Sunday, November 21, 2004

Philosophy

How is it that one of the central issues of philosophy, namely, the nature and existence of knowledge, is permitted to ignore the evidence of the last few millenia of human evidence?  Here's what I mean:  starting with Hume (I suppose), there has developed a silly idea in philosophy that the world around us cannot be proven to exist.  That's because we are dependent on our senses and we can't trust that our "beetle in the box" is the same as others' "beetles in the box" (this image from Wittgenstein).
 
Okay.  I don't know about your beetle and you don't know about mine. 
 
If this ambiguity were actually existing, then wouldn't there be some evidence of it?  Wouldn't it be fair to say that such a hypothesis is exceedingly unlikely (in other words, WYSIWYG) if there were exactly zero evidence that supported it?
 
Now, cast your mind back to the Stone Age.  Warrior seeks food.  Warrior sharpens stone.  Warrior attaches sharpened stone to stick.  Warrior hurls stick at animal.  Animal appears to die.  Animal appears to provide meat to Warrior and his descendants.  This is replicated millions of times.  How do I know?  Because, unless you are willing to posit that what you're reading is an illusion created by your imagination and your imagination only, then we have evidence that the phenonemon is the noumenon. 
 
End of discussion

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Constitutional Amendment

The current controversy about the Marriage Amendment is interesting. But, maybe, it doesn't go far enough. In the third debate, President Bush explained that the reason for the amendment was (in part) to stultify activist judges who want to take a minority view in, say, Massachusetts and foist it onto the good folks of Ohio. The Marriage Amendment would presumably prevent that. But why stop there? Why not an amendment that actually restricts the judges from deviating from original intent. My first thought was to say something like "The Constitution shall be interpreted in accord with the intent of the Framers as expressed in the Federalist Papers. [and other preexisting documents]. Any decision to the contrary shall be inoperative." This is just the first thoughts. There must be a way to say it that would work.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Easy Rider

Kerry said (and I paraphrase), it's important to come together, to unite. And, but the way, if I had an inkling that there was a snowball's chance in hell of winning Ohio, I'd have litigated it until the day I died. The crodocile tears aside, his performance was pathetic. I was prepared to be sympathetic for his struggle, after all, he did have to suffer the horror of false expectations created by the idiotic exit polls. [Aside: if the pollsters can screw up horserace polls throughout the fall by manipulating the "internals," the proportion of this group and that group to be included in their sample, why couldn't they have done that for the exit polls? 59% women?] And, of course, no one has offered an answer to the $64,000 question: how could ten people, let alone 50,000,000 of 'em, vote for a guy with no idea how to govern, with a plan to turn tail in a war, with a plan to completely screw up the economy with cockamamie tax ideas and nutty healthcare ideas? S*x and dr*gs and rock 'n roll.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The nature of the race

Last night, on Halloween, I invited a long-time friend to share the task of giving out candy.  He told me that he had been walking the precincts of South Lansing (Michigan) on behalf of Kerry. 
 
At one house, he misspoke his mission to the elderly owner, accidentally saying that he was there representing Bush, instead of Kerry. 
 
The old lady replied, "If you're for Bush, get off my property."
 
A week ago, I was visited by two old crones with clipboards.  I was busy and brushed them off.  The returned the next day, during my preparation for dinner (roast pork loin, yum).  I snatched up a potato and the peeler and went to the door, begging their indulgence because I was busy.
 
It was a white lie; I knew that they were Kerry supporters (Moveon.org, officially).  But I didn't see the point in causing a ruckus on my front steps.
 
Their side:  incontinent Bush hatred;  our side:  misplaced consideration.
 
I hope our side shows up tomorrow.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Unified Theory?

Fred Barnes is on to something about the nature of the political/cultural debate in America. He says that there is one reason that explains all of the activities of a particular group of partic -- I mean people. I've been under the impression that science was also interested in a "grand unified theory" that could explain gravity, the behavior of light, the nature of magnetism, and the amount of energy discernible in atomic particles. For years, I thought the reason for all things leftish, dovish, multisexual and countercultural was the eternal Sunday-morning hang-over caused by the 1960s. And I still think much can be explained by reference to that most gruesome of decades. This analysis needs some more IQ.