Philosophy and Science

I recently had a reader post on one of my Facebook threads:
 "Unfortunately, my mind doesn't work like a scientist's. I studied English Lit and Philosophy. Philosophers can pontificate without having their hypotheses tested for correctness."
There are several things here that need to be addressed: Science, Philosophy, hypothesis, and hypothesis testing.  I have participated in discussions where essentially the same phrase finds a way into the conversation. It shows some common misunderstanding of how "intellectuals", "academics", or "scientists" think about reality. Scientists *are* philosophers and therefore their minds *do* operate in the same manner as the mind of a Philosopher, by definition.

Philosophical ideas  *are* rigorously tested for correctness. A person who  pontificates without testing his ideas is not engaged in philosophy, at all. These people pontificate, they are *not* "philosophizing" and I don't care what their degree is in or whether or not they are full professors in a philosophy department. Maybe what is needed here is a clear explanation of what constitutes philosophy? Philosophizing (doing philosophy) is the act of creating a model of reality; the word philosophy is often used to describe the intellectual model of reality constructed by philosophizing.

Scientists *are* philosophers. It is only recently that people have started separating out science from philosophy. Others can if do this if they like, but I do not. Philosophy has to do with 'reality' in all of its manifestations. For example your own ideas, emotions, and thoughts are part of this grand 'reality', so is mathematics and physics. People may have stopped thinking of science as philosophy because it was so successful; it took the spotlight and reduced the rest of philosophy to small academic corners in our universities. This is *not* progress; it is sad. Science is philosophy that addresses the physical and *repeatable* world.

Science deals with things that we can repeat, nothing else really. We do experiments that we can repeat in in order to test the "null hypothesis". That is, we attempt to prove that the idea is *wrong* as it is impossible to prove that an idea is correct. I mean that. It is impossible, theoretically, to prove an idea is correct; it *is* possible to demonstrate that it is wrong. This is how scientists makes progress concerning our knowledge of the physical world.

The rest of philosophy deals with things that are not repeatable. For instance, people think that the study of the origin of the universe is science; for all *practical* purposes the universe is not a repeatable phenomenon subject to experimentation. The study of universe is called cosmology and although it uses some of the tools that are considered 'science' it is not science but it is philosophy, important philosophy. I know that this is a bit "technical" but the point is important for understanding how we pick the world apart in order to understand it. So this thing that we call a "hypothesis" is really only applicable to the "science" part of philosophy.

So how do the other philosophers, the ones that deal with more ephemeral topics such as logic or law deal with 'testing' their ideas? These are not the sort of thing that one can test physically so how do we separate the bad ideas from the good ones? We use consistency. If a system of thought, "Law" for instance, is internally inconsistent, it is considered as incomplete or impracticable. Much of the work in philosophy (thought) is in locating and fixing the inconsistencies and finding and filling the holes (completeness).

When I evaluate what people are saying, I look for internal inconsistencies, contradictions and completeness. When I find an internal inconsistency, I know that the idea is not viable. We *define* what is viable by that which is consistent with itself and the world that it fits into. This does *not* mean that it is correct. It means that it has the *possibility* of being correct. When I find an area the seems applicable but it is not covered in the philosophical structure, I attempt to patch the hole so that what would logically be covered in the concept is covered in the idea structure.

Sorry about the 'lecture' but this stuff is important. I hope that what I have said makes sense to you. Correctness for a philosopher means internal consistency, completeness and conformance to that which is observed. It is highly rigorous and subject to intense testing. More intense scrutiny than perhaps any other human activity. It deal with how we think.


Reality, a Fantasy

The image, by the way comes from a pretty good article that has not much to do with what my point is here. It is a great article that makes a different point concerning reality: one that is not at all inconsistent with what I am saying here. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/virtual-reality-could-it-revolutionise-higher-education. 

"Reality" is for all practical purposes, something that our brains build entirely within our heads. In this sense it is a fantasy. It may be based on real experience, but it is a fantasy nonetheless.

The construction of a 3-D model is one of the primary functions of our brains; it does this so that we might move through space and time too. All animals do this too. It is an abstraction concerning the information that our bodies encounter with the five senses. That's it, just five things. From color patterns and smells and sounds and tastes and physical contact, all independent of one another and all coming into our brains on different channels at different times. Sometimes sensory data relates to one another, sometimes they do not. Sometimes they do and we miss the relationship entirely and sometimes they do not relate at all but we think that they do. It is a big job, a huge job; and the model that the brain puts together I call a Reality Model or just Reality for short.

Every individual has a different Reality which, is constructed from the memories of what we have stored about our experiences, not the experiences themselves. Not only that, but we only remember a very small number of the things that we observe and experience. Our brains choose what to remember based on its Reality Model and the strength of the emotion associated with the input.

We each have different memories: therefore the reality space in which one person manages is not at all the same reality space that another person lives within. All of this is completely unconscious. We have no conscious control over the process. Some people are more fearful than others; it is not a choice. Some people frame people as lazy and stupid, some frame them as productive and smart. The words lazy and productive, of course, mean nothing outside of comparison and who easier to compare with but ourselves.

The stories that others tell us and the things that other people point out to us are also important in the construction of our personal Reality. I did not discover by myself that light can be broken apart into a rainbow; it was pointed out to me and has since become part of my reality. People pass their observations to other people so that other person might experience the same 'reality' as they do and in such they construct what I call Communal Reality.

My favorite story illustrating the point comes out of the Internet, of course. It is true in the sense that this is what happens as people interact with each other but it is probably not true in the sense that this probably never happened; it is a story to illustrate a concept. Every person experiences these types of interaction every single day, provided that they are not in solitary confinement.

A friend, who worked away from home all week, always made a special effort with his family on the weekends. Every Sunday morning he would take his 7-year old granddaughter out for a drive in the car for some bonding time. Just he and his granddaughter.

One particular Sunday however, he had a bad cold and really didn't feel like being up at all. Luckily, his wife came to the rescue and said that she would take their granddaughter out. When they returned, the little girl anxiously ran upstairs to see her grandfather.

"Well, did you enjoy your ride with grandma?"
"Oh yes, PaPa" the girl replied, "and do you know what? We didn't see a single dumb bastard or lousy shit head anywhere we went today!"

So what is the difference driving to school with Grandpa vs grandma? Well, with grandma they don't pass through a world of idiots and lazy people and drunks; they pass through a world of hardworking handsome boys and flowers. The realities really are different even though they take the same streets in the same town.

What people see and how they behave and what they show others is determined by their Reality Model. All Reality Models are incomplete and all reality models are fraught with errors. Maybe we should compare notes to forge something that works well? Maybe not. Maybe we should take the traditional approach and kill all those that have Reality Models that conflict with our own. Your choice Conservatives and Liberals, your choice readers.

The Trump Card. A Description of Reality.


Take a look at Trump's nominations for the highest levels of government. Virtually every appointment is someone that detests the Agencies that they are to manage. Why? Because their job is to destroy the "effectiveness" of those agencies, that is if they are not successful in actually dismantling the agencies in their entirety. Trump's reality is one in which the most ideal society is one that is run by those people that control the world distribution of resources (Exxon, Monsanto, Alibaba, Gazprom, Glencore, etc.). For Trump, a democracy is absurd. Trump *would be* a follower of Ayn Rand, that is, if he read at all. Trump's reality does not include books. He is functionally illiterate. At least that is what *he* has said.

How in the world can a complex society be governed by people that do not understand how the economy works? They can't ... *if* ... one's concept of governmental function is to aid the good guys in building a perfect world and stopping the bad guys from damaging the effort. Bad guys should not be voting. The success of said society is measured by the amount of profit made. Ones "importance" to society is directly related to the amount of resources/cash that they control. It makes no sense to Trump nor to his supporters nor to the Republican Party that anyone *but* the 1 percent should be *allowed* to determine the rules by which society is managed.

The first rule of this new 'elite' is that there are *no rules* for the good guys whose job it is to fight evil (them). The very first action that the new Congress took was to attempt to abolish the Ethics Committee. Rules are to be applied to control the evil nature of those that *call themselves* Homo sapiens, but are not really quite there yet. One must free the good guys (them) to create a wonderful society and one must control the "less gifted" (the rest of us) with laws to stop us from damaging society. Rules do not apply to them because they are working for good. Rules only apply to the evil ones to stop them from destroying society.

Jess Session's nomination for Attorney General is particularly instructive. Sessions is one of the most virulent racists in American politics and has been for his entire career. His appointment speaks loudly to Trumps desire to make sure that the disruptions caused by the "less enlightened" be controlled. There is ample evidence that Trump *believes* in his heart and soul that the reason that American has been successful is because the "white race" (yes, I know that there is no such thing) has a more effective reality model (genetically superior) than the "other races" and that the "almost humans" are trying to take over governance, which would result in the destruction modern civilization (built by them, of course). The unenlightened must be stopped from doing this, for the good of humanity. Jeff Sessions has been working for this his entire life. He is the best able to manage the systems that were designed to stop the bad guys from damaging his country. He is the best qualified for this task. Trump has indeed found the best man for the job.

Property values fall when "non-whites" move into a upper class neighborhoods (White neighborhoods) . This is a clear indication to Trump) that non-whites, if left to their own devices will damage the economic structures that he has worked hard to create. He has personally denied non-whites housing in units that he controls. He has said clearly that many of Americas economic woes, derive directly from immigrants. He probably does not see this as racism or hatred of non-whites; it is an economic fact, so it cannot possible be racist. He loves non-whites, they can't help it if they are not equipped to be fully human. He feels sorry for them but still, he must control them from damaging society. He has ample evidence that they, in fact, do damage society ... as *he* envisions it.

Unfortunately Trump thinks that *his* vision of society and the vision of his friends (Putin, for example) is the only *real* and accurate description of "reality". The rest of us are either uninformed, misinformed, uneducated, lying for our own benefit, or outright evil ... in that order of escalation. He *does* give his opponents the benefit of the doubt; he starts the enlightenment process by assuming the person who disagrees is just "uninformed". Magnanimously Trump will attempt to help the poor fool. Total failure to "educated" the deluded soul will result in the "evil" label. One is *obliged*, by all morality and good sense, to eliminate evil, by whatever means possible; it is his job, at least as he perceives it. The use of vengeance, torture, and deadly force are tools to be employed in the eradication of the evil that will destroy society as he envisions it. At least that is what *he* has said.

The justice system must therefore, be specifically tailored, to treat each level of society differently, *if* the good guys are to win this battle for the benefit of the human race. Full privilege is only to be given to those that are fully aware (real humans, not those that just look, on the surface to be human, blacks, for example). Traditionally this means rich white folks, the ones that actually understand how the system must be structured for it to be successful. Practically speaking, this means those that agree with them. They don't appreciate me, for example. Jeff Sessions is the man with the proven track record to do the job. This is why he was nominated.

Trump has been appointing the top White Supremacists and Racists in the political world to the very top positions in his future administration. He is appointing people to deconstruct many of the social systems that have taken 200 yr to develop. He is appointing the 0.1 percent to govern the country. He said that is what he was going to do before the election and he is doing it. His campaign promise was to dismantle the political control of economic and legal structures as they exist.

To some readers, it may seem that I am being dramatic and exaggerating. I am not. What Trump and the American people have done is dramatic; I am just describing it. All that I am doing is presenting a coherent Reality Model that might explain behavior that I have observed. Everything that I describe within this reality model has been openly debated and discussed on the House and in the Senate floors and in the editorial pages of both major and minor newspapers throughout the country for the last 200 years. No, I am not exaggerating, at all. Go look for yourselves.

Americans just elected an illiterate man to be the President of the most powerful and dangerous country on the planet. He himself has stated that he has not read a book his entire adult life. Let that sink in. The man cannot read and does not see the importance of reading and he controls the most powerful and aggressive military on the planet. *Seventy five* percent of the American people have no real objection to this. "Hey let's give him a chance."

There is an virulent intellectual/emotional pathogen that is ravaging the US population at the moment. Maybe it has always been present and modern technology has allowed it to grow and/or allows us to see it for the first time? I don't know, probably. American Culture is in very deep shit and the sharks have already begun to circle. Oh well.

"Belief kills thought: fact is different than opinion: thinking is different than feeling."

 Read the letter Coretta Scott King wrote opposing Sessions’s 1986 federal nomination