Tuesday, 31 January 2017

ECP violation is meaningless

'...take the sentence:
‘He wondered whether the mechanics fixed the cars.’

And just consider two questions that you could ask about that.

The two questions are:
‘How many cars did he wonder whether the mechanics fixed?’
Answer: ‘Three cars’

‘How many mechanics did he wonder whether fixed the cars?’
Answer: ‘Three mechanics’

But the trouble is, you can’t say that for some reason. You can’t ask: ‘How many mechanics did he wonder whether fixed the cars?’

In technical terms it’s called an ECP violation'

In practice, what we would actually say is- 'How many car fixing mechanics did he wonder about?' Or just 'How many mechanics?'

Chomsky thinks there's a thought- one that is perfectly fine- behind 'How many mechanics did he wonder whether fixed the cars?- which poses a type of problem which warrants serious study by an independent branch of knowledge. If this were true, Language would truly be something autonomous and as much 'in the world'- to paraphrase Godel's remark on the sort of Logic he hungered for- as Zoology.
Is Chomsky right?
He says- 'The thought is fine — fine thought — but you have to express it in some kind of paraphrase. There’s something about the language design which poses a barrier to communication. You just can’t express a simple thought like that, you need a circumlocution.'

Where is the paraphrase or circumlocution in 'How many car-fixing mechanics did he wonder about?'
What aspect of 'How many mechanics did he wonder whether fixed the cars?' does it not capture?
It seems, this ECP violation of Chomsky's isn't really anything serious at all. It isn't like a CPT violation in Physics. Thus Language isn't really an independent object of serious study- unless it is meaningless- at least by any means suggested by Chomsky.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Vishva Adluri's Gay Nescience

   Nescience is the word an older generation of babus used for Maya- Illusion. 
What Parmenides called 'Opinion'.
As in 'every asshole's got one'.
   Adluri & Bagchi are perhaps punning on this usage, as well as on the title of a work by Nietzsche, in their  recent book 'The Nay Science'- which is an attack on Nineteenth Century German Indology; in particular, its narrowly historicist Philology, not the as yet ongoing Credentialist Ponzi Scheme of its associated, though utterly anachronistic, Academic availability cascades. .
I say this without malice.
  After all, Poetry, if only as Socio-proctology, is nothing other than that 'giving the finger' to whatever spewed the questing fewmet of its current dead metaphor- or resurrected Christ- thus occasioning no Pilate like equivocation, or washing of hands, unless 'many fingered' Time is its own Angulimala and, in Guru-dakshina, keeps pruning all but one of its digits, such that Bergsonian Duration is, as kshanikavada, but its own univocal, for scholastic, stink.

   Why did German Professors study Sanskrit and Persian and Arabic and so on? One answer is that Germany was divided up into a lot of little Princedoms which competed with each other to attract gamblers to their casinos, invalids to their spas, music lovers to their Opera Halls, pilgrims to their Cathedrals and students to their Universities.  German economic backwardness meant that young men had to spend a long time getting more or less worthless academic credentials before either sinking back into pedagogic drudgery or securing a berth in the bureaucracy or the liberal professions. 

  Life in Germany was very cheap compared to England and some particularly cretinous or declasse English kids, like the 16 year old the older Schlegel had to tutor in Persian, would constantly turn up requesting tuition in 'Oriental languages'. 
   German pedants, having little better to do, soon established a reputation for scrupulous text editing and other such donkey work in these fresh fields for scholarship.  It must be said that these donkeys did sometimes halt and bray their dismay at the incomprehensibility of what they, not studied, but slaved at. This sort of philology wasn't entirely gratuitous because Colonial powers- more especially the East India Company- were prepared to pay a little for this sort of research. Why? Well, a historicist philology or hermeneutic is useful for lawyers and bureaucrats. A forged sunnud or inscribed copper plate might give itself away by an anachronistic reference or collocation. The same is true of a hermeneutic rules- mimamsas- which function as equitable remedies. These can be discriminated on the basis of their metaphysical foundations as having or lacking prescriptive force with respect to a legal dispute within a given sect. In particular, since an inheritance issue might hang on who or what is the proper 'substitute' to discharge a ritual obligation; Philology is first philosophy, Purva Mimamsa,  and Hermeneutic's terminus ante quem- i.e. the limit prior to which no apoorvata- novelty and therefore meaning- can arise.

 But, for that very reason, Hermeneutics, to get anywhere, is always turning into an Uttara Mimamsa and thus ever thereafter can only propagate itself as infinite defeasibility and supine sublation.  This at any rate was the view of such learned advocates and Judges- like Chief Justice Gajendragadkar- as were actually descended from scholarly Mimamsikas. Thus, as a matter of fact, not conjecture, the Indian Mimamsaka tradition turned into a sort of Social Choice Theory- though, alas!, not yet one of a Posnerian, or Coasian, or Mechanism Design type. Instead we had the clown Katju. But the thing will happen- or perhaps already has and I didn't notice coz, gotta face it, I'm often off my head on drink and, in any case am as stupid as shit. Not in a good- id est Mallu- way either; me being, much to the shame of my Iyer ancestors, more dhobi ka ghat, than Palghat.

   Quite apart from its use to John Company, Sanskrit- because of its relative artificiality and synthetic nature- turned out to be a good examination subject for signalling purposes and, anyway, one could always get a research degree by editing or translating some freshly recovered text from a midden so orthogonal to Church & State as to itself constitute a mittelstand- prompting, perhaps, Victor Hugo's remark- 'India ended up becoming Germany'- and the pompous pretence that such soulless drudgery would help bring tens of millions of Souls to Christ or Rupees to Mammon or Untermenschen to the Gas Chamber.
  Finally, it must be said, Sanskrit literature was a welcome change to Greek and Latin because it didn't revolve so incessantly around fucking little boys in the ass. Indeed, pederasty features hardly at all in Indic literature which, in consequence, attracted the impecunious German pedant who generally spent his youth as a tutor in a bourgeois household sighing for the deep bosoms of the elder sisters of his charge, whose buttocks, by contrast, emblematic of the indignity of the pedagogue's vocation, remained an object of disgust. A French scholar, in a similar position, would have fucked the lad's mother in the hope that she might advance his career, but German matrons were both poorer and less gallant. Indeed, German poverty pushed its young savants into Transcendentalism and Pedantry, rather than Pederasty and Politics, in much the same manner that Sanskrit differentiated itself from Persian in this regard. Interestingly, Persians felt no shame in relying on Dictionaries and Tazkirahs compiled by Kayastha donkeys while, later on, Brahmans were perfectly content to rely on German mules in a similar manner. 

  Plato, though comfortably off, wanted to set up a College, like Isocrates- the successful teacher of rhetoric. Why did Plato want to become a rector? Was it because he was interested in the rectums of young boys? This is the disarming explanation he offers in his Socratic dialogues- like the Phaedrus- which, on the surface, is about how to get a young lad- who might be richer, bigger and stronger than you- to let you fuck him in the ass by telling him you don't love him rather than that you do and will die of grief unless he bend over right away.
  Clearly this sort of literary production, written in graceful prose, would have a ready, if narrow, market. People would say- 'Cool! Plato is setting up an Academy so as to fuck rich young hunks for free. He's a smart fellow! We should get in on the action'.
  Actually Plato had a hidden agenda. He wanted kids to study Math and contribute to Knowledge, not just learn Rhetoric so as to make a lot of money as advocates. 

  How did Plato manage to turn a cunning scheme to get gilded youth to put out gratis into something worthwhile- viz. the cultivation of the exact Sciences? Well, he first pretended that there was a subject called philosophy which wasn't rhetoric though it might look like it and then showed that if rhetoric could get a rich and muscular kid to spread his cheeks for you because you say you don't love him, then philosophy could go one better in that you wouldn't even need to mention love. In fact, you wouldn't even have to actually fuck the kid and go around town boasting about it in order to get credit for your conquest. That rich kid would count as your eromenos nevertheless. Indeed he might even dedicate a heroon to you so you'd be remembered for generations to come as a great big nonce.

SOCRATES:  go now to Lysias and anyone else who composes speeches, and go as well as to Homer  and anyone else who has composed poetry either spoken or sung, and third, go to Solon and anyone else who writes political documents that he calls laws: and say 'if any one of you has composed these things with a knowledge of the truth, if you can defend your writing when you are challenged, and if you can yourself make the argument that your writing is of little worth, then you must be called by a name derived not from these writings but rather from those things that you are seriously pursuing.
PHAEDRUS: What name, then, would you give such a man?
SOCRATES: To call him wise, Phaedrus, seems to me too much, and proper only for a god. To call him wisdom's lover-a philosopher-or something similar would fit him better and be more seemly. 
PHAEDRUS: That would be quite appropriate. 
SOCRATES: On the other hand, if a man has nothing more valuable than what he has composed or written, spending long hours twisting it around, pasting parts together and taking them apart-wouldn't you be right to call him a poet or a speech writer or an author of laws? 
PHAEDRUS: Of course. 
SOCRATES: Tell that, then, to your friend. 

In other words, if rhetoric can enable you to fuck a kid using an argument you can yourself refute, you are actually a philosopher not a fucking pederast because you are free do otherwise- your own argument does not constrain you. If you can't refute the argument you used to fuck the kid, well then, all you did was fuck a kid because you are just a big fat pedo, that's all. What's so great about that? You might as well just have hit him on the head with a blunt object- because that's what your speech or poem or law amounts to- a blunt fucking object you flail about with till it connects with some the cranium of some unlucky lad whom you bestially sodomise. Your parents must be so proud.

Oddly, it turned out, Plato was onto a good thing. Even people revolted by the thought of pederasty have to admit his Academy was a success. Why? Well, there is a sort of opinion, or illusion, which on encountering its antithesis, can stop being merely an opinion or delusion and turn instead into a 'game against Nature'- i.e. a sort of language which doesn't have to be strategic, it can go beyond rhetoric, go beyond kairos (timeliness) and, as its own palinode, feast its gaze on a realm of Timeless Mathematical abstraction or Parmenidean Aletheia.

  No doubt, vulgar people may be able to benefit from the discoveries this enables us to make, but by defining philosophy as a type of love which has no goal or bliss point whatsoever, we remain unstained by the circumstance. Our Academy has differentiated itself from the Agora- Town & Gown have been set at odds- there is a 'costly signal' giving rise to a 'separating equilibrium' which henceforth can be used to circumvent an information asymmetry problem in the market for 'domain-general' brain workers or, more realistically, to propagate this 'noble lie'.

  Philosophy, it must be said, can carry on as a Scientific Research Project, or as its own species of literary Art- and all Art, Rorty's trajectory reminds us, but Daedalean wing'd aspires, to that thinning of the ether where only its pure Science, or Techne,  suspires- id est that Schopenhauerian perfection of Music we now term revenge porn- and so pedants will continue to write books in the hope of being cited by those whose brains they've buggered to buggery but who, it is hurtful to acknowledge, yet will forgetfully breed, despite themselves being the unwitting internet vectors of that by which they are named and shamed.

  Of course, Socrates doesn't actually say all this in the Phaedrus. But he closes by praising Isocrates who opened a School like the one Plato will open except Plato's will be better coz it will teach Maths- i.e. a type of language which isn't strategic at all, being actually a self-governing method, a self-learning program- a peeping-round-corners palinode against whatever currently blinds it- and thus not something 'pooling' equilibriating Thoth himself could confine in a book, though that book be  Thamuz's vernal- i.e. bitter for costly signalling- bodily resurrection,  such as, in the former case, you might  purchase for your son in the market so as to spare yourself the stiff fees charged by the amniotic Academy for, as in the latter mode, his 'snatak' second, or Celestial, re-birth- which, I need hardly say, is univocal with Ved Vyasa's loss of Shuka, leaving him at our very morning of the World cheerless and bereft.

This last, raises a question in my mind.
Suppose Ramanujan had access to a first rate Mathematical Library.
Would he have needed Hardy?
On the evidence, yes.
Ramanujan stayed with a forefather of mine in Madras and did have access to a pretty good library.
It wasn't enough.
Is Maths necessarily a Yoga- is it founded upon 'suhrit praapti'- the gaining of like minded peers?
I don't know.
However, there is a reason to believe that if P=NP, Maths needs no Academy.
 No pre-destined Wrangler- that acme of Tambram Edwardian educational ambition- need read Math at Cambridge because Maths would everywhere and at all times read univocally- i.e. without pollachos legetai- because its Being would also be its own Nature- i.e. its Purusha would be its Prakriti.
This solitary Yoga, God his own Guru, is the opposite of Grothedieck's or the Gita's.
  Well, if it requires a similar number of steps to solve a problem as it does to verify the solution then Math can be completely mechanised. What's more, such a math would be both the physics and the metaphysics of Aristotle in that the Time Class of its solutions and verifications would be the same- i.e. they would feature a broadly commensurable number of steps.

  The same point, without loss of generality, might be made about philology and hermeneutics. Why? How so? Well, if a Hermeneutic is non-dissipative of Philology then something like Noether's theorem applies. Essentially a differentiable symmetry must be present and therefore some conserved law or property of the system must be equally available to both. As I've pointed out elsewhere, two symmetries, those of karma and dharma, are a covering set for the Mahabharata and, what's more, its internal author fathers their reciprocal collapse because the very parrot beak of his text's repetition yet is as the unfurling of meta-erotic wings mentioned in the Phaedrus, such that Life, that ultimate of dissipative systems, gives everything a shove and calls it Love. Why is Life so beastly? The answer is that that it is a fractal Red Queen race- if Philology is something living then Hermeneutics has an algorithmic method for creating new texts more or less 'as good' as any text it claims to have an interpretation for.  In other words, if hermeneutics can have an 'oracular' property with respect to a text, it can also be its Creator God who is the opposite of otiose. This is a stronger claim than that a poet, like Mutanabbi, can be a prophet. It is that a pedant can be a poet.
Since Hermeneutics does the same thing as 'verification' in complexity theory, we can appeal to the notion of 'relativization' and draw the conclusion that some interpretive solutions must be philologically unimplementable save adventiously or by an almost infinite sequence of steps.

  Aesthetics, properly speaking is unaffected by such considerations. There can always be a 'Intuitionist' Brouwerian choice sequence between solution and verification, or implementation and interpretation, such that their 'light cones' coincide and univocity is retained. However, the thing can't be codified or reduced to a formula.

   We can also dismiss certain supposedly philosophical approaches to Aesthetics which claim supervenience on what we know to be incompossible physical processes. They can't be Hermeneutic interventions but, at best, are Philological hypotheses of a historicist type.
  For example, we know that one-way functions can't exist,  and since Maths can be a Metaphysics featuring strict Aristotelian Time, we can't affirm that there is any logical reason to assume that anything like a hermeneutic of 'metaphysical closure' could have ever spontaneously obtained at any point in history before such a doctrine was explicitly uttered. Rather, the natural reading of Plato and Aristotle is one in keeping with the current state of play in Mathematics and thus features 'oracles' or 'kairos' which are wondrous because they are the precise opposite of the menstrual wound of Heideggerian wonder and give rise to, if not that labour which maiuetics addresses, then at the very least all such useful work as Mathematics immeasurably advances. This, at any rate, is my reading of the Theaetetus.

  What this means, put bluntly, for my view of the Mahabharata, is that karma and dharma have to prove so bogus, precisely because symmetries are continuous, that only the Veda gives Life or rather, by Life's exponential-time usurpation of everything merely polynomial, it becomes the mise en abyme of its own Yagnya, that black fire, or hole, in which karma collapses into dharma and dharma into Veda's yet emptier, for Indian all too Indian, giving.
 Come to think of it, this is Socrates' first argument in the Phaedo.

Anyway, the above, by reason of its prurience or peurility, is still a positivist view.
You will be relieved to hear, it is not one Adluri endorses.

  Of course, it is nonsense to suggest that Phaedrus was an iconoclast. Defacing the statues of Hermes- castrating the father of the City's Tyche, or Luck- on the eve of the departure of the expedition against Sicily, was a political not ideological act. Its purpose was to change what might otherwise be a windfall victory for the Commons into a, 'Manifest Destiny', Imperialist capturing of rents for the Elite. Andocides' part in this is well known- nowhere in his orations on the subject can we find any notion of rationalist iconoclasm as a motivating force. Still, rich kids, like Phaedrus and Alcibiades were, quite properly in the latter case, objects of suspicion. Their overweening ambition recklessly endangered the commonwealth. Plato, here as elsewhere, shows Socrates as a sobering influence, not a 'corrupter' of these influential young men.

  Orithuia, contra Adluri- or Derrida for that matter- does not die in the myth after being carried off by Boreas. She becomes the mother of various other mythological figures.  She is not a 'stand in' for Persephone at all. Rather, this Attic lass's marriage to Boreas turns him into the son-in-law and saviour of Athens, which is why he destroyed the Persian fleet at Cape Sepias- a firmly held belief, which continued to boost Athenian military morale.
  Socrates's inspired speech, at the place where Orithuia was raptured, is meant to serve a similar protective function for his fellow Citizens.
  What confused Adluri was Socrates offering an Euhemerist explanation- some girl fell to her death off a rock and so the traumatised community spoke of her as being carried off by the North Wind- but Plato's Socrates, the pharmakos, or scapegoat sacrifice, for his City, is speaking with amphiboly.

  On the surface, he is taking an urbane dig at the Sophists. However, in view of his tragic end, we know he is speaking of himself as the fated sacrifice who, though still an ordinary mortal, already partakes of the mystery of the Divine. Thus, Orithuia's girl friend is named as Pharmaceia- sacrificial death being a medicine for both the Philosopher's nescience as well as the misology of the Polis. But we only know this through a prophetic foreshadowing made possible by Phaedrus's presence- the Platonic love this evokes- which causes Lysisas's 'book' to act as a Uranian Galehaut or ecstatic drug such as might be used by an oracle. But Plato's dialogues are also such books. Improperly used, as for example by pedants, they are but the burgeoning of an insatiably gay nescience. However, if taken seriously as testifying to their own virtual worthlessness, they are a sobering cure, or prophylactic amulet, against programmatic stupidity, like Derrida's or Girard's, or even Adluri's, motivated by a false mimesis of their phrarmakon's apparent amphiboly. Not so apparent, actually, if we remember Soma quickens childbirth and that the Platonic pharmakon is essentially maiuetic- though constrained to a couvade.

  In the Phaedrus, Socrates puts forward something we might call the theory of 'bracketing', if not epoche, such that the greater mystery of the self puts at nought the endless task of rationalizing myths.
  Later, Socrates elaborates a theory about how the soul is affected by the God one associates with and develops a theory or re-birth on this basis. For himself, it is as though he has been seized by the amorous wind god while performing a mimesis of Lsysias's speech, but forewarned by some prompting of his genius, he stops in his tracks and utter a palinode that reverses the argument. Love is madness, it is divine possession, it is the opposite of self-control and superior in the manner that an NP 'oracle' is superior to an algorithm in P. Why? Because the self must always find it most difficult to know what it is that seeks to control. This is in conformity with what we know about Control theory so this is a positive, not historicist, reading. Notice, it would cease to be so the moment someone proves P=NP. However, so long as that problem is open, this reading poses no scandal for philology. What does pose a scandal is glaring errors of fact- e.g. Adluri saying that, for Plato, Phaedrus is free to act iconoclastically. This isn't the case at all. Socrates would have had to make a citizen's arrest of any hermokopidai he caught in the act. Why? Socrates was bound by the law- even at the cost of his own life.
Adluri knows this very well for he later quotes the Phaedo and comes to this conclusion-
  All this is nonsense. Antilogikos means debate or more narrowly Zeno's method of paradox. The Phaedrus says that if you can formulate a counter argument to whatever you are urging, you have gone beyond rhetoric and have become a philosopher. This is the familiar dialectical method which no civilisation doesn't have a version of. Obviously, a guy who says 'OMG there's a counter-argument to everything! We're all truly fucked' is brain dead.

  What does Adluri mean by saying- 'the argument for the immortality of the soul which is compared to Ariadne's thread?' Socrates gives 4 different arguments for the immortality of the Soul, but does so in a sequence suggestive of some larger mystery or path-dependence, and Phaedo's narrative thread is conventionally compared to Ariadne's as delivering us from the labyrinth of hysteresis ridden philosophical nihilism in a manner it would defy any art we possess to ever ourselves reconstruct or make sense of. This mythopoeic undercurrent in the Phaedo, suggested by the circumstance under which Socrates's death sentence was delayed, reinforces our image of the Philosopher as a sort of Man-god who offers himself as a scapegoat to deliver us from the fear of death. However, this has nothing to at all to do with logos and misology, reasoning and hating to reason, or navigating between the two, like Odysseus between Scylla and Charybdis. Rather, there is a connection we can't see between Socrates's four different arguments which however would be perfectly clear if we could view them from a higher dimension. It is easy to solve a maze shown to you in two dimensions- as happens when viewed from above. It is quite a different thing to do so when you are trapped within it, in a smoky darkness punctuated by guttering torches with a bull headed monster bellowing for your blood.
  Philology, as opposed to Hermeneutics, faces no great problem in all this as is proved by the fact that Plato is almost infinitely legible to us, not despite the great lapse of years but because of continuous philological labour from his time to our own.
 Facing an aporia- or open problem in mathematics- Philology has no reason to faint or draw back. Hermeneutics might, but not Philology. I suppose a truly misologic philology- like Adluri's- or is it Bagchi? or some minatour composed of both?- can represent Phaedrus as a proto-scientific iconoclast but so can ordinary ignorance or extraordinary stupidity. Nothing very wonderful is happening here.

Arjuna, in the Gita, does not say that mortal life is meaningless. Draupati does say it has something which is the reverse of meaning, it has anti-meaning,  if God is the impassable 'mayin' or bloodless puppet-master of an occasionalist universe. Ethical action- in the sense of action which will change your ethos by some subtle 'aashravic' process if we are 'yantra aaroodhani', mounted on molecular machines- is impossible to avoid. Non-action too is action.
There can't be any confrontation of the type Adluri suggests in the Gita.
The paradigm Adluri proposes to use in connection with German Indologists doesn't exist.
What does exist is the hermeneutic coprolites those industrious donkeys left us.
Adluri, believing himself a second Uttanka, feeds on that fossilised donkey shit thinking it amrita.
The turd he protrudes as text, being, to his mind, the ouroborous by which he is fed.

Uttanka, though vouchsafed the theophany of Krishna, tries to exterminate the snakes.
Chthonic oracles, symbolised by the snake, gained salience with the spread of agriculture.
The watcher of the Sky still determined 'kairos'- or sought power over the rain cloud.
The aquifer, on the other hand, was a type of security outside Timeliness.
The Sky watching augur, surveying the fitness landscape from above, provides substantive solutions.
But their real time 'interpretation' or simulation might be non deterministic.
The chthonic oracle showed the labyrinth need not be solved immediately.
One can always go underground.
Delphi, was an Apollonian omphalos which claimed to combine both augury and oracle.
But it only broke concurrency deadlock at the price of indeterminacy in interpretation.
  Socrates offered the Self as an underground labyrinth from whose safety one could bracket that of the Minotaur while not ceasing to solve it.
NP oracles must be like snakes, not ladders, or else deadlock mounts into exponential Time.

Uttanka, untaught by Krishna's Visvarupa, urges the extermination of the snakes.
  Thus the Mahabharata originates, and like everything else in it, this origination is doubled, but only so as to preserve the snakes' occulted labyrinths. Why? Well, the Mahabharata is unique among Epics in that it says the Just King, who is a Principal, not an Agent, must learn Statistics and Game Theory in order to overcome his Vishada (Depression or abulia). But we now know no one throughout history could have a good reason to believe P=NP. Thus, the snakes must be preserved- like the Kauravas and the Pandavas, like the Tigers and the Forest, like Pythia and Apollo, so too with Garuda and Takshaka- there is a relationship of interdependence here. If the one perishes the other can not survive.

  This is a positive reading. It's not the one that Gokhale, a Professor of Statistics, had- Game Theory hadn't yet been formalised nor had Hannan come to India- so we can't blame the poor fellow too much for not warning the Servants of India in blunt enough terms to shun the idiot Gandhi.

Adluri might not be a Gokhale, but he must have seen videos of Indian poverty.
They are the Visvarupa of Gandhian hypocrisy & bien pensant Nehruvian Olympianism.

  Yet, Adluri writes as though Gandhi's spinning wheel was not as economically worthless as the Brahminical Yagynya was soteriologically worthless, at least in the eyes of the Gita.

He ends his book reproving stupid, but industrious, Germans, thus-

Banana leaves!
That's what happened.
  Actually, Vinobha Bhave tried the experiment of living upon what he could earn from the chakhri. His conclusion was that he'd starve to death if he persisted. Everybody knows that Gandhian khaddar was not a solution to India's problems. It was a vector for corrupt rent seeking, rabid communalization and secular impoverishment.

Still, it's good to know that us P.O.I desis can be just as stupid as goras.
My worry is that Adluri is intellectually under-powered.
He doesn't yet spew entirely solipsistic, self regarding, shite like Spivak, Sen, Bhabha et al.
Well, his first PhD was supervised by Reiner Shurmann- who wrote in French.
His second Doctorate was from Germany.
Screw Sanskrit, them fucking furriners can't even do English misology proper like wot we can.
Trump will settle their hash, sho nuff.
They dun took our jobs!

Monday, 23 January 2017

Kipling's William the Conqueror and Farhad's Canal of Milk.

Kipling's 'William the Conqueror'- known to Development Economists through Wallace Aykroyd's work 'The Conquest of Famine'-  is about a group of Punjabi Civil Servants who, ludicrously- given they are from the Punjab and Civil Servants to boot- have been sent down to Madras to cope with the terrible dearth of 1878 when a quarter of the population died.

Scott, a digger of canals from the Irrigation Dept. is nonplussed to discover that Tamils don't eat wheat, they don't possess the utensils and implements to make it palatable. The supplies he has brought with him are useless. However, the goats he rounds up- apparently, Tamil goats are pitilessly abandoned by their owners during Famines- do eat wheat and produce milk which starving babies happily lap up. Thus Scott becomes a goat milker and wet nurse soon to be saddled with the sobriquet 'bakri Scott'- Scott the goat man- to his dying day.

'When you have to keep connection unbroken between a restless mother of kids and a baby who is at the point of death, you suffer in all your system. But the babies were fed. Each morning and evening Scott would solemnly lift them out one by one from their nest of gunny-bags under the cart-tilts. There were always many who could do no more than breathe, and the milk was dropped into their toothless mouths drop by drop, with due pauses when they choked. Each morning, too, the goats were fed; and since they would straggle without a leader, and since the natives were hirelings, Scott was forced to give up riding, and pace slowly at the head of his flocks, accommodating his step to their weaknesses. All this was sufficiently absurd, and he felt the absurdity keenly; but at least he was saving life, and when the women saw that their children did not die, they made shift to eat a little of the strange foods, and crawled after the carts, blessing the master of the goats.

“Give the women something to live for,” said Scott to himself, as he sneezed in the dust of a hundred little feet, “and they’ll hang on somehow.'
For Hindus, the goat is associated with Prajapati- the universal progenitor.
For Kipling's generation of artists- the goat was associated with Pan.
But 'bakri' in Punjab is the Pharmokos or Qurban.
It is the scapegoat, the Paschal Lamb, the substitute for the son demanded of Abraham.

Scott, turning into a goat-man, turns him also into something else- Donne's 'specular stone', opaque to Duality's 'He and She'- in the eyes of William who, like him, had been 'hanging on somehow' but will henceforth have something to live for though, 'afraid with every amazement', she unceasingly perish for it.
He had no desire to make any dramatic entry, but an accident of the sunset ordered it that when he had taken off his helmet to get the evening breeze, the low light should fall across his forehead, and he could not see what was before him; while one waiting at the tent door beheld with new eyes a young man, beautiful as Paris, a god in a halo of golden dust, walking slowly at the head of his flocks, while at his knee ran small naked Cupids. But she laughed — William, in a slate-coloured blouse, laughed consumedly till Scott, putting the best face he could upon the matter, halted his armies and bade her admire the kindergarten

However, Scott doesn't know himself to be as but conquered earth till a child escaped from the care of Mrs. Jim, and, running like a rabbit, clung to Scott’s boot, William pursuing with long, easy strides.

“I will not go — I will not go!” shrieked the child, twining his feet round Scott’s ankle. “They will kill me here. I do not know these people.”

“I say,” said Scott, in broken Tamil, “I say, she will do you no harm. Go with her and be well fed.”

“Come!” said William, panting, with a wrathful glance at Scott, who stood helpless and, as it were, hamstrung.

“Go back,” said Scott quickly to William. “I’ll send the little chap over in a minute.”

The tone of authority had its effect, but in a way Scott did not exactly intend. The boy loosened his grasp, and said with gravity: “I did not know the woman was thine. I will go.” Then he cried to his companions, a mob of three-, four-, and five-year-olds waiting on the success of his venture ere they stampeded: “Go back and eat. It is our man’s woman. She will obey his orders.”

Jim collapsed where he sat; Faiz Ullah and the two policemen grinned; and Scott’s orders to the cartmen flew like hail.

“That is the custom of the Sahibs when truth is told in their presence,” said Faiz Ullah. “The time comes that I must seek new service. Young wives, especially such as speak our language and have knowledge of the ways of the Police, make great trouble for honest butlers in the matter of weekly accounts.”

Thus, the Madras Famine completes the other side of its Malthusian work.
William's tears, hearing 'While shepherds watched', presage a Punjabi joo-e-sheer.
Farhad's canal of milk conditional upon the abolition of Duality's 'He and She'.
Because Kipling was the poet of work and work is a just bearable panic.
Not so, Woman's Labour.

Post Script-
Acykroyd- who served on the Inquiry Commission- computed the excess profit made on each famine death in Bengal in '43 to have been about $200 back when the Gold was pegged at 35 to an ounce. Democracy, it seems, was not a 'young wife, especially such as speak our language and have knowledge of the ways of the Police'. It made no great trouble for the honest khidmatgars of the Muslim League who were running the show till Wavell sent in the troops.

Trump's inaugural address better than Obama's

Trump's inaugural address was also his first statement as a holder of political office or, indeed, an employee of the State.
His words are interesting because they derive from seventy years of life experience, not one single one of which was financed in any way by a Govt. paycheck- something unique in American history.

Not surprisingly, he focused his ire on what economists call 'agent principal hazard'- i.e. the temptation for people in Govt. to do what is in their own interest not what is in the interest of the people who pay their salary- and on 'rent seeking' by elites. In particular, Trump as an old fashioned 1980's style property developer- think Tom Wolfe's Charlie Croker from 'A Man in Full'- focuses his ire on the revolving door between K Street and Wall Street- Politics and footless Financial Capital.

Thus he says- 'For too long, a small group in our nation's Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished -- but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered -- but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

'The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.'

By contrast, Obama, who graduated in '83, took the shift from 'bricks and mortar' patriarchal capitalism to abstract mathematical financialization for granted. It did not occur to him that a 'New Deal' was required to ensure the incentive compatibility of this greatly changed Economic system. More fundamentally, he did not think the Government had done anything greatly wrong or greatly right. Rather there was some mystical process by which the great mass of the people either achieved greatness or didn't achieve greatness but had a jolly good try anyway.

'In reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given.  It must be earned.  Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less.  It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those that prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.  Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long rugged path towards prosperity and freedom. 
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.  For us, they toiled in sweatshops, and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip, and plowed the hard earth.  For us, they fought and died in places like Concord and Gettysburg, Normandy and Khe Sahn. 

Concord- yes!
Gettysburg- Amen!
Normandy- Hallelujah!
Khe Sahn? 
By mentioning Khe Sahn, Obama is saying that the American masses are stupid.
Whether the fight on the right or wrong side is a matter of chance.
Emerson wrote- 
The German and Irish millions, like the Negro, have a great deal of guano in their destiny. They are ferried over the Atlantic, and carted over America, to ditch and to drudge, to make corn cheap, and then to lie down prematurely to make a spot of green grass on the prairie.
In other words- American Hegemony was Emersonian Racial Fate.
A dark and inscrutable mystery.

By contrast, Trump- who could actually have fought and died at Khe Sahn- says clearly and simply that things like Khe Sahn are the result of corrupt rent-seeking in Government.

'Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.

'But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

'This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

'We are one nation -- and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.'

Trump is saying the Government could have addressed each problem he mentions.
He is furious that successive Governments failed to do so because of their own 'rent seeking'.
Trump says no to more 'American carnage'
Obama says Khe Sahn is morally the same as Gettysburg because the Masses are stupid.
All is the fault, or else the favour, of an inscrutable Emersonian Racial Destiny.
The Government is not responsible for anything.
Obama said- 'Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life.  They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions, greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
This is the journey we continue today.  We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.  Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.  Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week, or last month, or last year.  Our capacity remains undiminished.  But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed.  Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.
In other words- just go back to work and stop bothering me.
As Kennedy said, 'ask not what I can do for you but what you can do for me.'

By contrast, Trump thinks the Government is doing a bad job.
It has enriched its masters at the expense of those whom they were meant to serve.
The Government is the Agent of the people. Nothing more.
It must always put their interests first.
Obama's mystical belief in Emersonian Racial Destiny prevented him from tackling rent-seeking.
Trump, cavil as we may at the crudity of his rhetoric, is correct to say the American Govt. must put Americans first and do so in a rational manner. That is what the Constitution mandates. Policy Space is one dimensional if it follows the rule that only Costs and Benefits to citizens matter. The moment, Policy Space seeks a Universal domain it becomes multi dimensional and subject to 'agenda control' type rent-seeking manipulation. Trump's 'America First' rule is the only way to avoid 'McKelvey Chaos'. 
Hollywood, which has so railed against Trump, is responsible for stoking fears that America's borders are unsafe. Mexican Cartels, it appears, have super-powers and can murder and maim with impunity though, no doubt, good old Arnie Schwareznegger can beat them back with a blizzard of bullets till the credits roll.
Trump, by contrast, says that it is the Government, not some Emersonian Race Hero with an Austrian accent who should be doing the job. 
'For many decades... we've defended other nation's borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
We've made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.
But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future. We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this moment on, it's going to be America First.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.
I will fight for you with every breath in my body -- and I will never, ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work -- rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world -- but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.

Trump has come out openly as a Protectionist. Should we be preparing ourselves for another Smoot Hawley, a third Mexican Repatriation (there was one under Eisenhower, though it is the Depression Era one most people remember) and even perhaps the internment of hyphenated Americans suspected of sympathising with an Enemy power?
No necessarily.
It is enough that Expectations change because that by itself changes incentive compatibility.
Still, don't hold your breath.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Trump's Golden Shower or Ivanov pissing on Peskov?

How shite is MI6?
Very fucking shite indeed.
It employed Christoper Steele who is now in hiding for his life because he had peddled 'intelligence' like this-

In other words, Trump had a hard-on for Russian Real Estate but the Kremlin gave him the cold shoulder. He had to settle for golden showers from prostitutes instead. The Russians filmed these golden showers and...what? Extorted money from him? Got him to spy for them? 
Apparently, them Rusky spies are all paragons of virtue.
They didn't shake down Trump- though they did spill the beans to Steele, gratis, probably coz they read Le Carre and wanna come in from the cold and get a nice warm golden shower from our new James Bond. 
Still, Trump started spying for them . 

Fuck would Trump know about Russian oligarchs and their families?
Where could Trump and his associates obtain such information?
How would Putin know he wasn't being fed a pack of lies?

The answer is that Putin wasn't involved at all.
There was no conspiracy- no 'Moscovian candidate'.

All that is really happening here is that a guy called Peskov- a Turcologist- is being smeared by a bureaucratic rival called Ivanov- who says higher up Russians, like Premier Medvedev, are furious coz they want to play nice with the US, regardless of who is in the White House, because...they want to be able to visit the States in either a private or public capacity.

In other words, Russia isn't a threat to anyone. Just tip off their Premier or President or whatever that if they don't do as they are told they won't get to visit Dollywood or Disneyland and they'll cry their little eyes out and promise to be good.
In fact, you don't even have to threaten the Russians with Visa Denial or a Cavity Search.
Fear of the Cavity Search will do just as well.
Unless that pesky Peskov stays at his desk.

This Ivanov guy sure is the voice of sweetness and light!
Turns out he is Steele's source.
He 'reports' to him.

Ivanov, unlike young Peskov, is an 'oligarch'- or at least his son is.
People like him might want to be able to 'visit' the West- i.e. visit their money.
He might indeed 'have a drink with Putin' and then blab about it to Steele in order to make an upstart Press Secretary like Peskov look bad. Targeting 'educated youth' in America on behalf of Trump is hilarious and the sort of thing the old fashioned American specialist in the Kremlin might say. Just to be clear- by 'educated youth' he means white people not fucking jigaboos of my complexion, or Obama's come to that. Also you gotta watch out for the Jews. Manafort was actually toppled by one of the chosen people- didn't you know?

How did Steele get anyone to give him money for this dossier compiled of doo-doo?
A story about Trump's golden showers which unravels into an Ivanov pissing on some Peskov.
Backbiting bureaucrats we will always have with us.
They magnify their own importance, tell you what you want to hear and then slip the knife into their rival. Good Intelligence officers don't fall for the scuttlebutt. They wait and watch and then turn the shithead in question. Steele, apparently, wasn't a good intelligence officer. Still, he has had his moment in the Sun- or rather his moment on the run.
Who does he think is after him?
Since polonium poisoning is too expensive, I suppose it must be the Golden Showering Spetsnaz.

As for Trump- if a video surfaces of him watching donkey sex in Mexico or micturating hobags in Moscow- so what? It's what tourists do. Provided he doesn't perjure himself, he is in the clear. As for Kremlin hackers having helped his campaign- what of it? This guy went on TV, at the end of July, to invite the Russians to find Hilary's missing emails.
Steele's dossier exposes the slovenliness of British Intelligence.
But that's never been news.
Steele's dossier, by contrast, references the more tasteful cinematic work of Divine.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Moral Mortmain- a duty to future generations entails misogynistic eugenics.

Suppose I believe that I have a duty to any child I help bring into the world. Suppose, further, that I accept that I have a duty to any child that child might have and so on ad infinitum. Then I must also accept I have a duty to future generations. This duty can be discharged by setting up a trust, though there may be a legal obstacle of the nature of a rule against perpetuities or mortmain.

Do I also have a duty to future generations if I decide not to have children? It could be argued that I do have such a duty and am already neglecting it by not passing on my own genetic material so that it becomes available for future generations. Clearly, the fact that I am not doing my duty in this respect does not diminish my duty to future generations. Even suppose my genetic material is known to be so flawed that it is better for future generations that I don't have kids, still my duty to future generations is not extinguished by my disability.

What if I don't believe I have a duty to just any child I help bring into the world? It could be argued that my belief is irrelevant. Either I have the duty in question or I don't. Duties are objective.

However, if there is an objective duty to future generations, and there can be overlapping consensus in this regard, it follows that there must be an objective eugenic calculus we are obliged to obey in deciding when and under what circumstances we pass on our genetic material- in other words, we are obliged to visibly change our reproductive norms and behaviour to signal adherence to an overlapping consensus re. this objective duty.  Alternatively, this supposedly objective duty has no empirical test and may as well not exist because it changes nothing that is measurable except perhaps the quantum of  bullshit and boondoggle the voter and taxpayer has to put up with.

If the future fitness landscape is Uncertain in the Knightian sense, this objective eugenic calculus might well command men to rape or otherwise inseminate certain women under certain circumstances. Also, it would license forcible sterilization of the sort practised for much of the Twentieth Century by in certain American States and some Scandinavian countries.

Thus,  an objective duty to future generations may conflict with duties to existing people- e.g. the duty to prevent their rape or enforce their reproductive rights. However, if future generations can be conditioned to consider any type of sexual intercourse as consensual, it would still be the case that an objective duty to future generations could lead to a society ruled by an eugenic calculus in which behaviour we consider unconscionable and typifying the worst sort of serial rapist would in fact be normative.

Clearly an objective duty to future agents whose existence depends on our acts can be repugnant.
Could it possibly be beneficial?
Yes- provably so, if no Knightian uncertainty obtains.
But in that case, any evolutionary pressure upon our genetic material is undesirable.
Only conscious eugenic experimentation- or the perfection of cloning- is desirable because the future fitness landscape is known. We know better than Nature and must damp its ignorant attempts to course correct.
This is not a reasonable view.
Thus, a priori, we can say that an objective duty to future generations is not provably beneficial and possibly harmful. Furthermore, it is more naturally related to eugenics and misogyny than any environmental or cultural cause.
In my view, it is mischievous to posit an objective duty to future generations at all.
We wouldn't be here if evolution hadn't hard wired the thing into us.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Kairos and Metanoia

All seek to, by the forelock, seize, what, as Fortuna, is yet miscalled
 Whose occiput is, by alopecia's disease, a grim Golgotha bald
For still must Kairos giddily scoot as Metanoia lamely lags
So La Douleur Exquise recruit under falser and falser flags

Girolamo da Carpi

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Derek Parfit's self defeating Epitaph

Bad news from YouTube.
There's a video gone viral showing you in flagrante up Rock Hudson on the lot of Dynasty.
How did it happen?
  Well, an alien scientist from Planet X wants to find out whether, for our species, the struggle to survive entails Philosophical salience for Derek Parfit's Relation R: psychological connectedness (namely, of memory and character) and continuity (overlapping chains of strong connectedness) as opposed to some ineffable, non-reducible, ontologically dysphoric notion of personhood such as we encounter in Love and Literature, Ecstasy and Agony.

To answer this question, the alien has decided to perform a philosophical experiment. He created a perfect copy of you and inserted it into Rock Hudson's timeline and rectum.

Your reproductive success could be affected if this experiment by the alien has legal consequences- in which case the legal concept of 'personality' has salience. 

Suppose you are charged with a criminal offence as a result of your clone's lewd conduct- it may be in your interest to plead that the clone is a separate person. Your lawyer may hire a philosopher to testify that the relevant Judicial hermeneutic must rely on 'Relation R' to define personality and acquit you because you lack 'Relation R' w.r.t your buggering clone.
  At the same time, it may be in your interest to maintain the opposite doctrine so as to bring a civil action for a large money claim. It is not necessarily the case that you are 'estopped' from maintaining contradictory doctrines in the two cases. After all, you should not be punished for something done by your clone. On the other hand, you clearly have a right to benefit from any commercial use of the video of your clone's reaming Rock Hudson under extant 'right to publicity' case law. In this case, 'Relation R' has no salience. The same holds if you seek an injunction preventing YouTube's use of the video in question, under your 'right to privacy'.

As a matter of fact, the Law does recognize that a single person can have multiple legal personalities- whose interests may conflict to such an extent that one may extinguish the other for the sake of a survivable entitlement.

 Does anything similar happen for Moral Philosophy?
No, unless it is something you really care about, because Moral Philosophy can't put you in jail or get you a big settlement or bring about your obloquy by featuring you in a sordid gedanken. 
Suppose you do really care about Moral Philosophy.
In that case would it make any difference if it was you as opposed to some random dude who ended up up Hudson?
If Ethics is 'impersonal'- shouldn't the answer be no?
Surely, what matters is that this thing happened to a person, not who that person is?
What if the person to whom it happened gains or loses something thereby which makes them better able to do Ethics? Another way of saying this is- 'what happens if a gedanken re. personal identity changes 'what matters' for a being concerned with the survival of his personhood?' In this case there is still a sort of psychological continuity and connectedness- i.e. a Relation R- but it is different from what went before because 'what matters'- i.e. causal chains- have changed.
If Ethics is 'impersonal', then your being the victim of the experiment, as opposed to someone else, does change your relationship to Moral Philosophy because 'what matters' to you has changed and thus your way of specifying Relation R has changed. You can't make a personal decision to ignore the change or decide it shouldn't matter. But this means your 'Relation R' is not independent of Ethics in at least one respect- viz. 'what matters' in Ethics to you. This must be endogenously determined by things like the plausibility or other salience of a succesful implementation of a purely Philosophical Gedanken. Moreover, any specification of Relation R that 'matters' to a person claiming to do impersonal Moral Philosophy, can be ranked on the basis of the technology underlying that implementation which in turn depends on the Science that technology is based on. The better the Science, the 'more elite' the specification of Relation R, because the underlying episteme 'carves up the World more closely to its joints'.
David Lewis argues that we needn't commit to 'Relation R'; we can have multiple answers to questions re. personal identity. Parfit takes a different view- as he is entitled to do but it must be either 'personal' to him or else something which in time will be proven to be the most 'elite eligible' way of carving up the world along its 'joints'.

Suppose there is an 'impersonal' Moral Philosophy which does not hold to a narrow doctrine of Self Interest. It permits empathy or identification with a victim to change 'what matters' to a person rationally concerned with his own survival and happiness.
Would not the same result as outlined in the previous paragraph similarly obtain by simply identifying or empathizing more deeply with the victim of the alien scientist?  If so, why not identify or empathize instead with a possible victim of an experiment yet more heinous- e.g one which involved Mahatma Gandhi rather than Rock Hudson? But why stop there? Why not empathize with the incompossible victim of an ineffable experiment? And who is to say we are not all the victims of an evil experiment involving our own Doris Daying of the x*c)2$$ Chora?

One workaround is to say 'Ethics is 'impersonal' but its domain is restricted to some Platonic or otherwise pre-existing set of persons. However, unless, we are ontologically committed to a 'block Universe', such a theory isn't really 'impersonal' at all but rather is based on what some person, at a particular moment in time, thinks constitutes a person. If that person has greater power to implement or otherwise gain salience for a gedanken, then it is that person who decides what David Lewis might call the 'elite eligible' criteria by which 'Reality is carved up along its joints'. Philosophy is now the handmaiden of a hegemony based on superior technology. 

What happens if we say 'Ethics is highly personal- it's about altering our own individual Ethos in a beneficial way- a project we can work on together through rational discussion'?
Well, straight off the bat, we have to admit that alien scientists who post videos on YouTube of our clones sodomizing Rock Hudson on the set of Dynasty can advance Moral Philosophy.
Does the alien scientist have to be real?
Wouldn't an imaginary alien do the job just as well?
Does Rock Hudson really have to be reamed?
Why not consider an imaginary alien who causes us to Doris Day the x*c)2$$ Chora?
How do we know this isn't what actually happens when we do Moral Philosophy?

  One workaround is to say that Moral Philosophy only concerns itself with what is 'reasonable' or 'compossible'. But this means it can't have any truck with the subject matter of either Economics or the Law, for whom personality can be multiple, and invocation of 'Relation R' can be strategic or gameable, because both rely upon what Sir Edward Coke called 'artificial reason' and are, in any case, impersonal. 

This, then, is the dilemma facing Reductionists who care about Moral Philosophy.
If it concerns itself with persons, it can only be either empty or nonsense and one oughtn't to care for it. More concretely, one ought not grant any 'Relation R' type connection between what one does when doing Moral Philosophy and one's own inner ethos or what Lewis calls 'I Relation'.
 Suppose there exists a Kavka toxin only survivable by violators of the identity of R Relations with I Relations for 'what matters' in Moral Philosophy. Provided 'what matter's is the null set, no scandal or aporia arises precisely because the I relation is symmetrical and the R relation isn't, because it has a direction and thus features non commutative operators which fact, by itself, gives rise to uncertainty. Thus it must be impossible to prove Lewis's claim in a manner independent of one's choice of logic- i.e. in a manner that does not beg the question.
 More generally, any selective pressure, not just a Kavka toxin, will at the margin have the same effect provided 'what matters' is a set of a certain type- not necessarily null- but impredicative in some strategic sense.

Of course, an 'impersonal' Moral Philosophy can simply drop the pretense of concerning itself with anything save its own senseless burgeoning irrespective of 'what matters' to any existing or possible persons. In that case, it is a cult. Having come to this realization, you oughtn't to care about it, unless you are content to be cult fodder. 
This doesn't mean you shouldn't do Moral Philosophy.
Do it, by all means- just don't care about it.
Phone it in.

Derek Parfit didn't phone it in.
Deciding it was possible, though very difficult, to believe himself constituted by nothing other than 'Relation R'; because, he says, the Buddha had accomplished a similar feat, the epitaph he pronounces upon himself, being so thoroughly self defeating, belongs now to Literature-
My life seemed like a glass tunnel, through which I was moving faster every year, and at the end of which there was darkness. When I changed my view, the walls of my glass tunnel disappeared. I now live in the open air. There is still a difference between my life and the lives of other people. But the difference is less. Other people are closer. I am less concerned about the rest of my own life, and more concerned about the lives of others.
What changed Parfit's view?
What granted him 'Moksha'?
He says it was because he rejected the implications of 'imagined cases' like the one used here.
Why did he do so?
Au fond it was fidelity to his own posited 'Relation R'.
What prompted that fidelity?
It was the less depressing course. The alternative would have been playing backgammon and dining richly and writing the sort of highly partisan Humean Histories his undergraduate education had fitted him to do.

Like the Buddha, Parfit was born into an elite 'Sangha'- a Society- and found a way to serve it without identifying with it by showing a path to a more Universal type of association in which, however, an elite natal habitus was conserved or re-transcribed.

This appeals to Fex Urbis, bahishkrit, lumpen swine like me precisely because it is not 'Revolutionary'- it does not immanentize a Utilitarian eschaton- but rather is dimly 'Dukkha' or 'Regret' minimizing. Here 'consistency' achieves generality as 'Hannan consistency' and that's a good thing because we know in our bones that Evolution utilizes a Hannan consistent strategy to ensure the survival of my class of intellectual lepers and moral untouchables because Buddhas we will always have with us.
Parfits die.
These are deaths we are right to regret.
But only because the Pariah we represent is immortal.
But for us, every elite eligible Purusha Sukta carves up the World in vain.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Was Derek Parfit a Golem?

Peter Singer writes-
Derek shared the final version of On What Matters Volume Three with me, and it seems fitting now to share the final paragraphs, which give a brief statement of what Derek considered matters most, as well as an indication of what we have lost by his inability to complete his larger project.
“I regret that, in a book called On What Matters, I have said so little about what matters. I hope to say more in what would be my Volume Four. I shall end this volume with slight revisions of some of my earlier claims.
One thing that greatly matters is the failure of we rich people to prevent, as we so easily could, much of the suffering and many of the early deaths of the poorest people in the world. The money that we spend on an evening’s entertainment might instead save some poor person from death, blindness, or chronic and severe pain. If we believe that, in our treatment of these poorest people, we are not acting wrongly, we are like those who believed that they were justified in having slaves.
Some of us ask how much of our wealth we rich people ought to give to these poorest people. But that question wrongly assumes that our wealth is ours to give. This wealth is legally ours. But these poorest people have much stronger moral claims to some of this wealth. We ought to transfer to these people, in ways that I mention in a note, at least ten per cent of what we earn.
What now matters most is how we respond to various risks to the survival of humanity. We are creating some of these risks, and discovering how we could respond to these and other risks. If we reduce these risks, and humanity survives the next few centuries, our descendants or successors could end these risks by spreading through this galaxy.
Life can be wonderful as well as terrible, and we shall increasingly have the power to make life good. Since human history may be only just beginning, we can expect that future humans, or supra-humans, may achieve some great goods that we cannot now even imagine. In Nietzsche’s words, there has never been such a new dawn and clear horizon, and such an open sea.
If we are the only rational beings in the Universe, as some recent evidence suggests, it matters even more whether we shall have descendants or successors during the billions of years in which that would be possible. Some of our successors might live lives and create worlds that, though failing to justify past suffering, would give us all, including some of those who have suffered, reasons to be glad that the Universe exists.”
Parfit's parents were Doctors- missionaries in China, where he was born.
Parfit didn't study Medicine.
Was he lazy or stupid or simply callous?
He was a bright workaholic who cared deeply about the suffering poor.
Yet, at the end of his life, he all but openly tells us that, from the perspective of 'what really matters', his work was worse than worthless.
How so?
The poor, not the pedants, had a moral claim upon his working time- presumably his chief resource.
His Moral Philosophy acknowledges this claim.
Moreover, Parfit was actually a moral man- surely a rarity in his field.
He did not say 'I'm doing moral philosophy not for its own sake but for the sake of the poor' because that wasn't true. Singer suggests, however, that Parfit's work cashes out as whatever would have been required had it been true. In other words, Singer's Parfit was engaged in the provision of, not 'first order' goods for the poor- like Norman Borlaug or Jack Prager- but 'second order' goods- the stock excuse of the annoying 'chugger'-  because he was either too stupid or evil to do otherwise.

Alternatively, Parfit was just a bad philosopher (his first degree was in History) ignorant of developments in Choice theory (Tyler Cowan's reason for dismissing his recent work) who ended up producing such philosophy as would have been created by someone uninterested in that discipline whose motivation was to help the poor in a second order manner.

In either case, what is interesting here is that Parfit's Moral Philosophy is self defeating iff he espouses it. 
His oneiric 'can' is orthogonal to what his lucubrational 'ought' prescribes.
An Ethical Principle which doesn't hold doing Ethics, as opposed to Philanthropy, to be the highest good is obviously self defeating because we can easily envisage a situation where the former crowds out the latter. Indeed, the only situation where such crowding out would not obtain is one where Society consists only of one human programmer and a bunch of Robots or- to take an example for which an ancient philosophical tradition exists- a Society composed of one Rabbi and a bunch of Golems whom he animates by the Principle he hold to be True.

Professors of Ethics can't be either Programmers or Rabbis unless they actually do Programming or discharge Rabbinical functions.
Does this make Derek Parfit a Golem?
Let us see what happens when we map his theory onto a purely halachic universe.
A Golem, as readers of my blog are well aware, may, if need arise, count in constituting a Minyan but only if created by one of the 'Children of Israel' as 'nolad mahud'.
But no Golem, espousing Judaism and undergoing circumcision, becomes a Child of Israel thereby.
Well, the halachah re. ab ovo circumcised Golems is v’lo l’maaseh- theoretical- in a manner necessarily orthogonal to reality. How so? Because if real, it would be 'vein morin kein'- i.e. it would forbid the very action its cognizance would otherwise enjoin.
Put simply, 'Children of Israel' is a category either from God or else is Golem gameable. 
But, by permitting only 'nolad mahud' Golems, and forbidding self-circumcisers- every Levinasian, or merely clockwork Mussar, Moses such as is his own ethical castration's asymptotic Mohel- Halachic Judaism disposed of the quaestio juris/ quaestio facti, non commutative uncertainty, or fact/value entanglement problematic for Herzl Zionism in a manner the reverse of Duhring's and therefore, as we see with increasing surprise, actually quite incentive compatible. 
The Haskalah, obedient to a Parfit's Triple Imperative, subsidise the Haredi Malthusian...
Not at fucking all.
Israel works.
Parfit's theory has a concrete model.
But one which programmatically forbade the interessement of Old Etonian gentil parfit knights- like Sir Phillip Sassoon.
England too, my England of the poor, not Parfit's of the rich, forbids his, by Suffering uncircumcised,  philanthropy.
Well, the LSE was set up for no other reason than that Parfit persons and reasons can't be Children of...
 Fex Urbis filiality such as mine;
The Lex Orbis of West Kensington's Gandhian or Gadarene swine;
Stupidity and Ignorance as Suffering's guerdon.
Dementia's, or Drunkenness', confabulations as Deep Parrhesia's gravamen.

Mine is the only Moral Philosophy commissioned by the Malthusian Poor. 
It too easily disposes of Parfit or Gentile Knights or Fellows of All Souls.
Their 'Truth' is so not nolad mahud, it can only be a meretricious 'naamam'- or Golem 'amat'.

Judge for yourself.

Consider Derek's 'Triple Theory' of Kantian Consequentialism.
'An act is wrong just when such acts are disallowed by some principle that is optimific, uniquely universally willable, and not reasonably rejectable."
Either no act is wrong or at least one act successfully implementing antagonomia (i.e. 'dissent for dissent's sake') re. this Triple Theory is wrong. This is because antagonomia can always choose to express itself as that one wrong act. But, in this case, either antagonomia is itself wrong or else there is a principle within the theory which stipulates that antagonomia be disregarded. But this means, either dissent is forbidden or ignored, 'on principle'.  Clearly this is 'reasonably rejectabe', not 'universally willable' and, if Knightian Uncertainty obtains, or Darwin, not Deuteronomy, is Schelling salient, provably non-optimific.

Reading Parfit, clearly, is a waste of time- though, no doubt, lazy antagonomics get pleasure by trolling this golem, animated only by the 'amat' (the Hebrew word for Truth) inscribed on his forehead by a stupid academic availability cascade, who yearns for some Teilhardian Omega he thinks best achievable by us not eating nice things and spending all our money on fostering a Malthusian disaster in the Third World.

Yet, now the 'alpha' has been erased from Parfit's forehead, and he is turning back to clay, re-reading Parfit is suddenly useful to non-Golems because death has made the whited sepulchre a red Adam.
How so?
Well, we only need to replace every mention of 'Consistency' in his oeuvre with 'Hannan Consistency'- in which case his faux Buddhist theory of Personal identity is false- and every mention of 'Rationality' with 'Muth Rationality'- which immediately gets rid of all his Kavka type paradoxes as well as his 'Repugnant Conclusion'- in order to reclaim this lovely bloke for our own, not barzakh, but antarabhava where he can breed, not Malthusian golems, but the myriad Adams of Apurvata capable of such truly original sins as require expulsion into and the conquest of the ever Cantor re-diagonalized Lebenwelts of ontological dysphoria.