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Category Archives: Rationalism

From Darwin to Damore – the ancient art of using "science" to mask prejudice – New Statesman

Posted: August 16, 2017 at 6:01 pm

In addition to the Lefts affinity for those it sees as weak, humans are generally biased towards protecting females, wrote James Damore, in his now infamous anti-diversity Google memo. As mentioned before, this likely evolved because males are biologically disposable and because women are generally more co-operative and agreeable than men. Since the memo was published, hordes of women have come forward to say that views like these where individuals justify bias on the basis of science are not uncommon in their traditionally male-dominated fields. Damores controversial screed set off discussions about the age old debate: do biological differences justify discrimination?

Modern science developed in a society which assumed that man was superior over women. Charles Darwin, the father of modern evolutionary biology, who died before women got the right to vote, argued that young children of both genders resembled adult women more than they did adult men; as a result, woman is a kind of adult child.

Racial inequality wasnt immune from this kind of theorising either. As fields such as psychology and genetics developed a greater understanding about the fundamental building blocks of humanity, many prominent researchers such as Francis Galton, Darwins cousin, argued that there were biological differences between races which explained the ability of the European race to prosper and gather wealth, while other races fell far behind. The same kind of reasoning fuelled the Nazi eugenics and continues to fuel the alt-right in their many guises today.

Once scorned as blasphemy, today “science” is approached by many non-practitioners with a cult-like reverence.Attributing the differences between races and gender to scientific research carries the allure of empiricism.Opponents of “diversity” would have you believe thatscientific research validates racism and sexism, even though one’sbleeding heart might wish otherwise.

The problemis that current scientific research just doesnt agree.Some branches of science, such as physics, are concerned with irrefutable laws of nature.But the reality, as evidenced by the growing convergence of social sciences like sociology, and life sciences, such as biology, is that science as a whole will, and should change. The research coming out of fields like genetics and psychology paint an increasingly complex picture of humanity.Saying (and proving) that gravity exists isn’t factually equivalent to saying, and trying to prove, that women are somehow less capable at their jobs because of presumed inherent traits like submissiveness.

When it comes to matters of race, the argument against racial realism, as its often referred to, is unequivocal. A study in 2002, authored by Neil Risch and others, built on the work of the Human Genome Project to examine the long standing and popular myth of seven distinct races. Researchers found that 62 per cent of Ethiopians belong to the same cluster as Norwegians, together with 21 per cent of the Afro-Caribbeans, and the ethnic label Asian inaccurately describes Chinese and Papuans who were placed almost entirely in separate clusters. All that means is that white supremacists are wrong, and always have been.

Even the researcher Damore cites in his memo, Bradley Schmitt of Bradley University in Illinois, doesnt agree with Damores conclusions. Schmitt pointed out, in correspondence with Wired, that biological difference only accounts for about 10 per cent of the variance between men and women in what Damore characterises as female traits, such asneuroticism. In addition, nebulous traits such as being people-oriented are difficult to define and have led to wildly contradictory research from people who are experts in the fields. Suggestingthat women are bad engineers because theyre neurotic is not only mildly ridiculous, but even unsubstantiated by Damores own research. As many have done before him, Damore couched his own worldview – and what he was trying to convince others of – in the language of rationalism, but ultimately didn’t pay attention to the facts.

And, even if you did buy into Damore’s memo, a true scientist would retort- so what? It’s a fallacy to argue that just because a certain state of affairs prevails, that that is the way that it ought to be. If that was the case, why does humanity march on in the direction of technological and industrial progress?

Humans werent meant to travel large distances, or we would possess the ability to do so intrinsically. Boats, cars, airplanes, trains, according to the Damore mindset, would be a perversion of nature. As a species, we consider overcoming biology to be a sign of success.

Of course, the damage done by these kinds of views is not only that theyre hard to counteract, but that they have real consequences. Throughout history, appeals to the supposed rationalism of scientific research have justified moral atrocities such as ethnic sterilisation, apartheid, the creation of the slave trade, and state-sanctioned genocide.

If those in positions of power genuinely think that black and Hispanic communities are genetically predisposed to crime and murder, theyre very unlikely to invest in education, housing and community centres for those groups. Cycles of poverty then continue, and the myth, dressed up in pseudo-science, is entrenched.

Damore and those like him will certainly maintain that the evidence for gender differences are on their side. Since he was fired from Google, Damore has become somewhat of an icon to some parts of society, giving interviews to right-wing Youtubers and posing in a dubious shirt parodying the Google logo (it now says Goolag). Never mind that Damores beloved science has already proved them wrong.

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From Darwin to Damore – the ancient art of using "science" to mask prejudice – New Statesman

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empiricism | philosophy | Britannica.com

Posted: August 15, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Empiricism, in philosophy, the view that all concepts originate in experience, that all concepts are about or applicable to things that can be experienced, or that all rationally acceptable beliefs or propositions are justifiable or knowable only through experience. This broad definition accords with the derivation of the term empiricism from the ancient Greek word empeiria, experience.

Concepts are said to be a posteriori (Latin: from the latter) if they can be applied only on the basis of experience, and they are called a priori (from the former) if they can be applied independently of experience. Beliefs or propositions are said to be a posteriori if they are knowable only on the basis of experience and a priori if they are knowable independently of experience (see a posteriori knowledge). Thus, according to the second and third definitions of empiricism above, empiricism is the view that all concepts, or all rationally acceptable beliefs or propositions, are a posteriori rather than a priori.

The first two definitions of empiricism typically involve an implicit theory of meaning, according to which words are meaningful only insofar as they convey concepts. Some empiricists have held that all concepts are either mental copies of items that are directly experienced or complex combinations of concepts that are themselves copies of items that are directly experienced. This view is closely linked to the notion that the conditions of application of a concept must always be specified in experiential terms.

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Western philosophy: The rise of empiricism and rationalism

The scientific contrast between Vesaliuss rigorous observational techniques and Galileos reliance on mathematics was similar to the philosophical contrast between Bacons experimental method and Descartess emphasis on a priori reasoning. Indeed, these differences can be conceived in more abstract terms as the contrast between empiricism and rationalism. This theme dominated the philosophical…

The third definition of empiricism is a theory of knowledge, or theory of justification. It views beliefs, or at least some vital classes of beliefe.g., the belief that this object is redas depending ultimately and necessarily on experience for their justification. An equivalent way of stating this thesis is to say that all human knowledge is derived from experience.

Empiricism regarding concepts and empiricism regarding knowledge do not strictly imply each other. Many empiricists have admitted that there are a priori propositions but have denied that there are a priori concepts. It is rare, however, to find a philosopher who accepts a priori concepts but denies a priori propositions.

Stressing experience, empiricism often opposes the claims of authority, intuition, imaginative conjecture, and abstract, theoretical, or systematic reasoning as sources of reliable belief. Its most fundamental antithesis is with the latteri.e., with rationalism, also called intellectualism or apriorism. A rationalist theory of concepts asserts that some concepts are a priori and that these concepts are innate, or part of the original structure or constitution of the mind. A rationalist theory of knowledge, on the other hand, holds that some rationally acceptable propositionsperhaps including every thing must have a sufficient reason for its existence (the principle of sufficient reason)are a priori. A priori propositions, according to rationalists, can arise from intellectual intuition, from the direct apprehension of self-evident truths, or from purely deductive reasoning.

In both everyday attitudes and philosophical theories, the experiences referred to by empiricists are principally those arising from the stimulation of the sense organsi.e., from visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory sensation. (In addition to these five kinds of sensation, some empiricists also recognize kinesthetic sensation, or the sensation of movement.) Most philosophical empiricists, however, have maintained that sensation is not the only provider of experience, admitting as empirical the awareness of mental states in introspection or reflection (such as the awareness that one is in pain or that one is frightened); such mental states are then often described metaphorically as being present to an inner sense. It is a controversial question whether still further types of experience, such as moral, aesthetic, or religious experience, ought to be acknowledged as empirical. A crucial consideration is that, as the scope of experience is broadened, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish a domain of genuinely a priori propositions. If, for example, one were to take the mathematicians intuition of relationships between numbers as a kind of experience, one would be hard-pressed to identify any kind of knowledge that is not ultimately empirical.

Even when empiricists agree on what should count as experience, however, they may still disagree fundamentally about how experience itself should be understood. Some empiricists, for example, conceive of sensation in such a way that what one is aware of in sensation is always a mind-dependent entity (sometimes referred to as a sense datum). Others embrace some version of direct realism, according to which one can directly perceive or be aware of physical objects or physical properties (see epistemology: realism). Thus there may be radical theoretical differences even among empiricists who are committed to the notion that all concepts are constructed out of elements given in sensation.

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Two other viewpoints related to but not the same as empiricism are the pragmatism of the American philosopher and psychologist William James, an aspect of which was what he called radical empiricism, and logical positivism, sometimes also called logical empiricism. Although these philosophies are empirical in some sense, each has a distinctive focus that warrants its treatment as a separate movement. Pragmatism stresses the involvement of ideas in practical experience and action, whereas logical positivism is more concerned with the justification of scientific knowledge.

When describing an everyday attitude, the word empiricism sometimes conveys an unfavourable implication of ignorance of or indifference to relevant theory. Thus, to call a doctor an Empiric has been to call him a quacka usage traceable to a sect of medical men who were opposed to the elaborate medicaland in some views metaphysicaltheories inherited from the Greek physician Galen of Pergamum (129c. 216 ce). The medical empiricists opposed to Galen preferred to rely on treatments of observed clinical effectiveness, without inquiring into the mechanisms sought by therapeutic theory. But empiricism, detached from this medical association, may also be used, more favourably, to describe a hard-headed refusal to be swayed by anything but the facts that the thinker has observed for himself, a blunt resistance to received opinion or precarious chains of abstract reasoning.

As a more strictly defined movement, empiricism reflects certain fundamental distinctions and occurs in varying degrees.

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A distinction that has the potential to create confusion is the one that contrasts the a posteriori not with the a priori but with the innate. Since logical problems are easily confused with psychological problems, it is difficult to disentangle the question of the causal origin of concepts and beliefs from the question of their content and justification.

A concept, such as five, is said to be innate if a persons possession of it is causally independent of his experiencee.g., his perception of various groupings of five objects. Similarly, a belief is innate if its acceptance is causally independent of the believers experience. It is therefore possible for beliefs to be innate without being a priori: for example, the babys belief that its mothers breast will nourish it is arguably causally independent of his experience, though experience would be necessary to justify it.

Another supposedly identical, but in fact more or less irrelevant, property of concepts and beliefs is that of the universality of their possession or acceptancethat a priori or innate concepts and beliefs must be held by everyone. There may be, in fact, some basis for inferring universality from innateness, since many innate characteristics, such as the fear of loud noises, appear to be common to the whole human species. But there is no inconsistency in the supposition that a concept or belief is innate in one person and learned from experience in another.

Two main kinds of concept have been held to be a priori. First, there are certain formal concepts of logic and of mathematics that reflect the basic structure of discourse: not, and, or, if, all, some, existence, unity, number, successor, and infinity. Secondly, there are the categorial conceptssuch as substance, cause, mind, and Godwhich, according to some philosophers, are imposed by the mind upon the raw data of sensation in order to make experiences possible. One might add to these the more specific theoretical concepts of physics, which are sometimes said to apply to entities that are unobservable in principle.

In the long history of debate over the a priori, it was long taken for granted that all a priori propositions are necessarily truei.e., true by virtue of the meanings of their terms (analytic) or true by virtue of the fact that their negations imply a contradiction. Propositions such as all triangles have three sides, all bachelors are unmarried, and all red things are coloured are necessarily true in one or both of these senses. Likewise, it was held that propositions that are contingently true, or true merely by virtue of the way the world happens to be, are a posteriori. John is a bachelor and Johns house is red are propositions of this type.

In the 1970s, however, the American philosopher Saul Kripke argued to the contrary that some a priori propositions are contingent and some a posteriori propositions are necessary. According to Kripke, the referential properties of natural kind terms like heat can be understood by imagining that their referents were fixed, upon their introduction into the language, by means of certain definite descriptions, such as the cause of sensations of warmth. In other words, heat was introduced as a name for whatever phenomenon happened to satisfy the description the cause of sensations of warmth. Of course, the phenomenon in question is now known to be molecular motion. Thus heat refers to molecular motion, then and now, because molecular motion was the cause of sensations of warmth when the term was introduced. Given this introduction, however, the proposition heat causes sensations of warmth must be a priori. Because its introduction stipulated that heat is the phenomenon that causes sensations of warmth, it is knowable independently of experience that heat causes sensations of warmth, even though it is only a contingent matter of fact that it does. On the other hand, the proposition heat is molecular motion is a posteriori, because this fact about heat was discovered (and could only be discovered) through empirical scientific investigation. But the proposition is also necessary, according to Kripke, because once the referent of heat has been fixed as molecular motion, there are no imaginable circumstances in which the term could refer to anything else. This conclusion is supported by the intuition that, if it were discovered tomorrow that sensations of warmth in humans are actually caused by something other than molecular motion, one would not say that heat is not molecular motion but rather that sensations of warmth are caused by something other than heat. Kripke proposed a similar analysis of the referential properties of proper names like Aristotle, according to which a proposition like Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander the Great is contingent but a priori.

Empiricism, whether concerned with concepts or knowledge, can be held with varying degrees of strength. On this basis, absolute, substantive, and partial empiricisms can be distinguished.

Absolute empiricists hold that there are no a priori concepts, either formal or categorial, and no a priori beliefs or propositions. Absolute empiricism about the former is more common than that about the latter, however. Although nearly all Western philosophers admit that obvious tautologies (e.g., all red things are red) and definitional truisms (e.g., all triangles have three sides) are a priori, many of them would add that these represent a degenerate case.

A more moderate form of empiricism is that of the substantive empiricists, who are unconvinced by attempts that have been made to interpret formal concepts empirically and who therefore concede that formal concepts are a priori, though they deny that status to categorial concepts and to the theoretical concepts of physics, which they hold are a posteriori. According to this view, allegedly a priori categorial and theoretical concepts are either defective, reducible to empirical concepts, or merely useful fictions for the prediction and organization of experience.

The parallel point of view about knowledge assumes that the truth of logical and mathematical propositions is determined, as is that of definitional truisms, by the relationships between meanings that are established prior to experience. The truth often espoused by ethicists, for example, that one is truly obliged to rescue a person from drowning only if it is possible to do so, is a matter of meanings and not of facts about the world. On this view, all propositions that, in contrast to the foregoing example, are in any way substantially informative about the world are a posteriori. Even if there are a priori propositions, they are formal or verbal or conceptual in nature, and their necessary truth derives simply from the meanings that attached to the words they contain. A priori knowledge is useful because it makes explicit the hidden implications of substantive, factual assertions. But a priori propositions do not themselves express genuinely new knowledge about the world; they are factually empty. Thus All bachelors are unmarried merely gives explicit recognition to the commitment to describe as unmarried anyone who has been described as a bachelor.

Substantive empiricism about knowledge regards all a priori propositions as being more-or-less concealed tautologies. If a persons duty is thus defined as that which he should always do, the statement A person should always do his duty then becomes A person should always do what he should always do. Deductive reasoning is conceived accordingly as a way of bringing this concealed tautological status to light. That such extrication is nearly always required means that a priori knowledge is far from trivial.

For the substantive empiricist, truisms and the propositions of logic and mathematics exhaust the domain of the a priori. Science, on the other handfrom the fundamental assumptions about the structure of the universe to the singular items of evidence used to confirm its theoriesis regarded as a posteriori throughout. The propositions of ethics and those of metaphysics, which deals with the ultimate nature and constitution of reality (e.g., only that which is not subject to change is real), are either disguised tautologies or pseudo-propositionsi.e., combinations of words that, despite their grammatical respectability, cannot be taken as true or false assertions at all.

The least thoroughgoing type of empiricism here distinguished, ranking third in degree, can be termed partial empiricism. According to this view, the realm of the a priori includes some concepts that are not formal and some propositions that are substantially informative about the world. The theses of the transcendental idealism of Immanuel Kant (17201804), the general scientific conservation laws, the basic principles of morality and theology, and the causal laws of nature have all been held by partial empiricists to be both synthetic (substantially informative) and a priori. As noted above, philosophers who embrace the Kripkean notion of reference fixing would add to this class propositions such as heat is the cause of sensations of warmth and Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander the Great, both of which derive their presumed aprioricity from the hypothetical circumstances in which their subject terms were introduced. At any rate, in all versions of partial empiricism there remain a great many straightforwardly a posteriori concepts and propositions: ordinary singular propositions about matters of fact and the concepts that figure in them are held to fall in this domain.

So-called common sense might appear to be inarticulately empiricist; and empiricism might be usefully thought of as a critical force resisting the pretensions of a more speculative rationalist philosophy. In the ancient world the kind of rationalism that many empiricists oppose was developed by Plato (c. 428c. 328 bce), the greatest of rationalist philosophers. The ground was prepared for him by three earlier bodies of thought: the Ionian cosmologies of the 6th century bce, with their distinction between sensible appearance and a reality accessible only to pure reason; the philosophy of Parmenides (early 5th century bce), the important early monist, in which purely rational argument is used to prove that the world is really an unchanging unity; and Pythagoreanism, which, holding that the world is really made of numbers, took mathematics to be the repository of ultimate truth.

The first empiricists in Western philosophy were the Sophists, who rejected such rationalist speculation about the world as a whole and took humanity and society to be the proper objects of philosophical inquiry. Invoking skeptical arguments to undermine the claims of pure reason, they posed a challenge that invited the reaction that comprised Platos philosophy.

Plato, and to a lesser extent Aristotle, were both rationalists. But Aristotles successors in the ancient Greek schools of Stoicism and Epicureanism advanced an explicitly empiricist account of the formation of human concepts. For the Stoics the human mind is at birth a clean slate, which comes to be stocked with concepts by the sensory impingement of the material world upon it. Yet they also held that there are some concepts or beliefs, the common notions, that are present to the minds of all humans; and these soon came to be conceived in a nonempirical way. The empiricism of the Epicureans, however, was more pronounced and consistent. For them human concepts are memory images, the mental residues of previous sense experience, and knowledge is as empirical as the ideas of which it is composed.

Most medieval philosophers after St. Augustine (354430) took an empiricist position, at least about concepts, even if they recognized much substantial but nonempirical knowledge. The standard formulation of this age was: There is nothing in the intellect that was not previously in the senses. Thus St. Thomas Aquinas (122574) rejected innate ideas altogether. Both soul and body participate in perception, and all ideas are abstracted by the intellect from what is given to the senses. Human ideas of unseen things, such as angels and demons and even God, are derived by analogy from the seen.

The 13th-century scientist Roger Bacon emphasized empirical knowledge of the natural world and anticipated the polymath Renaissance philosopher of science Francis Bacon (15611626) in preferring observation to deductive reasoning as a source of knowledge. The empiricism of the 14th-century Franciscan nominalist William of Ockham was more systematic. All knowledge of what exists in nature, he held, comes from the senses, though there is, to be sure, abstractive knowledge of necessary truths; but this is merely hypothetical and does not imply the existence of anything. His more extreme followers extended his line of reasoning toward a radical empiricism, in which causation is not a rationally intelligible connection between events but merely an observed regularity in their occurrence.

In the earlier and unsystematically speculative phases of Renaissance philosophy, the claims of Aristotelian logic to yield substantial knowledge were attacked by several 16th-century logicians; in the same century, the role of observation was also stressed. One mildly skeptical Christian thinker, Pierre Gassendi (15921655), advanced a deliberate revival of the empirical doctrines of Epicurus. But the most important defender of empiricism was Francis Bacon, who, though he did not deny the existence of a priori knowledge, claimed that, in effect, the only knowledge that is worth having (as contributing to the relief of the human condition) is empirically based knowledge of the natural world, which should be pursued by the systematicindeed almost mechanicalarrangement of the findings of observation and is best undertaken in the cooperative and impersonal style of modern scientific research. Bacon was, in fact, the first to formulate the principles of scientific induction.

A materialist and nominalist, Thomas Hobbes (15881679) combined an extreme empiricism about concepts, which he saw as the outcome of material impacts on the bodily senses, with an extreme rationalism about knowledge, of which, like Plato, he took geometry to be the paradigm. For him all genuine knowledge is a priori, a matter of rigorous deduction from definitions. The senses provide ideas; but all knowledge comes from reckoning, from deductive calculations carried out on the names that the thinker has assigned to them. Yet all knowledge also concerns material and sensible existences, since everything that exists is a body. (On the other hand, many of the most important claims of Hobbess ethics and political philosophy certainly seem to be a posteriori, insofar as they rely heavily on his experience of human beings and the ways in which they interact.)

The most elaborate and influential presentation of empiricism was made by John Locke (16321704), an early Enlightenment philosopher, in the first two books of his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). All knowledge, he held, comes from sensation or from reflection, by which he meant the introspective awareness of the workings of ones own mind. Locke often seemed not to separate clearly the two issues of the nature of concepts and the justification of beliefs. His Book I, though titled Innate Ideas, is largely devoted to refuting innate knowledge. Even so, he later admitted that much substantial knowledgein particular, that of mathematics and moralityis a priori. He argued that infants know nothing; that if humans are said to know innately what they are capable of coming to know, then all knowledge is, trivially, innate; and that no beliefs whatever are universally accepted. Locke was more consistent about the empirical character of all concepts, and he described in detail the ways in which simple ideas can be combined to form complex ideas of what has not in fact been experienced. One group of dubiously empirical conceptsthose of unity, existence, and numberhe took to be derived both from sensation and from reflection. But he allowed one a priori conceptthat of substancewhich the mind adds, seemingly from its own resources, to its conception of any regularly associated group of perceptible qualities.

Bishop George Berkeley (16851753), a theistic idealist and opponent of materialism, applied Lockes empiricism about concepts to refute Lockes account of human knowledge of the external world. Because Berkeley was convinced that in sense experience one is never aware of anything but what he called ideas (mind-dependent qualities), he drew and embraced the inevitable conclusion that physical objects are simply collections of perceived ideas, a position that ultimately leads to phenomenalismi.e., to the view that propositions about physical reality are reducible to propositions about actual and possible sensations. He accounted for the continuity and orderliness of the world by supposing that its reality is upheld in the perceptions of an unsleeping God. The theory of spiritual substance involved in Berkeleys position seems to be vulnerable, however, to most of the same objections as those that he posed against Locke. Although Berkeley admitted that he did not have an idea of mind (either his own or the mind of God), he claimed that he was able to form what he called a notion of it. It is not clear how to reconcile the existence of such notions with a thoroughgoing empiricism about concepts.

The Scottish skeptical philosopher David Hume (171176) fully elaborated Lockes empiricism and used it reductively to argue that there can be no more to the concepts of body, mind, and causal connection than what occurs in the experiences from which they arise. Like Berkeley, Hume was convinced that perceptions involve no constituents that can exist independently of the perceptions themselves. Unlike Berkeley, he could find neither an idea nor a notion of mind or self, and as a result his radical empiricism contained an even more parsimonious view of what exists. While Berkeley thought that only minds and their ideas exist, Hume thought that only perceptions exist and that it is impossible to form an idea of anything that is not a perception or a complex of perceptions. For Hume all necessary truth is formal or conceptual, determined by the various relations that hold between ideas.

Voltaire (16941778) imported Lockes philosophy into France. Its empiricism, in a very stark form, became the basis of sensationalism, in which all of the constituents of human mental life are analyzed in terms of sensations alone.

A genuinely original and clarifying attempt to resolve the controversy between empiricists and their opponents was made in the transcendental idealism of Kant, who drew upon both Hume and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (16461716). With the dictum that, although all knowledge begins with experience it does not all arise from experience, he established a clear distinction between the innate and the a priori. He held that there are a priori concepts, or categoriessubstance and cause being the most importantand also substantial or synthetic a priori truths. Although not derived from experience, the latter apply to experience. A priori concepts and propositions do not relate to a reality that transcends experience; they reflect, instead, the minds way of organizing the amorphous mass of sense impressions that flow in upon it.

Lockean empiricism prevailed in 19th-century England until the rise of Hegelianism in the last quarter of the century (see also Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel). To be sure, the Scottish philosophers who followed Hume but avoided his skeptical conclusions insisted that humans do have substantial a priori knowledge. But the philosophy of John Stuart Mill (180673) is thoroughly empiricist. He held that all knowledge worth having, including mathematics, is empirical. The apparent necessity and aprioricity of mathematics, according to Mill, is the result of the unique massiveness of its empirical confirmation. All real knowledge for Mill is inductive and empirical, and deduction is sterile. (It is not clear that Mill consistently adhered to this position, however. In both his epistemology and his ethics, he sometimes seemed to recognize the need for first principles that could be known without proof.) The philosopher of evolution Herbert Spencer (18201903) offered another explanation of the apparent necessity of some beliefs: they are the well-attested (or naturally selected) empirical beliefs inherited by living humans from their evolutionary ancestors. Two important mathematicians and pioneers in the philosophy of modern physics, William Kingdon Clifford (184579) and Karl Pearson (18571936), defended radically empiricist philosophies of science, anticipating the logical empiricism of the 20th century.

The most influential empiricist of the 20th century was the great British philosopher and logician Bertrand Russell (18721970). Early in his career Russell admitted both synthetic a priori knowledge and concepts of unobservable entities. Later, through discussions with his pupil Ludwig Wittgenstein (18891951), Russell became convinced that the truths of logic and mathematics are analytic and that logical analysis is the essence of philosophy. In his empiricist phase, Russell analyzed concepts in terms of what one is directly acquainted with in experience (where experience was construed broadly enough to include not only awareness of sense data but also awareness of properties construed as universals). In his neutral monist phase, he tried to show that even the concepts of formal logic are ultimately empirical, though the experience that supplies them may be introspective instead of sensory.

Doctrines developed by Russell and Wittgenstein influenced the German-American philosopher Rudolf Carnap (18911970) and the Vienna Circle, a discussion group in which the philosophy of logical positivism was developed. The empirical character of logical positivism is especially evident in its formulation of what came to be known as the verification principle, according to which a sentence is meaningful only if it is either tautologous or in principle verifiable on the basis of sense experience.

Later developments in epistemology served to make some empiricist ideas about knowledge and justification more attractive. One of the traditional problems faced by more radical forms of empiricism was that they seemed to provide too slender a foundation upon which to justify what humans think they know. If sensations can occur in the absence of physical objects, for example, and if what one knows immediately is only the character of ones own sensations, how can one legitimately infer knowledge of anything else? Hume argued that the existence of a sensation is not a reliable indicator of anything other than itself. In contrast, adherents of a contemporary school of epistemology known as externalism have argued that sensations (and other mental states) can play a role in justifying what humans think they know, even though the vast majority of humans are unaware of what that role is. The crude idea behind one form of externalism, reliablism, is that a belief is justified when it is produced through a reliable processi.e., a process that reliably produces true beliefs. Humans may be evolutionarily conditioned to respond to certain kinds of sensory stimuli with a host of generally true, hence justified, beliefs about their environment. Thus, within the framework of externalist epistemology, empiricism might not lead so easily to skepticism.

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Zaretsky: The best ‘ism’ to explain our time – Daily Commercial

Posted: at 12:00 pm

Surrealism is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. The poet Guillaume Apollinaire coined the term to describe his play Les Mamelles de Tiresias (The Teats of Tiresias), which opened in a small Parisian theater in 1917. Beginning with an actress removing her breasts and ending early with an unscripted riot featuring a pistol-flailing audience member the play launched a movement that long convulsed French art and politics.

The centenary arrives in a surreal news environment. Indeed, among the dozens of isms used to explain the Trump presidency from isolationism and pluto-populism to narcissism and authoritarianism none does a better job than surrealism in capturing the current mood.

Andre Breton, the Pope of Surrealism, defined it as a psychic automatism in its pure state exempt from any moral concern. In his First Manifesto of Surrealism, Breton railed against rationalism and the reign of logic. Clarity and coherence lost bigly to the tumult of unconscious desires, while civility and courtesy were for bourgeois losers. Upping the ante in his Second Manifesto, he claimed the simplest Surrealist act consists of dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd.

Unarmed Surrealists were content to brandish their ids. What was once the stuff of repression was now ripe for expression. Everything that welled up into the conscious mind flowed across paper and canvas. The true Surrealist turns his mind into a receptacle, refusing to favor one group of words over another. Instead, it is up to the miraculous equivalent to intervene.

Or not. As a sober reader finds, most Surrealist literature is unreadable. The precursor to Surrealism, the Romanian Tristan Tzara, famously composed poems by cutting words from a newspaper, tossing them into a bag, pulling them out and reciting them one by one. The result, Tzara declared, will resemble you. (Perhaps thats true if you happen to be crashed on your kitchen floor, sleeping off an all-night bender.) As for Breton, he favored automatic writing by becoming a recording machine for his unconscious. The final product, he beamed, shines by its extreme degree of immediate absurdity.

Trumpian word salads bear the surrealist seal of absurdity. In Exquisite Corpse a Surrealist exercise aimed at unleashing the unconscious you write a word on a piece of paper, pass it to your neighbor who jots a second word without looking at the first word, and so on. This led to sentences like The exquisite/corpse/shall drink/the new/wine. Trumps gift of free association His one problem is he didnt go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death allows him to play a solitaire variation of the game.

A French translator recently marveled that Trump seems to have thematic clouds in his head that he would pick from with no need of a logical thread to link them. This is true not just of his speech, but also of his governing strategy.

Igniting a reaction similar to those following Marcel Duchamp entering a urinal at an art show, Trump has exhibited his Surrealist aesthetic in bureaucratic Washington. But he subverts ready-made expectations instead of ready-made objects. With a Surrealist flair for showmanship worthy of Salvador Dali, he randomly pairs titles and individuals. Thus, his son-in-law, a New York real estate developer, plays Middle East envoy one day, opioid crisis czar the next. Trumps claim that if Jared Kushner cannot bring peace to the Middle East, no one can expresses the Surrealist conviction that where reason and strategy have failed, unreason and whim will prevail.

The same aesthetic lies behind or, rather, below the Wall. Its failure to make economic, strategic or diplomatic sense is not beside the point; it is the point. Its raison dtre is to shock the political establishment and to give shape to what, until now, had been the repressed desires of Trumps base. Think of it not as a real security measure, but as a virtual sculpture that will allow its audience to touch, and not just talk about their phobias. Like a Surrealist object, the Wall is a shape-shifter opaque or transparent, continuous or discontinuous, topped with barbed wire or solar panels and expresses the Surrealist values of excess and extravagance, aggression and transgression.

In the end, Trumpism, like Surrealism, seeks to force reality to conform to individual desires, no matter how illicit, illegal or simply outrageous. This might work aesthetically, even financially just ask Dali, whose name Breton turned into the anagram Avida Dollars and, it seems, politically. But, one can hope, only in the short term.

Eventually, Surrealisms revolt against the reality-based community ended with a whimper, with its art relegated to post-dinner games and dorm room posters. One day, perhaps, politicians will look back on Trumpism in the same dismissive way.

Robert Zaretsky teaches at the University of Houston and is finishing a book on Catherine the Great and the French Enlightenment. He wrote this for the Los Angeles Times.

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Transforming Health: The divisive wash-up – InDaily

Posted: at 12:00 pm

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Adelaide Tuesday August 15, 2017

SA Health has commissioned consultants to evaluate the biggest hospital system overhaul in the states history. But one conclusion is already inescapable: Transforming Health has fractured the vital relationship between SAs doctors and the bureaucrats who employ them.

Transforming Health came with more buzz than the release of a new Apple product, says South Australian Salaried Medical Officers Association (SASMOA) senior industrial officer Bernadette Mulholland.

More than 600 medical staff and interested parties packed the Adelaide Convention Centre in November 2014 to hear the about the massive change planned for South Australias hospital system, and to be heard.

But as major changes began to roll through the system, doctors enthusiasm soured into suspicion.

The trust of clinicians and community so necessary to implement such broad sweeping changes was quickly eroded as it became clear that the focus by Government and SA Health prioritised economic rationalism rather than clinical, patient and community (outcomes), says Mulholland.

Within a short period, clinicians questioned the motivation of the Transforming Health (program) and recognised the potential devastation of health services to their local community and adverse clinical outcomes.

What absolutely concerned me was the damage that was caused to the relationship between the administration and medical officers.

Data provided by SA Health didnt match what some doctors believed to be happening on the ground, and when concerns about the accuracy of data were raised, many felt they were not being listened to.

Clinicians felt under pressure from administrators who now referred to clinicians providing any opposition as naysayers and dismissed any feedback that did not support change.

The process undermined trust and created a divide between Government and clinicians which wont be forgotten for some years.

Trust in the administration now lost through this process will be difficult to earn back from many clinicians.

SA Health has held regular forums to discuss Transforming Health with unions including SASMOA, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) and the Ambulance Employees Association (AEA) throughout the process.

But, according to Mulholland, in all the time that (SA Health CEO) Vickie Kaminski has been in that job, weve met her twice.

Asked how SA Health had allowed the relationship to deteriorate so dramatically, Kaminski told InDaily that different unions had responded to the process differently, and that many doctors have been highly supportive of Transforming Health.

SASMOAs had a tougher time wrapping their head around it (than other unions) but I think thats because its individuals, its I understand it (doctors) livelihood, its their place of work and youre changing that.

Transforming Health clinical ambassador Dorothy Keefe tells InDaily: There are many members of SASMOA who are actually very supportive of whats happening.

And I think SASMOAs been struggling a bit because of the differing views within its own membership. Of course, unhappiness makes better media than happiness.

Mulholland tells InDaily she is disappointed the administration is still bashing SASMOA.

It isnt constructive. I find it unhelpful, she says.

It maintains the relationship that we dont want.

Its clear, however, that any large-scale hospitals overhaul was never going to be easy for SA Health to manage.

Late last year, the department accepted the recommendations of a scathing review into the operations of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, which oversees the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, among others.

That report found medical staff were largely resistant to change, instead retaining a culture which is rooted in a mid-20th century view of the profession, of their relationship with the organisation and of care delivery.

There was no stigma against clinicians assuming someone else will take up the mantle of change management.

And when effective medical leadership is absent, change is inevitably difficult, lacks traction and sustainability, and is often associated with overt displays of anger and sometimes unprofessional behaviour.

Many doctors interviewed for the review reported that theirs was a resistant culture, a culture which rewarded and encouraged stasis rather than genuine change and a culture which had failed to come to grips with the reality of a resource constrained system.

There were, however, some clear exceptions to the change-resistant culture the report describes, characterised by the effective leadership of doctors who as a result have been able to bring others to a shared view that change is both important and desirable.

The problem for South Australias ambulance service, meanwhile, has not been the pace of change, but the lack thereof.

With major specialist services to be consolidated within the states largest hospitals under Transforming Health, more patients would have to travel farther, often in ambulances, to receive Best Care. First Time. Every Time. (as the Transforming Health mantra goes).

The ambulance service was to be a major beneficiary of the program.

A $16 million package was promised, with new ambulance stations, new vehicles and more paramedics to help the ambulance service cope.

However, asked to describe the major successes of Transforming Health, Ambulance Employees Association General Secretary Phil Palmer tells InDaily, from an ambulance perspective, none at this stage.

We dont have any extra boots on the ground yet, due to (SA Health) / Treasury refusing to release funds until it was too late.

Recruiting should have started 18 months ago at least but did not start until early this year.

It requires a 12-month long internship to make a degree-qualified graduate road-ready, with authority to practice as a paramedic.

Palmer says paramedics workload continues to climb and it is already beyond SA Ambulance capacity to cope.

Blown-out response times are now the norm, and there have already been two deaths that had 23-minute plus responses to cases that should have been attended in eight minutes, he says.

(Transforming Health) has created more need for patient transfers, but no extra resources to meet increased demand.

Premier Jay Weatherills announcement in June that Transforming Health would come to an end with the opening of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (early next month) and the closure of the Repat (due before the end of the year) came as a surprise to the AEA.

We heard it in the news, says Palmer.

We do not at all accept that the process is complete.

There has been no improvement in patient flow through hospitals; the discharge system remains inefficient, emergency departments are more overcrowded than ever, and ramping is the worst we have ever seen in South Australia.

The policy formerly known as Transforming Health was rebranded well before its work was done.

The negative public reaction was a result of the failure of (SA Health) to bring their workforce, and the public, with them.

Evidence-based change was gazumped by opinion polling.

From the beginning, nurses were expected to be among the major losers out of Transforming Health.

South Australia has the highest number of nurses per head of population in the country a fact noted regularly in public statements by Health Minister Jack Snelling.

But Weatherill told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning that his government was proud of that fact and major clear-out of nurses simply hasnt come to pass in South Australia, or not yet.

ANMF SA Branch CEO Elizabeth Dabars said late last year that her union had secured a commitment from the State Government that there would be no forced redundancies of nurses as a result of Transforming Health.

Kaminski tells InDaily jobnumbers have been going in the opposite direction: Theres been displacement, where nurses have moved around the system, (but) I think overall were trending up.

Wed like to, at some point, get down to the national average, but what were trying to do right now is the location of service, and being able to make sure were able to have the right service, right place, right time.

Kaminski said the evaluation of Transforming Health would shed further light on the outcomes of the program.

We have engaged people to do that evaluation for us, to be objective and third-party, she said.

Were asking them to be frank.

This is the second in InDailys two-part series on Transforming Health.

You can read part one here.

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The philosopher who poisoned German theology – Catholic Herald Online (blog)

Posted: August 13, 2017 at 2:01 am

Portrait by Jakob Schlesinger, Berlin 1831

Modern German Catholic thought is influenced by a heretical view of God’s nature

Otto von Bismarck, the 19th-century Chancellor of Germany, tried and failed to bring the Catholic Church to heel. He would have been delighted to see its state today. With pews emptying at a great rate, and few priestly vocations, the fact that the Church remains one of the largest employers could only prove that it had become the servant of state that he hoped it would be. Yet perhaps Bismarck might want to know: How have others achieved what I failed to bring about? At least part of the answer comes from within the German Church.

Theologically, Germany has been ground zero for centuries: just think of Albert the Great mentoring St Thomas Aquinas, or the Jesuit-led Counter-Reformation which answered Luthers schismatic dissent. But German theology has never quite recovered from its greatest challenge: Enlightenment rationalism and the attempts to overcome it through Hegelian dialectic. Even today, Hegels influence dominates German theology.

The Hegelian view of Gods involvement in the unfolding of history as Geist (Spirit) is at root a Christian heresy, reminiscent of the spiritualism of the 12th-century theologian Joachim de Fiore. For the Hegelian, God suffers with, and changes, precisely through the sin and suffering of his creatures, dialectically pouring out his love and mercy through the progress of history.

Citing a Lutheran hymn, God Himself is Dead, Hegel argues that God unites death to his nature. And so when we encounter suffering and death, we taste the particularities of the eternal divine history. As he puts it, suffering is a moment in the nature of God himself; it has taken place in God himself. For Hegel, suffering is an aspect of Gods eternal nature. Our sin and suffering is necessary for God to be God.

This heretical view has had widespread influence in modern Catholic and Protestant accounts of Gods nature. Its often given a pastoral veneer of the God who weeps with us. Yet, tragically unaware of his error, the Hegelian homilist preaches a God who cannot save: a God who is so eternally bound to our tears he cannot truly wipe them away.

Many 20th-century German theologians followed in Hegels footsteps. A basic principle was Hegels dialectic process itself as revelatory, which is to say they smuggled into their ideas on doctrinal development the notion that God was continuing to reveal himself in history, as though there was always something becoming in God, and thus, in the Church. Hegels spiritual forerunner Joachim de Fiore had predicted a third age of the Holy Spirit which would sing a new Church into being, and its striking how many German theologians have been entranced by the idea of a future Church very different to the holy and apostolic one of the past.

This is not to say Hegel is the answer to Bismarcks hypothetical question. There is a great difference between the Left Hegelian Ludwig Feuerbachs idea of religion as projection of inner spirit and the theologies of Karl Rahner or Walter Kasper. But there is nevertheless something deeply Hegelian about making the unfolding of human experience in history a standard for theological development to which God or the Church, always in mercy, must conform. Unfortunately, this is a terrible standard for change which leads not only to false reform, but to apostasy and desolation.

The standard for development, as 19th century German theologian Matthias Scheeben understood as well as Cardinal Newman, must be divinely revealed truths, the deposit of faith, passed from Christ to his apostles. Spiritual renewal in Germany can only begin if German bishops, priests, and laity alike recognize that change and development must be ordered to eternal truths, not to the needs of state, the Geist of culture, or the historical unfolding of inner human experience. The Church conforms not to the needs of nations, but to the fullness of Truth revealed by God Incarnate in Jesus Christ.

C C Pecknold is associate professor of theology at The Catholic University of America

This article first appeared in the August 11 2017 issue of the Catholic Herald. To read the magazine in full, from anywhere in the world, go here

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The best ism to explain our time: Surrealism, which turns 100 this year – Los Angeles Times

Posted: August 11, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Surrealism is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. The poet Guillaume Apollinaire coined the term to describe his play Les Mamelles de Tiresias (The Teats of Tiresias), which opened in a small Parisian theater in 1917. Beginning with an actress removing her breasts and ending early with an unscripted riot featuring a pistol-flailing audience member the play launched a movement that long convulsed French art and politics.

The centenary arrives in a surreal news environment. Indeed, among the dozens of isms used to explain the Trump presidency from isolationism and pluto-populism to narcissism and authoritarianism none does a better job than surrealism in capturing the current mood.

Andr Breton, the Pope of Surrealism, defined it as a psychic automatism in its pure state exempt from any moral concern. In his First Manifesto of Surrealism, Breton railed against rationalism and the reign of logic. Clarity and coherence lost bigly to the tumult of unconscious desires, while civility and courtesy were for bourgeois losers. Upping the ante in his Second Manifesto, he claimed the simplest Surrealist act consists of dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd.

Unarmed Surrealists were content to brandish their ids. What was once the stuff of repression was now ripe for expression. Everything that welled up into the conscious mind flowed across paper and canvas. The true Surrealist turns his mind into a receptacle, refusing to favor one group of words over another. Instead, it is up to the miraculous equivalent to intervene.

Or not. As a sober reader finds, most Surrealist literature is unreadable. The precursor to Surrealism, the Romanian Tristan Tzara, famously composed poems by cutting words from a newspaper, tossing them into a bag, pulling them out and reciting them one by one. The result, Tzara declared, will resemble you. (Perhaps thats true if you happen to be crashed on your kitchen floor, sleeping off an all-night bender.) As for Breton, he favored automatic writing by becoming a recording machine for his unconscious. The final product, he beamed, shines by its extreme degree of immediate absurdity.

Trumpian word salads bear the surrealist seal of absurdity. In Exquisite Corpse a Surrealist exercise aimed at unleashing the unconscious you write a word on a piece of paper, pass it to your neighbor who jots a second word without looking at the first word, and so on. This led to sentences like The exquisite/corpse/shall drink/the new/wine. Trumps gift of free association His one problem is he didnt go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death allows him to play a solitaire variation of the game.

A French translator recently marveled that Trump seems to have thematic clouds in his head that he would pick from with no need of a logical thread to link them. This is true not just of his speech, but also of his governing strategy.

Igniting a reaction similar to those following Marcel Duchamp entering a urinal at an art show, Trump has exhibited his Surrealist aesthetic in bureaucratic Washington. But he subverts ready-made expectations instead of ready-made objects. With a Surrealist flair for showmanship worthy of Salvador Dali, he randomly pairs titles and individuals. Thus, his son-in-law, a New York real estate developer, plays Middle East envoy one day, opioid crisis czar the next. Trumps claim that if Jared Kushner cannot bring peace to the Middle East, no one can expresses the Surrealist conviction that where reason and strategy have failed, unreason and whim will prevail.

The same aesthetic lies behind or, rather, below the Wall. Its failure to make economic, strategic or diplomatic sense is not beside the point; it is the point. Its raison dtre is to shock the political establishment and to give shape to what, until now, had been the repressed desires of Trumps base. Think of it not as a real security measure, but as a virtual sculpture that will allow its audience to touch, and not just talk about their phobias. Like a Surrealist object, the Wall is a shape-shifter opaque or transparent, continuous or discontinuous, topped with barbed wire or solar panels and expresses the Surrealist values of excess and extravagance, aggression and transgression.

In the end, Trumpism, like Surrealism, seeks to force reality to conform to individual desires, no matter how illicit, illegal or simply outrageous. This might work aesthetically, even financially just ask Dali, whose name Breton turned into the anagram Avida Dollars and, it seems, politically. But, one can hope, only in the short term.

Eventually, Surrealisms revolt against the reality-based community ended with a whimper, with its art relegated to post-dinner games and dorm room posters. One day, perhaps, politicians will look back on Trumpism in the same dismissive way.

Robert Zaretsky teaches at the University of Houston and is finishing a book on Catherine the Great and the French Enlightenment.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion or Facebook

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Hegelianism – Wikipedia

Posted: at 6:01 pm

Hegelianism is the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel which can be summed up by the dictum that “the rational alone is real”,[1] which means that all reality is capable of being expressed in rational categories. His goal was to reduce reality to a more synthetic unity within the system of absolute idealism.

Hegel’s method in philosophy consists of the triadic development (Entwicklung) in each concept and each thing. Thus, he hopes, philosophy will not contradict experience, but will give data of experience to the philosophical, which is the ultimately true explanation. If, for instance, we wish to know what liberty is, we take that concept where we first find itthe unrestrained action of the savage, who does not feel the need of repressing any thought, feeling, or tendency to act.

Next, we find that the savage has given up this freedom in exchange for its opposite, the restraint, or, as he considers it, the tyranny, of civilization and law. Finally, in the citizen under the rule of law, we find the third stage of development, namely liberty in a higher and a fuller sense than how the savage possessed itthe liberty to do, say, and think many things beyond the power of the savage.

In this triadic process, the second stage is the direct opposite, the annihilation, or at least the sublation, of the first. The third stage is the first returned to itself in a higher, truer, richer, and fuller form. The three stages are, therefore, styled:

These three stages are found succeeding one another throughout the whole realm of thought and being, from the most abstract logical process up to the most complicated concrete activity of organized mind in the succession of states or the production of systems of philosophy.

In logic which, according to Hegel, is really metaphysic we have to deal with the process of development applied to reality in its most abstract form. According to Hegel, in logic, we deal in concepts robbed of their empirical content: in logic we are discussing the process in vacuo, so to speak. Thus, at the very beginning of Hegel’s study of reality, he finds the logical concept of being.

Now, being is not a static concept according to Hegel, as Aristotle supposed it was. It is essentially dynamic, because it tends by its very nature to pass over into nothing, and then to return to itself in the higher concept, becoming. For Aristotle, there was nothing more certain than that being equaled being, or, in other words, that being is identical with itself, that everything is what it is. Hegel does not deny this; but, he adds, it is equally certain that being tends to become its opposite, nothing, and that both are united in the concept becoming. For instance, the truth about this table, for Aristotle, is that it is a table. (This is not necessarily true. Aristotle made a distinction between things made by art and things made by nature. Things made by art–such as a table–follow this description of thinghood. Living things however are self-generating and constantly creating their own being. Being in the sense of a living thing is highly dynamic and is defined by the thing creating its own being. He describes life not in terms of being but coming-into-being. For instance a baby’s goal is to become old. It is neither absolutely young or absolutely old and somewhere in the process of being young and becoming old. It sounds like Hegel made the comparison between being and not being while Aristotle made the comparison between art and nature.)

For Hegel, the equally important truth is that it was a tree, and it “will be” ashes. The whole truth, for Hegel, is that the tree became a table and will become ashes. Thus, becoming, not being, is the highest expression of reality. It is also the highest expression of thought because then only do we attain the fullest knowledge of a thing when we know what it was, what it is, and what it will be-in a word, when we know the history of its development.

In the same way as “being” and “nothing” develop into the higher concept becoming, so, farther on in the scale of development, life and mind appear as the third terms of the process and in turn are developed into higher forms of themselves. (It is interesting here to note that Aristotle saw “being” as superior to “becoming”, because anything which is still becoming something else is imperfect. Hence, God, for Aristotle, is perfect because He never changes, but is eternally complete.) But one cannot help asking what is it that develops or is developed?

Its name, Hegel answers, is different in each stage. In the lowest form it is “being”, higher up it is “life”, and in still higher form it is “mind”. The only thing always present is the process (das Werden). We may, however, call the process by the name of “spirit” (Geist) or “idea” (Begriff). We may even call it God, because at least in the third term of every triadic development the process is God.

The first and most wide-reaching consideration of the process of spirit, God, or the idea, reveals to us the truth that the idea must be studied (1) in itself; this is the subject of logic or metaphysics; (2) out of itself, in nature; this is the subject of the philosophy of nature; and (3) in and for itself, as mind; this is the subject of the philosophy of mind (Geistesphilosophie).

Passing over the rather abstract considerations by which Hegel shows in his Logik the process of the idea-in-itself through being to becoming, and finally through essence to notion, we take up the study of the development of the idea at the point where it enters into otherness in nature. In nature the idea has lost itself, because it has lost its unity and is splintered, as it were, into a thousand fragments. But the loss of unity is only apparent, because in reality the idea has merely concealed its unity.

Studied philosophically, nature reveals itself as so many successful attempts of the idea to emerge from the state of otherness and present itself to us as a better, fuller, richer idea, namely, spirit, or mind. Mind is, therefore, the goal of nature. It is also the truth of nature. For whatever is in nature is realized in a higher form in the mind which emerges from nature.

The philosophy of mind begins with the consideration of the individual, or subjective, mind. It is soon perceived, however, that individual, or subjective, mind is only the first stage, the in-itself stage, of mind. The next stage is objective mind, or mind objectified in law, morality, and the State. This is mind in the condition of out-of-itself.

There follows the condition of absolute mind, the state in which mind rises above all the limitations of nature and institutions, and is subjected to itself alone in art, religion, and philosophy. For the essence of mind is freedom, and its development must consist in breaking away from the restrictions imposed on it in it otherness by nature and human institutions.

Hegel’s philosophy of the State, his theory of history, and his account of absolute mind are perhaps the most often read portions of his philosophy due to their accessibility. The State, he says, is mind objectified. The individual mind, which, on account of its passions, its prejudices, and its blind impulses, is only partly free, subjects itself to the yoke of necessitythe opposite of freedomin order to attain a fuller realization of itself in the freedom of the citizen.

This yoke of necessity is first met within the recognition of the rights of others, next in morality, and finally in social morality, of which the primal institution is the family. Aggregates of families form civil society, which, however, is but an imperfect form of organization compared with the State. The State is the perfect social embodiment of the idea, and stands in this stage of development for God Himself.

The State, studied in itself, furnishes for our consideration constitutional law. In relation to other States it develops international law; and in its general course through historical vicissitudes it passes through what Hegel calls the “Dialectics of History”.

Hegel teaches that the constitution is the collective spirit of the nation and that the government and the written constitution is the embodiment of that spirit. Each nation has its own individual spirit, and the greatest of crimes is the act by which the tyrant or the conqueror stifles the spirit of a nation.

War, Hegel suggests, can never be ruled out, as one can never know when or if one will occur, an example being the Napoleonic overrunning of Europe and putting down of Royalist systems. War represents a crisis in the development of the idea which is embodied in the different States, and out of this crisis usually the State which holds the more advanced spirit wins out, though it may also suffer a loss, lick its wounds, yet still win in the spiritual sense, as happened for example when the northerners sacked Rome, its form of legality and religion all “won” out in spite of the losses on the battlefield.

A peaceful revolution is also possible according to Hegel when the changes required to solve the crisis are ascertained by thoughtful insight and when this insight spreads throughout the body politic:

If a people [Volk] can no longer accept as implicitly true what its constitution expresses to it as the truth, if its consciousness or Notion and its actuality are not at one, then the peoples spirit is torn asunder. Two things may then occur. First, the people may either by a supreme internal effort dash into fragments this law which still claims authority, or it may more quietly and slowly effect changes on the yet operative law, which is, however, no longer true morality, but which the mind has already passed beyond. In the second place, a peoples intelligence and strength may not suffice for this, and it may hold to the lower law; or it may happen that another nation has reached its higher constitution, thereby rising in the scale, and the first gives up its nationality and becomes subject to the other. Therefore it is of essential importance to know what the true constitution is; for what is in opposition to it has no stability, no truth, and passes away. It has a temporary existence, but cannot hold its ground; it has been accepted, but cannot secure permanent acceptance; that it must be cast aside, lies in the very nature of the constitution. This insight can be reached through Philosophy alone. Revolutions take place in a state without the slightest violence when the insight becomes universal; institutions, somehow or other, crumble and disappear, each man agrees to give up his right. A government must, however, recognize that the time for this has come; should it, on the contrary, knowing not the truth, cling to temporary institutions, taking what though recognized is unessential, to be a bulwark guarding it from the essential (and the essential is what is contained in the Idea), that government will fall, along with its institutions, before the force of mind. The breaking up of its government breaks up the nation itself; a new government arises, or it may be that the government and the unessential retain the upper hand.[2]

The “ground” of historical development is, therefore, rational; since the State, if it is not in contradiction, is the embodiment of reason as spirit. Many, at first considered to be, contingent events of history can become, in reality or in necessity, stages in the logical unfolding of the sovereign reason which gets embodied in an advanced State. Such a “necessary contingency” when expressed in passions, impulse, interest, character, personality, get used by the “cunning of reason”, which, in retrospect, was to its own purpose.

We are, therefore, to understand historical happenings as the stern, reluctant working of reason towards the full realization of itself in perfect freedom. Consequently, we must interpret history in rational terms, and throw the succession of events into logical categories and this interpretation is, for Hegel, a mere inference from actual history.

Thus, the widest view of history reveals three most important stages of development: Oriental imperial (the stage of oneness, of suppression of freedom), Greek social democracy (the stage of expansion, in which freedom was lost in unstable demagogy), and Christian constitutional monarchy (which represents the reintegration of freedom in constitutional government).

Even in the State, mind is limited by subjection to other minds. There remains the final step in the process of the acquisition of freedom, namely, that by which absolute mind in art, religion, and philosophy subjects itself to itself alone. In art, mind has the intuitive contemplation of itself as realized in the art material, and the development of the arts has been conditioned by the ever-increasing “docility” with which the art material lends itself to the actualization of mind or the idea.

In religion, mind feels the superiority of itself to the particularizing limitations of finite things. Here, as in the philosophy of history, there are three great moments, Oriental religion, which exaggerated the idea of the infinite, Greek religion, which gave undue importance to the finite, and Christianity, which represents the union of the infinite and the finite. Last of all, absolute mind, as philosophy, transcends the limitations imposed on it even in religious feeling, and, discarding representative intuition, attains all truth under the form of reason.

Whatever truth there is in art and in religion is contained in philosophy, in a higher form, and free from all limitations. Philosophy is, therefore, “the highest, freest and wisest phase of the union of subjective and objective mind, and the ultimate goal of all development.”

The far reaching influence of Hegel is due in a measure to the undoubted vastness of the scheme of philosophical synthesis which he conceived and partly realized. A philosophy which undertook to organize under the single formula of triadic development every department of knowledge, from abstract logic up to the philosophy of history, has a great deal of attractiveness to those who are metaphysically inclined. But Hegel’s influence is due in a still larger measure to two extrinsic circumstances.

His philosophy is the highest expression of that spirit of collectivism which characterized the nineteenth century. In theology especially Hegel revolutionized the methods of inquiry. The application of his notion of development to Biblical criticism and to historical investigation is obvious to anyone who compares the spirit and purpose of contemporary theology with the spirit and purpose of the theological literature of the first half of the nineteenth century.[citation needed]

In science, too, and in literature, the substitution of the category of becoming for the category of being is a very patent fact, and is due to the influence of Hegel’s method. In political economy and political science the effect of Hegel’s collectivistic conception of the State supplanted to a large extent the individualistic conception which was handed down from the eighteenth century to the nineteenth century.

Hegel’s philosophy became known outside Germany from the 1820s onwards, and Hegelian schools developed in northern Europe, Italy, France, Eastern Europe, America and Britain.[3] These schools are collectively known as post-Hegelian philosophy, post-Hegelian idealism or simply post-Hegelianism.[4]

Hegel’s immediate followers in Germany are generally divided into the “Right Hegelians” and the “Left Hegelians” (the latter also referred to as the “Young Hegelians”).

The Rightists developed his philosophy along lines which they considered to be in accordance with Christian theology. They included Karl Friedrich Gschel, Johann Philipp Gabler, Johann Karl Friedrich Rosenkranz, and Johann Eduard Erdmann.

The Leftists accentuated the anti-Christian tendencies of Hegel’s system and developed schools of materialism, socialism, rationalism, and pantheism. They included Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx, Bruno Bauer, and David Strauss. Max Stirner socialized with the left Hegelians but built his own philosophical system largely opposing that of these thinkers.

In Britain, Hegelianism was represented during the nineteenth century by, and largely overlapped the British Idealist school of James Hutchison Stirling, Thomas Hill Green, William Wallace, John Caird, Edward Caird, Richard Lewis Nettleship, F.H. Bradley, and J. M. E. McTaggart.

In Denmark, Hegelianism was represented by Johan Ludvig Heiberg and Hans Lassen Martensen from the 1820s to the 1850s.

In mid-19th century Italy, Hegelianism was represented by Bertrando Spaventa.

Hegelianism in North America was represented by Friedrich August Rauch, Thomas Watson and William T. Harris, as well as the St. Louis Hegelians. In its most recent form it seems to take its inspiration from Thomas Hill Green, and whatever influence it exerts is opposed to the prevalent pragmatic tendency.

In Poland, Hegelianism was represented by Karol Libelt, August Cieszkowski and Jzef Kremer.

Benedetto Croce and tienne Vacherot were the leading Hegelians towards the end of the nineteenth century in Italy and France, respectively. Among Catholic philosophers who were influenced by Hegel the most prominent were Georg Hermes and Anton Gnther.

Hegelianism also inspired Giovanni Gentile’s philosophy of actual idealism and Fascism, the concept that people are motivated by ideas and that social change is brought by the leaders.

Hegelianism spread to Imperial Russia through St. Petersburg in the 1840s, and was as other intellectual waves were considered an absolute truth amongst the intelligentsia, until the arrival of Darwinism in the 1860s.[5]

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Muslims and Modernism – Kasmir Monitor

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The nineteenth century witnessed a great change in the outlook of Muslims of the Subcontinent. Colonialism, along with the development of scientific attitude, affected the religious universe drastically. And, this, in turn, led to a hot debate on religious dogmas and rationality; rather a paradigm shift in the thought of educated Muslims. This shift created a modernist school, comprised mainly of those Muslims who showed a keen receptiveness to western institutions of learning and who judged things through the prism of modernity. This intellectual vibrancy took place in a more enthusiastic and radical way around the person of Sir Syed Ahmad khan, who was born in Delhi in 1817. To make the re-conciliation between religion and western attitude was central to his religious philosophy. He started a famous periodical Tahdhib al-Akhlaq and set up a scientific society for translating English books into Urdu so that the Muslims of the subcontinent would get acquainted with the advanced/progressive ideas of the West. While expounding the belief in naturalism, he stated, Today we are in need of modern Ilm al Kalam by which we should refute the dogmas of modern Science or show that they are in conformity with the Islamic creeds. According to him, whole physical universe including man is the work of God and religion is His word, so there cant be any contradiction between the two. The only touchstone of a real religion can be this: if it is in conformity with human nature or with nature in general, then it is true and real. Like the modernists of Christian world, he too tried to relinquish the metaphysical realities from the realm of faith. Reason and empiricism, according to him, are the only yardsticks to measure the reality. Swathed with the ideas of rationalism, he maintained that there is no intermediary between God and the prophet(SAW). Gabriel is in reality a symbolic representation of the prophetic faculty. Eschatologically, he further maintained that paradise and hell described in a sensuous terms in the sacred text are just emblematical representation of the psychological states of individuals in the life after death. Ibn Khuldun, a great Muslim historian and thinker, dealt well with the people like Sir Syed who were the preachers of rationalism during medieval era and has rightly mentioned in his famous Muqadimah that the mind is an accurate scale, whose recordings are certain and reliable; but to use it to weigh questions relating to the unity of God, or after life, or nature of prophecy or other such subjects falling outside its range, is like trying to use a goldsmiths scale to weigh mountains. To reconstruct the edifice of Muslim civilization, Sir Syed strongly advocated the ijtihadic endeavour. Apart from trying to untie the cosmic knots with reason and science, his buttressing to nullify Taqlid was very energetic and progressive. Taqlid is the sole reason, according to him, for the downfall of Muslim Ummah. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan not only started a sort of neo-Muttazilite understanding of the cosmos and the sacred text but also endeavoured to dilute the antagonistic attitude of western colonials. To meet this end, he dedicated himself to write an exegesis of the Bible in the light of Islamic intellectualism. Tabayin al-Kalam fi Tafsir al-Torahwa al-injilalamillahal-Islam is the name of that exegesis. It is not a commentary in a sense of Muslim Tafsir of the Quran. It is a collection of critical essays on certain aspects of Christianity that tends to stress the common ground rather than the differences between the Christians and Muslims. The main contention of Sir Syed, as Syed MunirWasti would put it, is that there is no fundamental difference between the account of Christianity given in the Bible and that given in the Quran. The Muslim society in India was very much hesitant to get socially intermingled with Christians. In order to dismantle this social barrier, he wrote a booklet, entitled Ahkam-iTaam-i Ahli-Kitab, to explain that Muslim Jurisprudence doesnt prevent Muslims from dining with the people of Book provided Haram food is not served.

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How Silicon Valley’s Workplace Culture Produced James Damore’s Google Memo – The New Yorker

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Last week, a software engineer at Google, James Damore, posted a ten-page memo, titled Googles Ideological Echo Chamber , to an internal company network. Citing a range of psychological studies, Wikipedia entries, and media articles on our culture of shaming and misrepresentation, Damore argued that women are underrepresented in the tech industry largely because of their innate biological differences from mentheir stronger interest in people rather than things, their propensity for neuroticism, their higher levels of anxiety. Damore criticized the companys diversity initiatives, which focus on recruitment, hiring, and professional development, as discriminatory, and advanced concrete suggestions for improving them: de-moralize diversity, de-emphasize empathy, stop alienating conservatives, and be open about the science of human nature. On Monday, Googles C.E.O., Sundar Pichai, sent a note to his employees decrying the memos harmful gender stereotypes and noting that portions of it violated the companys code of conduct. Damore was fired, and promptly filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

As soon as news of the memo broke, tech workers took to the Internet. (Ours is a privileged moment: never before has it been so easy to gain access to the errant musings, rapid-fire opinions, and random proclivities of venture capitalists and others we enrich.) There were calls for Damore to be blacklisted from the industry; nuanced analyses of the memos underlying assumptions and ripple effects; facile analyses of the same; message-board debates about sexual harassment, affirmative action, evolutionary biology, eugenics, and wrongthink; and disagreements about the appropriateness of Googles response. (Firing people for their ideas should be opposed, Jeet Heer, a self-described Twitter Essayist and an editor at The New Republic , tweeted.) George Orwells 1984 was trotted out, discursively, and quickly retired. More than a handful of people pointed out that the field of programming was created , and once dominated, by women. Eric Weinstein, the managing director of Thiel Capital, an investment firm helmed by Peter Thiel , tweeted disapprovingly at Googles corporate account, Stop teaching my girl that her path to financial freedom lies not in coding but in complaining to HR.

Though Damores memo draws on familiar political rhetoric, its style and structure are unique products of Silicon Valleys workplace culture . At software companies, in particular, people talkand argue, and dogpile, and offer unsolicited opinionsall the time, all over the place, including in forums like the one where Damore posted Googles Ideological Echo Chamber. In my experience in the tech industry, such forums serve as repositories for all sorts of discussionsfeature launches, bug fixes, birth announcements, introductions, farewellsand are meant, in part, to promote the open-source ethos that everyone can, and should, pitch in. But they also favor the kind of discourse that people outside the industry may recognize from online platforms such as Reddit and Hacker News; it is solution-oriented, purporting to value objectivity and rationalism above all, and tends to see the engineers dispassion as a tool for solving a whole range of technical and social problems. (Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts, Damore writes.) But the format is ill-suited to conversations about politics and social justice.

One of the documents that resurfaced in the online discussion of the Google memo was What You Cant Say , by Paul Grahamthe co-founder, along with his wife, Jessica Livingston, of the startup accelerator Y Combinator , which runs Hacker News. The five-thousand-word essay, which Graham published on his personal blog, in 2004, begins with the premise that there exist moral fashions that are both arbitrary and pernicious. Fashion is mistaken for good design; moral fashion is mistaken for good, he writes. The essay makes a case for contrarian thinking through a series of flattering analogiesGalileo was seen as a heretic in his time; John Milton was advised to keep quiet about the evils of the Roman Inquisitionand argues that opinions considered unfashionable in their time are often retroactively respected, if not taken as gospel. The statements that make people mad are the ones they worry might be believed, Graham writes. I suspect the statements that make people maddest are those they worry might be true. At several points, he refers to political correctness.

What You Cant Say is by no means a seminal text, but it is the sort of text that has, historically, spoken to a tech audience. Googles Ideological Echo Chamber, with its veneer of cool rationalism, echoes Grahams essay in certain ways. But, where Grahams argument is made thoughtfully and in good faithhe is a proponent of intellectual inquiry, even if the outcome is controversialDamores is a sort of performance. His memo shows a deep misunderstanding of what constitutes power in Silicon Valley, and where that power lies. True, Google and its peers have put money and other company resources toward diversity efforts, and they very likely will continue to do so. But today, in mid-2017, menwhite menare still very much in the majority. It is still largely white men who make decisions, and largely white men who prosper. By positioning diversity programs as discriminatory, Damore paints exactly the opposite picture. He frames employees like himself as a silenced minority, and his contrarian opinions as a kind of Galilean heresy.

It is conceivable, of course, that Damore distributed his memo to thousands of his colleagues because he genuinely thought that it was the best way to strike up a conversation. Open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow, he writes. Perhaps he expected that the ensuing dialogue would be akin to a debate over a chunk of code. But, given the memos various denigrating assertions about his co-workers, it is difficult to imagine that it was offered in good faith. Damore wasnt fired for his political views; he was fired for how (and where) he applied them. The memo also hints at a larger anxietya fear, possibly, of the future. But technological advancement and social change move at different velocities; someone like Damore might sooner be automated out of a job than replaced by a woman.

Minority groups in tech are no strangers to being second-guessed, condescended to, overlooked, underpaid, and uncredited. But seeing Damores arguments made publicand, in some cases, seeing them elicit supportwas a fresh smack in the face. It was a reminder that plenty of tech workers and executives still consider hiring women and people of color lowering the bar, and that proving ones place is a constant, Sisyphean task. After all, not so long ago, advocacy on behalf of womenand black, Latino, nonbinary, and otherwise underrepresented peoplewas the unfashionable, contrarian alternative in the tech industry.

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How well do you know your suburb? – Daily Advertiser

Posted: at 6:01 pm

11 Aug 2017, 2:21 p.m.

How well do you know where you live?

How well do you know where you live?

Are your neighbours likely to be young or old? Single or with kids? Renting or paying off a home? Born overseas or in Australia?

Take our seven-question quiz and find out. And if you get stuck try again, you’ll getdifferent questions each time. There are also some hints below.

Enter the name of your suburb.

Once you have your score youcan compare your resultwith other people from your area.

The quiz covers almost every one of Australia’s 15,000-plus suburbs. The only ones not included are those with tiny populations.

Oceania includes Australia, Papua New Guinea New Zealand and Pacific Islands such as Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.

The Americas includes North and South America.

Family households include any home that consists of a couple or some dependent children. For example, a family household can be a married couple without kids, a same-sex couple living together, a single parent looking after their two children, or a blended household with step parentsand stepchildren.

Christianitytakes in all denominations such as Catholicism, Protestantism and Seventh Day Adventism.

No Religion includes Agnosticism, Atheism and secular beliefs such as Rationalism and Humanism.

The data used in this quiz comes from the2016 Census.

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