Showing posts from November, 2017

Single causes come first...

and general causal laws are derived from them:

"I maintain that the Hume programme has things upside down... Singular causal claims are primary. This is true into senses. First, they are a necessary ingredient in the methods we used to establish generic causal claims. Even the methods that test causal laws by looking for regularities will not work unless some singular causal information is filled in first. Second, the regularities themselves play a secondary role in establishing a causal law. They are just evidence -- and only one kind of evidence is that -- that certain kinds of singular causal fact have happened." -- Nancy Cartwright, Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement, p. 2

An orgy

“The advancement of science and the rationality of politics are interwoven in a social process that, in the perspective of a more distant future, will probably appear as the greatest power orgy in the history of mankind.” -- Eric Voegelin, “The Origins of Scientism”

Java install bleg

I installed the newest MacOS, and per usual, it wiped out all Apple developer tools I had installed, as well as Java. (Query: why doesn't Apple notice if the developer tools are installed on the old OS, and conclude, "Hmm, he probably wants those again"?)

In any case, I seemed to get Java re-installed (twice now) and the test that everything is OK runs fine, but then an hour or two later, I get...

Clicking "More Info..." just brings me right back to the same install page I've been through twice already.

Any ideas on what could be happening?

The individual of methodological individualism...

is a modern invention:
Prince Modupe of the So-so tribe says that at the turn of the century in Africa, “Any destiny apart from the tribe was, of course, beyond the limits of either imagination or intuition. It was as un­thinkable as that one of the bright orange legs of a milli­pede should detach itself from the long black body of the creature and go walking off by itself.”[9]

Chief Luther Standing Bear reports that a Lakota “could not consider himself as separate from the band or nation…to cut himself off from the whole meant to lose identity or to die.”[10]

Alexis de Tocqueville emphasizes that in premodern Europe an “aristocracy link[ed] everybody, from the peasant to the king, in one long chain.”[11] Jacob Burckhardt, the great scholar of the Italian Renaissance, explains that during the Middle Ages a “man was conscious of himself only as a member of a race, people, party, family, or corporation.”[12] If I were born in Medieval Europe, I would have understood myself as a part …

Re-marketing anarcho-capitalism

Mr. Karaoke sent me the following:

Of course, I think Peterson's point is good -- we can't do without government -- and it illustrates how "ancap defense agencies" should be re-marketed by their advocates: here is a better form of government: it is a sort of extreme federalism, with multiple, overlapping jurisdictions associating in loose federations.

That might indeed be a better form of government than we have now: we'd have to try it and see!

But it is a form of government.

Which we need, since, as Peterson notes, we have to reach some agreement on the rules for social interaction. E.g., can one, per Walter Block, pry a falling person's fingers off of one's balcony or shoot a kid who wanders onto one's property to retrieve a ball, or per Roderick Long, are those responses dis-proportional to the intrusiveness of the initial property rights violation? To debate such questions is to engage in politics. And that can't be done away with withou…

The primacy of the concrete

"God has no need for general ideas; that is to say, he never experiences the necessity of grouping a great number of similar objects under one heading so as to think more comfortably... General ideas do not bear witness to the strength of human intelligence but rather to its inadequacy..." -- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

The NP Turkey

We have a real problem this Thanksgiving:

"With a big turkey, you start running into some big problems. It takes longer to thaw if it's frozen and then exponentially longer to cook."

This means that if your 8-pound turkey cooks in 4 hours, your 16-pounder will take perhaps 1000 hours, and your 28-pounder is going to be in the oven for maybe 30,000 years.

We need to solve P = NP? fast, so that we can see if there is a polynomial-time way of cooking our birds!

On the way to the banquet...

There was an entrepreneur, Elon, a great creative genius, who, having made his fortune, retired to a manor high on a hill overlooking a small town. He went there to have peace and quiet in his retirement, but nevertheless he had a number of interactions with the townspeople, and grew quite fond of them. He knew that most of them were not wealthy, and so he decided to throw a great banquet for them, and demonstrate to them his affection. He sent out the invitations, and everyone from the town said they would come.

In the days leading up to the banquet, Elon planned an evening that would shower the townspeople with the best of everything: He hired top chefs from around the world to prepare dishes for them beyond compare. He scoured the world for the very finest wines, and laid up bottle after bottle of the those vintages for them. He hired a troupe of dancers and musicians of the highest caliber to create a magical performance that would leave them enchanted.

On the day of the banquet,…

Recognition of the upcoming train wreck...

No, Deneen is not a reactionary fantasist...

and no, he does not deny liberalism's accomplishments:

"First, the achievements of liberalism must be acknowledged, and the desire to 'return' to a preliberal age must be eschewed. We must build upon those achievements while abandoning the foundational reasons for its failures. There can be no going back, only forward." -- Why Liberalism Failed, p. 182

This passage highlights a danger I noted in Oakeshott on Rome and America: while for several centuries Romans simply respected and followed the mos maiorum, the way of the ancestors, when their traditions began to break down, there arose a brand-new traditionalist ideology. Whereas previously Rome's traditions had been followed in an organic way, one which allowed them to also be organically modified, once they began to break down, a faction arose demanding that those traditions be turned into rules, and that those rules must be followed without deviation (and thus without allowing any organic response to chan…

The Noble Lie of Liberalism

"The 'Noble Lie' of liberalism is shattering because it continues to be believed and defended by those who benefit from it, while it is increasingly seen as a lie, and not an especially noble one, by the new servant class that liberalism has produced... But liberalism's apologists regard pervasive discontent, political dysfunction, economic inequality, civic disconnection, and populist rejection as accidental problems disconnected from systemic causes, because their self-deception is generated by enormous reservoirs of self-interest in the maintenance of the present system." -- Patrick Deneen, Why Liberalism Failed, p. 180
Deneen makes a particularly important, and often misunderstood, point in the above quote: often, when it is pointed out that it is in the self-interest of commentator X to take view Y, someone will respond, "No, I am sure that X really believes Y!" But that response misses the point: when it is in our self-interest to believe Y, very…

To RIng in the New Millenium...

It turns out Rob Dodson and I published this, a nice piece I had completely forgotten!