Protected: Recent thought-sicles of late

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Stratovarius – Against the Wind

Hmm, getting better, Timo…

Words & Music by Tolkki/Kotipelto

Once again I try to make things work
facing all the power of society
Searching all the answers of the life
Ill never make it on my own

Was I meant to fail everytime
Seems to me thats my destiny
Is this all thats left to me
Confusion and bad memories

But now my time has come
No more running in the dark
I want much more than this
I really want it all

Against the wind we run
to every place under the sun
Weve got so much power inside
We will never give up
Against the wind we go
towards the new shore
together well forget the sorrow
its forever gone

Michael (submitted 22.12.2007)

The “Lewis proviso”: thoughts on the role of metaphysics and the possible role/relation concerning mathematics

David Lewis has a phrase which goes something like “we [as philosophers] should be on the side of physics, but not take sides within physics”.

 This is a very noble and difficult position to have; but face it; we will be dead in a hundred years, and scientific developments will continue as always. My eye is on Kant here; Kant’s transcedental aesthetic fails because of a little thing called non-euclidean geometry. Kant believed that our belief that space was infinite and boundless is a priori necessary…hmm, ‘fraid not Immanuel.

Despite this; I think metaphysics is very important; and we need to accomodate for scientific developments as much as we can. Metaphysics isn’t science (contrary to some philosophers in my department); but the two are supposed to depict the same world of experience (metaphysics of a world of experience? That would sound absurd to many!)

Let me give a paradigm case in Mathematics:

We grant that some of the oldest platitudes in mathematics are true; like Pythagoras Theorem; or (almost entirely all of) Euclid’s elements; yet during the time these mathematical truths were thought of and agreed upon, they believed in superstitious absurdities, socially deleterious nonsense and things which are just plain false! Pythagoras the philosopher may have been wrong; Leibniz the philosopher may have been wrong. But Leibniz the Mathematician, Newton, the Mathematician, Pythagoras the Mathematician…were hitting on a reality so beyond their contemporamous knowledge of empirical science and theoretical physics that they went beyond knowledge and hit upon the realm of indisputable truths and platitudes; the so-called “book” that Erdos referred to. [Destre]

Perhaps Destre has just shot me in the foot; Destre referred to Mathematics as the paradigm science of reason over experience…NOT metaphysics. Destre sometimes suggests there isn’t a real different; or rather, that one should survive, and not the other…and he doesn’t think mathematics is ever going to die…

I’m optimistic that metaphysics is possible. Kant (rightly) points out the thirst for knowledge that humans have, so thirstful that we are too pretentious for our own good to even come close to fulfilling those pretentions. The Kantian programme I am okay with; despite that; I think the Lewis Proviso should assert two things

  1. The independence of Metaphysics from Empirical Science
  2. The openness of Metaphysics to be refined or not contradict, or not make assertions regarding the domain/discourse of Empirical science

But here are some hard questions I can’t answer:

  1. Is metaphysics superior to mathematics?
  2. Is mathematics a reduction of metaphysics to its fundamental primitives?
  3. What is the relation to metaphysics and logic; and better still; metaphysics to mathematics? (corollorary question: mathematics and logic)
  4. Kant’s ultimate question: Is metaphysics possible?

These are all hard questions


Sad News in Pakistan

I’m not as worldly a man as I should be; but many of you readers will know more about the Pakistan situation than I do; I understand that Musharraf has declared Martial law about a month or so ago; and there are civil problems. Destre reminds me of the Greek word for “civil strife”; and the reforms of Solon, Peisistratos, and Cleisthenes…Archons…Areopagites.

It is sad to hear about Bhutto; this has made a bad situation worse. The Christmas period is normally a time for Christians to think about improving themselves; reminding themselves about the forgiveness that Jesus gave humanity by his death.

Times are difficult in the world; and times will get harder still.

I hope things improve in Pakistan; and international relations wider.


Stratovarius – Future Shock

This is a terrible video…

I saw it in a dream the day that changed our history
I still can hear the screams swear it was no mystery
In the heat of the blast Houses fell down into the ground
This happened so fast Mankind disappeared without sound.

Now the world lives in shadow of atomic fear
Can we win the fight for peace or will we disappear?

Future Shock

I saw it on the screen The day that changed our lives and history
There goes our dream Nuked into the sky dont know why
In the heat of the blast Watch the beauty of the mushroom cast
It wont take long You wont live till the end of this song
now the …  

Michael (submitted 22.12.07)

The Scarcity Gap


Among my intellectual and cultural heritage; which includes Catholicism and Christian Theology; Early-Modern and Analytic philosophy; Classical (and Romantic) period music and ideology; black comedy; and certain discourses of difference…I also have a certain social theory tradition on my back which strives to be critical; ideological; and foremost: forward thinking in improving society.

A post was made by Antisophie []; and Sinistre provoked me to do a joint post. A certain utopian or Imaginary Reconstitution of Society [cf. Levitas] method has inspired these thoughts in Areopagus, but have also been around in social theory, literature, and even (continental) philosophy for a while.

The context 

1. If we are going to improve thigns in society; we must understand its processes

2. One thing we realise is that we have a finite quantity of resources that are applied to satisfy human needs and desires

3. The ‘Gap’ exists between the desires and needs we have, and the resources available to attain them.


I should emphasise this: this is NOT my area of expertise in any sense; but coming across this in my upbringing, it is important to remind myself, and to awaken these thoughts in my readers. Some ways we can apply solutions to the problem is firstly to define the problem; and then types of solutions.

DefN: The scarcity gap is the problem where a void exists when we have a set of desires and needs, and a stretch to meet said desires/needs by virtue of our available resources.

Solution 1: COCKAYGNE: assume technology will somehow find an answer, or we exhaust our current resources to satisfy our desires; the only thing that changes is (if anything at all); our technologies that manipulate resources, and NOT our consumption patterns.

Solution 2: ARCADIA: change our own attitudes towards resource usage, and our own moral character, and change resource usage and management. The leaning of this tendency is to be as ascetic as possible; soak up as much oil as you can for as much time as you can use it, for example.

I’m going to end the post prematurely here; so maybe we can provoke discussion


P.S. Hope you had a Merry Christmas…we are thinking of you, Destre