My Criticism Of David Miller Is A Very Limited One

—“What, if i may ask, is your criticism of Miller? it would be interesting to see if it holds water”— Ayelam Valentine Agaliba
(reposted for archival purposes)


I don’t disagree with Miller’s multiple “standards of justice”. I just would state it very differently, as necessities, demands, incentives, and evolutionary strategies. I mean, I say the same thing. I just say it very differently.) That said, standard of logical decidability in all matters is provided by one universal moral rule that is necessary – but we can build infinitely complex systems upon it. That one rule provides us with Decidability in law regardless of construction of social norms, and that single, necessary inescapable, universal logical test is very different from the contractual terms by which we construct social orders out of various exchanges, and inside of which we produce multiple standards of justice.

One thought: (A Criticism)
—“By mistakenly supposing that thinking intelligently is identical with
thinking logically, critical thinking textbooks almost invariably regard the purpose of argument to be a combination of justification and persuasion, authoritarian goals that critical rationalists, and other supporters of the open society, must shun. “— David Miller

Well, his criticism is correct, in that our populace is being taught very bad (justificationary ideas). But then, he doesn’t solve the problem. Popper’s argument is much narrower than Miller intuits.

So, I think that this is not quite right. Instead:
(a) I must justify my actions in accordance with objective morality, local norms and laws. (I must show that I met terms of the contract for cooperation – thus if I err I am blameless and free of restitution.)
(b) I must warranty my testimony is truthful by critically prosecuting it.
(c) I must(can) Innovate (reason / Develop Theories) by any free associative principle possible.
I believe that is the correct hierarchy. Because it is a NECESSARY hierarchy. Just as these are necessary hierarchies:
(a) Tautology, Deduction, Induction, Abduction, Guessing, and Free associating.
(b) Teleological ethics, deontological ethics, virtue ethics, and intuitionistic ethics.
(c) Murder, violence, theft, fraud, omission, indirection, socialization, free riding, privatization, rent seeking, corruption, conspiracy, conversion, invasion, conquest, and destruction.
(d) manners, ethics, morals, laws, constitutions, property.
(e) life, movement, memory, cost, property, cooperation, norms, property rights laws, government, state, empire.

So, I while I understand Miller’s assumption, he is making a mistake of ‘one-ness’ or ‘monopoly’ that is a byproduct of some rather structural errors implicit in the use of logic in the discipline of philosophy. Which, if were instead, express not as manipulation of sets (which is how he works if I remember correctly) , but as a sequence of possible actions (existentially possible categories of actions), then he might not make this mistake. I mean, it seems that falsification is a hammer, and everything appears to be a nail. But at some point this is nothing but framing (using concepts one has specialization in, rather than integrating those concepts into the greater whole.

And in this case, the greater whole, is the universal language of truth telling: science. And until insights obtained through logical analysis can be converted into truthful speech (scientific language) then it remains UNFALSIFIED. <– ***Which is my underlying argument.***

One of the things economics teaches you is to think about equilibrating processes that negate all our actions into the realm of marginal indifference, rather than seeking binary truth of states.

So I would argue that we should be taught the following:
1) Manners, ethics, and Morality under the Golden Rule, Silver Rule, and the one-rule of property and voluntary exchange. The miracle of cooperation. How we insure one another in a multitude of ways.
2) Truthfulness, Witness and Testimony (Operationalism and Existential Possibility) as well as how to spot errors in truthfulness, witness, and testimony.
3) Logic, Grammar, Rhetoric, Debate and Oratory (as we once were), including how to spot ignorance, error, bias, deception, and Loading-Framing-Overloading (“Suggestion that overwhelms reason”).
4) External Correspondence (empirical observation, analysis and testing) with a nod to Instrumentalism. And how to falsify external correspondence. What a pseudoscience is, and how to spot it.
5) How to use free association (what we call ‘creativity’) “Filling the shelves of your mind, and then ‘playing’. Which is a discipline if you work at it. (It’s my preferred discipline.)
6) arithmetic, accounting, finance, economics (in that order)
7) Mathematics, Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry, and at least the ‘idea’ of calculus. But taught as the history of the development of these problems that people were solving, instead of as wrote. With far more emphasis on word problems.
8) Mind. Biology. Chemistry, Physics, (in that order)

And honestly, I think all philosophy is discardable except as an interesting inquiry into the intellectual history of the struggle to develop science: Truth telling.

I hope this puts my criticism of Miller in perspective.

Curt Doolittle