Archive for August, 2019

Everything is Four

August 22, 2019

Is everything four? Some try to prove it with a numerological trick. Take a word. Count its letters. Convert the number to words. Count letters. Repeat. Every English word seems to end up on four or 4, with nowhere else to go! Voila!

Since I’ve searched for this topic, a musician has released an album with this title. Cool!

But what do I mean by it? Everything can be divided into four parts, or has four aspects, or four sides, or what? I’m not sure, exactly.

But let’s test it against Alfred Whitehead’s Criteria for Metaphysical Theories!

  • Is it consistent? Yes! That is, nothing in the theory contradicts other parts of the theory, because there are no other parts. And if something is part of a foursome, that something can also be a foursome (even if an arbitrary one).
  • Is it coherent? Yes! That is, the theory is logically whole, such as it is. A bit boring? Perhaps…
  • Is it applicable? Yes! That is, we can apply our method to reduce something to four parts to everything, as long as we don’t care what the parts are. Plus we can combine anything with three other things, ad nauseum!
  • Is it adequate? No, not really. It does little to explain itself or the rest of the world.

So, we must continue our search for our ultimate metaphysical theory. It must be everything is four, plus something else… plus two more somethings…

Further Reading:

http://www.unterzuber.com/4our.html

http://www.marijn.org/everything-is-4/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everything_Is_4

https://equivalentexchange.blog/2010/05/21/whiteheadferre-criteria-for-metaphysical-theories/

[*11.140]

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Grid-Group Cultural Theory, V2

August 19, 2019

The Grid-Group Cultural Theory (also known as the Cultural Theory of Risk) originated from the studies of anthropologist Mary Douglas and political scientist Aaron Wildavsky. Grid and Group are two dimensions of sociality, each with a low and high value: Grid measures the differentiation between people (so low grid means people are similar), and Group measures the cohesion or social bonds between people (so low group means people do not have strong bonds).

From Wikipedia:

A “high group” way of life exhibits a high degree of collective control, whereas a “low group” one exhibits a much lower one and a resulting emphasis on individual self-sufficiency. A “high grid” way of life is characterized by conspicuous and durable forms of stratification in roles and authority, whereas a “low grid” one reflects a more egalitarian ordering.

And so:

  • Individualist: Low group and low grid, Nature is robust
  • Fatalist: Low group and high grid, Nature is capricious
  • Hierarchist: High group and high grid, Nature is tolerant
  • Egalitarian: High group and low grid, Nature is fragile
High
Grid
Low
Grid
High
Group
Hierarchist
(Positional)
Egalitarian
(Enclaves)
Low
Group
Fatalist
(Isolates)
Individualist
(Markets)

Further Reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Theory_of_risk

http://changingminds.org/explanations/culture/grid-group_culture.htm

https://www.dustinstoltz.com/blog/2014/06/04/diagram-of-theory-douglas-and-wildavskys-gridgroup-typology-of-worldviews

[*4.86, *8.112, *11.4, *11.5]

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Humankind’s Main Feature

August 17, 2019

What is the most distinctive attribute of the human species? What will be our legacy? Is it…

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_Ludens

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_faber

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_sapiens

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_Necans

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_for_the_human_species

I kind of like Homo Occisor for “Man the Killer”, but Homo Necans is already out there.

[*8.135, *11.139]

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Writing the Book of the World

August 10, 2019

If one was writing a book that described the entire world or universe as it is, how should that book present the world to us? It is not enough to speak truly, itemizing “all that is the case”, one must also use the right notions while doing so.

Philosopher Theodore Sider wants us to accept structure as the all important fundamental notion of how to talk about the world. His idea of structure is that it reveals where the joints or articulations of the world can be carved, and that the structure of the world is real and it is objective. Structure is the right and proper way to find these joints, and go about this carving.

(Of course the structure that Sider promotes is not to be confused with the structuralism of linguistics and anthropology that was so popular before deconstruction and post-modernism critiqued it nearly to death. This post is not about structuralism because its structure is a reflection of language and the mind itself, not an attribute of the actual world.)

Chapters 1-8 are titled: Structure, Primitivism, Connections, Substantivity, Metametaphysics, Beyond the Predicate, Questions, and Rivals. Chapters 9-12 are devoted to ontology, logic, time, and modality (because I guess these are favorite topics in metaphysics) and what structure tells us about them. I don’t think Sider is saying that reality is carved naturally into these four domains, but I think it makes a rather nice fourfold.

In Metaphysics, Ontology is another word for Being, but it can also mean a classification system for the different kinds of things that exist (but I guess that’s not metaphysical). Modality is the Metaphysical or Epistemic study of necessity and possibility, so it is certainly related to time. There are also modal logics which have quantifiers for modalities such as necessity and possibility.

I closing I must say that once you carve up some structure by its joints, then you are left with parts, which may be structures in their own right. And as I’ve posited elsewhere, functions and actions are the structures and parts of time. I also wonder if there is a comparison of Sider’s structure to the metaphysics of E. J. Lowe, but perhaps I should just read each of their work.

Further Reading:

Theodore Sider / Writing the Book of the World

http://tedsider.org/

Some reviews:
http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/writing-the-book-of-the-world/
https://nwwildman.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/12-05-wtbotw-review.pdf
https://www.nyu.edu/projects/dorr/papers/Sider.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/modality-varieties/

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/modality-epistemology/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structuralism

Review that needs registration to read:
https://www.lrb.co.uk/v34/n16/aw-moore/carving-at-the-joints

[*9.8, *11.112]

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The Four Types of Knowledge

August 3, 2019

What types of knowledge are there?

In his Nicomachean Ethics (Book VI), Aristotle famously describes several intellectual virtues. There is Techne, or Art; Episteme, or Knowledge, Phronesis, or Prudence, Sophia, or Wisdom, and Nous, or Intellect. He considered Sophia a combination of Nous and Episteme, but some others think it stands alone. Nous also seems to be more subjective, as well as supplying Phronesis with its aims, but is complicated. So are there three types, or five? I would like there to be four, thank you very much.

In Venharanta and Markopoulos’s paper, Phronesis seems to be the balance or sum of Techne, Episteme, and Sophia. In Carsten Pedersen’s web article, Techne, Episteme, Sophia, and Phronesis form a fourfold, with Nous in the center. Jon Alan Schmidt, a member of Virtuous Engineers, distinguishes between kinds of knowledge (Techne, Episteme, and Phronesis) and forms of human activity associated with them (Poiesis, Theoria, and Praxis). I like this distinction. What is the activity associated with Sophia?

Not knowing any Greek puts me at a disadvantage. Nous is linked to Noesis as a type of knowledge and Noein which seems to be the activity. I will present the following table and see how I like it!

Forms of
Human Activity
Types of
Knowledge
Theoria Episteme Science
Praxis Phronesis Prudence
Poiesis Techne Craft
Noein Sophia Wisdom

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicomachean_Ethics

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/episteme-techne/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nous

https://www.age-of-the-sage.org/nous-noesis-noetic.html

https://www.psychsoma.co.za/learning_in_vivo/2009/09/techne-episteme-poiesis-praxis.html

https://sites.google.com/site/praxisandtechne/Home/architecture/knowledge/episteme

It’s all Greek to me: The terms ‘praxis’ and ‘phronesis’ in environmental philosophy

Knowledge for Aristotle & Plato

Kurt von Fritz / ΝΟΥΣ, Noein, and Their Derivatives in Pre-Socratic Philosophy (Excluding Anaxagoras):
Part I. From the Beginnings to Parmenides, Classical Philology, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Oct., 1945), pp. 223-242 https://www.jstor.org/stable/265805

Kurt von Fritz / ΝΟΥΣ, Noein, and Their Derivatives in Pre-Socratic Philosophy (Excluding Anaxagoras):
Part II. The Post-Parmenidean Period, Classical Philology, Vol. 41, No. 1 (Jan., 1946), pp. 12-34
https://www.jstor.org/stable/267530

Vanharanta H., Markopoulos E. / Visualization of the Wisdom Cube Scientific Knowledge Space for Management and Leadership. In: Kantola J., Nazir S. (eds) Advances in Human Factors, Business Management and Leadership. AHFE 2019. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 961. Springer https://doi.org/10.1007
https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-20154-8_2

In Danish (English via Chrome translation):
http://omsigt.dk/hvad-er-praksisfilosofi/

Bent Flyvjerg / Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How it Can Succeed Again
https://www.librarything.com/work/185825/reviews/11378122

Interesting Anime:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noein:_To_Your_Other_Self

[*3.34, *11.130]

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