Today's Dinosaur Comics illustrates certain difficulties in philosophy - self-justifying foundations are oddball elements in philosophies that are otherwise very formal, and people who don't want to use that style of thinking often think they can get the same level of rigour through adopting a different kind of metaphysics that doesn't stand up to super-rigourous investigation (e.g. scientific fundamentalism, given some particular version of "what science is"). I have generally found that the more formal people try to make their systems of understanding, the less comfortable/willing/able they are to discuss its foundations. I don't think that one necessarily should be able to find a way to judge these foundations (that being impossible from a value-foundational void (I was originally going to say analogue of the "original position", but thinking about it, that would not be correct -- the original position actually does embody a number of values)), but they should probably be discussable (in terms of aesthetics at least), and should definitely not be sore spots in any mature philosophy. My take on the issue is that philosophy by necessity has muddy boots, that philosophies would be more honest/healthy to admit that, and not to let that stop them from grand perspectives and ambitions. I don't believe it's a meaningful question whether Mathematics is real or not, nor in general that questions where we can't decide criteria to judge their results are likely to be meaningful (or productive). Internal consistency is important, but largely because it, like many other aspects of judging a philosophy, comes down to strong aesthetics. I think almost every abstract conflict comes down to aesthetics in the end (aesthetics, stories, and values all being different ways to understand what I believe to be the underlying bases for variation in human behaviour), and that these things are still worth fighting over, sometimes to the death.
When the taxman comes, some people portray their hard-earned money being stolen to give to the less deserving and to efforts to build things that the free market should provide for. Others see society's due being taken as recompense for all that society provides, in order to provide for the common good and for others. Some feel they've earned their resources and that taking them is akin to assaulting their person. Others feel that those on top usually are so because their parents were, that the jobs on top are often more cushy, and/or that the level of or existence of such differences in resources is unacceptable privilege. Yet others worry that those monies don't reliably go where they should. These are value judgements -- all that really happens is that tax is taken, and it is used to do some things. Interpretations beyond that require us to construct stories about at least some of things like justice, rights, societal welfare, justification, government. I do that, of course, but on some level, I know that these are all just abstractions and that my neighbour might feel rather differently.
I believe I have refined my philosophy somewhat by noting that values, stories, and aesthetics are all strongly related to each other in understanding human perspectives. They are all, I believe, theoretically transformable into each other -- a person who feels strongly to be part of a story about their nation rising to overcome (like some Greek nationalists I know), letting it define who they are and similar could be said to hold a set of values as appropriate to define that aspect of them. Characteristics of a person might be more easily phrased in any of the three though. I am presently chewing on how to analyse that -- does it say something about someone? If so, what?
I am delightfully sore from climbing.
- 06/06/2006 23:47:00 - Pickup at site
- 06/07/2006 00:12:00 - Depart Baldwin Park, California route
- 06/07/2006 00:53:00 - Arrive Ontario, California
- 06/07/2006 04:13:00 - Depart Ontario, California route
- 06/07/2006 15:00:00 - Arrive San Jose, California
- 06/07/2006 19:29:00 - Depart San Jose, California route
- 06/08/2006 00:58:00 - Arrive Rockford, Illinois
- 06/08/2006 02:12:00 - Depart Rockford, Illinois route
- 06/08/2006 05:04:00 - Arrive Newark, New Jersey
- 06/08/2006 10:20:00 - Depart Newark, New Jersey route
- 06/08/2006 12:09:00 - Arrive Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 06/08/2006 16:22:00 - Depart Philadelphia, Pennsylvania route
- 06/08/2006 23:38:00 - Arrive New Stanton, PA
- 06/09/2006 02:03:00 - Depart New Stanton, PA route
- 06/09/2006 03:03:00 - Arrive Pittsburgh, PA
- ??/??/???? ??:??:?? - Delivered to my apartment in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
I am making a humourous movie using my digital camera, microphone, and similar. Anyone who is proficient with video gimp should let me know. I already have all the actors, the plot, and am pretty close to having all the script I need. I have the props, although using them may be tricky. I also need to learn to play the one bit of essential music :)