Comments

  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations
    but I see the employer-class as unethical and undesirable, I don't want a return to any "natural state", I want society to make an ethical and practical decision to rearrange things and abolish capitalism - or create a hybrid between capitalism and socialism where socialism is favoured and promoted. I don't think Democratic Socialism is enough but it's better than nothing.Judaka

    That all sounds like the same thing I want, so now I'm just more confused about where any disagreement lies. I'm wondering if it's just the talk of "natural state" in my earlier post that's throwing things off: if so, all I meant by that is that ownership and usage coinciding is what we would ("naturally") expect to happen if nothing unethical was going on, so the fact that we have separate owner/employer and user/worker classes is a sign that something unethical is going on.

    The employer could have more or less wealth than the employee but the power imbalance is inherent in their positions. The employee exchanges wages for labour, nothing more, what wages and what labour, are the only questions. The employer owns his business, makes all decisions regarding the businesses direction, chooses how his business will operate, promote, demote, fire his employees. Should the business care about the environment? Should it care about the community? Should it do anything? Only the capitalist decides, the employees have no voice. That is why it doesn't matter if we're talking about high-level employees or low-level employees who make nothing, we're only talking about the ability of an employee to negotiate or resign in opposition more easily. The profit drive is to pay for expenses, enable the business to grow and enrich the capitalist. The employee only exchanges labour for wages, they're not involved in what happens to profit. In every single situation, about everything, the employer has near-absolute command and his authority is in-built into capitalism. It's not dependant upon his wealth, status or connections, the employer-class simply has these authorities over employees and that's how capitalism works.Judaka

    I agree with all of this too, except your claims that how much wealth the employer and employee have relative to each other is irrelevant. The person who is the employer (call him Bob) is always going to be the person with the more wealth, because the only reason the other person (call her Alice) works for Bob is that Bob owns the stuff needed to do the work and Alice doesn't. If Alice did (or could) own the stuff needed to do the work herself, she could go into business for herself, and not work for Bob. She might still choose to work for Bob after all, but because she would have the easy option to not work for him without any great loss, he wouldn't be able to be abusive of her, since she wouldn't need him; it'd be more like she worked with him, than for him.

    So, I contend it's the very system, rather than the specifics or specific people and the unethical employer-employee relation which is by itself, a class-based system. The unequal resources are a product of the unequal system, the inequality of the relationship goes deeper than that for me.Judaka

    I agree that it's a systemic issue, not anything about specific people. My contention though is that it's the inequality of wealth that creates and perpetuates those class differences that underlie the employer-employee relationship. That some people own the means of production and others don't is why those others have to work for the first class. I don't see how you would go about fixing the abusive employer-employee relationship without freeing the employees from their dependence on the employers, which dependence comes from their unequal wealth.

    The usual state-socialist solution is just to take wealth from the owners to give the the workers, "manually" fixing the problem. I don't have a strong objection to that as a band-aid at least, a way of ameliorating the symptoms of the problem, though it's not a perfect solution as it depends on state force backed by violence to accomplish. I'm much more interested in the cause of the disease in the first place: what is it exactly about the specific system legal rights and obligations that underlie capitalism that makes it the case that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and so we end up with these owner and worker classes and the exploitative relationship between them?

    The usual anarcho-socialist answer to that question is that it's the state protecting private ownership of things that other people are using that's at fault: if the government just stopped acting like the apartment building is the property of some guy who doesn't even live there, instead of the property of the people who live there, then the people who live there could just keep their rent money for themselves and not have to pay that other guy just to keep living where they do. (And since they wouldn't owe that rent anymore, they wouldn't need as much money from a job, and so could walk away from an abusive employer much more easily; never mind saving up the rent money they would have been spending to just buy some means of production of their own so they don't have to work for anyone but themselves anymore.)

    But you and I already agree that that's not the best solution. So I have my other proposed solution that I've already described, instead; the one about contracts of rent and interest.
  • Philosophical Plumbing — Mary Midgley
    Logic + Creativity = Philosopher.TheMadFool

    Interesting! Without having read Midgley's article yet, I commented in another thread where Banno mentioned it in response to something I said, that:

    ...I didn’t mean narrowly descriptive truths about the way the world really is, but truth in a broader sense that also encompasses prescriptive or moral “truths” (correct norms), logical or mathematical “truths” (valid inferences from coherent axiomatic definitions), rhetorical or artistic “truths” (effective presentation and delivery of useful or otherwise wanted content), and most to the point, philosophical truths, which I hold to lie in the intersection between logical/mathematical and rhetorical/artistic truths.Pfhorrest

    Glad to see a real philosopher (Midgley) espousing a similar thought.
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations
    the workers conjointly own the business and these articles of property belong to that business. Is this kind of model something you could get behind?Judaka

    Yes, that’s exactly the kind of ends I’m aiming toward. Everything else I’m on about is concerned with why things don’t end up like that already and what can be changed to fix that.

    without any profit motivation to build these properties for sale or rent, who is going to build up these properties for people to live in?Judaka

    Sales are perfectly fine on my account. What I want to see is capital being sold, rather than rented; because that has the effect of spreading ownership to the users of things who don't own enough yet, rather than concentrating it into the hands of those who already own more than they can use.


    To perhaps better relate everything back to your primary concern about the employer-employee relationship: we can start off asking why abusive forms of such relationships exist. From the employer's perspective, the incentive is obvious: they can get more for less. But if these relationships are supposedly voluntary, why would the employees go along with that and not just walk away?

    Because most of them need a job more than any job needs them: the jobs do need some workers or others, but there are lots to choose from, and most of them are desperate, so if one person won't accept the abuse, someone else will, and the person who didn't will just go broke and suffer even worse for it. That then raises the question of why the workers are desperate and more in need of a job than the jobs are in need of them.

    And the answer to that is that the workers are categorically poorer than the business-owners. Which isn't to say that every business-owner is super rich, but if you're in a position where you can afford to start even a small business, you're better off than anybody who can't. (A lot of people who try to start small business are not actually in a position to afford it, and that's a large part of why so many small businesses fail, but that failure rate consequently means not a lot of people are working for those non-rich employers for long; most people are usually working for people much wealthier than themselves, because people as poor as themselves couldn't afford to employ them for long).

    Which then brings us to the question of why there are so many poor people and so few rich people, which comes back around to general issues of why wealth doesn't actually "trickle down" from the rich to the poor as naive capitalism would expect, but instead the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, fewer and fewer end up rich while more and more end up poor. Which is where my analysis of rent and interest etc comes into play.

    TL;DR: employer-employee relationships are abusive because employers and employees have unequal power because they are financially unequal. If people generally had more or less equal amounts of wealth then trading labor and capital between those equals would be all fine and dandy.
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations
    I'm really unclear what your views are now, since you seem to be simultaneously:

    [A] morally defending the status quo capitalist account of who owns what and why and what kinds of powers to contract people have,
    [if A then B] saying that hierarchical and authoritarian social organization is an inescapable consequence of that, and saying
    [not-B] that that hierarchicy and authoritarianism is morally bad.

    Maybe your point in this thread is to highlight that as some sort of paradox? If so, the resolution to the paradox is to reject one of those: either that account of moral assignment of ownership and powers to contract is wrong because it leads to a bad situation, or it doesn't lead to that bad situation, or that situation isn't actually bad. I reject the first part.

    But for clarity, note that I do not reject private property rights. I am hinting at the common socialist rejection of them in favor of "possession" rights, but I'm not directly endorsing that myself (except as the criteria by which the convention of who owns what is rightly established in the beginning). I am instead suggesting that if the distribution of ownership of private property (which I support) differs greatly from the use of that property, that's a warning sign that something wrong is happening somewhere.

    The general reason for that is that there's no incentive to own things you're not using yourself -- they're literally useless to you -- unless owning them gives you some kind of power over other people; and people morally shouldn't have power over other people in general, so it shouldn't be the case that owning stuff gives you power over other people; so the apparent fact that people have incentive to own more than they can use themselves indicates that something wrong is happening somewhere.

    That then raises the question of what exactly is happening such that owning more than you can use gives you power over others. The obvious answer is that you can trade people your excess capital for their labor, but that's a self-correcting problem: if you do that you end up with less capital and they end up with more and pretty soon you're equals again. That's what naive capitalists assume would happen in a free market; but it observably doesn't. Why not?

    My answer is that certain kinds of contracts -- which NB are deontologically akin to legislation, they're exercises of deontological power that create obligations where they didn't exist before -- allow the creation of self-reinforcing practical power structures, such as where the people who are getting paid for their labor also owe for the use of capital that they don't get ownership of, so what gets paid to them comes right back to the ownership class and the worker class never accrue capital in exchange for their labor. If such contract were not enforceable, then instead of them we would see the simple trades of capital for labor, which would have that equalizing effect that naive capitalists expect from a free market.

    So we'd end up with a distribution of private property ownership that closely resembles the patterns of use, not because whoever uses something automatically becomes its new owner, but because nobody has any incentive to own anything they're not using, because ownership doesn't give you any power over anybody else, except in a way that then diminishes your ownership and consequently that power itself.
  • The choice of one's philosophy seems to be more a matter of taste than of truth.
    Not having read the article there yet, your abstract of it sounds agreeable to me, and not contrary to anything I’ve meant here.

    If it clears anything up, when I spoke of a philosophy being a set of statements or opinions (and so of “the true philosophy” being a set of truths), I didn’t mean narrowly descriptive truths about the way the world really is, but truth in a broader sense that also encompasses prescriptive or moral “truths” (correct norms), logical or mathematical “truths” (valid inferences from coherent axiomatic definitions), rhetorical or artistic “truths” (effective presentation and delivery of useful or otherwise wanted content), and most to the point, philosophical truths, which I hold to lie in the intersection between logical/mathematical and rhetorical/artistic truths.

    I do think that our philosophical opinions serve as a kind of “plumbing” for both our prescriptive and descriptive opinions, in the way that you say that article says they do.
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations
    “The law” and “the police” mean the same thing in this context: someone with power says it’s the case and everyone knows they had better go along with it or else.

    My point is basically this: imagine that somehow magically everyone forgot what belonged to whom (including records on paper and computers etc). They still believe in property rights, they just can’t remember what is whose property, and have to figure that out anew. How would they figure that out, and what would the resulting answer look like?

    I contend that the natural assumption would be that whoever is using a thing is its owner (residents own homes, workers own businesses, etc), and so the distribution of ownership that one would infer just from looking at the world with fresh eyes would be very different from what the legal records in the real world say it is.

    That raises the question of how the law got and stays so different from the “natural order” so to speak. I contend that that has mostly to do with, first and foremost, straight up violent theft in the history of ownership that gave some people more than others; and secondly, terms of contracts like rent and interest (but not limited exclusively to those) that are morality invalid and serve to reinforce and perpetuate those differences in wealth, and without which those differences would naturally dissolve back to the “natural order” that one would expect when looking at the world with fresh eyes.
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations
    All the materials in the factory and the factory itself belong to the ownerJudaka

    On what grounds, besides that the police say so?
  • The choice of one's philosophy seems to be more a matter of taste than of truth.
    “A philosophy” is a set of statements or opinions about philosophy; “philosophy” is an activity or process.
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations
    Isn't the status quo that the means of production are recognised by all relevant parties to indeed belong to the owner and the employees don't consider themselves to be the owners. If the business or its assets are sold, that all profit will go to the owner is everyone's expectation. The choice to do that is with the owner. The workers of supermarkets and stores don't see themselves as the rightful owners. Also, the terms of the employment are recognised by employer, employee, the government and all parties. It seems I don't understand what you're saying or I'm just missing the pointJudaka

    You're right that everyone has those kinds of expectations. My point is that many if not most people are unhappy with those things that they expect and, if they could have any say about it, would say it should be differently. That those expectations continue to be borne out despite that indicates that the people are thus deprived of having a say about it -- because the state exists to defend that status quo with force as necessary (and increasingly with propaganda to make explicit force less often necessary).

    The classic example scenario is "why don't the factory workers just continue operating the factory and not give any of the money to the boss?", and the answer is that they know they wouldn't get away with that because the boss has men with guns (the police) who will haul away and lock up whichever worker was supposed to have cut the boss that check, and possibly everyone else as co-conspirators if they were all in on it together.
  • The Ethics of Employer-Employee relations
    is it inherently wrong that a minority has control over the workplace?Judaka

    There are two different things one might mean by "wrong" here.

    One is about whether it has bad consequences. The answer to that is clearly yes, as any person being controlled by any other person thereby has less opportunity to make the circumstances around them the way that is most enjoyable to them, i.e. people being controlled by others makes it more likely that they will suffer.

    The other thing one might mean is about whether all of the procedures involved in the scenario are just or legitimate. This is where what passes for "libertarians" in America will respond that this whole scenario is actually about making sure that nobody gets to control anybody else, because the employer is the rightful owner of the place of production and the employees all voluntarily agree to trade their labor for a wage, and to do anything to change that situation would be precisely someone (presumably the state, on behalf of the employees) controlling someone else (the employer, and what they get to "do", or rather allow or forbid others from doing, with "their" property).

    But what that analysis crucially misses is the question of what rightfully belongs to whom, and why. IF we take it for granted that the employer actually is the rightful owner of the place of employment, and that the various obligations traded in employment contracts are within the power of the parties to them to create, then the "libertarian" analysis could hold up. But how exactly does rightful ownership get determined? And exactly what rights -- liberties, claims, immunities, and especially powers -- does ownership of something convey? If ownership is determined by use or convention, like meaning in language is, then it seems ludicrous to suppose that the workers who use the means of production are not either automatically its rightful owners because they use it, or that they (and we all, the mostly-workers of the world) truly agree to the convention that their employer is the rightful owner. And if it is not within the power of the employer and employees to create the obligations that are traded in the contract, then the contract simply isn't valid, regardless of who owns what.
  • The choice of one's philosophy seems to be more a matter of taste than of truth.
    So suppose you had such a thing. For you, philosophy would be finished? There would be nothign left to philosophise about?Banno

    Yes, though I don't think it's possible to ever actually get to there, only to make indefinite progress toward there.
  • Mental States from Matter but no Matter from Mental States?
    In panpsychism an electron is a little mind as seen from the inside and matter as seen from the outside.lorenzo sleakes

    :up:
  • The choice of one's philosophy seems to be more a matter of taste than of truth.
    For one cannot agree even on the deepest philosophical foundations. Whoever says that non-being is always and in every form and without form preferable to being, does not come to a common denominator with someone who says that being is better in and for itself and in every manifestation than non-being.spirit-salamander

    I think that we start in the middle of our webs of beliefs and find our way down to our respective foundations that we think underlie those middling beliefs, and that there is necessarily much in common in those middling beliefs if we share enough of our worlds in common to even be communicating with each other in the first place, so we can (if everyone is open to trying) find common foundations that work for the purposes that we’ve chosen all our different foundations for. In your above example, it’s possible that both of those sides are wrong — but they both think they’re right for good reasons, and the actual truth will be whatever accords with all of those good reasons at once, which is probably neither of their competing views but some creative new solution.

    I’m not sure we really overcome such biases entirely, thoughPossibility

    I agree that it’s not possible to ever conclusively finish overcoming them, but we can in principle make progress in that direction, overcome some of them, reconcile some apparent dichotomies, ruling out some extremes, and narrowing down the range of possibilities. It is still always a range though, so there always remains more narrowing-down to be done.
  • How google used Wittgenstein to redefine meaning?
    more to meaning than could be captured by mere semanticsBanno

    I think you mean syntax? Searle’s mantra was that syntax is not enough for semantics: being able to manipulate symbols successfully doesn’t equal understanding the meaning of them.
  • Can the universe be infinite towards the past?
    Technically that is possible and leads to some weird philosophical conundrums. Google (or search this forum) for “Boltzmann brain” for a prominent example.
  • Can the universe be infinite towards the past?
    that things just happen, for no reason.Manuel

    Quantum mechanically, that’s pretty much the case, and such quantum randomness is the posited mechanism that spawns new “universes” on an eternal inflation model.
  • The choice of one's philosophy seems to be more a matter of taste than of truth.
    Because there is at most one complete truth about anything. The whole point of that last post of mine is that many competing philosophies are all partial truths, so whatever the complete truth is, it would thus incorporate all of them. The alternative is that there is no truth in philosophy at all, in which case everything we’re doing is meaningless nonsense.
  • The choice of one's philosophy seems to be more a matter of taste than of truth.
    There are simply people who are more inclined to pessimism, others to philosophical optimism. Some are more oriented towards the concrete, others more towards the very abstract. Then there are those who prefer to proceed analytically and others prefer to proceed continentally synthetically. There are many who prefer a poetic philosophy, many others like it very dry and prefer gray theory. Some love only the deconstruction of everything, the epistemic nihilism, others would rather dwell in their thoughts in a well-constructed theoretical edifice built on solid foundations.spirit-salamander

    The true philosophy is one that somehow reconciles all of those different “tastes” together into a single cohesive whole. Optimistic and pessimistic in the ways that each of those is practical. Bridging the abstract to the concrete, the analytic to the synthetic. Both mathematical and artful, well-structured but also well-presented. Breaking old things down and building new things up out of those parts. Etc.

    Taste may decide which direction we fail at philosophy, but succeeding at it requires overcoming such biases.
  • Can the universe be infinite towards the past?
    Not so much contracted, but slowed. All we know (or posit in our current best theories) is that around 14 billion years ago the universe was much smaller and so very dense and very hot, and for an unknown, possibly infinite amount of time before that, it was mostly empty but expanding much more rapidly. The energy of the hotness is thought to have been converted from the energy of the expansion.

    Imagine an infinite grid that you’re zooming out from, and that gives you a picture of what rewinding time looks like: you never run out of grid to zoom out from, even when the “whole screen” has been zoomed down to a single pixel; and when you cross that point, it all starts zooming out even faster.

    We posit that inflationary (rapidly-expanding) period before the “hot Big Bang” to explain some observations about the early state of the universe, but we have no evidence suggesting anything about how long it had been going on beforehand.

    The theory of eternal inflation posits that that breakneck rapid expansion of mostly empty space is actually the normal state of the infinite (in size) and eternal (without beginning or end) universe, and the part of that universe we can see is just a (part of a) comparatively tiny part that randomly and temporarily slowed down; and the current acceleration of the expansion of space is the process of our part gradually returning to that normal state of absurdly fast expansion.

    If that theory is true, there are constantly “big bangs” going off all across the infinite universe, but they’re all so far apart and being accelerated away from each other so rapidly that none of them will ever have any chance of seeing each other, and the space between them is still mostly empty. So on a large enough scale view, whole lifetimes of “universes” like ours are just sparkling briefly all over space and time forever and always, and there always have been.

    And if that is the case, then if you look far enough back in time — really incomprehensibly far — whatever tiny speck of space expanded into the universe as we know it was at one point a tiny empty part of some other “universe”, which in turn began as an empty speck that some time incomprehensibly further in its past had been a tiny empty part of an even earlier “universe”, etc. And the empty space that will someday be all that’s left of the universe as we know it will be littered with uncountably many empty specks of space that will, incomprehensibly far in the future, each become a “universe” like ours themselves.
  • Can the universe be infinite towards the past?
    If the Big Bang is true and complete, how can we speak of time before that?Manuel

    In contemporary physics, the Big Bang is understood not as the total beginning of everything, but as the end of the inflationary epoch... which may have been going on for infinite time beforehand (or may not have, there’s no scientific evidence either way as of yet). But at some point (according to the latest models) the universe was mostly empty space expanding absurdly fast, we don’t know for how long, and then suddenly it stopped (at least in the part we can see) and all that expansion energy got dumped into all of the other fields, exciting them immensely, leaving an absurdly hot and dense (patch of the) universe, still expanding but less rapidly. That transition is what we now think of as the Big Bang.
  • Can the universe be infinite towards the past?
    I have nothing of use to add to this conversation other than that you sound completely correct in your OP, and Kant (via Popper) is wrong.

    ETA: Maybe this could be useful: Kant’s problem is thinking of time the way flat-Earthers think of space. What is the Earth resting on? What is that resting on in turn? And that? Do we need a stack of turtles “all the way down”? Or is it instead a misapprehension of space to think that something can’t just be here, and there’s infinite room to look further down as far as we want, with no need for a stack of things “from the bottom” to hold “here” up.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)
    They'd vote for someone less idiotic and criminal.Benkei

    Or they'd vote for Marjorie Taylor Greene.
  • Hole in the Bottom of Maths (Video)
    It's a matter of quantifier order:

    Godel: For any system S of a certain kind, there exist statements undecided by S.

    False: There exist statements F such that for any system S of a certain kind, F is undecided
    TonesInDeepFreeze

    This is a great way of stating it! Thank you. :-)

    I want to rephrase it a little more consistently so the simple shift in quantification order is more apparent to others:

    Godel:
    for any system S of a certain kind,
    there is at least one statement F such that
    S cannot decide F.

    False:
    there is at least one statement F such that
    for any system S of a certain kind,
    S cannot decide F.
  • Hole in the Bottom of Maths (Video)
    All philosophical progress is made by splitting the right hairs.
  • Hole in the Bottom of Maths (Video)
    You said things that are assumed but can't be proven. By the nature of assumptions, we don't know whether or not they are true. Whether or not it's okay to believe things that are only assumptions and not proven is a different question from whether or not there definitely are things that are true but not provable.
  • Hole in the Bottom of Maths (Video)
    I'm pretty sure that's not what Godel is on about at all.

    But on that unrelated topic, I am vociferously opposed to justificationism, the usual kind of rationalism (contra critical rationalism), which says that you should reject everything that can't be proven conclusively "from the ground up", because per Agrippa's / Munchausen's trilemma that is inherently impossible. Instead, as a critical rationalist, I think it's fine (and necessary) to run with whatever assumptions you're inclined to, until they can be disproven.

    Godel's about whether there are things that are true but aren't provable. And I don't see how we can ever do better than "Maybe? I suppose it's always technically possible, but we can never be sure whether or not there are". Because to sure, we would have to be sure that something was unprovable, and also be sure that it was true -- and I don't see how we could "be sure that it was true" without, in doing so, proving it, and so showing it to be not-unprovable.

    As I understand it, Godel only shows something about the relationship between a formal system and statements in it: that some systems can't prove some things they're capable of talking about either way, even though we can know, through in a proof made in a higher-level system, that those things are true.
  • Hole in the Bottom of Maths (Video)
    It seems to me that for sentences of arithmetic, especially ones for which a computation exists to determine whether it holds or not, we are on quite firm ground "epistemologically" to say, without quibbling about formality, that the sentence is true when we can compute that it does hold.TonesInDeepFreeze

    What gets to me, and maybe you can clarify, is how it could be that we can “compute that it does hold” and yet not have, at some level or another, thereby “proven” it. If we are taking for granted (as proven, in some sense or another, or else just assumed) that arithmetic works the way we usually use it, and an arithmetical operation yields a certain output, have we not consequently proven (or assumed) that output as part and parcel of having proven (or assumed) that arithmetic works in such a way as that?
  • Hole in the Bottom of Maths (Video)
    It is unprovable in the system being discussed. It is provably true in the mathematics used to discuss that system.TonesInDeepFreeze

    Right, which is what I said a few posts back in that exchange. It's only in the meta-language, not the object language, that we can assign a truth value to the proposition, and in the meta-language we are also able to prove that proposition. The meta-language will itself also contain propositions which it cannot prove, and to which it cannot assign truth values; and in yet another language being used to discuss that first meta-language as an object language, a truth-value can be assigned to the unprovable statements of the first meta-language, but in that even higher-order language those statements can also be proved. You never have both a definite truth value and unprovability on the same level. "True but unprovable" only works when you mix levels: it's true, according to the higher-level system we're using to discuss the lower-level system, and unprovable, according to that lower-level system; but that lower-level system has no idea whether or not it's true (because it's unprovable), and in the higher-level system it's provable (which is how it can be known true).
  • Mental States from Matter but no Matter from Mental States?
    FWIW you could crudely describe my own view as "physicalism about mind and idealism about matter": minds are just functions of physical brains, and physical stuff is just empirical stuff, where empiricism is about observation, and observation is a mental activity, carried out by a mind made of matter that consists only of mentally accessible properties, around and around...

    The resolution to the apparent paradox is that it's all just information. Matter is like data, mind is like code. Code is nothing but data being executed, data is just anything accessible to code... and all data can in principle be executed as code, though most of it does nothing interesting when executed.
  • Hole in the Bottom of Maths (Video)
    My disagreement with Pfhorrest seemed to perhaps hinge on his use of the term "definitely true". He hasn't responded to say whether he would claim that "There's never a statement in any given language that is both true according to the rules of that language and also not provable in that language, because to be true according to the rules of a language just is to be provable in that language." (The statement he made leaving out the word "definite").Janus

    Leaving out the "definitely"s completely changes the meaning, so no, I wouldn't claim that modified sentence.

    We cannot know for sure ("definitely", or "certainly") that some proposition is true, without in the process having proven it, so we cannot know for sure that any given proposition is true-but-unprovable, because to be sure of the first part we would have to violate that second part.

    It might in some principled way remain the case that something or another could be true but not provable, but we could never say for sure that we had an example of that, because in somehow saying for sure that something was true, we just would be proving it.
  • Hole in the Bottom of Maths (Video)
    Thank you. I thought it rather a stylish presentation. I like that guy’s channel.Wayfarer

    It is a good channel. Also I think he lives somewhere near me these days because I keep seeing familiar places in the backgrounds of his videos... like in this one, he appears to be hiking near Camino Cielo above Santa Barbara, and in another recent one about soft robots he was at UCSB.

    What you say just seems wrong for the simple reason that the truth of statements that are not provable cannot be ruled out; we don't know if they are true or not. In other words there can be truths which we cannot determine to be such, or at least it cannot be ruled out that there are.Janus

    I'm not saying that unprovable statements are definitely false, so this is a non-sequitur.
  • Hole in the Bottom of Maths (Video)
    The philosophical implications of Godel's theorems are usually very overblown.

    It basically just boils down to how any language capable of formulating e.g. a proof of arithmetic is also capable of formulating self-referential sentences to which there cannot be assigned only one or the other boolean truth value: they must be assigned by the language either neither truth value (so the language is incomplete) or else both truth values (so the language is inconsistent).

    It's only in a meta-language, being used to discuss that language as an object itself, that we can say that some such statements (in the object language, about the object language) are true; but in that meta-language we can also prove that those statements are true. The meta-language will itself also be able to formulate statements about itself to which it cannot consistently assign any single truth value, but those statements in turn can only be called "true" in a meta-meta-language, which will also be able to prove those statements (in the first meta-language, about the first meta-language).

    There's never a statement in any given language that is both definitely true according to the rules of that language and also not provable in that language, because to be definitely true according to the rules of a language just is to be provable in that language.

    If we were to take away anything of philosophical import from Godel, it would be that we should be using either a paraconsistent logic (where statements can be both true and false without explosion) or an intuitionist logic (where statements can be neither true nor false).
  • How do we perceive time?
    I'm not clear what you mean by "a non-physical" (that seems like an adjective missing a noun to go with), but if what you're talking about is the brain in any given present moment containing a model not only of that present but also remembered pasts and projected futures, then I think that's right.

    I like to use the metaphor of a skyscraper where every floor contains a small model of the whole skyscraper with a little "you are here" marker on the equivalent floor of the model. Each floor is a moment in time, and the tiny model skyscraper on each floor is a model of the whole time-line contained entirely within that moment of time. (And of course, the tiny models might not be, and probably aren't, perfectly accurate models of the actual entire building).
  • Universal Basic Income - UBI
    Great stuff from Pfhorrest. Forum quality overall just shot up.bert1

    Thanks a ton! Although my posts in this thread are all from a year ago.
  • Are science and religion compatible, or oppositional philosophical approaches?
    I’m not sure if I understand the question correctly, but I would say that there definitely are questions which are neither within the domain of science nor exclusively within the domain of religion either; and also the questions that are within science’s domain can be (and often are) also approached in a religious way as well.

    Science and religion are different approaches to answering questions, and to that extent are incompatible (despite that some people turn to science for answers to some questions and religion to answers for other). But the domain of science is also narrower than that of religion, as in there are some questions that science offers no attempts to answer, while religion sometimes does.

    Such as this very question. Science will give no answer to it, because it’s beyond the domain of science. Religion will give an answer to it, one that says to at least sometimes turn to religion. If one were to answer that one should not turn to religion on this matter, that would be an answer to a question beyond the scope of science, but also counter to the methods of religion.
  • The Red Zones Of Philosophy (Philosophical Dangers)
    As you can see, there are certain areas in philosophy (Nihilism, Absurdism) that have known negative effects on our mental well-beingTheMadFool

    While I agree with you about nihilism, Absurdism is not so much a cause of negative mental well-being as it is a response to it; it's sort of a response to nihilism as well. The Absurdist thesis is that in light of the conflict between the human craving for "meaning" as in cosmic significance and the apparent lack thereof in the actual world, there are three possible responses: nihilism therefore suicide; irrational hope in blind faith of some kind; or, basically, saying "fuck it" and heroically carrying on with life anyways despite whatever terrifying meaningless void there might seem to be. Absurdism advocates the last of those.

    That, I think, strikes an important note on this broader topic of "red zones": it's better to highlight ways out of them than to bar entry into them. Really, in a sense, I'd say that that's what all of philosophy is about: examining all of the ways that our common-sense understanding of the world can get flipped around on their heads and lead us into absurd conclusions, and then the ways that those are wrong, so that we end up back in a common-sense kind of worldview at the end, but are then more securely grounded there, knowing why to stay there and why not to be lead off into those "red zones".
  • Has this site gotten worse? (Poll)
    It's a combination of several things.

    One of them is that I generally felt that most interactions here were emotionally negative already, and many people (elsewhere in my life) were advising me to stop reading or posting here for the sake of my own happiness. But I felt obligated to myself to continue seeking constructively critical input on my own philosophical writings, which is what kept me coming back despite that advice. Then the admins here asked me to stop doing that, so I had much less reason to visit. (I discovered that /r/philosophy is a much better place for that, anyway).

    But on top of that, my schedule IRL has changed a lot in recent weeks, and I just don't have a ton of time to engage on forums for fun. I was still reading here, just not posting much, for a while, but ended up reading even less over time.

    And then a week ago some computer troubles lost me all my bookmarks and recent sites, and because of that I forgot this place even existed until just now.
  • Has this site gotten worse? (Poll)
    A lot depends on whether Pfhorrest is posting or not.bert1

    Not sure if compliment or insult. (Based on past interactions with you, I'm guessing compliment; if so, thanks!)
  • In praise of science.
    Science is the best!

    Now we should apply a similar method to questions of why to do things as we've done with these questions of how to do things.
  • Who owns the land?
    What do you think?Banno

    I think that a convention comes into existence when there is agreement on how to use something (be that the case of the physical use of land for production, or of using words to mean things, or whatever), so if there are parties (even a minority) who don't agree to the establishment of the convention, then there is no convention, and so "no rules": everything remains permissible, nothing impermissible.

    And that since it's the convention that subsequently defines whether use is permissible or not, it's whoever breaks with that prior convention (even a majority) that is doing something impermissible.