Page 11234..1020..»

Category Archives: Rationalism

Grace Mugabe debacle depicts the struggle between legal positivism and political realism – Bulawayo24 News (press release) (blog)

Posted: August 25, 2017 at 3:53 am

A political commentator Pedzisai Ruhanya has argued that first lady Grace Mugabe’s debacle in South Africa depicts the struggle between legal positivism and political realism.

This was after the SA authorities imposed diplomatic immunity to Grace after she assaulted a model in that country when she found her in the company of her sons.

“Explaining First Lady Grace Mugabe’s SA problems from a REALISM analytic lens; is International Law Vs International Relations: International law and international relations have long been concerned with the ways in which states interact with one another, and both fields have traditionally build their theories on the twin assumption of state sovereignty and non-intervention, most notably embodied in the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia,” he said.

“The Grace Mugabe debacle depicts the struggle between legal positivism and political realism; that is the supremacy of politics over law. Like realism in international relations, rationalism in comparative politics concentrates on “means-ends” calculations and how they affect political outcomes. But realism engages in methodological nationalism, whereas rationalism as it is deployed in comparative politics engages in methodological individualism. For realism, the ontological unit of analysis is the state as a unitary actor from which the models and explanations for events and political outcomes in international relations are derived.”

He said for rationalism, the ontological unit of analysis is the individual, whose strategic interaction forms the basis of political explanation.

“The difference between the two perspectives thus resides in their focus on states and individuals, whereas the common affinity of the two perspectives is their emphasis on the UTILITY-MAXIMIZING of the units of analysis. Like the polarity of LAW and POWER (which is the case with First Lady Grace Mugabe’s issue) in the fields of international law and international relations, rationalist and structuralist accounts of politics have created a polarity between structureless agents on the one hand and extreme rational choice and agentless structure on the other extreme structuralists. To address the problem, there is need to construct an EMPIRICAL MODEL,” Ruhanya posted on facebook.

“If the norms contained in the international human rights regime are important, as legal proceduralists, neoliberal institutionalists and liberal-republicans argue, then there aught to be a positive relationship between international law of human rights (rights in principle) and the protection of human rights (rights in practice). Such an expectation is supported by Henkin’s (1979: 47) claim that “it is probably the case that all nations observe almost all principles of international law and almost all of their obligations almost all of their time.”

“States are the primary and most powerful actors in the international sphere . The world is anarchic. Since there is no power over states and no state may command another, there can be no order in international relations. States seek to maximize their security power. Realists perceive the world as having limited resources that are evenly distributed and so they see states as primarily focused on maximizing power and security. States behave rationally in their pursuits of security or power. There is utility in the use of force It is important to note that there is a major division within the Realist School regarding how states measure the maximization of power .Under classic realist theory states seek to make absolute gains in their power,” he said.

“Under this view, a realist state does not care whether other states gain in the same transaction as long as the state that is acting makes a gain in power. Neo-realists argue that states seek relative gains. In this view states will want to know whether they will benefit more than other states based on the existing power structure. Based on these assumptions, realists tend to view the world as a series of prisoners’ dilemmas. The classic prisoners’ dilemma involves two suspects arrested for a crime. The suspects agree in advance not to say anything.”

Ruhanya said the police interrogate them separately and over each leniency in return for a confession.

“If neither suspect cooperates, they will only face a light sentence for a lesser included offence. If both suspects confess, they will both go to prison for the full crime though they will get some leniency for their cooperation. If only one suspect confesses that suspect will be left off while the other gets the maximum sentence for the full crime. The best overall outcome for both suspects is when both choose not to confess. For each individual the best outcome is to confess while the other sticks to their agreement not to say anything. If either suspect believes the other will cheat by confessing, it is in their interest to also cheat and confess. Unless the two suspects are incredibly committed to their agreement this prisoners’ dilemma should tend to end in both suspects confessing to protect themselves against worst possible outcome and possibly obtain the best outcome,” he said.

“The basic idea from the prisoner’s dilemma can be translated into the international relations sphere. For example, States will follow the Third Geneva Conventions (which protects prisoners of war and wounded soldiers) as long as they believe other states will also comply. Yet if one state suspects or knows that another state is violating the Third Geneva Convention, the other state would be motivated to break the treaty Criticism.”

He said while realism may explain certain choices made by states in the international sphere and thereby illuminate conduct (particularly economic and military conduct), it has difficulty explaining the acceptance by states of international human rights in such as self-centered and power focused world as understood by the realist theory.

“The problems are two fold: Realists must find some benefit for states in agreeing to and complying with international human rights norms and other norms of good governance. Even if such a benefit could be found, realists would need to show why there would be a strong incentive to cheat under the prisoner’s dilemma,” he said.

The rest is here:

Grace Mugabe debacle depicts the struggle between legal positivism and political realism – Bulawayo24 News (press release) (blog)

Posted in Rationalism | Comments Off on Grace Mugabe debacle depicts the struggle between legal positivism and political realism – Bulawayo24 News (press release) (blog)

Philosophy for Life: An Interview With Jules Evans – HuffPost

Posted: at 3:53 am

How did your to philosophy journey begin? What sparked your interest in Stoicism and philosophy as a way of lifeor as you put it for life? If we understand correctly, you discovered it after struggling with some issues on your own in your adolescence?

I think I read Marcus Aurelius at school. Then, when I was 21, I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety brought on by some bad drug experiences. I suffered from that from 17 to 21, five pretty rough years. I eventually went to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy support group for people suffering from social anxiety. It helped me a lot, and it also reminded me of Stoicism. A few years later, in 2007, I interviewed the two founders of CBT Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck -and discovered theyd both been directly influenced by Stoicism. It was around then that I became interested in the revival of Stoicism, and started to interview other people who use its philosophy today.

How do you explain Stoicism to people when they ask? Does it depend on the audience?

I usually explain it through the prism of CBT, because a lot of people are already familiar with that, or I compare it to Buddhism. I emphasise three ideas: firstly, that our thoughts affect our emotions. Secondly, the wisdom of focusing on what you can control. Third, the importance of habits. Those to me are the three best ideas in Stoicism.

Do you have a daily routine that incorporates any Stoic exercises? If so, has it always been the same? And which exercises do you practice? How has it benefited you?

Not really. It helped me a lot from 21 to 27, Id say when I was in a crisis and needed to change myself to get out of it. I might occasionally turn to it now if Im in a difficult stage of life, but luckily life has been a lot easier since then.

What books would you recommend that you think embody Stoic lessons or ideas but usually are not mentioned in discussions about Stoicism? Or maybe you could recommend a Stoic gem that most people havent read?

Ohhmmm well there are Christian mystic books that are quite influenced by Stoicism, Thomas Trahernes Centuries of Meditation for example. There are modern takes on Stoicism, like Bertrand Russells Conquest of Happiness. Then theres a lot of rich stuff in classical philosophy in general no one reads Cicero any more but he was the most popular author of the Renaissance.

What would be the one Stoic idea or exercise that you think anyone would benefit from? What would you recommend? Feel free to suggest more.

Well, the idea that business people and sports people find most useful is to accept whats beyond your control. Were all control freaks, so thats a really useful, simple idea that we need to keep reminding ourselves of.

Do you have a favorite stoic quote?

This one from Seneca inspired me when I was writing Philosophy for Life: you are retained as counsel for unhappy mankind. You have promised to help those in peril by sea, those in captivity, the sick and the needy, and those whose heads are under the poised axe. Whither are you straying? What are you doing? I think a lot of academics could do with a reminder of that.

From what weve read, you feel like there is something missing from Stoic philosophy that youve tried to find by studying other schools and are beginning to write about. Can you tell us about that? Does that mean you would identify as a Stoic?

Well, theres a lot missing from Stoicism. Humour, for one, a sense of the absurd. They didnt have much sense of the power of the arts, imagination, music, dance, poetry. There isnt much dancing in Greek philosophy as Jean Vanier said when I interviewed him. It can overemphasise self-reliance and under emphasise the importance of friendship. Stoics can be Puritans, which Im definitely not. In general it can overemphasise rationalism and miss out all the importance of non-rational ways of knowing like ecstatic states, which involve the body more. I dont think rationalism is the last word in consciousness. Stoics often seem quite prickly, cold, pedantic personalities which they hide behind a stiff veneer of rationalism. I think its too rule-based Massimo Pigliucci wrote the other day of the algorithm of Stoicism I dont see life as something best approached with an algorithm, though I think thats why Stoicism appeals to computer programmers. No, I dont identify as a Stoic anymore, but I think there are Stoic techniques that everyone could benefit from knowing and practicing.

This interview was originally published on DailyStoic.com

The Morning Email

Wake up to the day’s most important news.

Read this article:

Philosophy for Life: An Interview With Jules Evans – HuffPost

Posted in Rationalism | Comments Off on Philosophy for Life: An Interview With Jules Evans – HuffPost

Alexander: One fleeting victory for reason – Quad City Times

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:45 pm

The great sky wolves devoured the sun Monday.

You won’t see that headline in any American newspaper. Nor should you.

But that was the Viking explanation for a solar eclipse. In fact, the concept of a mythical beast or god consuming the sun was a pretty standard interpretation for much of antiquity. To the ancient Chinese, it was a veracious dragon. In Vietnam, a celestial toad swallowed either the sun or moon during a solar or lunar eclipse.

These were agricultural cultures, mind you, completely dominated by anecdote and the rhythm of the growing seasons. Those shadows of polytheism still exists today, remnants permitted by later, more powerful monotheistic traditions as a means to more easily sway recent converts.

Easter, for instance, is probably a fusion of Catholic doctrine and more ancient pagan spring festivals, built around the planting calendar and an associated concept of rebirth. The egg has long been a tangible, powerful symbol of new life. And that pre-Christian tradition sticks around today.

Point is, myths come and go. They’re the necessary result of a curious species that spends an unprecedented amount of time pondering the world around it. And there tends to be substantial upheaval and pushback whenever a seminal moment throws shade at the established intellectual tradition. Entire political power structures are built around belief systems. Entire institutions derive their power from the myth itself. Overturning an established myth is, often, a direct assault on a civilization’s cultural and political framework.

It’s no surprise then that Galileo was put on trial in 1633 for suggesting earth revolved around the sun and offering conclusive evidence to prove it. The Vatican convicted the Italian naturalist of heresy, tantamount to a 17th century blacklisting, and forced him to recant his findings. It wasn’t until 1992 that Pope John Paul II admitted the church’s error after a 13-year investigation.

For more than 350 years, the story of Galileo’s trial has stood as a symbol of the inherent tension between religion and rationalism.

On Monday, millions of Americans turned their gazes skyward to watch the moon blot out the sun. This time, it was widely understood that the entire event is just a chance occurrence of orbiting bodies passing by one another. With incredible accuracy, scientists predicted precise moments when the sun would be fully eclipsed by the moon. And Americans of all political and religious stripes took those predictions for granted.

It’s a notable level of confidence in the predictive abilities of scientific observation and mathematics in a moment when similar endeavors are scrubbed from government websites and blasted as hoaxes of the most politically motivated kind. Such charges, mind you, would not be foreign to Galileo. They were the same accusations made against him.

Attempts to objectively measure the universe put us on the moon. It split the atom. It created a network that transmits information at light speed. It nearly doubled average life expectancy and eradicated polio.

And yet, scientists still fight for legitimacy, even though they are the one’s whose only real agenda is understanding. That’s because those in power weaponize irrational fear. Baseless conspiracy theories are wrongly cast as legitimate doubt. One can’t pose legitimate questions about that which they don’t understand.

But new information threatens those whose entire access to power is rooted in old systems. With that understanding, no one should be surprised that we’re still arguing about evolution 158 years after Darwin published his widely confirmed mechanism for speciation. Nor should anyone be shocked that billions have been spent on delegitimizing climate science.

Almost 400 years ago, merely predicting Monday’s eclipse could have been a capital offense. But rationalism soldiered on. It reshaped how the universe is understood. It built political systems, including the United States. And, on Monday, people accepted the calculus that accurately predicted the event.

On Monday, millions looked skyward and understood they weren’t seeing the wrath of an angry god or hungry serpent. And that’s only because those honestly seeking truth refused to back down.

Read more here:

Alexander: One fleeting victory for reason – Quad City Times

Posted in Rationalism | Comments Off on Alexander: One fleeting victory for reason – Quad City Times

POINT OF VIEW: Today’s GOP needs another William F. Buckley Jr. – Palm Beach Post

Posted: at 11:45 pm

After the neo-Nazi demonstration in Charlottesville, Va., William F. Buckley Jr. must have been rolling over in his grave. As the founder of the National Review magazine, Buckley was an important catalyst for the modern conservative movement. Perhaps his greatest service was marginalizing extremists to prevent them from gaining ascendancy within Republican ranks.

In his bid to make conservative politics mainstream, which over time allowed for someone like Ronald Reagan to become governor of California and later president of the United States, Buckley singled out the John Birch Society and Ayn Rand as unacceptable. Why he went after the Birchers and the author of Atlas Shrugged may offer a lesson for todays GOP.

First and foremost, Buckley sought a politics based on rationalism, facts, empiricism and expertise. At the cost of rationalism, the Birchers were prone to embracing oddball conspiracy theories.

In one outlandish charge, Bircher leader Robert Welch charged that President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a communist agent. He further asserted that 50 percent to 70 percent of the U.S. government was communist-controlled.

Incidentally, it was during a 1964 meeting in Palm Beach that a plan was hatched between Buckley and then.-Sen. Barry Goldwater to denounce Welch. In a subsequent article, Buckley warned about the head Bircher being a liability for conservatives since he was far removed from common sense.

What Buckley did was use alternative media (which the National Review was) to neutralize fake news and keep it from corrupting the overall conservative movement. Today, unfortunately, the opposite has been occurring along with a president aiding and abetting disinformation.

Second, Buckley was a serious Catholic with sincere faith. Consequently, he was a staunch champion of the Judeo-Christian tradition. This is why he had no patience for Rand, who reduced capitalism to materialism and selfishness. Her coffin bore not a cross but a dollar sign!

As an immigrant from the Soviet Union, Rand brought to Americas shores a reactionary economic belief system that became another ism. But her ideology retained Kremlin-brand atheism.

Though religion does continue to play a role in Republican circles, honest observers recognize that too often it has been reduced to a tool for fake God endorsement. Buckley was not so crass, but regarded religion as necessary for promoting our Lincolnesque better angels.

Today, many politicians prefer sharp tone over civil discourse. Such leaders operate as if they do not believe they will one day be judged by God. Religion, sometimes even its veneer, has the power to elevate behavior over dishonesty as well as promote a show of respect toward political opponents.

Buckley was not perfect, but he was a thinker and a life-long learner. His adamant position on states rights cast him on the wrong side of history with respect to civil rights, but near the end of his life, he confessed that he had been wrong and that federal intervention to end Jim Crow was the right action.

Republicans would do well to return to the political wisdom of Buckley. It could make the GOP great again.

ROGER CHAPMAN, WEST PALM BEACH

Editors note: Chapman is a professor of history at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Go here to read the rest:

POINT OF VIEW: Today’s GOP needs another William F. Buckley Jr. – Palm Beach Post

Posted in Rationalism | Comments Off on POINT OF VIEW: Today’s GOP needs another William F. Buckley Jr. – Palm Beach Post

Kerala Chief Minister presents MC joseph award to litterateur MK Sanu – The New Indian Express

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan greets litterateur M K Sanu at the Yukthivadi M C Joseph Award presentation function in Kochi on Saturday | K Shijith

KOCHI:Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said those who came to power after swearing allegiance to the Constitution are now propagating superstitions, ill-practices, myths and fabricated tales. He was speaking after presenting the Yukthivadi M C Joseph Award to litterateur M K Sanu here. Calling for a joint fight against the covert moves to revive casteism as part of the wider goal to establish a theocracy, the Chief Minister said the rationalists should join hands with socio-political movements to rid society of ill-practices and superstition.The rationalists cannot take people into confidence unless their initiative reflects on the socio-political sphere.

The role of rationalism should not be limited to discussions on the existence of God, Pinarayi said. What the Communist movement suggested is rationalism should not be merely an idea, but it should have a socio-political impact.What human beings need is not a foolproof theory to substantiate the non-existence of God, but his daily bread, he said.

Pinarayi said M C Joseph had the capability to provide logical answers and establish his point of view on questions related to rationalism. He was one of those who fearlessly fought superstitions and ill- practices of his time. Such bravado energises posterity also, the CM said.

Dr K S David presided over the function. K V Thomas MP, CPM district chief P Rajeev, GCDA chairman C N Mohanan, Sreeni Pattathanam, P Raghavan and Jacob Laser spoke.

Original post:

Kerala Chief Minister presents MC joseph award to litterateur MK Sanu – The New Indian Express

Posted in Rationalism | Comments Off on Kerala Chief Minister presents MC joseph award to litterateur MK Sanu – The New Indian Express

Empiricism as Foundational – Patheos (blog)

Posted: at 6:04 pm

I have talked before about the empiricism vs rationalism debate that has taken place historically and presently in philosophical circles. Today, I am going to explore this a little further.

As I said before

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophystatesthat rationalists adopt at least one of three statements:

The Intuition/Deduction Thesis: Some propositions in a particular subject area, S, are knowable by us by intuition alone; still others are knowable by being deduced from intuited propositions.

The Innate Knowledge Thesis: We have knowledge of some truths in a particular subject area, S, as part of our rational nature.

The Innate Concept Thesis: We have some of the concepts we employ in a particular subject area, S, as part of our rational nature.

We eitherknowthings to be true intuitively, or as part of being rational agents, or the empirical may trigger concepts already embedded within our nature. Of course, one weakness here is in establishing what intuitionactually is.

Whilst other ideas and theses are closely connected to rationalism, or are often associated with it, I will keep it simple by only involving the above three.

One question that is often touted about such rationalism is the epistemic warrant: if someone uses intuition about a certain proposition, then it can be seen as lacking reason, and is thus potentially less justifiable, lacking in being warranted. How does an intuitive claim become a warranted claim?

For the empiricist, the following must be true in some way:

The Empiricism Thesis: We have no source of knowledge in S or for the concepts we use in S other than sense experience.

The source of knowledge for us is claimed to bea posteriori(from the latter)in its entirety, at source. Things may become intuitive, and even lacking reason, but they are as a result of us using our senses over time to formulate our propositional knowledge, and our systems that we use to navigate through the world. As the SEP continues:

Empiricism about a particular subject rejects the corresponding version of the Intuition/Deduction thesis and Innate Knowledge thesis. Insofar as we have knowledge in the subject, our knowledge isa posteriori, dependent upon sense experience. Empiricists also deny the implication of the corresponding Innate Concept thesis that we have innate ideas in the subject area. Sense experience is our only source of ideas. They reject the corresponding version of the Superiority of Reason thesis. Since reason alone does not give us any knowledge, it certainly does not give us superior knowledge. Empiricists generally reject the Indispensability of Reason thesis, though they need not. The Empiricism thesis does not entail that we have empirical knowledge. It entails that knowledge can only be gained,if at all, by experience. Empiricists may assert, as some do for some subjects, that the rationalists are correct to claim that experience cannot give us knowledge. The conclusion they draw from this rationalist lesson is that we do not know at all.

The thing is, we can sit here and wax lyrical about how wonderful rationality is, and how great it is to use logic, but unless these things have a pragmatic use then they are kind of meaningless. The question that we really need to ask is, How doI measure how good or useful logic is? or How doI evaluate a rational argument?

The answer, it appears, alwaysdefers to some kind of empirical appeal.

Take this as an example.

Its me and you, reader, and were living together. I write something really nasty about you on a post-it note. We might say that this has some moral value. However, now imagine that I put that post-it in my pocket where it disappears. You never find out about it, and I instantly forget I wrote it, and no one else in the world is any the wiser. What this means is that that terribly nasty note has no impact, no empirical legacy, on the world. There are no consequences whatsoever to writing that. As a moral action, the writing of that note now becomes a-moral it has no moral value. It seems to me that something can only have moral value if it has some kind of effect on reality. The only way we can know the effect something has on reality is to experience it in some way, to empirically sense it.

The same can be said of logic. Why is it good that a proposition adheres to logical rules such that it is rational? Well, the goodness of logic s surely measured in how we can use it. If it has no application to reality then it is rather meaningless. Rationality is only reveredbecause of what it can achieve. If rationality had no effect on reality, then it could not be seen as good (in a sense that good means to work well or have use).

If things only have exist in abstraction without any ramification on the world in any way, then they become impotent or meaningless. At the very minimum, beliefs and propositions and rational arguments have n effect on the psychology of the thinker.

It appears to me that empiricism lies at the heart of the consideration and evaluation of all things.

Original post:

Empiricism as Foundational – Patheos (blog)

Posted in Rationalism | Comments Off on Empiricism as Foundational – Patheos (blog)

Review: In ‘Good Karma Hospital,’ Some Familiar TV Templates – New York Times

Posted: at 6:04 pm

Photo Amrita Acharia plays a doctor in The Good Karma Hospital, beginning Monday on AcornTV. Credit Chris Burgess/Acorn TV

No fancy tests are needed to map the pop-cultural DNA of The Good Karma Hospital, a British dramedy whose six-episode first season arrives Monday on AcornTV.

Its about 50 percent postcolonial escape fantasy, in which an uptight Briton moves to a tropical outpost of the former empire and learns to balance Western rationalism with Eastern superstition, emotion and ease. The markers include crazy drivers, brightly dressed crowds and nervousness about hygiene. Comparables are The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (note the similarity in the titles) and the Caribbean detective series Death in Paradise.

Its also about 50 percent medical melodrama, with a young doctor arriving at a new hospital and having to prove herself. Here the tropes include the grouchy chief, the conceited and sexist male surgeon, the sudden and difficult childbirth. And the precedents are Greys Anatomy and Northern Exposure. (Like the protagonist in Northern Exposure, the physician here is misinformed about where shell be working.)

Good Karma plays a small variation on these formulas by making its hero, Dr. Ruby Walker (Amrita Acharia), Anglo-Indian rather than white. After a bad breakup, she flees Britain for a struggling hospital in southern India shes both going somewhere exotic and coming home. She speaks the language (with an accent) but can still be surprised by the local dilemmas, such as the question of whether to let a female baby with a heart defect die.

There is no clash of cultures that cant be mitigated through pure sentimentality. If Good Karma Hospital is your kind of drug, youll want to mainline it. The coastal locations (filmed in Sri Lanka) are picturesque, the Bollywoodish music is catchy and the performers, including Amanda Redman of New Tricks as the hospitals overseer, are ingratiating.

As a bonus, two much-loved actors show up as the parents at a destination wedding and stick around for the season. The father is Philip Jackson, Inspector Japp in Agatha Christies Poirot, and the mother is Phyllis Logan, in her first role since Mrs. Hughes in Downton Abbey. The hospital may be in India, but if you look past the palm trees you could just as well be in the English countryside.

The Good Karma Hospital Beginning Monday on AcornTV

A version of this review appears in print on August 21, 2017, on Page C2 of the New York edition with the headline: A Doctor Proves Her Mettle.

The rest is here:

Review: In ‘Good Karma Hospital,’ Some Familiar TV Templates – New York Times

Posted in Rationalism | Comments Off on Review: In ‘Good Karma Hospital,’ Some Familiar TV Templates – New York Times

Postmodern Assumptions – American Spectator

Posted: August 18, 2017 at 5:02 am

August 17, 2017, 12:05 am As fact and fiction become blurred meaning and truth disappear.

Arguably the factor that militates against the sound and reasonable examination of issues on a global scale is a postmodern view that truth does not exist. In an age of internet exchanges opinions are as true as facts. Here is the efflorescence of John Paul Sartres view that intention is all that counts. If you think you are right, nothing else counts. Facts be damned.

Media ecology has converted illusions into a form of reality that houses the self-appointed arbiters of truth. If intellectual freedom encourages everyone to believe anything he wishes, limits based on objectivity and empirical data are unneeded. The new norm is no norm.

The 9/11 attacks were conducted by the CIA; vaccines lead to autism; extraterrestrials landed in the Nevada desert. These are merely a few of the bizarre claims in the anything goes universe. Two-thirds of Americans believe angels and demons are active in the world. Fifteen percent think the media or government add secret mind-controlling technology to broadcast signals. A quarter of Americans believe in witches.

Moreover, much of this fantasy has been promoted by institutions that once held the keys to objective thought: institutions of higher education; newspapers; television news. In fact, their embrace of the postmodern view has allowed the irrational to become respectable with courses on campus like mysticism and magic.

For most of American and European history a balance had been struck between credulity and skepticism. But now we are living with the great unravelling: Do your own thing means do whatever you want to do. With instant internet communication opinions can float around the globe before I have tied my shoe laces, making any manner of fantasy seem real.

If there are antecedents for the current trend they can be found in the sixties, a decade that reordered American society. Psychology and philosophy were turned on their heads leading to hot tub therapy, sexual experimentation, shamanism, Chinese medicine, and a host of narcissistic therapeutic approaches. Even madness was not mad according to the therapists who argued mental illness doesnt exist.

But despite the sixties assault on rationalism, the peaceful utopia with hearts and minds converted didnt quite pan out. It turns out reality is more than a social construct. Nonetheless, the cultural upheaval has influenced the present. Fantasyland is not only found in Disney World. Relativism is entrenched in the Academy. The distinction between fact and fiction is crumbling. Everyone seated before a computer can create his own reality for himself and others.

In our culture, there is a Greshams Law in which the bad drives the good out of circulation. Fantasy is on the rise as reality has tipped into decline. An admixture of opinion and an occasional dose of fact and wisdom do not invoke great hope for the future. This crisis goes to the essence of meaning, of how we conduct our lives and raise our children. Postmodernists are winning these battles, which leads me to wonder if the few realists left in society can hold back the tide of truth deniers.

Ernesto Che Guevara reunited with Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, in Cuba. 1960 (Wikimedia Commons)

Continue reading here:

Postmodern Assumptions – American Spectator

Posted in Rationalism | Comments Off on Postmodern Assumptions – American Spectator

Op/Ed: Hate is a dangerous thing – The Times of Chester County

Posted: at 5:01 am

By U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, Pennsylvanias 6th District

Ryan Costello

A man drove a car into a crowd of people, killing one and injuring 19 others. It was a despicable act committed by someone motivated by hate.

Some of the commentary on this incident and the Presidents myriad responses misses the mark on what is the bigger picture relating to the character of our country and what we aspire to have our culture nurture for our kids, grandkids, and future generations. No one can take that character and identity from us unless we allow them to.

We should all take pause and acknowledge that hate does not rest solely in a few certain individuals who happen to be really conservative, or really liberal, or agnostic, or faithful to one particular religious affiliation, or that it is rooted solely in one ideology or another. Hate is rooted in a personal decision to decide to be intolerant and cruel toward another individual or group of individuals based on anothers skin color, religion, gender, ethnicity, or other similar type characteristic.

Hate is a dangerous thing, in many, many ways. Hate removes rationalism, temperance, and the ability to forgive, replacing it with emotionalism, anger, and irrational blame. Reason and tolerance get lost and are replaced with a debased sense of good and bad. Hate slowly replaces common decency with disgust. In a civil society we lose our identity when we lose these collective personal values as being the foundation from which relationships and discourse emanate. Hate can fester, and can spread.

And Im really very concerned that it is spreading. The Presidents most recent statement was intended to include other groups as spreading hate on that tragic day. This was wrong. Hate groups are relishing at what is occurring right now. We now find some arguing over whether it was just alt-right hate groups or whether alt-left hate groups were also to blame such a debate is a false debate because no conclusion will actually solve or resolve anything. We are at a very divisive time in the history of our country where some people are so emotional and angry to the point where a bad situation is becoming worse.

We now find ourselves with a horrific death that exposes deeper, more ugly truths about what still festers in the deep and dark underground of our country. I would suggest the best way to move forward is to give hate no mind, no time, and no audience. One of the best things we can do is take a deep collective breath and find wisdom and solace in those preaching kindness and patient resolve in getting beyond the past few days so that we can focus on the challenges and opportunities we have in this country.

Such wisdom and clarity need not come from the words of a President, and at this point they cannot given how unbelievably poorly our President has failed. Such wisdom and clarity need not derive from any politician for that matter, or a clergy member or media figure it can come from within you. We need to do this because we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones, to the men and women who sacrificed to make this Country what it is, and to future generations who rely on us to create opportunity for them to live under the pillars of equality and dignity for all in America.

Our country is way bigger, better, and wiser than to allow the hateful few to rob us of our kindness, tolerance, and essence. So lets not allow those few to do it to us by letting them. This means refusing to parse the words of others to assign them blame for a murder perpetrated by one and instead find truth and meaning in the message of someone whose belief you are proud to stand by, and use those words as your guidance.

U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello (R., Pa.) represents the Sixth Congressional District, which includes parts of Berks, Chester, Lebanon, and Montgomery Counties

Continue reading here:

Op/Ed: Hate is a dangerous thing – The Times of Chester County

Posted in Rationalism | Comments Off on Op/Ed: Hate is a dangerous thing – The Times of Chester County

Pssst, wanna know a secret? MongoDB has confidentially filed for IPO, reports suggest – The Register

Posted: August 16, 2017 at 6:01 pm

NoSQL business MongoDB has filed confidentially for IPO, according to reports.

The document database company started life as 10gen in 2007 and has secured a total of $303.4m in equity funding to date.

According to Crunchbase, its last round, for an undisclosed amount, was in August 2015, having gained $80m in the January of that year.

MongoDB was last valued at $1.2bn in October 2016, when it pulled in $150m from investors that included Red Hat, Salesforce Ventures, EMC, Intel Capital and Sequoia Capital.

There have been rumours of a potential IPO from MongoDB, which has previously stated its aim to take on Oracle, for some time.

During an interview with The Reg last year, CEO Dev Ittycheria indicated the company was at a scale where the option could be acted upon quickly.

Ittycheria told The Reg that, with revenues between $100m and $200m annually, “there’s companies who’ve gone public who are smaller and going slower than us.”

The firm is now thought to have moved one step closer, with TechCrunch reporting that it has submitted an S-1 filing in recent weeks and plans to go public before the end of the year.

Under the US JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, introduced in 2012, companies are now allowed to confidentially submit initial statements like this, which them weigh interest from investors before alerting the public to the filing. The idea is to encourage more companies to IPO.

The companies must reveal their financials at least 15 days before they embark on their investor roadshow.

TechCrunch reports that a number of companies that have filed confidentially for IPO will go public between September and the end of November.

Commenting on the reports, Greg Henry, CFO of Couchbase (a competitor of MongoDB’s in the NoSQL space), said: “In confidentially filing its S-1, MongoDB is on track to become the first IPO in the non-Hadoop big data space, which stands as a pivotal milestone for the industry and provides more validation that there is life beyond analytical and relational databases.”

MongoDB has gained some positive publicity last week, when CTO Eliot Horowitz emailed staff condemning the now infamous “Google memo”.

“This manifesto, however, is not part of a healthy dialogue at all,” Horowitz wrote.

“It advances a false equivalence between diversity efforts and discrimination built on a substrate of reasonable statements and context-free references to research. It is just another attempt to disguise prejudice in the clothing of rationalism.”

Sponsored: The Joy and Pain of Buying IT – Have Your Say

See the original post:

Pssst, wanna know a secret? MongoDB has confidentially filed for IPO, reports suggest – The Register

Posted in Rationalism | Comments Off on Pssst, wanna know a secret? MongoDB has confidentially filed for IPO, reports suggest – The Register

Page 11234..1020..»