2.1 The Problem of Definition

Copyright © ‘Reality’ Doug 2013

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To Philosopher to King by ‘Reality’ Doug is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

The quest for truth is a universal adventure and burden on the rationally strong. It is so because truth is self-consistent, structural, and vast like the universe it describes. No planet-bound mortal could have a complete understanding of The Truth. Yet, conscious mortal beings have some working understanding, or else there would be no point to our consciousnesses, and one opinion would be no better or worse than any other opinion or blissful ignorance. By working understanding I mean an understanding of truth, however flawed and incomplete, adequate for a conscious individual to employ to reliably direct some type of process to a future outcome of restrictive specificity enough to be useful.

The quest for truth is journeyed on the advancement of working knowledge. Advancement may be expansion or refinement of atomic, axiomatic, germinal suppositions or of working understandings of their extended relationships called theories. Analysis of consistency and suitability of atomic, axiomatic definitions of germinal suppositions is the raison d’être of philosophy. Analysis of consistency and suitability of theorems is the raison d’être of science. Socrates gave us the Socratic method. Thinkers of the Enlightenment gave us science. To wit lest faith forsake scrutiny and whore with vocabulary, great thinkers shared discovery of truth’s explorable nature preexistent not invented.

The Socratic method is a technique of refining an individual’s working understanding using inquiry to reveal specificity, search to discover conflicts (betraying inconsistency), and revision to resolve said conflicts. Science is a technique of discovering the truth of processes and relationships, or the body of knowledge so discovered. There is a philosophy to science necessary for its scrupulous objectivity. For a reason the highest certification a practitioner can receive is called a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Science was born as a kind of philosophy defaulting to skepticism dissuadable only by consistency of theory and, revolutionarily, reliably predictive testing. Science is philosophic inquiry, conflict search, and conflict resolution that incorporates empirical examination. Science perfects but does not entirely revise philosophy because some shades of definition are too subjective for empirical proofing. Vocabulary is critical for its own implications, some of which are subjective and thereby social. Science is treated as a social tool or master depending on the philosophy of its practitioners and believers. Occam’s razor is of the former camp, a philosophy of reductionist iconoclasm patrolling science. The math is simpler with the Sun in the center rather than the Earth.

The discovery of truth is personal, rational, progressive revision of one’s working understanding. Understanding is progressive in so far as it better conceptualizes the truth, which is evaluated by results of application (the working qualifier). The progressive correlation of opinions on truth is a general species of appraisal deferred to the next subchapter on interpretation. Firstly, a framework by which to measure progressive revision of understanding must be carefully defined and accurately appraised before meaning can be rationally assigned to opinion with objectivity enough to serve purpose, which is greater harmony with the whole truth of our existences. The Truth is universal by definition, but the perception of truth is individual.

The progress of working understanding, like the mere change of it, is the replacement of one working conception with another. Redefinition is inherent, but if the change is to necessarily bias toward progress, stability resistant to retrogression must also be inherent to the progressive process. Stability is achieved by harshly testing the fitness of redefinition. The balanced integration of revision and stability by harsh fitness testing is what makes evolution bias towards progress, again deferred, but this time to the second following subchapter on synthetic record. It may occur to the reader that properly practiced science and philosophy are evolution, again deferred, same place. What is not deferred is the necessary environment in which the progress of working understanding occurs. The growing rational consciousness hypothesizes freely and tests ideas harshly.

Rational progress of the mind promotes and eventually requires the progress of self-identity through higher orders and capacities of consciousness. The ability to meet the conditions of mental evolution is essentially what Abraham Maslow popularized as self-actualization, atop his pyramidal Hierarchy of Needs. Few reach the top. Did I mention nature tests harshly?

I have a hierarchy inspired by Maslow’s modeling of graduated development of psychological capacity. I believe it is an improvement. Maybe I will publish it before I die. I’m saving it for a more rewarding opportunity. I am a libertarian capitalist at heart, a motherfucker at imposition.

The master of progressive redefinition in the early 20th century was Albert Einstein. He won the Noble price in physics in 1921 for having explained in 1905 at the age of 26 the photoelectric effect, from experiment in which, unexpectedly at the time, a threshold of frequency not brightness (until lasers) of incident light correlates with whether or not an electric current is induced. Einstein reconceived light as discrete particles each restricted by nature to the same finite set of allowable energies. Thus, electromagnetic radiation was reconceptualized as digital energy that could in some cases be treated as an analog wave. Incredibly, Einstein solved a second scientific inconsistency in 1905 at the age of 26 by reconciling Maxwell’s equations about electricity and magnetism with classical mechanics about the motion of bodies acted upon by forces. That was his Theory of Special Relativity. After theorizing General Relativity, Einstein was faced with a structural model of the universe that was either expanding or contracting.

He balked at what he saw. He presumed the universe ought to be structurally stable, godly eternal, and added a fudge factor to counter gravity he called the cosmological constant. After Edwin Hubble empirically determined the universe was expanding in 1929, Einstein the divorcé abandoned his cosmological constant as the ‘biggest blunder’ of his life. Einstein eschewed probabilistic quantum mechanics because the unpredictability did not jibe with his belief in purposeful natural order. “God does not play dice with the world,” he protested. He also said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” His career is an instructive, well-documented history of mortal quest for truth.

Einstein was the greatest scientific mind of his day, the superlative practitioner of our most strictly objective form of inquiry. His idea of a repulsive force, the cosmological constant, has oft been revisited and could yet be (or has been) adapted to explain the accelerating expansion of the universe. After the glorious victories of his youth, his career languished in the failed search for a grand unification theory, a statement of the laws of the universe that actually work universally. Today string theorists pursue the same goal.

Perhaps God does not roll dice with the universe, but what of us? Mortal life is constantly tested in divers facets, even human judgment, however mechanically. Natural selection works. Chaotic determinism does not preclude natural selection, creative ecological destruction, or evolutionary progress any more than does parabolic ballistics, pH chemical potential, or heat capacity. Mortal endowment of free will could be supernaturally deterministic, but individuals of natural consciousness are nonetheless compelled to use it to maximal advantage. Einstein, a genius of the mathematically tractable NON-LIFE science called physics, wished for humanity, for you and me, to be ordered as he imagined contextual, lifeless nature was ordered by some sublime consciousness. What naive hubris. The average Western salesman knew more about society. As a man Einstein was (a) socialist, (b) globalist, (c) pacifist. Rebuttal: (a) Socialism fails by its definition of something from nothing as surely as the perpetual motion machine, with or without human cogs; (b) living freedom, vitality, potential, and achievement are unilaterally local; and (c) the universe was born in and ordered by unimaginable violence called the Big Bang not yet expired and still evolving. Beware the social-engineering technocrat.

The free man, the empowered man, knows that absolutes of human assertion lack godly certainty. We don’t escape ourselves save by death or mental disability. We have our useful consciousnesses and the risks and opportunities that compel us to use them. Our working conceptions operate on absolute causality in our minds, though we may synthesize intelligently to terms of probability or stupidly to mandates of crass mass epicureanism. We have causal assumption and we have expected results. We roll the dice with our choices in our circumstances, succeeding or failing, living then dying. Technocrats be damned!

We choose or backwardly inherit our assumptions, our applied absolutes. The risk of absolute specificity is necessary to leverage enough order to model causality and functionality. Einstein’s invariant for Special Relativity was a speed limit set to the speed of light in a vacuum. For General Relativity he assumed an indistinguishable equivalence of the force of gravity with the force of acceleration. The applicability of a theory is limited by the assumptions of its derivation. General Relativity does not work at the microscopic scale.

The certainty (or uncertainty) of ideas must be specified to avoid misrepresentation and misunderstanding. The thoughtful use of vocabulary makes that possible:
Axiom or Principle – An axiomatic rule upon which propositional reasoning may be erected or hung.
Hypothesis – A conjectural understanding of relationships between defined aspects of phenomena.
Theory – A working understanding of relationships between defined aspects of phenomena.
Dogma – A prescribed system of relationships between defined aspects of phenomena, typically for special political advantage disguised as general social or moral remedy.
By convention axioms tend to be more intuitively self-evident and less testable than principles. The given ‘I think’ is more properly an axiom, whereas the golden rule is more properly a principle. Hypotheses lack careful review and acceptance, whereas theories generally have passed muster, especially with a substantial peer group as per the strictly objective definition.

The distinctive principle of communism/socialism/feminism is the governmental award of something for nothing for all otherwise oppressed underachievers, thereby defining a race condition of dependency cannibalism to the ultimate finish of social self-destruction. Collectivist theories only appear to work by bankster-controlled funding that sacrifices productive peons, domestic and foreign, to pet collectivist governments. American workers have been the lowest hanging fruit, funding both sides of the Cold War. Anthony C. Sutton is the normative historian there. American investors sent their gold to Germany in the 1920’s to fund reparation payments to fund bankster profits on the War to End All Wars and to back a new German currency, the rise of Hitler, and more bankster profits. The U.S. Government sent foreign aid to Pakistan to support the Taliban fighting U.S. Marines in Afganistan. Winning the so-called Drug War would put a legion of mostly armed bureaucrats out of business.

The Ten Commandments are principles of Judaism not Christianity, the reflex defense of Cecil B. Demille’s marketing artifacts notwithstanding. The principles of Christianity are: (1) to love God with all thy ability, and (2) to love thy neighbor as thyself. The first principle is only a gentle reformulation of the first commandment supposedly promulgated by the mythical Moses. The second principle is the logically independent revision responsible for the evolutionary leap from Judaism to Christianity. Widespread principles are the DNA of societal bodies. The crux of the DNA change was the redefinition of neighbor from fellow Jew to fellow human being on the intellectually flimsy reinterpretation of And He Called(Wayyiqra)/Leviticus 19:18 and Words(Debarim)/Deuteronomy 6:4–5. Compare Deuteronomy 15:6 and 28:12–13 and realize the more things change….

Because—to the extent physical reality indulges us—perception is reality, a word of caution on defining principles is in order here. It would be easy to assert false principles based on perceptions lacking relevant facts. For example, politically correct individuals are thriving, but that fact does not truly evince that political correctness is a principle of human excellence or success. Useful idiots are doing well only because they are temporarily useful to those with Western sovereignty. Control of terminology is control of principles and frame. Some of the manipulation vocabulary from the Western establishment is: civil rights, conservative, environmentalism, federal, gay, greenhouse gas, inflation, liberal, minority, social justice, sustainability. Context is half the truth and context justifies the means. The rhetorical question of ends justifying the means is only stock shaming language disguised to be the opposite of what it actually is: intellectually barren. It’s a ball buster, but avoidable. You can judge a tree by its fruits and a principle by its consistency with facts. You can choose to act politically correct due to compelling context and save your politically incorrect soul.

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