Our Demarcation Problem

I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

— Carl Sagan from The Demon-haunted World

As science is confused with pseudo-science, as real news is conflated with fake, we need much better ways to judge the truth of the information we require to be good citizens. Unfortunately, in this age of nontraditional television networks, kitchen-sink cable, and internet news sources, our information sources can be subverted by entities that wish to bend our mindset to their agenda, rather than giving us measured and reasonable knowledge. When these entities wish to fracture and divide our polity, our social fabric strains and unravels.

Here are four (or five minus one) distinctions for information or knowledge claims, based upon their type of warrant, or context of truthfulness. Three of them are modalities from Kant’s doctrine of judgments, and I suggest that Dialectic could reasonably be added to them, but I do not know if they form a complete set or not. I would suppose they can be ordered by their level of assurance, from low to high. Another more scientific option might be Probablistic instead of Dialectic, based upon measurements or even theoretical arguments. Certainly there must be something between a bald assertion or the questionable and the certain.

  • Assertoric: assert to be true or false without (inherent) proof
  • Problematic: assert as possibly true (or false)
  • Dialectic: philosophically reasoned as true or false (qualified?)
  • Probabilistic: quantified or theoretically argued as mostly true or false
  • Apodictic: clearly provable as true (or false) or logically certain

From Wikipedia:

Apodictic propositions contrast with assertoric propositions, which merely assert that something is (or is not) true, and with problematic propositions, which assert only the possibility of something being true. Apodictic judgments are clearly provable or logically certain. For instance, “Two plus two equals four” is apodictic. “Chicago is larger than Omaha” is assertoric. “A corporation could be wealthier than a country” is problematic. In Aristotelian logic, “apodictic” is opposed to “dialectic,” as scientific proof is opposed to philosophical reasoning.

For example, the president’s language (“many say”, “everyone knows”, “we’ll see”) is full of assertoric and problematic claims (to be extremely generous), and perhaps that’s the limit of his ability. I don’t think he could manage part of a measured dialectical argument if pressed, and if he manages an apodictic statement it would be like a clock that tells the time correctly twice a day. To have the head of the executive branch of our government to be so untrustworthy in providing information and knowledge hurts us all, and misleads those that takes his words at face value.

And then there are the news sources that cater to the president and his followers. Perhaps they present some warranted information, but mix plenty of misleading punditry in to tickle the fancy of unquestioning minds. As a result we have citizens who only digest information from sources that appeal to their sensibilities. Some of these news sources disseminate their fabrications via a flood in social media and the internet, because our ability to stifle them is almost nonexistent. And when these news sources originate from foreign countries wanting to influence us for their own purposes, how is it that they are allowed to continue?

In truth, people can be misled on scientific topics like the coronavirus and COVID-19, vaccinations, face masks, climate change or global warming, environmentalism and pollution, pseudoscience, and political topics like mail-in voting, Russian meddling with the 2016 and 2020 elections, conspiracy theories such as QAnon, etc. The lists seem almost endless.

Further Reading:

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

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

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

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

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-logic/

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-judgment/

Immanuel Kant: Logic

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

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

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_interference_in_the_2016_United_States_elections

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_interference_in_the_2020_United_States_elections

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

[*11.84]

The Four Tendencies

In a new spin on the four temperaments, here is a book that describes four “tendencies” for personality profiles, based on meeting or resisting inner and outer expectations.

  • Upholders: Meets inner expectations, meets outer expectations
  • Obligers: Resists inner expectations, meets outer expectations
  • Inquirers: Meets inner expectations, resists outer expectations (Questioners)
  • Dissenters: Resists inner expectations, resists outer expectations (Rebels)

Further Reading:

Gretchen Rubin / The Four Tendencies: the indispensable personality profiles that reveal how to make your life better

The Four Tendencies Quiz

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

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

Two Factor Models of Personality

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The Logic of Universalization Guides Moral Judgment

From the abstract:

To explain why an action is wrong, we sometimes say, “What if everybody did that?” In other words, even if a single person’s behavior is harmless, that behavior may be wrong if it would be harmful once universalized. We formalize the process of universalization in a computational model, test its quantitative predictions in studies of human moral judgment, and distinguish it from alternative models. We show that adults spontaneously make moral judgments consistent with the logic of universalization, and report comparable patterns of judgment in children. We conclude that, alongside other well-characterized mechanisms of moral judgment, such as outcome-based and rule-based thinking, the logic of universalizing holds an important place in our moral minds.

  • Universalization: What if everyone did this?
  • Rule-based: An implicit or explicit rule says I may not do this.
  • Norm-based: I shouldn’t do this because many say not to.
  • Outcome-based: How would it be bad if I did this?

Further Reading:

Sydney Levine, Max Kleiman-Weiner, Laura Schulz, Joshua Tenenbaum, and Fiery Cushman / The logic of universalization guides moral judgment

PNAS first published October 2, 2020; https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2014505117

https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/10/01/2014505117

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Charles Fourier and the Theory of Four Movements

Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it be consistent with the laws of nature.

— Michael Faraday in his Laboratory Notebook

There are many things to scratch one’s head about in Charles Fourier’s “Theory of the Four Movements,” first published anonymously in 1808. However, his progressive political thought influenced many in France and in the United States. Fourier was a utopian and a socialist, and thought social cooperation and unity were the only ways to overcome the discord and strife he observed in his times. His theory is based on a hierarchy of “movements” within four realms, from low to high: the Material, the Organic, the Animal, and the Social.

As he elaborated on these movements, Fourier claimed that social history went through four main periods of unhappiness and happiness, ascending from a chaotic period, through two harmonious periods which were each seven times longer, before descending into another chaotic period of length equal to the first. In order to achieve this happiness, he thought that we must envision and engineer a new social order to achieve a common purpose. Nowadays, of course, socialism has a noxious connotation to those of the right-leaning and hyper-capitalist persuasion.

  • Ascending Chaos
  • Ascending Harmony
  • Descending Harmony
  • Descending Chaos

And now, the United States teeters on the brink of choosing four more years of terrible leadership, all to maintain the status-quo of funneling more money into the pockets of the wealthy and more power into the hands of the already dominant.

Further Reading:

Charles Fourier / The Theory of Four Movements

https://libcom.org/library/charles-fourier-theory-four-movements

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

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

https://publicdomainreview.org/essay/get-thee-to-a-phalanstery-or-how-fourier-can-still-teach-us-to-make-lemonade/

https://quadriformisratio.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/886/

https://quadralectics.wordpress.com/4-representation/4-1-form/4-1-4-cities-in-the-mind/4-1-4-2-the-future-city/

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Kant’s Tables of Judgments and Categories

Even though Immanuel Kant’s tables of Judgments and Categories are each made up of four triples, both are divided into the same four headings: Quantity, Quality, Relation, and Modality. And as to the tripartite structure of their divisions, I can’t say I’m convinced of their coherence and completeness, c.f. Lovejoy’s article below.

Judgments

  • Quantity: Universal, Particular, Singular
  • Quality: Affirmative, Negative, Infinite
  • Relation: Categorical, Hypothetical, Disjunctive
  • Modality: Problematic, Assertoric, Apodictic

Categories

  • Quantity: Unity, Plurality, Totality
  • Quality: Reality, Negation, Limitation
  • Relation: Substance, Cause, Community
  • Modality: Possibility, Existence, Necessity

Further Reading:

Immanuel Kant: Logic

Kant, Immanuel

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-judgment/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_(Kant)

Arthur O. Lovejoy / Kant’s Classification of the Forms of Judgment, The Philosophical Review, Nov. 1907, Vol. 16, No. 6, pp. 588-603

Click to access 2177294.pdf

 

Some researchers discussing Kant’s judgments that look interesting:

https://siucarbondale.academia.edu/RichardLanigan

https://www.degruyter.com/view/journals/semi/2019/227/article-p273.xml?language=en

http://www.mrc.uidaho.edu/~rwells/

http://www.mrc.uidaho.edu/mrc/people/rwells/techdocs/Mental%20Physics/Principles%20of%20Mental%20Physics/Chapters/

[*4.136, *7.114]

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Humankind, Unbound

Many books detail how we are our own worst enemy, how we are too smart for our own good, or not smart enough in the right way. This one traces the origin and evolution of eight technologies that make us who we are today, for better or worse.

  • Fire
  • Tools (incl. Digging tools, Weapons)
  • Language (incl. Writing, Music, Art, Symbolic Communication, Ethnicity, Culture)
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Farming (Agriculture, Husbandry)
  • Machines (incl. Ships, the Wheel, and on to Precision Machinery)
  • Computers

Instead of having two technologies, “Clothing” and “Shelter,” Currier combines them, and lists “technologies of interaction” which includes writing, water-craft, the wheel, etc.

Can we overcome the myriad conflicts that threaten our survival? Please check back in a hundred years to see how we’re doing! It’s not very long, compared to how far we’ve come.

Further Reading:

Richard L. Currier / Unbound: how eight technologies made us human, transformed society, and brought the world to the brink

Some reviews:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/25729861.2019.1596211

Book Summary: “Unbound: How Eight Technologies Made Us Human” by Richard L. Currier

Click to access Volume8-Number1-Article7.pdf

Also:

https://equivalentexchange.blog/2016/12/05/the-anatomy-of-technology/

[*10.184]

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Classes of Automata

Here is one way to carve up abstract (mathematical) automata into different classes of complexity (from low to high).

There is a somewhat different and older one that is based on the Chomsky Hierarchy (where ND stands for non-deterministic), and the associated language or grammar that they recognize:

Further Reading:

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

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

[*11.138]

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The Wind’s Twelve Quarters

From far, from eve and morning
And yon twelve-winded sky,
The stuff of life to knit me
Blew hither: here am I.

Now — for a breath I tarry
Nor yet disperse apart —
Take my hand quick and tell me
What have you in your heart.

Speak now, and I will answer;
How shall I help you, say;
Ere to the wind’s twelve quarters
I take my endless way.

— “From Far” (A Shropshire Lad), by A. E. Housman

The Rose of the Twelve Greek Winds:

  • Thrascias
  • Aparctias
  • Boreas
  • Caecias
  • Apeliotes
  • Eurus
  • Euronotos
  • Notos
  • Libonotos
  • Lips
  • Zephyrus
  • Argestes

Further Reading:

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wind%27s_Twelve_Quarters

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

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Shropshire_Lad/XXXII

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

https://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/Anemoi/anemoi.html

https://www.theoi.com/Titan/Anemoi.html

[*12.9]

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The Art of the Syllogism

The syllogism is a logical system that was invented by Aristotle which deduces valid inferences from given premises. It is categorical in nature because each of two premises and the conclusion has an internal relationship of belonging or inclusion. Specifically, there is a major premise of a general nature and a minor premise that is usually specific, or of reduced generality. Both are combined deductively to reach or prove the conclusion.

Both premises and the conclusion deal with three categories two at a time, a subject term (S), a middle term (M), and a predicate term (P), joined by one of four binary inclusion relations. The major premise deals with M and P, the minor premise deals with S and M, and the conclusion with S and P. The four types of relations are denoted by the letters A, E, I, O (also a, e, i, o) and are described below. The premises may have M first or second, but the conclusion always has the S first and the P second.

S = Subject
M = Middle
P = Predicate

A = a = XaY = All X are Y
E = e = XeY = All X are not Y
I = i = XiY = Some X are Y
O = o = XoY = Some X are not Y

Major premise: MxP or PxM, x = a, e, i, or o
Minor premise: SxM or MxS
Conclusion: SxP

The distinction between the four Figures concerns the placement of the middle term M in each of the premises. In order to highlight this order, I’ve written them with ( and ) on the side of the relation where the M is.

Figure 1: MxP, SyM, SzP: (xy)z
Figure 2: PxM, SyM, SzP: x(y)z
Figure 3: MxP, MyS, SzP: (x)yz
Figure 4: PxM, MyS, SzP: x()yz

There are only 24 valid inferences out of all possible combinations, six for each of the four Figures (and some of these may be erroneous sometimes due to the existential fallacy). In addition, they were given mnemonic names in the Middle Ages by adding consonants around the vowels of the relations. And so the valid inferences and their names (or something close to it) are as follows (by my notation and in no special order):

(aa)a, B(arba)ra
(ea)e, C(ela)rent
e(a)e, Ce(sa)re
a(e)e, Ca(me)stres
a()ee, Ca(l)emes
(ai)i, D(ari)i
(a)ii, D(at)isi
(i)ai, D(is)amis
i()ai, Di(m)atis
(ei)o, F(eri)o
e(i)o, Fe(sti)no
(e)io, F(er)ison
e()io, Fre(s)ison
a(o)o, Ba(ro)co
(o)ao, B(oc)ardo
(aa)i, B(arba)ri
a()ai, Ba(m)alip
(ea)o, C(ela)ront
e(a)o, Ce(sa)ro
a(e)o, Ca(me)stros
a()eo, Ca(l)emos
(e)ao, F(el)apton
e()ao, Fe(s)apo
(a)ai, D(ar)apti

For example, (aa)a, or Barbara, is a syllogism of the form: All Y are Z; All X are Y; thus All X are Z.

Further Reading:

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

http://changingminds.org/disciplines/argument/syllogisms/categorical_syllogism.htm

http://www.philosophypages.com/lg/e08a.htm

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/medieval-syllogism/

Also:

Vaughan Pratt / Aristotle, Boole, and Categories (PDF, October 12, 2015)

Click to access PrattParikh.pdf

Vaughan Pratt / Aristotle, Boole, and Chu: Duality since 350 BC (Slides, August 12, 2015)

Click to access PrattABCD.pdf

[*11.8]

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Ouroboros

Lo! ’t is a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theatre, to see
A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.

— From The Conqueror Worm, by Edgar Allen Poe

The worm, turns.

Further Reading:

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

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48633/the-conqueror-worm

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

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

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

[*12.64]

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