablistic language, but that's because probabilities more accurately reflect our experiences than certainty does.

Hmmm, no, that's not correct. It is the *belief* in continuance & universality that are essential - not the reality. Nobody in their right mind would spend their lives studying quantum-mechanics if they didn't think there was some sort of order to be discovered beneath all the "spooky behaviour". That's not an argument that there *is* an order, just that the belief in one is necessary for scientific progress to be made. The epistimilogical debate is another thread. :-)

I think at this point we might be arguing towards the same point, but from different perspectives. I finally get your meaning (amen), though I disagree with your use of the word belief. The idea of continuance is important, the belief in it isn't. It's an appropriate idea that brings appropriate results. I use the idea, but I don't necessarily believe in it.

I think that becomes a sticking: do you need to believe an idea to use it? I don't think so.

Hmmm, careful there. The words I used were "the inventions we tend to think of as scientific breakthroughs". I was thinking of specific cases of invention in the modern era (ie. lasers, and integrated semiconducting circuits), but that may not have been clear. Replace "invention" with "discovery" to make the argument more general.

Ultimately, we're debating on whether or not absolutes are necessary for discoveries. I consider probabilities more useful than absolutes, because they cover almost the same ground, and the ground it doesn't cover is usually the place where religious zealots, racial bigots, and confused ideologues whip out their guns and start shooting people.
nihilnovum
Dec. 21st, 2005 01:53 am (UTC)

Never said it did :-). It does, however, make it difficult to form scientific communities, and it discourages investigation. It takes a very driven or very "crazy" individual to go about trying to understand things if her community doesn't believe in things being ordered in some fundamental fashion.

You don't need to believe in things in order to interact with them. If you suspect things, if you consider things, if you contemplate them, if you play with possible order instead of certain order, you are more likely to discover things than if you were held in step by dogmatic belief.

The pick-up artist community is a breeding ground for post modern social engineers. They are not a scientific community in your sense of the word, and many of the people there are post-modernists like myself. They do not "believe" in an underlying order, instead they suspect order and they play around with it. That is a far more empowering attitude than "belief" in the order. If you don't believe in it but you suspect it, you force yourself to relate to it in a more direct, less circumscribed manner. No longer do you assume the order exists, instead you find out for yourself through experiential means.

Belief cuts man off from experience.


But, what kind of kids would you end up with if e-prime was the fundament of the self and what sort of society would they create? Put another way, what would a society of solipsists look like, and why do you think it would look that way? In a nutshell, I argue that growing-up in e-prime lends itself to solipsism, and discourages the search for scientific discovery. I've argued further that the only way for an individual solipsist to lead a happy life is to not be a solipsist all the time.

I argue the exact opposite. Raising a person in regular english discourages the search for scientific discovery by providing people with all the answers. They have beliefs, they don't need experience. In our society, progress and overthrowing beliefs pretty much go hand in hand. Beliefs hold us back, they don't push forward.

Children raised in e-prime will have all the tools english kids have, and they'll have a few more to boot. They can still discuss absolutes, but they're more likely to use probabilities since probabilities are more likely to accurately reflect their environment.

They won't confuse their interpretation of reality with reality itself, and therefor are more likely to have honest relationships with people since they know the dangers of symbolic mediation and how people often confuse the impression they have of people with the people themselves.

They would interact with their environments more directly, and thus more realistically, than their english counterparts. They would be less likely to find themselves trapped by dogma, since they would consider all things through the lenses of the present - i.e, by verifying it for themselves.

Would they develop into solipsists? In one sense, yes. They would recognize that their existance is the one thing they can know from the inside. Is that a bad thing? Hardly. It's realistic. Pretending to know more than that is, unless your inhuman, delusional.

Would they become the type of solipsist who claims that the self is the only reality? No! Because they would have no proof of it.

The only difference between e-primers and english speakers is that e-primers are less likely to suffer from symbolically induced delusions.
ccord
Dec. 21st, 2005 05:57 am (UTC)
You don't need to believe in things in order to interact with them. If you suspect things, if you consider things, if you contemplate them, if you play with possible order instead of certain order, you are more likely to discover things than if you were held in step by dogmatic belief.

Strong positive belief, or weak positive belief (aka. suspicion) then? I think the trick [in science] is to start with either a strong belief that is narrowly focused ("there is an order, but nothing else is certain"), or a weak belief that is widely focused ("I think this is the right track").

I argue the exact opposite. Raising a person in regular english discourages the search for scientific discovery by providing people with all the answers. They have beliefs, they don't need experience. In our society, progress and overthrowing beliefs pretty much go hand in hand. Beliefs hold us back, they don't push forward.

The drag on scientific discovery doesn't emnate solely from ideology though. It is also held-up by "practical people". You know, the 95% (give or take) that only support scientific research if it has a practical benefit, and a good economic payoff. "Practical people" often aren't ideological, they're simply... practical. They ain't the type to pay for SETI, because the payoff isn't clear. After all, who knows if there are aliens, and if there are, who knows if they're friendly?

Asides from that, teaching people to be less ideological in their speech (as opposed to raising them in e-prime, which is another kettle of fish), would have pretty minor effects on violence & hate. Most violence (and I do mean to say most violence) comes down to disputes over resources & power. The excuses may have a veneer of ideology, but the motivations are often the same.

That isn't to say that ideological violence doesn't happen, but most "practical people" don't get involved in ideological wars because of their beliefs - they have "practical" reasons. The ideological vanguard is usually only the tip of the pyramid in most such conflicts - with notable exceptions being such things as the "Children's Crusade". In most ideology can serve to make things worse (ie. WWII, instead of a German civil-war), but it doesn't provide the kindling for the fire.
nihilnovum
Dec. 21st, 2005 06:33 pm (UTC)
Strong positive belief, or weak positive belief (aka. suspicion) then? I think the trick [in science] is to start with either a strong belief that is narrowly focused ("there is an order, but nothing else is certain"), or a weak belief that is widely focused ("I think this is the right track").

I don't see a huge difference between the two. Why do you need to have a strong positive belief in order, why can't you just play around with the concept that order probably exists and see what happens when you try to chase it down? "Order probaby exists, let's see if we can find it!" and "Order does exist, let's see if we can find it!". What's the difference?

Asides from that, teaching people to be less ideological in their speech (as opposed to raising them in e-prime, which is another kettle of fish), would have pretty minor effects on violence & hate. Most violence (and I do mean to say most violence) comes down to disputes over resources & power. The excuses may have a veneer of ideology, but the motivations are often the same.

Only if you're using a conventional definition of ideology. I don't. My entire point of view regarding ideology is VERY radical and it is, as far as I know, unheard of in most academic circles. Maybe a few Stirnerites in Germany have drawn the same conclusions as I have, but we're talking about a few dozen obscure philosophers. I would not be surprised if I was the first person to come up with my particular argument.

And it is a powerful one, one I'm not inclined to make over livejournal because if it is as strong as I believe it is,
it could deal several damaging blows to the way our society works. Experiential evidence seems to confirm my view, and when the time comes to make a public attack, I think it has the potential of being crippling.

Anyways, I have evidence (and a strong logical, hard to deny argument) that suggests the majority of violence is ideological in nature. Practical considerations aren't nearly as practical as they might appear, and fights that seem to be over resources often are not.

When the time comes (probably in the next eight months), I'll let you in on the argument and we'll see what you do with it. For now let's just leave it at this :

Using the current popular understanding of ideology, your argument is correct.
ccord
Dec. 21st, 2005 11:34 pm (UTC)
Strong positive belief, or weak positive belief (aka. suspicion) then? I think the trick [in science] is to start with either a strong belief that is narrowly focused ("there is an order, but nothing else is certain"), or a weak belief that is widely focused ("I think this is the right track").

I don't see a huge difference between the two. Why do you need to have a strong positive belief in order, why can't you just play around with the concept that order probably exists and see what happens when you try to chase it down? "Order probaby exists, let's see if we can find it!" and "Order does exist, let's see if we can find it!". What's the difference?


There is no functional difference, the outputs are the same. So, at least in this case, there's no practical reason to advocate for one approach or another. The only caveat is that scope of the belief would have to [roughly] be inversely proportional to the strength of the belief itself. It just happens that strong positive belief seems to be more common among the great scientists - I couldn't tell you why, since you would expect an even distribution between the two ends of that spectrum. Conversely, even distribution seems to be the case among "good" scientists, whereas "bad" ones seem to have strong beliefs with large scope (I haven't met any practicing scientists with weak beliefs with narrow scope, they don't tend to stick around in research.)

So, your guess is as likely to be good as mine.

Anyways, I have evidence (and a strong logical, hard to deny argument) that suggests the majority of violence is ideological in nature. Practical considerations aren't nearly as practical as they might appear, and fights that seem to be over resources often are not.

Just remember to make a strong predictive argument as well - social scientists have way too many simply explanatory theories of human behaviour as it is; 'no point in encouraging them to adopt more. ;-P
marcnicholas
Dec. 22nd, 2005 12:32 am (UTC)
There is no functional difference, the outputs are the same. So, at least in this case, there's no practical reason to advocate for one approach or another. The only caveat is that scope of the belief would have to [roughly] be inversely proportional to the strength of the belief itself. It just happens that strong positive belief seems to be more common among the great scientists - I couldn't tell you why, since you would expect an even distribution between the two ends of that spectrum. Conversely, even distribution seems to be the case among "good" scientists, whereas "bad" ones seem to have strong beliefs with large scope (I haven't met any practicing scientists with weak beliefs with narrow scope, they don't tend to stick around in research.)

That is very interesting. I would caution that the above may only prove itself accurate under certain cultural conditions, and that a huge shift in the way man mediates his environment through symbols might alter the results. I suspect this to be the case, though time will tell.

Just remember to make a strong predictive argument as well - social scientists have way too many simply explanatory theories of human behaviour as it is; 'no point in encouraging them to adopt more. ;-P

I will ;) It's the reason I'm not taking the cat out of the bag just yet. I want to make sure that theory actually can be used to consistently predict outcomes. I need to find out the extent of it's applicability, which will be messy. The next year will see me doing some serious in-field testing. I don't have much in the way of ethics, so I have more freedom to experiment with people.
ccord
Dec. 22nd, 2005 02:22 am (UTC)
That is very interesting. I would caution that the above may only prove itself accurate under certain cultural conditions, and that a huge shift in the way man mediates his environment through symbols might alter the results. I suspect this to be the case, though time will tell.

Indeed, the cultural conditions are those of the scientific community, in pursuit of scientific discovery. It's a pretty narrow field of applicability - albeit an unusually important one. The question of wether the results could be shifted is still, technically, an open one - though the distribution hasn't changed much in the past few thousand years. I wouldn't call it "case closed" considering that there hasn't been a good explanation proposed (plenty of bad ones, 'natch), but I also wouldn't care to bet any money on any fundamental shifts happening.

CC: Just remember to make a strong predictive argument as well - social scientists have way too many simply explanatory theories of human behaviour as it is; 'no point in encouraging them to adopt more. ;-P

MS: I will ;) It's the reason I'm not taking the cat out of the bag just yet. I want to make sure that theory actually can be used to consistently predict outcomes. I need to find out the extent of it's applicability, which will be messy. The next year will see me doing some serious in-field testing. I don't have much in the way of ethics, so I have more freedom to experiment with people.


Great... Well, just keep in mind that tasers are still illegal for personal use in this country.
ccord
Dec. 21st, 2005 05:20 am (UTC)
I was actually going to point a similar thing out to you. But it was more a side-thought since the real issue I want to deal with is that you haven't extrapolated the effects of building a personal memeplex with e-prime as one of it's fundaments... You've extrapolated the effects of building a personal memeplex using your interpretation of e-prime as one it's fundaments.

I think the root problem is that I define the e-prime meme as the proposed language, whereas you are defining the e-prime meme as "the idea to adapt the way we speak". E-prime, as a language, shouldn't have the "to be" verb, correct? Thus, if you were raised to think in the symbol-set provided by e-prime, and isolated from other cultures, the only way to come into possession of an "absolutist" meme would be to invent it (or discover it) yourself.

What I'm describing then, is the e-prime-as-language meme, while we might label your meme as e-prime-as-paradigm-adjustment.

I think at this point we might be arguing towards the same point, but from different perspectives. I finally get your meaning (amen), though I disagree with your use of the word belief. The idea of continuance is important, the belief in it isn't. It's an appropriate idea that brings appropriate results. I use the idea, but I don't necessarily believe in it.

I think that becomes a sticking: do you need to believe an idea to use it? I don't think so.


It's a messy subject. The symbols & ideas of continuance & order are certainly crucial. To be a great scientist (as opposed to an engineer, *cough*) it's arguable as to wether you need a positive belief in those same concepts, or simply not possess beliefs that are in obvious conflict with them. Engineers can certainly use ideas willy-nilly, without believing in anything. I don't see scientific discovery happening without it. *shrug*

Ultimately, we're debating on whether or not absolutes are necessary for discoveries. I consider probabilities more useful than absolutes, because they cover almost the same ground, and the ground it doesn't cover is usually the place where religious zealots, racial bigots, and confused ideologues whip out their guns and start shooting people.

I don't see much hope of scientific discovery without some sort of nutty belief driving wackos like Einstein or Hawking. I haven't seen an example yet of someone making a fundamental discovery (as opposed to a breakthrough) without being driven by a belief in some sort of Order. I also can't come-up with a scenario in which anyone would - most of these discoveries (relativity, quantum physics, etcetera) weren't necessary, didn't serve any practical purpose, and there wasn't any pressure towards them. Sure, engineers & day-to-day scientists figured-out ways to use the ideas eventually but it took quite a while for any practical uses to be figured out.
nihilnovum
Dec. 21st, 2005 07:07 pm (UTC)
What I'm describing then, is the e-prime-as-language meme, while we might label your meme as E-prime-as-paradigm-adjustment.

Not exactly. Your understanding of e-prime is incorrect. E-prime might not have "to be" but to be isn't the only way to express certainty in the english language.

To be has three major definitions : to exist, to happen, to go/come. All of those expressions still exist in e-prime. You can use e-prime to express the very same thoughts you do in english, the only difference is that in e-prime, you aren't always using "to exist" to explain everything. Things still exist in e-prime, they just don't exist everywhere, all the time, in every single sentence.

We are arguing about two different memes, I grant you that.

Colin's e-prime, in which words for certainty are abolished (patently untrue), and actual e-prime, in which words for certainty still exist.

Your understanding of eprime the language is flawed. The language you're talking about doesn't exist. If you were to actually speak e-prime, you could still say all the same things you say now. You'd just have to use different words to say it. That's it. That's the big difference.

Engineers can certainly use ideas willy-nilly, without believing in anything. I don't see scientific discovery happening without it. *shrug*

The only difference between possessing an idea and believing in one, is that when you believe in the idea you're less open to alternatives. If you have an idea and you want to see what you can do with it, you will discover things. Belief is superfluous. If you have curiosity, and you think something works, then you'll discover things. You don't need to believe in them or be certain of them in order for them to lead you to new discoveries and new ideas.

I don't see much hope of scientific discovery without some sort of nutty belief driving wackos like Einstein or Hawking. I haven't seen an example yet of someone making a fundamental discovery (as opposed to a breakthrough) without being driven by a belief in some sort of Order. I also can't come-up with a scenario in which anyone would - most of these discoveries (relativity, quantum physics, etcetera) weren't necessary, didn't serve any practical purpose, and there wasn't any pressure towards them. Sure, engineers & day-to-day scientists figured-out ways to use the ideas eventually but it took quite a while for any practical uses to be figured out.

Rather than ascribing these discoveries as a belief in some sort of order, why not just simplify the matter and ascribe them to the USE of an order. You don't need to believe in something in order to use it. This is our real point of contention.

You argue the only way to make a fundamental discovery is through belief, I say you can skip the belief and jump right to experimentation, deduction, induction, inference, exploration, and observation. Not believing in order doesn't mean you can't experiment with the idea that order exists.

You don't need beliefs in order to have a model of the world.
And if you have models, frameworks, ideas of order, than you can discover things within those models. That doesn't mean order exists, it only means order exists within the models you're using, and that discoveries are possible within those models.

The problem I have with your point of view is that you want to put the universe in a box and keep it there. I have no problem putting boxes around the universe, but I don't assume to know if the universe will fit in them or not. Ultimately, I prefer to live in a world that defies understanding. Freewill can only exist in a world without limits. Impose limits, a set of never changing rules, and everything becomes clockwork.
ccord
Dec. 22nd, 2005 12:02 am (UTC)
Colin's e-prime, in which words for certainty are abolished (patently untrue), and actual e-prime, in which words for certainty still exist.

E-prime, a hypthothetical language, and e-prime, a philosophy of speech. They are two discreet entities which stem from the same parent meme. E-prime as a self-contained language does not exist yet, and maybe it never will - but the idea of such a thing already exists, we're discussing it right now. E-prime-as-language has all the potential to be the fundament of a selfplex - it just has to be replicated into an empty vessel. That said, I'm not convinced it would survive in a "pure" form for very long, unless the vessel was isolated from carriers of the "to be" meme, or innoculated against it somehow.
marcnicholas
Dec. 22nd, 2005 12:48 am (UTC)
I don't think e-prime would exist very long in a pure form either ;)

I'm not concerned with the philosophy of speech, which is more accurately covered by the term "general semantics". I'm concerned with your conception of how a self-containted version of e-prime would operate. To be is not the only way to express existence in english. As I've shown, many synonyms of the word "to be" exist (that's one of them). These words are not banished from e-primes lexicon.

Hence, your fears of children developing an unhealthy level of solipsism because they speak in eprime is unfounded.

We're just discussing a hypothetical situation, much like imagining children raised only in esperanto (damn unlikely). You need to correct your hypothesis to more accurately reflect the way e-prime (self-contained or otherwise) operates. To be doesn't exist. Synonyms for it do.
ccord
Dec. 22nd, 2005 02:42 am (UTC)
I don't think e-prime would exist very long in a pure form either ;)

I'm not concerned with the philosophy of speech, which is more accurately covered by the term "general semantics". I'm concerned with your conception of how a self-containted version of e-prime would operate. To be is not the only way to express existence in english. As I've shown, many synonyms of the word "to be" exist (that's one of them). These words are not banished from e-primes lexicon.


Technically true, but when reading between the lines of some folks who have adopted e-prime as an idea (not even the linguists or semantic experts who originated the meme), it becomes clear that their particular conception of e-prime is something a little queer.

Call it "memetic drift", but the e-prime meme has already mutated from contact with relativist ideas. So, at best, we already have two strains of e-prime in the wild, and given the ascendancy of post-modernism in most of the West, I'm guessing the second strain will be more popular in the long run. So yeah, your days are numbered, e-prime traditionalist! ;-)

Hence, your fears of children developing an unhealthy level of solipsism because they speak in eprime is unfounded.

So you're not worried about the children, eh? Just a damn commie-pinko, eh? Well, we've got ways of clearing that up; just let me get the shotgun...

We're just discussing a hypothetical situation, much like imagining children raised only in esperanto (damn unlikely). You need to correct your hypothesis to more accurately reflect the way e-prime (self-contained or otherwise) operates. To be doesn't exist. Synonyms for it do.

What, you don't approve of unsubstantiated alarmism? Some fun you must be at a party; I'll be you'll get all upset the first time I jump on the table and scream "Fire!"....
ccord
Dec. 14th, 2005 06:32 am (UTC)

Math is objective because you say it's objective.


Math is only objective if it meets the defined criteria of an objective fact. All of my experiential knowledge suggests that it is. The only requirement to refute it is to provide an experience that refutes my pre-existing tacit knowledge. It's a very simple challenge, in principle.


"I consider all things relative, though I haven't ruled out the possibility of objective facts"


But how would someone raised in e-prime, in a community of e-prime speakers, come-up with the idea of an objective fact?


Most e-primers leave room for the possibility of a non-relative reality. As I said earlier in my reply, the big deal with eprimers comes down to how they mark out the relationship between the assignor and the assigned. They do this to better understand the world around them, and to avoid the mental traps of thinking that their interpretations of reality coincide with reality itself.


Yes, some do. The trouble is that e-prime is an idea, not a sub-set of practitioners. Granted, it is a very complex idea - a language - but an idea nonetheless. The question is, if the idea were actually applied, what would be the effect over a span of generations?

If someone who thought in e-prime came into contact with an objective reality, how would they describe it?

marcnicholas
Dec. 14th, 2005 06:41 pm (UTC)
Math is only objective if it meets the defined criteria of an objective fact.

I.E - "Something is objective if a bunch of university grads who think they're scientitists says it is."

Or "something is objective if it meets the definecd criteria of an objective fact; criteria that I agree with. Hence, it's objective if I say so."

When you get down to it, something is objective if it meets the arbitrary, culturally influenced criteria chosen by a minority of people heavily influenced by an annoying french philosopher named Comte.

All of my experiential knowledge suggests that it is.

Suggesting something is objective doesn't make it objective. It is objective in YOUR opinion, but you have no way of knowing for certain!

You consider something objective because of your personal experiental knowledge. Your knowledge. YOURS. not everyone. Not E.T. Not ALF. Not God's. Yours.

"It's objective because my experiences suggest that it's objective."

How is that different from "it's objective because I say so."?

The only requirement to refute it is to provide an experience that refutes my pre-existing tacit knowledge. It's a very simple challenge, in principle.

An even easier way of refuting it is to point out that you haven't experienced all experiences, and therefor do not have the authority to claim anything as being objective. You can only suggest it, which really, how is that any different from e-primers?

Colin, you can't say with any certainty that you know anything to be objective save through your own personal experiences, experiences which are sadly limited by your fleshy confines. You can suggest, suspect, but never know.
marcnicholas
Dec. 14th, 2005 07:26 pm (UTC)
p.s - though we argue, there's nothing but love here baby. OI.

haha.
ccord
Dec. 15th, 2005 12:42 am (UTC)
Math is only objective if it meets the defined criteria of an objective fact.

I.E - "Something is objective if a bunch of university grads who think they're scientitists says it is."


It seems to me that the problem of "do objective facts exist?" only arises is you have a relativist or solipsistic viewpoint. In either case, one would never accept that their own feelings are real, which greatly effects one's outlook. If you cannot believe in your own feelings, you cannot really trust anything else, can you? But, in the end, the choice not to trust is no more, and no less valid than one to trust.

After all - while we avoided making utilitarian or pragmatic arguments - it came down to: it cannot be proven that we live in Solip's World, but it cannot be proven that we do not. In such a case, the choice of either assumption is equally valid. However, choosing to trust works out better for everyone in the long run, so one might take that as an indication that it's a better choice - from a utilitarian viewpoint, of course. :-)

P.S. You still haven't proven that 1+1=3. :-P
marcnicholas
Dec. 15th, 2005 03:13 am (UTC)
It seems to me that the problem of solipsism only arises if you're an objectivist ;)

In either case, one would never accept that their own feelings are real, which greatly effects one's outlook.

Not really. Take me, I'm pretty much asolipsist. I can't prove you're real. But I can't prove you're not, either. So I just go with it and ignore the question.

There comes a point where you can experience reality without having to mediate it using symbols. When that happens, "accept your own feelings as reals" means absolutely nothing.

Ultimately, my argument comes to this : the moment you mediate reality through symbols, any attempt at objectivity ceases. You can only experience objective reality directly, any symbolic interpretation of reality is subject to personal interpretation. I feel - is it real, is it not? Words. The argument means nothing in the end. Experiences transcend words. Words are useful, but they ain't reality, and any attempt to describe or understand reality will prove itself woefully lacking.

it cannot be proven that we live in Solip's World, but it cannot be proven that we do not. In such a case, the choice of either assumption is equally valid. However, choosing to trust works out better for everyone in the long run, so one might take that as an indication that it's a better choice - from a utilitarian viewpoint, of course.

Choosing to trust is useful. However, trusting too much is dangerous!

P.S. You still haven't proven that 1+1=3. :-P

If you ever want to take a shot of acid... I will ;)
ccord
Dec. 15th, 2005 04:05 am (UTC)
Not really. Take me, I'm pretty much asolipsist. I can't prove you're real. But I can't prove you're not, either. So I just go with it and ignore the question.

Well, that was pretty much one of the points I tried to make: if you make the choice to not trust yourself, you can only continue life effectively if you make an arbitrary decision as to where to draw the line of solipsistic introspection. It's either that, or waste a lot of time in divide by zero loops. :-)

Choosing to trust is useful. However, trusting too much is dangerous!

Yep! :-)

BTW, would you like to buy some shellfish? Special price, I've got them in the back of my car over here...


P.S. You still haven't proven that 1+1=3. :-P

If you ever want to take a shot of acid... I will ;)


No messing with the calculator before the test. ;-P
nihilnovum
Dec. 20th, 2005 11:21 pm (UTC)
Well, that was pretty much one of the points I tried to make: if you make the choice to not trust yourself, you can only continue life effectively if you make an arbitrary decision as to where to draw the line of solipsistic introspection. It's either that, or waste a lot of time in divide by zero loops. :-)

Those arbitrary decisions however are part and parcel of the human condition. Logical positivist or solipsist ... We make them. None of us can live our lives without these arbitrary decisions. You ever heard of the study they did on people who suffered damage to the part of the brain that regulates emotion? These people were perfectly logical, but they couldn't emote. They couldn't do ANYTHING on their own. If you asked them to get dressed, they'd look at all the clothing and wouldn't know what to choose. Irrational, arbitrary emotional factors are at the basis of all our decisions. If we were pure logic, we'd all starve to death because we wouldn't be able to choose between bacon or eggs. We'd just look at both of them until we died.

BTW, would you like to buy some shellfish? Special price, I've got them in the back of my car over here...

mmm, shellfish ;)

No messing with the calculator before the test. ;-P

Haha, if the calculator melts into your hand and starts talking to you in Yiddish, it won't really matter if I mess with it or not.
ccord
Dec. 21st, 2005 01:31 am (UTC)
Well, that was pretty much one of the points I tried to make: if you make the choice to not trust yourself, you can only continue life effectively if you make an arbitrary decision as to where to draw the line of solipsistic introspection. It's either that, or waste a lot of time in divide by zero loops. :-)

Those arbitrary decisions however are part and parcel of the human condition. Logical positivist or solipsist ... We make them. None of us can live our lives without these arbitrary decisions. You ever heard of the study they did on people who suffered damage to the part of the brain that regulates emotion? These people were perfectly logical, but they couldn't emote. They couldn't do ANYTHING on their own. If you asked them to get dressed, they'd look at all the clothing and wouldn't know what to choose. Irrational, arbitrary emotional factors are at the basis of all our decisions. If we were pure logic, we'd all starve to death because we wouldn't be able to choose between bacon or eggs. We'd just look at both of them until we died.


The same studies have been done of people who suffered full-frontal labotomies. Nasty stuff. But, then again, the problems arise when an arbitrary decision has to be made. I'm more curious as to why they don't flip a coin, ala "Two-Face", rather than rely on arbitrary (or psuedo-arbitrary) emotional decisions. It would also be intesting to know just how deeply branched the patients' logic trees are. Many decisons do have logical answers, after all: Your range of choices is dictated by circumstances, and some cirumstances will wittle choice down to one valid answer. I suspect that some patients are likely able to get-by better than others, depending on how much they previously relied on logic, rather than feelings, to make decisions... *shrug*

nihilnovum
Dec. 21st, 2005 02:04 am (UTC)
That would be interesting, and it'd be nice to get our hands on some of the research ;)

I consider logic(s) closed, self-referential systems. Rules make sense within these systems, but in the end analysis the rules themselves are arbitrary. Logic is only logical when your operating out of a logical system, and different logical systems can exist that are equally coherent (and possibly valid).

Right now, i think meta-logic is probably a more useful field to study than logic itself. That, coupled with what we're learning about the way the brain interacts with the mind and you might get to some answers that are a little more satisfying.
ccord
Dec. 21st, 2005 06:00 am (UTC)
I consider logic(s) closed, self-referential systems. Rules make sense within these systems, but in the end analysis the rules themselves are arbitrary. Logic is only logical when your operating out of a logical system, and different logical systems can exist that are equally coherent (and possibly valid).

'Aye, every logic-tree starts from some sort of root. Some just make more sense than others!
ccord
Dec. 15th, 2005 12:28 am (UTC)
CC:The effect of speaking & thinking in terms of the semantics of e-prime, then, would seemingly necessarily be that one would grow-up with a very relativist sense of the world. Is that particularly good or bad?

MS:Amazing. Great. Fantastic. Using e-prime, you can't say things like "niggers are stupid. That bitch is a pain in the ass. He is really annoying",... instead you have to take the time to attribute meaning to the things you can perceive, things you can touch and taste. E-prime avoids abstractions and forces people to live in the here and now, reduces the chances that they'll claim to know more than they know, and encourages them to take responsibility for their own reality.


Hmmm, no. E-prime, as a meme, does not avoid abstractions. Rather, it reconfigures one's logic tree so as to make *certainty* impossible. In fact, if the meme were perfectly stable, it would make the invention of the very concept of certainty impossible. In the long-run, it also creates selective pressures that create a fertile ground for solipsism, and all the personal & social ills that entails.

Think about it for a moment. With giving her the ability to be certain about anything, what kind of child would you raise? She will never be certain you love her, and you'll never be able to prove to her that you do. She will never be certain that you exist, and will never be certain that she exists. She will never be certain that she has value. If she is very well educated, she may be able to operate under the umbrella of probabilities - assuming you teach her not to question the certainty of the math behind the probabilities.

If you ever successfully raised a child in that manner, you'd have a daughter who would view everything through a lens that would cause her to question its existance. I wouldn't want to bet that she lives long enough to have kids of her own.

You understand my meaning? The only chance of solipsistic child living a healthy life is if she learns not to think about it. If she did, she would become suicidal from loneliness, psycopathic in her treatment of others, or hedonistic in her day to day existance.

MS: Amazing. Great. Fantastic. Using e-prime, you can't say things like "niggers are stupid. That bitch is a pain in the ass. He is really annoying"...

No. A definite no. The roots of all conflict don't lie in semantics, and won't be changed by raising kids who think in e-prime. Some conflict arises from selective bigotry, other conflict arises from competition... the possibilities form a long list. Removing certainty from the equation only changes what types of conflicts become dominant in the system - study international relations for a bit, and you tend to discover just how much conflict in the international arena comes about as a result of *uncertainties*. One of the main thrusts of international organizations of the UN is precisely to reduce uncertainty between players inorder to reduce conflict. (This by itself is a very long topic)

By using e-prime, you do not remove the ability to have hostile thoughts or impressions.
marcnicholas
Dec. 15th, 2005 03:55 am (UTC)
Hmmm, no. E-prime, as a meme, does not avoid abstractions. Rather, it reconfigures one's logic tree so as to make *certainty* impossible. In fact, if the meme were perfectly stable, it would make the invention of the very concept of certainty impossible. In the long-run, it also creates selective pressures that create a fertile ground for solipsism, and all the personal & social ills that entails.

I've seen more ills result from objectivism than I have from solipsism. I think you overrate the benefits of certainty.

Think about it for a moment. With giving her the ability to be certain about anything, what kind of child would you raise? She will never be certain you love her, and you'll never be able to prove to her that you do. She will never be certain that you exist, and will never be certain that she exists. She will never be certain that she has value. If she is very well educated, she may be able to operate under the umbrella of probabilities - assuming you teach her not to question the certainty of the math behind the probabilities.

The fundamental nature of the universe isn't at question - only a person's ability to understand it through symbols.

E-prime demands that people look at the processes behind things. People are no longer "people" but "marc at this specific point in time under these exact circumstances". In otherwords, the intelligent application of e-prime makes a person far more certain of what they're dealing with than regular language.

Colin, I can destroy any relationship that operates under the regular semantic rules of english. No joke. For the last two years, I have been fighting with the urge to go out and do it. Just to prove a point.

I met pick up artists who could do it Colin. The ease with which they could destroy a relationship would shock you. Any relationship you could get into, they could get you out of. Do you know why it was so easy for them?

Because in our society, people don't relate to each other, they relate to the images they have of each other. They confuse their interpretation of reality with reality itself, and since they're not paying attention to what's going on, someone who is can screw the whole charade up.

Most people don't exactly interact with reality so much as they interact with static images that they've created in their heads and confused with reality. Instead of caring for the child in front of their eyes right this very moment, they care for a child that exists only within the confines of their own mind. Their interpretation of the child instead of the child itself. You don't like this fact? Neither do I.

I would prefer people relate to the world in front of them, not the world inside their head. For that to happen, they need to let go of the absolutes and start thinking in terms of processes.

People change Colin. Love is an act, a verb, and it must change as the environment changes, as circumstances change. Words do not correspond to reality, and a child raised in an environment that knows this will be much more certain of the love given to them because they will feel it experientally, not in the abstract.

Remember, also, that people experience reality without words. You don't have to tell a person you love them for them to feel it. Words will, more often than not, confuse a person's understanding of reality instead of bring them closer to it.

If you ever successfully raised a child in that manner, you'd have a daughter who would view everything through a lens that would cause her to question its existance. I wouldn't want to bet that she lives long enough to have kids of her own.

Nonsense. You aren't always questioning the existance of things, all the time, every single moment of every day. You're just saying "dude, in the end, I don't know. But for now, I'll go ahead and try stuff out anyways".

You do not need to be certain about things in order to live a healthy, happy life.

Let's put it this way, here are the two choices :

1. Certainty without proof
2. Uncertainty

I choose uncertainty, thanks.
marcnicholas
Dec. 15th, 2005 03:55 am (UTC)

You understand my meaning? The only chance of solipsistic child living a healthy life is if she learns not to think about it. If she did, she would become suicidal from loneliness, psycopathic in her treatment of others, or hedonistic in her day to day existance.

Yes, exactly. That's my life in a nutshell Colin ;)

Dude. Cultural prejudice. You ASSUME that's what would happen. I'm living proof that it isn't. Case closed.

No. A definite no. The roots of all conflict don't lie in semantics, and won't be changed by raising kids who think in e-prime. Some conflict arises from selective bigotry, other conflict arises from competition... the possibilities form a long list. Removing certainty from the equation only changes what types of conflicts become dominant in the system - study international relations for a bit, and you tend to discover just how much conflict in the international arena comes about as a result of *uncertainties*. One of the main thrusts of international organizations of the UN is precisely to reduce uncertainty between players inorder to reduce conflict. (This by itself is a very long topic)


...

Dude, you really need to study up on e-prime, because you do not understand it at all.

The roots of all conflict? No. The roots of most conflict?

YES.

You don't have to believe that. I'd rather prove the point; just keep an eye on me Colin. In the future, my ACTIONS will prove the point for you.

Racism? Semantics.
Sexism? Semantics.
Nationalism? Semantics.
Religious Biogtry? Semantics.
Capitalism? Semantics.

When you cure yourself of semantic madness, you realize a few things like...

Race doesn't exist save through the lenses of symbolic mediation.
Nations don't exist save through the lenses of symbolic mediation.
Capital doesn't exist save through the lenses of symbolic mediation.
Even sex only exists through the lenses of symbolic mediation.

That's the post-modernist in me speaking, and I know how logical positivists hate that shit, but you get down to it, dirty mediation is at the root of most social problems. Environmental and biological factors have a hand in it, but ultimately, the problems we experience as a society come down to the differences which exist in our symbolic MEDIATED maps of the world.

By using e-prime, you do not remove the ability to have hostile thoughts or impressions.

You do not remove the ability to have hostile impressions, you simply reduce them and assure that those hostile impressions have much more to do with the environment a person exists in than the environment that exists in a persons head.
ccord
Dec. 15th, 2005 04:27 am (UTC)
I've seen more ills result from objectivism than I have from solipsism. I think you overrate the benefits of certainty.

Yeah, but who's talking about objectivism? I've seen interviews with Ayn Rand; she was a nutter. :-P

E-prime demands that people look at the processes behind things. People are no longer "people" but "marc at this specific point in time under these exact circumstances". In otherwords, the intelligent application of e-prime makes a person far more certain of what they're dealing with than regular language.

E-prime is only a language with a purposefully limited set of symbols. It thus effects one's ability & manner of processing.

That said, I don't disagree with the principle of people needing to be more careful, and less strident in their language. That isn't e-prime though, that's just using english in a scientific manner.


Most people don't exactly interact with reality so much as they interact with static images that they've created in their heads and confused with reality.


No argument that some people are poor at the work of true empathy.


Remember, also, that people experience reality without words. You don't have to tell a person you love them for them to feel it. Words will, more often than not, confuse a person's understanding of reality instead of bring them closer to it.


But it has also to be remembered that not all solipsists are going to draw the line of introspection that far out. There is no reason not to question wether you exist, or to question if what you feel is real. You could just be a marionette in the sleeping king's head. People seem to have a hard time feeling good about themselves when they take the philosophy that far. For survival reasons, it becomes necessary to tune Solip's nagging voice out.

Words can confuse people. Words can enlighten people. Words can just burn up electrons for no good reason. Sifting through it is a pain in the ass that all us social apes have to deal with at some point. :-)


Nonsense. You aren't always questioning the existance of things, all the time, every single moment of every day. You're just saying "dude, in the end, I don't know. But for now, I'll go ahead and try stuff out anyways".


Not if you're sane, no - you can't live as a Solipsist every moment of the day. You'd end up in the corner, eating crayons, screaming "Redrum! Redrum!" and doing bad things to yourself with safety scissors. :-)

Socratics don't have that problem - they can be Socratic all day; they just talk too much is all. ;-)
nihilnovum
Dec. 20th, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but who's talking about objectivism? I've seen interviews with Ayn Rand; she was a nutter. :-P

hahaha. You know what I mean. Logical Positivism. A world with only one perspective; the right one.

E-prime is only a language with a purposefully limited set of symbols. It thus effects one's ability & manner of processing.

That said, I don't disagree with the principle of people needing to be more careful, and less strident in their language. That isn't e-prime though, that's just using english in a scientific manner.


E-prime improves upon the manner people process information. It does not prevent them from doing anything, it only makes them more careful in doing it. They can still discuss certainties, the way they do it changes.

No argument that some people are poor at the work of true empathy.

Unless a person knows how to differentiate between their interpretations of the world and the world itself, all their relationships are excercises in emotional masterbation.

Few people have the emotional training to make those differentiations, and that is why people like pick up artists (many of whom are trained in post-modern psychology) can break up relationships.

But it has also to be remembered that not all solipsists are going to draw the line of introspection that far out. There is no reason not to question wether you exist, or to question if what you feel is real. You could just be a marionette in the sleeping king's head. People seem to have a hard time feeling good about themselves when they take the philosophy that far. For survival reasons, it becomes necessary to tune Solip's nagging voice out.

Not if you're sane, no - you can't live as a Solipsist every moment of the day. You'd end up in the corner, eating crayons, screaming "Redrum! Redrum!" and doing bad things to yourself with safety scissors. :-)

Socratics don't have that problem - they can be Socratic all day; they just talk too much is all. ;-)


You can not be socratic all day anymore than you can be solipsistic all day. You behave socratically or solipsistically at points during the day, not all day long. At some point you have to sex, eat, go to sleep, goof off, or work. Then you shut your brain off and that's the end of it.

The thing with solipsism, as opposed to socratism, is that you can do less with it than socratism. Socratic questions sometimes lead to answers, solipsistic questions only lead to one answer "I don't know."

Which, by the way, is the only thing Socrates claimed to know - that he knew nothing. He wasn't that different than Solip, in the end. Just better with rhetoric.
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