The Central Argument: Western Testimonial Truth vs Platonic Truth

(the central argument)( profound)

[T]he central argument regarding truth:

1) … is that giving witness to one’s observations, is testable by reproduction of a set of operational definitions. That operational definitions produce the equivalent of names, just as positional numbering provides quantities with names. Such names are insulated from deception, distraction, loading, framing and overloading. Theories are not. While we cannot demonstrate the absolute parsimony of a theory (that we know of), we can demonstrate that we truthfully conveyed our observations. In other words, we can testify truthfully to an ordered set of facts, even if we cannot testify truthfully to parsimony of a theory.

2) … that physical science is a narrow and special case of human activity, and popper was defining truth for that special case – a definition which is not applicable outside of the special case, and even inside the special case, he made questionable use of the term in order to retain its moral loading for purely social reasons. Justifiable social reasons, but social reasons none the less.

3) ….that it is possible to state instead that all outputs of scientific investigation are true, if they are truthfully represented – where ‘scientific investigation” refers to the use of the scientific method, regardless of field of inquiry. But that we seek the most parsimonious statement of a theory, and we can never know that we have obtained it, we can only develop consensus that we cannot cause it to fail. This is, as far as I know, the best non-platonic description of truth available. Everything else is a linguistic contrivance for one purpose or another – possibly to obscure ignorance, and possibly to load ideas with moral motivation. Scientists load their contrivance of truth, and mathematicians load their contrivance of numbers, limits, and a dozen other things – most of which obscure linguistic ‘cheats’ to give authority to that which is necessary for the construction of general rules. (ie: the problem of arbitrary precision).

4) … that popper did no investigation into science or the history of science prior to making his argument, and that as yet, we do not have a systematic account of the history of science. However, what history we do have, both distant and recent, is that science operates as I have suggested: by criticism upon failure via overextension. The reason being that it is economically inefficient (expensive) to pursue criticism rather than to extend a theory to its point of failure then criticize it. And as far as we know, this is how science works, and must work, because it is how all human endeavors must work. Because while a small number of scientists may seek the ‘truth’ whatever a platonist means, what scientists try to do is solve problems – ie: to manufacture recipes for useful cognition.

5) … that popper’s advice was merely moral given that the scale of inquiry in all human fields had surpassed that of human scale, where tests are subjectively verifiable. (I think this is an important insight because it occurred in all fields.) Einstein for example, operationalized observations (relative simultaneity for example) over very great distances approaching the speed of light using Lorenz transformations. And as Bridgman demonstrated, the reason Einstein’s work was novel was because prior generations had NOT been operationalizing statements ,and as such, more than a generation and perhaps two were lost to failure of what should have been an obvious solution. (See the problem of length, which I tend to refer to often as the best example.) I addressed this in a previous post, and what popper did was give us good advice, and while he made an argument that appears logical, like most rational arguments, unsupported by data, it is not clear he was correct, and in fact, it appears that he was not. The question is not a rational but empirical one.

6) … and I am not terribly interested in criticizing popper, any more than criticizing any other philosopher I admire, since popper unlike Misesian Pseudoscience, or Rothbardian Immoral Verbalisms, was engaged in a moral attempt both in politics and in science, and perhaps in science as a vehicle for politics, to prevent the pseudoscientific use of science – particularly by fascist and communists, to use the findings of science as a replacement for divine authority by which to command man. What popper did, particularly with his platonism, was to remove the ability for the findings of science to be used as justification for the removal of human choice. Popper, Mises, and Hayek were responsible for undermining pseudoscientific authoritarianism. Of the three popper is perhaps less articulate (possibly to obscure his objective), but certainly not wrong, so to speak. While mises’ appeal to authoritarianism (which is part and parcel of jewish culture) was entirely pseudoscientific, by claiming that economics was deductive rather than empirical, and justifying it under apriorism, instead of as I’ve stated, understanding that he was merely trying to apply operationalism to economic activity, which would merely demonstrate that Keynesian economics was immoral, not unscientific.

But Popper, Mises, Hayek, Bridgman and Brouwer, did not find a solution to restoring the western aristocratic conditions for public speech.
They too were a lost in platonism a bit. Bridgman and Brouwer did understand that something was wrong, and were very close,b ut they could not make the moral argument. We have had a century now of attacks by verbal contrivance and we can demonstrate the destruction of our civilization by way of it. So the moral argument is no longer one of undemonstrated results. WE have the results. And we have a generation of men, myself included, trying to repair it.

One must speak truthfully, because no other truth is knowable. Intellectual products that are brought to market must be warrantied just as are all other products that are brought to market, and the warranty that you can provide is operational definitions (recipes, experience), not theories (psychologism, projections). And if you are not willing to stand behind your product then you should not bring it to market. Because you have no right to subject others to harm.

Intellectuals produce ideas (myself included), that is our product. We are paid in measly terms most of the time, for our product, but that is what we do. But it is no different from hot coffee or dangerous ladders, or defective gas tanks.

And given that one particularly prolific group of people has created marxism, socialism, postmodernism, libertine-libertarianism, and neoconservatism, it is about time we stopped allowing them to ship lousy products into society.

And rather than regulate them by government, the common law and universal standing will allow punishment of those who bring bad products to market.

I am entirely capable (as above) of writing clearly, but it is tedious when most logical connections appear to be obvious to the informed person. I will cop out to being lazy, particularly when I have no idea whether the others involved in the debate will be worthwhile. But it’s not that I can’t drill down to necessary arguments. OK? It’s just a lot more work than incrementally testing an idea and making sure that others follow the breadcrumbs….

I am pretty sure the above analysis is correct. It’s going to be very hard to demonstrate otherwise: that popper used a pragmatic theory of truth, just like all of us do. But there is only one possible extant truth, and that is testimony. All else is but moral rule, not logical necessity. OK? That’s just how it is. Period, end of story.

Curt Doolittle
The Philosophy of Aristocracy
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine


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