The Immorality Of Platonism (Riffing Off A Critic)

(important piece)

–“The word ‘operationalise’ is a mantra for you. I understand many things without being able to operationalise them, such as how to use English, how to ride a bicycle, etcetera . But it’s important to pint out that most of our understandings are incomplete – and sometimes for insuperable logical reasons. Understanding a scientific theory is never complete. It’s information content ( that set of statements that it logically excludes) is infinite and thus cannot be completely grasped by any mind. For example , newtons theory contradicts Einstein’ and therefore each is part of the information content of the other . It would be silly to require Newton to know this, and ipso facto silly to have required him to operationalise his understanding of his own theory. The point is understanding is much more than making operations.”–


(a) operationalizing, demonstrating, constructing, using as instrument, each of these terms implies action in time. Each is is a test of whether something can exist or not; and whether something is loaded or not; and whether something is obscured or not.

(b) There are many things I can do, but there are many things I should not do. I should not shout fire in a theater. And my question is whether it is moral, once understood, given that plantonism produces such externalities as it has, to refer to platonic NAMES as extant, rather than as names of functions for the purpose of brevity (and possibly comprehension.)

I dont so much care about what one does in one’s bedroom, or in one’s math department, as I do about the construct of moral argument and law. However, since math is the gold standard of the logics (despite being the simplest of them), and contains the same errors, mathematical philosophy is useful in demonstrating the problem in a more simplistic domain. If such an error can occur in math (it does), then of course it can happen anywhere (it does).

(c) In response to your question above, I would have to understand the meaning of “understand” as you use it.

If you can ride a bike you can demonstrate it, whether you can articulate it or not. You understand how to RIDE. And it’s observable that you can ride.

You can think without articulating it, and I an observe (and test via turing) that you appear to be thinking.

But you would have to tell me how ‘understanding’ applies to abstract concepts like a large number (which you cannot imagine except as a name) or the square root of two, or, infinity. Both of which are concepts that you can use, but not understand.

Because you can fail to use something. You can USE something even if you do not know how to construct it. You can construct something. You can possess the knowledge of how to construct something.

But understanding of use is different from understanding of construction. And one must make different claims depending upon which of them one is referring to.

You can say you understand how to USE something, but you may not in fact understand how to construct it.

This lack of understanding (constructive vs utilitarian) places constraints upon your truth claims. Just as it places limits upon the math (which consists of proofs) and logic (which consists of proofs) but both of which may or may not correspond to reality – and instead only demonstrate internal consistency. In other words, internal consistency is a demonstration of internal consistency but it is not a demonstration of correspondence.

Given a distinction between internal consistency and external correspondence, which is a higher standard of truth? What does internal consistency demonstrate and what does correspondence with reality demonstrate?

What is the difference between that which is BOTH internally consistent and externally correspondent, and that which is EITHER internally consistent OR externally correspondent?

(c) I am hardly scorning scholarship given that it’s pretty much what I do: read all day. But demonstrating the point that one can ride a bike and show me that he can, and one can conduct an argument and show me that he can, or one can say he can ride a bike, and one can say he can conduct an argument.

But demonstration is a property of correspondence, which is a higher standard of truth than internal consistency. Because GENERAL RULES that are used for internal consistency come at the sacrifice of external correspondence – almost always because contextual correspondence provides greater precision (information) than does general rule independent of corespondent context.

(d) Mathematics is quite simple because it is used to describe constant relations. It can describe more variation than the physical universe can demonstrate (which is both advantageous and a weakness). Economics does not consist of constant relations so that mathematics is of less use in predicting the future because those relations are not constant.

Now, there is a great difference between internally consistent disciplines ( logic and math) and externally correspondent (science and economics). Mathematics and logic contain statements that are internally consistent yet not externally correspondent. Science and economics prohibit these statements. In those circumstances where there is a conflict, which is true?

Furthermore, if something can be described in terms of correspondence why does one describe it in terms of internal consistency, except to create a general rule, through the loss of information provided by the context?

(e) Now, the open questions apply to all of the logics: I can logically deduce general rules from the names of those functions that are incalculable and impossible (which is why mathematicians wish to retain the excluded middle, and require the axiom of choice). So why should I be prohibited from the logic of the excluded middle and the axiom of choice, when doing so comes at the cost of my ability to create general rules independent of context? Why should I be prohibited from using these deductive tools if their only purpose is to covert the analog (precision in context) to the boolean (general rule independent of context)?

And the answer is, that of course, these “named functions” are entirely permissible for the purpose of creating and deducing general rules. These general rules demonstrably apply in a multitude of contexts.

But just as calling fire in a theatre, or telling a lie, or stealing does in fact ‘work to achieve one’s ends’ that does not mean that it is moral to do so, because by such action, one externalizes the cost of one’s efficacy onto others (society).

We do not permit theft. We do not permit fraud. We do not permit privatization of the commons. We resist privatizations of even the normative commons, and we try to resist socialization of losses. So, therefore why should we not resist efficacy in a discipline if it likewise produces externalities?

Because that is what immorality and morality mean: the prohibition on the externalization of costs.

Now, one could say that we should all have the right to pollute equally. One could say that we have the right to lie equally. One could say that we have the right to create obscurant language equally. One could say that we have the right to create Religious (magical) language equally. One could say that we have the right to create platonic language easily. Because in each of these circumstances, the utility to the users is in obtaining a discount on the cost of action, over the cost of NOT engaging in pollution, lying, obscurantism, mysticism, and platonism, because each is a form of theft from others for the purpose of personal convenience.

So if you deny that one can use the falsehood of induction, or the falsehood of religion, or the falsehood of lying for utilitarian purposes, then why are you not equally prohibited from using the falsehood of infinity, and imaginary existence?

Or are you selectively immoral when it suits you?

This should be a sufficient description of the relatedness of fields once they are united by morality. And that is the purpose of philosophy: comprehension that facilitates action by providing a framework for criticism of ideas.

It should be sufficient for anyone with any philosophical or logical training to at least grasp.

It should also be obvious that you will not be able to circumvent this argument.

Thus endeth the lesson.

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