Tom, Brent, Bruno, list,
 
Bruno wrote & Brent agreed,
> I think everyone has religious faith...
 
I don't think that I could go along with that, at least not in the strict sense of "religion" -- true enough, religion has, at its core, valuings with regard to power and submission, ruling and being ruled, and also self-governance. But in the strict sense of "religion," there's usually, at the core, some beliefs, some claims, of miracles, magical events, etc. Not everybody believes in that sort of thing. Then in another sense, but a less strict one, a "religion" can be a set of life-shaping beliefs immune to nontrivial revision despite all contrary experience. I don't think that absolutely everybody has a life-shaping set of such beliefs. Or maybe they all do, but it doesn't seem hands-down obvious that they all do.
 
Most people, however, do have some sort of views, which are or have been significant in their lives, about what are traditionally called metaphysical questions -- God, freedom, immortality, psycho-physical relationships, etc. Many have one or another kind of metaphysical faith. It seems increasingly clear to me that Bruno is doing a machine metaphysics, or a computer metaphysics, or a metaphysics of, by, and for computers or machines (I can't remember why Bruno opts for "machines" instead of "computers."). It's a shame that the word "metaphysics" is ruled out by (if I remember correctly, it was in a post a while back) reaction of intellectuals in Belgium. Moreover, "machine metaphysics" is kind of catchy in its alliterative way. Metaphysics is not religion but instead a philosophical study of questions which are among the important ones in religion. Philosoophy, however, can be applied in living, so the distinction is not a barrier impenetrable in practice (or, therefore, in theory either).
 
As to universals, as Brent says they're "ruled out" way too often. it's that old Saul Steinberg "View of the World From Ninth Avenue" thing again. Intellectual foreshortening. http://www.hwscience.com/HWJS/archives/friendrank/friendrank_files/image003.gif
Some look at decision-making (& related "ruling arts" aka "governing arts") about lives & living, and see the custom-tailored, the singular, as the goal and object(ive). This is true in the same sense as it is true that "know-how," practical/productive arts, strive not for the singular and one-time but the reliable & repeatable, though still the somewhat specialized -- not the universal, theoretical, etc. -- and it is true in the same sense that affective arts tend to strive for totalities, universes, worlds in terms of which certain qualities take on special and vibrant values -- and it is true in the same sense that universals are the object of maths & sciences. It's true in those senses, as far as they go, which is not unlimited.
 
Instead, those senses are limited, and, for instance, it is patently obvious that, in _subject matters_, the research disciplines vary every which way in typical scope -- physical, chemical, and life sciences have concrete singulars in their unreduced, unabstracted-away idiosyncrasies as their _subject_, howsoever universal the _object_ of such sciences is. And what's more, the disciplines of research vary even in the scopes of their elementary objectives.
 
- The goal of empirical research is to learn more particulars -- _is_ there a tenth planet, _is_ there an earth quake in store for some island, _are_ there more fossils of intermediates stage between whales and land mammals, etc. -- and on a kind of higher level, to learn about universals as specially applicable to them. Those universals are no more interesting to such empirical research than the concreta which they help explain and predict, so economically.
 
- The goal of statistical theory is to draw inductive conclusions from samples to _total populations_, not universals -- yet, on a kind of higher level, to learn about the _universals_ which apply to them., across them, etc., in statistical study.
 
I'm not sure how best to distinguish these "levels" and they don't seem divided by impenetrable barriers -- last I heard, there's evidence that lightspeed has changed relative to other fundamental quantities, and so lightspeed, though a universal, is seen as a big, developing event -- a kind of universal event (which in a sense it always was).
 
It's just a piece of intellectually unjustified but intellectually practiced foreshortening, to hold that all this diversity of typical scopes is unique to the disciplines of research. Much less are disciplines of research concerned only with universals, which is just a silly idea. In decision-makings and leadings, in performance and means, in ends and satisfactions, and in checks and knowledge, and in the respective disciplines of those things, there are or at least can be the full variety of scopes involved some way or other in terms of subject matter, or some kind of objective, even though each general area has its general, "higher-level" (I'm not sure I even want to call it "higher" but I just don't know what to call it) tendency to one or another scope of object(ive).
 
I'll also reply to Brent here.
 
>The serious researcher strains to test his theory, to give it the best chance to fail.
 
Yes, s/he does that too, most definitely.
 
> I would say "always"; information always falls short of providing certainity.
 
That's true. But sometimes it falls a lot shorter than at other times, and still we must act, or refrain, decisively, some of those times.
 
> I agree. That's why political leaders like to invoke religion and why the professional military are often very religious.  "Jumping to conclusions" and "having convictions" are just two sides of the same coin.  Scientists tend to make poor political leaders.
 
"No atheists in foxholes." I think that I would have a desperate time of it trying to maintain my agnosticism in such a situation, and little time or energy to put into such a maintenance. "Metaphysically," I'm just not particularly committed, but I'm old enough that I'm not about to jump onto any particular bandwagon.
 
> But is the value of logic and evidence inherent or only instrumental?
 
Here you ask some questions which go deep, very deep, so I can only ramble. Now, as far as I know, I'm the only person who thinks as I do on these subjects.
 
The value of logic and evidence is neither "inherent" (i.e., an end in itself, satisfying, delightful, contenting, pain-alleviating, felicific, eudaemonic, etc., etc.) nor instrumental. It's neither means nor end. The _valuation_, the socially institutionalized valuings of logic, evidence, standards of rigor, evidence, standards of what's worth knowing, etc., etc., are embodied in the disciplines of maths & sciences, but they are broader in society, as any innocent defendant on trial will hope, despite Richard Rorty's vicious nonsense about the sciences' supposedly have nothing to offer to philosophy (originally love of knowledge) about truth, inquiry, etc. Don't ask me to look it up right now, but I'm sure he said it. Anyway, the basic value of logic and evidence should be understood in terms of their basic role, which is that of neither means nor end (which is not to deny that they have added value because they can be means &/or ends, just as ends have because they can also be means, and so on).
 
Instead it's a matter of checks, confirmations, supports, etc. With respect to the checked end the check is not a means, it is not a means to that end, it may be a means to some other end but, _to that end_, it is the check, the confirmation or corroboration, etc., the expectation-fullfilling side-effect or sign etc. which help to evidence the achievement of the sought end.  It's simply another category, another flavor, than means and end, and is on a par with means and end. One might try to get out of this by saying that it's a means to pleasure-sensations dependent on external outcomes, the pleasure-sensations being our "real" ends, our ends per se to the exclusion of anything else, rather than being our often besought intelligent appreciation of ends, but these sorts of "anthropo-nomy" epicycles cause more conceptual problems than they're worth, unless one prefers to view humanity as an elaborate puppet show with the puppeteers emerging clearly only in our latest greatest theoretical conceptions.
 
The means-end dichotomy is inexhaustive and inadequate both in conception and application. It's vaguely like conceiving of matter and energy while ignoring motions and structures. It's more exactly like talking about middles and endings without considering beginnings and checkings (as a middle or continuation is like a staying-begun, a checking is like a staying-ended, an entelechy but with the emphasis on the heldness, the firmness, of the "perfection" rather than, as Aristotle did it, on the perfection itself. What holds up and is supported, firm, is confirmed; vegetables have ends, intelligent animals have checks and learn). In typical human affairs such that happiness or satisfaction (I don't mean the pure sensations thereof) is generally the end and rational work the means, what is the beginning?
 
Why wouldn't there be a general aspect of beginning in the same sense as there is of ends or means? (I think that the beginning would be deliberation and trying.)
 
Now, this is the sort of angle about which only philosophically minded people can care: In applying since at least the Ancient Greeks the comparison of means and goals with middles/continuations and haltings ("ends," culminations), which seems to occur throughout European languages (I don't know about others but I'd bet the comparison or analogy is pretty frequent there too), one has to stop and ask whether "everything exists" and whether the comparison or analogy is to be extended systematically to the other two terms or "turns" of becoming.  It's certainly strange for such a comparison to work so well for two steps and then just be absent for the other two steps. In fact, if it doesn't persist through all four, there must be something radically wrong with it. After these thousands of years, and that seems unlikely. But only the philosophically minded will care about this angle. I'll get more into examples.
 
> I'm not sure I undestand what you mean by, "valuings and carings in regard to the sources, powers, principles whereby one moves and acts."  Every one has values (things they care about).  They include things like security, companionship, stimulation, children, sex.  But I don't know in what sense they care about "source, powers, and principles" except perhaps instrumentally.
 
They care about the powers in their lives and the ethical, political, and other principles whereby they act. They care about their virtues, strengths, and fortes. They care about their rights and freedoms and others' rights and freedoms. They care about their relationship, such as they believe it to be, their relationship to the power of the universe itself. These are sources, beginnings, leaderships, principles, (Greek) _arches_. This is not mere instrumentality. Deciding and determining is not a mere means, the decider employs means to ends. The decider in that sense is the beginning, the leader.
 
_Arches kai mesa_, beginnings/leadings, and means. It's the difference between (a) *will & character* and (b) *ability & competence*. Aristotle wrote his ethical treatises about character in a broader sense than exclusively that of morality, and character in that broader sense is what it's about. It's a shame that Aristotle didn't also write treatises about ability and competence, _hikanoteta_. Now, a carpenter, for instance, is not simply a means to carpentry, a means for carpented things to actualize themselves. The carpenter tries and deliberates, pursues, chooses or accepts (or rejects), and adheres to (or renounces) his/her underlying decisions even to do the work at all, throughout the process. Is all this volition a "means"? Somebody else's means, perhaps; the market's means perhaps, and so on. But it isn't the carpenter's means, it's the carpenter's leading, deciding, etc. which, by means, tools, resources, s/he carries out. This striving and deciding is most clearly seen as no mere means in contexts where control is truly at stake. In the carpenter's sawing, hammering, etc., the exercise of skills and abilities, control is not really at stake. But in the carpenter's will and decision-making, control of the situation among various factors in the carpenter is at stake. Now, one is free to devise an epicycle-filled "anthropo-nomy" in order to describe intelligent beings while classing volition and decision-making as mere means, but it's not particularly useful. Another way to see this is by a set of examples comprising an exhaustive set of a certain kind of combinations of the two.
 
Choice and decision-making with regard to means is the _economic_ field.
Choice and decision-making with regard to choice and decision-making (deciding who or what gets to decide, etc.) comprise the _political and martial_ field, also sometimes vis-a-vis nature, e.g., firefighting, hunting (where it's not purely sport and not safely under control (animal husbandry)), etc.
Means, methods, practices with regard to choice and decision-making, comprise the field of _management, administration, and compliance_.
Means, methods, practices with regard to means, methods, practices, comprise the field of _skilled labor, crafts, cooperation, etc._
Sometimes you'll see a renovator having to be the businessman, the manager, and the co-worker, all at once in various ways, and sometimes having to be the fighter or politician too. A lot of work!
 
Examples of the differences in terms just of disciplines. Table produced directly in markup (Outlook Express is good for that), no tedious junk code:
 
Discipline:
Ruling/governing arts
(& arts of being ruled,
governed; arts of self-governance)
Disciplines of deciding and character
Practical/productive arts/sciences
 
Disciplines of means, competencies
Affective arts (lit., music, dance, painting, sculpt., stage, screen, etc., etc.)
 
Disciplines of ends, satisfactions, sensibilities
Maths & sciences
 
Disciplines of checks and intelligence, knowledge
Discipline, cultivated cognition regarding _________: beginnings, _arches_
(decision-making, will, character)
middles, means, _mesa_
(ability, competence)
ends, culminations, _teloi
(affectivity, sensibility, but again not just the feelings in themselves, divorced from the actual; electrode implants would suffice for that.)
checks, _ichnoi_, _entelecheiai_
(cognition, intelligence, etc.)
Scope of "higher" object of said discipline: singulars among more singulars non-universal generals totalities, universes, gamuts universals
Level associated with such scope:
(A bit off-off-topic, in order to get back on-topic -- I have to bring this back to the Everything _somehow_!)
I do think that biggest pictures should fit together.
Level I Level II Level III Level IV
 
Best, Ben Udell
=================
 
Bruno wrote:
> I think everyone has religious faith...

Amen, Bruno, and Ben also!  This is of course a searing statement, which goes back to why the word "theology" is taboo.  As it's commonly said, the two topics to stay away from in conversation are religion and politics.

But, without using the word religion, we can safely say that we all have some basic belief that we hold to in order to make the decisions of our practical living, whether they are every-day decisions like holding a grudge against someone (or not), or bigger decisions about our course in life such as getting married (or not) etc.  The modern (and leading up to the modern) reductionist philosophy has split these particulars apart from our musings about universals, so that people typically no longer see any connection between them.  (Talk about going in the opposite direction from "Everything"!) In a way it is rather convenient because we can live out "personal" lives the way we want to. 
  But the reality is that in being set totally free from universals, we become enslaved.  The ultimate destination of rationalism in a totally closed system is something like pan-critical rationalism, where we end up in a swirl of confusion.  Even then, we really are having faith that somehow the "system" is set up such that things will work out OK.  If we didn't, then what are we left with?  In order to have freedom we need at least some constraints.  For example, take the axiomatic system.  This applies also to the "Mathematics: Is it really..." thread.  So there needs to be a faith that something is fixed, even if we don't yet know, or perhaps believe that we can never truly know, what is it.  This something is what is called truth.

Tom

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