Sunday, November 10, 2013

Self-Reference, Logical Positivism, and Existence

It would appear Reality wanted to spot-confirm my hunch, as per my last post, that respect for self-reference is too high.

Logical positivism has been discredited by feeding itself to itself.
"Logical Positivism is the view: "The only meaningful statements are those that can in principle be verified empirically.  Logical Positivism fell because it cannot itself be verified empirically thus it is meaningless by it's own standard."
Or what I found:
"Therefore, LP is meaningless. I don't know what you mean when you say that meaning can only be ascertained by the possibility of an experiential proof as that statement has no possibility of an experiential proof." [1]

Let LP be f(proposition) = 1 if proposition is meaningful, and 0 otherwise.
Solve for x: f(LP) = x.
Substitute f(proposition) for LP, but proposition = LP, so f( f(LP) )) = x. Et cetera.
In other words, Green, Brown, and everyone who thinks like them have made a critical logical misstep when they concluded that LP self-disproves. Properly appreciated, the argument looks like this:
  • Assume LP
  • biowhjtn4ali;buah.wevkjask;rbhafb
  • Therefore, f(LP) = 0. 
  • Therefore, by contradiction, LP is false. 
This doesn't prove that LP is not meaningless. Similarly, Godel's first incompleteness theorem is true, despite having a faulty proof. A system cannot prove its own consistency, as that would be circular reasoning - and it cannot prove its own inconsistency, either.

I'm not a logical positivist and had to look this stuff up. Instead I believe something, generalized from my formal study of physics, that can apparently be confused with logical positivism. I believe existence is defined by interaction.

As it can be confused with logical positivism, I can be certain LP should have been repaired, not discarded, and as a result this corner of philosophy has been in a blind alley for several decades.

It has come to my attention that philosophers don't understand existence. Let's pretend I can change that.(Again. [2])

Because a system cannot prove or disprove itself, we can be certain that we need an external framework to evaluate any system, and the framework will necessarily be strictly more powerful, as it contains the system in question. The problem is there's a strictly most powerful framework: existence itself.

We can be certain of this even using only diction. Look at how I must start the proof: if a strictly more powerful framework than existence existed... I call this the principle of existence. It seems to have the property of being self-justifying, indeed it seems that a self-justifying framework can be defined as existence.

Though proving this is impossible.

First problem, existence is the most powerful framework. Second problem, since everything is subject to the principle of existence, logic is inherently less powerful than existence. Existence is the framework by which I evaluate logic; it is not valid to use logic to evaluate the statement 'existence is the most powerful framework,' or that 'existence is self-justifying.' (It bemuses me that I can even state or communicate the idea.) Conversely, I can't use logic to invalidate the ideas either, and both these restrictions also apply to evidence.

So, have I tried to put 'existence is interaction' though the wringer of itself? I have. I found it's a bit stupid and felt silly.

Despite this, I will pretend to argue for it. If you can figure out how this relates to the fact that arguing is invalid, kindly let me know. (I'll probably understand eventually, but it would be nice not to have to do it all myself.)

Because it isn't an argument, it isn't unreasonable to hold a contradictory axiom. However, it is unreasonable to think any alternative can be logically defended.

The purpose of truth is prediction. I don't really care about truth per se, I care that when I go to make tea, the tea leaves and hot water are where and how I think they are. The purpose of prediction is to control my own subjective state. (How this invalidates caring about BIVs and the external world is left as an exercise.) For example, being able to experience tea when I want to experience tea. As another, experiencing nourishment so that I don't experience starving to death and thus termination of experience. Truth allows me to predict and thus fulfil these goals.

Something that cannot interact with me cannot affect my goals. If it cannot affect my goals, as far as I'm concerned, it does not exist.

Nevertheless, existence is the ultimately axiomatic axiom. As it's not an argument, this is a suggestive story. (Mmm, tea.)

Ironically, Brown says, "it is the hope and intent of this work that once people come to really understand Hume and the Bullshit Nature of Rational Philosophy, they can start working on an axiomatic philosophy," apparently unable to see that LP only functions as an axiom.

Rack this up as another place where philosophy has gone off into the weeds so deeply that a single individual can outflank the entire academic class. Of course, I don't actually think I have some superhuman insight. I think anyone can do this if they have enough dedication. It's a process of discarding chains more than acquiring skills, and not giving up by concluding it must be impossible. Having a PhD in philosophy is such a massive millstone that even the middlebrow can pass them if they set their mind to it, and lesser qualification are merely lesser millstones to be overcome. 

In this case, I apparently independently re-derived a better version of logical positivism. (I certainly didn't read any Wittgenstein or Russell.) I can tell because my phrasing is different and the logical geometry is just a bit off. Sadly you can't tell - I might have deliberately rephrased it specifically for the purposes of foisting this metric off on you. But, were you to embark on a similar expedition, you know what to look for in yourself.

By the geometry, I mean I don't seem to need empiricism or meaning as concepts. If they appear, they appear as consequences of the principle, rather than having to be injected. Interaction-existence and LP as concepts can't quite be superimposed neatly. I don't use the idea of statements either, and though I tend to have to add that to get any use out of interaction-existence, because it isn't native it becomes modular - if you don't like statements and can come up with an alternative, it works fine.

[1] Careful, Brown's mean free path between contradictions in this piece is maybe 20. Go here if you want to see him inside his domain of expertise. It's the detail view of what Moldbug mentions about models. In the LP piece, roughly all the implications he ascribes to LP are embarrassing misunderstandings. Or sheer mendacity - I found one insult he flings that he later straight-up contradicts the basis of. Unfortunately, this sort of thing seems typical of modern academics.

[2] I like repeating myself, because if I've made a mistake, every repetition increases the likelihood I'll make a different mistake which will show up as a detectable contradiction. It also allows the reader to do logical diffraction if I'm correct: each slightly different iteration has slightly different interpretations, and you can eliminate the possibilities that don't overlap and reinforce.

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