Well, I can understand, but when we make aggregate expressions of any group, say men, women, class, civilization, we are by definition speaking of distributions, right? (And did you know we can tell a great deal about a person if he or she assumes that or jumps to NAXALT?)
And when you work at the level of aggregation that we call the the cultural enlightenments, we can in fact, make truthful statements about aggregates. We can do that by analyzing the method of argument, and costs demanded by that argument, and the transfer of capital (in its broadest) sense, and from that state the group evolutionary strategy. (it may not seem so but under analysis that is what we can easily discover).
Now, if you work in those topics you work on moral literature, right? what is the purpose of moral literature? To provide intuitionistic general rules of decidability within a given context for one to a portfolio of objectives -stated or otherwise. You can, within the study of those moral literatures make your own assumption of what costs and returns are moral or immoral. I would have to ask you a series of questions about a subject you understood well in order to ascertain your moral accounting so to speak. But we can assess this of everyone this way. Or we can assess it by current political inclination as does say, Haidt.
Now, I do not work in literature, but in measurement. In mathematics we measure constant relations of constant categories. In economics we can measure changes in capital. In law we can measure conflict over property. In war we can measure conflict over interests. In group evolutionary strategies we can measure conflict by all of the above. Now, this is somewhat problematic because while in math we hold constant categories. in physics we hold constant intermediary categories (patterns, or as mathematicians say, symmetries or geometries). In economics we hold constant categories only in capital changes (of all kinds), and in some very tenuous intermediary categories (commodities for example) thanks to the commensurability of prices. In matters of conflict we can measure constant categories of torts using property of various allocations. And we can then tie the degree of precision in legal disputes to the costs and velocity of capital and study changes in capital as a consequence. In other words it is quite possible to make aggregated statements of group evolutionary strategies just as we do nations and states.
Now if we work in moral literature, we can, as I stated above, assume our own experiential measure, our own intermediary measure, our own capital measure, or our own long term capital measure (evolution competition). And we produce our own decidability at some degree along that spectrum. Where do you do so? What is your method of measurement, and what reproductive or group evolutionary strategy do you employ in that means of decidability?
I can’t guess yours but we know that people in academia self-select subject matter by intuitionistic agreement. Just as I would select something measurable rather than experiential.
Well, I do it at each point, and then compare.
There exist three methods of coercion (means of influence). Gossip/ostracization/inclusion, remuneration/bribery/exchange, violence/threat/punishment. There exist corresponding methods of rule by those methods of coercion: religion and narrative, law and punishment, exchange and credit. And they evolve in that order due to the increasing demand for precision means of influence as the division of perception, knowledge, labor,and advocacy increases. We need more precise organizational tools just as we need more precise tools at below and beyond human scale.
We need different precisions of decidability. So it is possible to write in occult, religious, mythic, literary, historical, legal, ‘scientific’, and ‘testimonial’ terms. Just as it is possible to measure in increasing levels of precision.
And meanwhile, although most prophets theologians, philosophers, public intellectuals, and politicians (and marketers), want to distribute means of obtaining discounts or premiums in exchange for cooperation: providing means of decidability in various contexts – some of us have a very different job: providing means of decidability across contexts.
That is the difference between philosophy and truth.
Philosophy within a context to rally cooperation, and truth across contexts to (a) preserve cooperation in matters of failure through restitution (b) preserve cooperation because the most useful means of predation is *words*: Ignorance, error, bias, wishful thinking, suggestion, obscurantism, fictionalism ( Theology, Pseudo-rationalism, Pseudoscience), and outright deceit. And we can distribute those falsehoods interpersonaly, to groups, by simple media, or by mass media.
So my job is natural law: decidability in matters of conflict within context, and truth, the means of decidability regardless of context. The word requires janitors and grave diggers, and the world requires those who create tests of truth.
Of violence, remuneration, and words, which is the most visible? which is the most prevalent? And by what methods did those in the enlightenment attempt to obtain their ends – continuation of their group evolutionary strategy, using the means of coercion and rule at their habituated disposal?
Next, how do we test truthful speech? Well, there are only so many dimensions to reality that humans can act within: identity, internal consistency, external correspondence, existential possibility, reciprocity (morality), full accounting (limits, parsimony, and scope).
So just as we can create mathematical expressions, logical expressions, we can create what I might call legal expressions, in a certain grammar that prohibit our ability to engage in conflation. This method of truth is often referred to as deflationary, promissory, or ‘scientific’.
So then what is that discipline we call science? The creation of instruments of measurement by which we reduce to analogy to perception, that which we cannot perceive, or that which we perceive with bias, error, and wishful thinking. And then we must launder that measurement by warranties of due diligence in all six dimensions of reality that humans can speak of. Have we done so we do not necessarily speak the truth – the most parsimonious description humanly possible – but we speak as truthfully as is humanly possible with the language at our disposal.
But in the end, we can always measure if not quantitatively but qualitatively, the changes in capital produced by our actions, norms, traditions, religions, laws, institutions, and wars. And violence is only the most visible means of preying upon one another. It is the verbal justification various pseudosciences under rule of credit that have taken the place of physical theft and harm.
Now, back to your original reaction: for various reasons the second scientific revolution taking place largely in Germany failed because of the war. But the combination of the industrial revolution, the great depression, over immigration, fiat money, speculative credit, and expanded political enfranchisement, plus the advent of mass media, made it easier to distribute the pseudoscience of Boaz, Marx, Freud, Cantor, and the Frankfurt school, to a new consumer class under the unchecked assumption of constant economic growth, and readily taken up by political parties, the academy, financial institutions, and business and industry.
The great question of this experiment (which took place int eh 20’s) was whether we were accumulating risks for short term gains, or whether we would spend down accumulated western capital in all its forms by doing so. And as of 2008 we know the answer. And as every economist and central bank in the world knows – we are out of the ability to survive the next shock.
So if, in my work, I must render a judgement I can offer a great deal of criticism of the anglos (I do daily), a little of the germans – although for relying on poetry and moral literature they seem to have done just fine; or the french, who are currently experiencing the consequences of their folly. The Russians who understand theirs – painfully. Or should I spend most of my time criticizing the victors whose thinkers brought about the current state of affairs?
I criticize everyone. The great war was equivalent to the bronze age collapse, and the Justinian plague. It’s just that the benefits of the incomplete german second enlightenment fell in our laps when
Truth is enough. It is just, like law, via negativa – uncomfortable.
The question is, what do we do about it?
And that is what I work on. I know one thing though. That it is possible to complete the scientific revolution, and the consequences of truth in social science will be even greater than the consequences in physical science.
And hopefully that is enough.