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Class 1 of 3 – Graduate Course In Epistemology – Taught Via Economics (Jared Howe)

 

(profound)

Jared, (All),

I should get an award for being the most patient teacher of petulant youth. But I admire your persistence. So lets exercise your brain a bit. Maybe you have the stuff. Here is a graduate course in epistemology.

So, let’s keep trying. Lets translate Kantian Rationalism into scientific and testimonial speech.

I’m going to teach epistemology by using economics in order to repair much of the damage that has been done to epistemology by the Platonists(mathematics), and the Rationalists (Kant etc), and the Analytic Philosophers (Just about all of the 20th century).

*Reality consists of a limited number of actionable dimensions and by using economics we are able to include all of them, and therefore avoid the errors that the platonists, rationalists, and analytics have introduced into philosophy.

“DEFINITIONS AND SERIES”

1) Empirical:
Based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic. “From Observation”.

2) A Priori:
“independent of observation.”
There are three dimensions to claims of a priori truth claim:
i) Aprioricity vs A posteriori,
ii) Analyticity vs Syntheticity, and
iii) Necessity vs Contingency

Therefore we can produce at least the following spectrum of a priori claims.
(a) Analytic A Priori: tautological: 2+2=4 and all deductions thereof.
(b) Synthetic A Priori : Increasing money increases inflation.
(c) Necessary Synthetic A Priori: Childless women will have no grandchildren.
(d) Contingent Synthetic A Priori: “all other things being equal, as a general trend, increasing demand will increase supply, although we cannot know the composition of that supply in advance, we can identify it from recorded evidence.”

This produces a an ordered spectrum of declining precision:
(a) Identity(categorical consistency) – Analytic A Priori
(b) Logical:(internal consistency) – Nec. Synthetic a priori
(c) Empirical: (external consistency) – Gen. Synth. a priori
(d) Existential: (operational consistency) – Cont. Synth. a priori

Which corresponds to the testable dimensions of numbers.
(a) identity (numbers)
(b) logical (sets)
(c) empirical (ratios)
(d) existential (constructible)
(e) time is unaccounted for in the a priori model.

Which corresponds to dimensions of physical reality
(a) point
(b) line
(c) shape
(d) object
(e) time (change)

Which corresponds to a subset of the dimensions of actionable reality , the full set of which we express in fully express in Testimonialism as:
(a) Identity(categorical consistency)(point)
(b) Logical:(internal consistency)(line)
(c) Empirical: (external consistency)(shape)
(d) Existential: (operational consistency)(object)
(e) Volitional: (rational choice of rational actor)(change)
(f) Reciprocal: ( rational exchange between rational actors)(changes)
(g) Limited: (Limits: At what points does the description fail?)
(h) Fully Accounted: (Have all costs and consequences been accounted for – defense against cherry picking and special pleading.)

Which together account for the totality of actionable reality (by man) that we currently know of (and its quite hard to imagine anything else is possible).

DEDUCTIBILITY FROM A-PRIORI PROPOSITIONS
Ergo, while one can claim the tautological truth (the Analytic A Priori), and one can claim the ideal(logical) truth (the Necessary Synthetic A Priori), one cannot ever know the non-tautological(identity, The Synthetic A Priori), non-ideal(Contingent Synthetic A Priori ) truth, because we rarely possess sufficient information to do so.

What does this mean? It means that we can deduce from Analytic A Priori and Necessary Synthetic A Priori, but we cannot deduce from General Synthetic A Priori, or Contingent Synthetic A Priori Statements because we cannot know if such deductions are true (for specific cases).

So the problem with making a priori claims in economics is that you can say statements about statements but not about consequences in reality. You can only say ‘all other things being equal’, we should observe this effect. You cannot say, “we will always observe this effect’. Why? Because we don’t always observe such effects, and economics is rife with examples, the most commonly cited being unemployment does not necessarily increase, and prices are sticky – and for good reason.

(NOTE: Now that’s sufficiently complicated that I almost confused myself, and I might need a day away from it to make sure I didn’t screw up what someone might read into those last two paragraphs, but otherwise it’s correct.)

The innovation that menger brought to the table was to bring the principle of relative change from calculus to economics. The principle contribution of hayek was to transform transform the use of materials to the use of information as the model for all social phenomenon. The principle contribution of Popper was to bring the information model to philosophy, and in particular the philosophy of science and to model scientific investigation on a market. This followed the transition in physics from the use of electromagnetic fields to that of information. Which then brought physics and mathematics into full correspondence.

What Hayek and popper and the classicals and the keynesians all missed and brouwer in math, bridgman in physics, and mises in economics, and the entire analytic and continental movements missed was that man cannot make truth claims.

For example, we did not think the ideas of time(velocity of change), length(distance), and space(volume) varied. Einstein’s discovery was the same as mises’, brouwer’s and bridgman’s: that all our pretense of axioms are false. If our idea of length and time can be false, every other idea that is obvious to our senses and reason can be false.

The difference between economics and physics is in :
(a) volition vs determinism
(b) reciprocity vs transformation
(c) sympathetic testing of rational choice vs entropy.

THE SCIENTIFIC (UNIVERSAL EPISTEMOLOGICAL) METHOD

DEFLATION
(0) The purpose of the scientific method is to eliminate ignorance, error, bias, wishful thinking, suggestion, obscurantism, fictionalism, and deceit from our statements about reality.

DIMENSION
(1) We can make:
(a) statements about experiences(metaphysical), or
(b) statements about statements(ideal), or
(c) statements about existential properties(existential/real), or
(d) statements about existential cause and effect(change).
(e) statements about volition

CLOSURE
(2) No test of any dimension can be completed without appeal to the subsequent dimension. (ie: godel. this is profoundly important. no dimension can provide a self-test.) Ergo, all speech is deflationary.

CRITICAL RATIONALISM
(3) All descriptive propositions of existential cause and effect (change) are contingent.

CRITICAL PREFERENCE
(4) The only method of decidability between two or more non-false cause and effect propositions(change) is cost. This is a clarification of Occam’s razor. And appears to be true, for the simple reason that nature cannot but choose the least cost method, and man generally chooses the least cost method – even if we cannot know the full causal density of his considerations.

DUE DILIGENCE AGAINST IGNORANCE, ERROR, BIAS, DECEIT
(5) The only method of making a truth claim is to perform due diligence in each dimension of reality (a ‘premise’ of the consequential dimension) applicable to the cause and effect phenomenon. (ie:physical world can’t engage in rational choice, or voluntary exchanges)
Again, those dimensions are:
(a) Identity(categorical consistency)(point)
(b) Logical:(internal consistency)(line)
(c) Empirical: (external consistency)(shape)
(d) Existential: (operational consistency)(object)
(e) Volitional: (rational choice of rational actor)(change)
(f) Reciprocal: ( rational exchange between rational actors)(changes)
(g) Limited: (Limits: At what points does the description fail?)
(h) Fully Accounted: (Have all costs and consequences been accounted for – defense against cherry picking and special pleading.)

DARWINIAN SURVIVAL OF IDEAS
(6) All propositions (facts, propositions, theories) must survive the markets for criticism at the observer-mental-testing, observer-action testing, market application testing, and market survival testing. In other words, the universal epistemological method follows this lifecycle:
(a) observation
(b) *Free association* (F -> observation)
(c) test of reasonability (F -> free association )
(d) *Hypothesis*
(e) Perform Due Diligence (a-h) above. (F -> free association )
(f) *Theory*
(g) Publish to the market for application
(h) Survival in the market for application(F ->observation – of failures )
(i) *Law*
(j) Survival in the market for refutation (F-> observation – of failures)
(k) *Habituation into metaphysical assumptions*

SPECIAL CASES
7) This universal epistemological process is universal despite the fact that various results can be identified with it. Because just as we find prime numbers largely by trial and error we find special cases of statements by trial and error. But when we find these statements we have to ask ourselves what is it we are finding?
(a) Sensations: statements about experiences(metaphysical), or
(b) Logic(analytic): statements about statements(ideal), or
(c) Fact: statements about existential properties(existential/real), or
(d) Theory(Synthetic): statements about existential cause and effect(change).
(e) Morality: statements about volition
(f) Testimony: statements about the fully accounted change in state of a given instance of the statement we are making (I have a credit card report that shows John Doe, on 1/1/2018 at 4:06:32 exchanged $2.00 for a hershey’s candy bar at Don’s newspaper stand then existing on 225th and Main in Cityname.”)

EXAMPLES
The most common special cases that we find are those that are impossible to contradict at the same dimension. (a,b,c,d,e) above.
(a) Sense(Metaphysics): we cannot sense a ball is green and red all over at the same time.
(b) Logic: If I issue credit on fractional reserves, I will increase the supply of money.
(c) Fact: The differences between commodity money and note money include but are not limited to: liquidity, demand, exchange fee or interest gain, portability(weight/volume), reserve risk, vendor risk.
(d) Theory: All other things being equal, if we increase the supply of money, prices will eventually increase accordingly and lower the purchasing power of payments against debts.
(e) Morality: All other things being equal, when we force majoritarian decisions on the polity by using representative democracy, we create a monopoly out of the market for the commons, and eliminate the possibility of cooperating on means even if we pursue different ends.

ECONOMIC LEVERS
Polities can generally use this series of levers to affect the economy.
-Near Term-
(a) Monetary Policy
(b) Fiscal Policy (Spending)
-Medium Term-
(c) Trade Policy (import export policies, foreign trade policies)
(d) Regulatory/Legislative Policy (also includes price controls etc)
(e) Immigration-Deporation policy / Expand military, WPA etc.
-Long Term-
(f) Human Capital Policy (Education policy)
(g) Institutional Policy (laws, regulations, bureaucracies, institutions, banks)
(h) Strategic (military) Policy

SCHOOLS OF ECONOMICS
The schools of economics reflect the culture and class of their origins. These groups do not acknowledge that their strategies and biases are as I”ve stated them here but their research evidence states the contrary. So I have tried to provide a general Spectrum of the institutions by what I understand is their culture/class bias.

a) “Austrian / Rothbardian” (“Jewish”, Separatist) : Rule of Credit, Parasitic Optimum, Separatist / Anarchism.
+Financial Class Bias. Anti-Commons Bias.
(As far as I know, no university teaches the Jewish Austrian method.)

b) “Mason-ism” (“Anglo Libertarian”, Right ) : Optimum Rule of Law, Nash Optimum, Minimal State / Christian Monarchy
+Entrepreneurial Class Bias.
(the only University I know of using this program is George Mason.)
The “Mason-Libertarian” school places greater emphasis on maximizing the voluntary cooperation of individuals and organizations through reduction of impediments to ethical and moral cooperation.

c) “Classical” (“Chicago”, Anglo, Center Right), Rule of Law, Insured Nash Optimum, Parliamentary State / Classical Liberalism.
+Middle classes bias. (I would argue ‘not biased’)
All other things being equal, the Chicago school places greater emphasis on policy that insures against error and failure by seeking formulas and rules that investors, businesses, and consumers can predict, thereby preserving rule of law, and maintaining the prohibition on discretionary rule.

d) “Mainstream” (“Saltwater”, Center Left) : Mixed Discretionary Rule, Pareto Optimum, Social Democracy
+Working Class Bias, Consumer Bias, Female bias(anti-male bias). Minority(anti-white) bias. Underclass Bias (anti-entreprenurial bias).
All other things being equal the mainstream seeks to optimize consumption at all times, using every lever available, and favors abandoning rule of law, and adopting rule that is increasingly empirical, reactive, and discretionary.

e) “Left Mainstream” (“Saltwater”, “Jewish left”) : Authoritarian Rule, Anti-Aristocracy(War), Extractive Maximum (Predatory), Socialism/Communism
+Underclass (outsider) Bias.
This is the Krugman/Stiglitz/Delong club of leftist economists maximizing both consumption and financial extraction as a means of undermining western aristocratic civilization and western norms and traditions and rule of law.

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

–“…performative…”
You keep using terms that I don’t think you understand, which is why Kant invented those terms: to conflate the empirical and the rational. He was afraid of the anglo empirical revolution. For good reason.

—“…morality…”—
Correct. Morality (reciprocity) requires inter-agent action. So does all economic activity. Economic activity can consist of moral (reciprocal) and immoral (unequal, irreciprocal) actions. We can make a claim that statements about irreciprocal (involuntary) actions in economics are immoral or we can claim that they are false. Whether you understand it or not, Mises is saying that its false not immoral, when he says ‘it’s not economics’.

—“That you can verify something in reality doesn’t mean you need to empirically test it.”—

We cannot solve the problem of ‘all other things being equal’ in order to understand why predicted phenomenon either vary widely, or do not exist.

The neutrality of money does not appear to exist, because relative changes can propagate into various niches that absorb those changes, just like pennies being lost in landfills (so to speak).

—“I can observe that two plus two equals four but I don’t need to design an empirical test to prove it.”—

Yes but then it’s a tautology, whereas the nearly all economic phenomenon are only general rules.

—“Likewise, I can observe that minimum wages increase unemployment all other things being equal, but I don’t need to conduct an empirical test to prove it.”—

That’s just the thing, we aren’t trying to prove that it should increase unemployment, only that it turns out it that a lot of the time it doesn’t. Or rather, that the consequences of it are externalized and invisible. So where does it go? Well first it increases prices to consumers in the case of minimum wage workers it maintains employment but it prevents rotation of new workers into the economy. And the question is, is that a net gain or a net loss for everyone? Well, it’s immoral to both conduct the test, and the consequences are immoral. But does that mean the those consequences are not empirically measurable and therefore whether the policy is net beneficial? That is what economists measure.

Secondly, if we think some good is achieved through raising the minimum wage, how can we accommodate the externality of lower rotation through the job pool? For example what if raising the minimum wage prevents least common denominator service economies? (Racing to the bottom). Is that something people prefer? In other words, would you rather have better service and higher unemployment (and greater subsidies for non-performers?)

The underlying question is this: if prices are increasing profits can we capture more of that increase for hourly employees than we do for management, owners, and investors (or creditors)?

So there is no difference between increasing the supply of money in order to temporarily increase consumer purchasing power at the expense of debt-holders, and increasing the minimum wage in order to capture a rise in prices for laborers at the expense of owners and investors.

Or stated even more simply: given that economies are always changing velocities, can we redirect changes in state between participants without ‘killing the goose’ (destroying the system of production).

Well the answer is a moral one, not a logical or empirical one.

And the reason to claim otherwise is to use the false pretense of ‘unscientific’ or ‘logical positivism’ or ‘a priori’ or ‘logical contradiction’ to create a straw man as a means of preventing investigation into the science of economic immorality: economic manipulation by the forcible involuntary transfer of property between individuals.

(Which is exactly what mises and rothbard were doing: shaming via straw man using obscurantism by overloading even well intended people with half truths that when fully expressed are false.)

That’s the question people ask with these issues. No one questions if it will increase unemployment. They question the limit before it increases negative unemployment. The same as taxation. No one questions that taxation will produce declining revenues. But empirically, what is the maximum taxation that they govt can achieve before that happens – and what are the consequences.

CLOSING

Now you probably have no idea how profound this bit of text is. And I suspect you could spend a few months integrating it into your thought process. But that’s in large part, the state of the art in epistemology.

THUS ENDETH THE LESSON.
Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine

 

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