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RSS Smh62

Reward Points:39
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10 most recent arguments.
smh62(39) Clarified
1 point

I entirely agree that science is philosophy as is any system of concepts. But not all philosophy is science so by 'philosophy' I mean non-scientific philosophy. I raise the question because, in the past, I would have dismissed non-scientific philosophy as simply unscientific. But now-a-days I find that a naive reaction.

I think my question is a false dichotomy but not for the same reason as you. I'm going to have to paraphrase Dennett but his sense is that when you know what the questions are then you can do good science but if you're not sure what the questions are then you're doing philosophy. Essentially, you can do good science with easy problems but the hard problems require you to do good philosophy too.

2 points

There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination.—Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea

I have to agree.

1 point

Solipsists do not exist. Fact. If 'existence' is to mean anything then it has to be such that it applies to some things. If you want it to mean something that applies to nothing or a strictly limited set then be my guest but you're torturing a word in common usage which few people have difficulty using.

1 point

Your alternative makes no sense. You'd be waiting a long time for a convicted murderer, subject to the authority of a judge, to actually consent to the sentence handed down.

Absence of corruption largely pertains to private neutrality i.e. officers stand neither to make private gains nor incur private losses through the exercise of their powers. Once we have private neutrality, we can discuss whether the officer is displaying competent exercise of those powers.

1. public loss/neutrality with private gain is corrupt;

2. public loss/neutrality with private loss/neutrality is incompetent;

3. public gain with private gain/loss is untenable;

4. public gain with private neutrality is the ideal;

We're disputing #3. I argue that gain/gain and gain/loss should both still be considered corrupt as they readily lead to corruption. Either because the officer maintains the decision even after the public no longer gains or because the officer changes the decision to avoid a personal loss even while the public would still stand to gain.

A good example of private losses incurred in the exercise of power is the matter of travel expenses. These should always be reimbursed in full. This is common practice. The asymmetry in common practice is that private gains are not declared and surrendered to the office. Without that, all officers always have an ulterior motive for taking office.

Neutrality is the ideal situation and is what I'm driving at by the phrase absent of corruption.

1 point

Yes. Good point. I think it's worth adopting a statistical definition. Something like:

For a given trait (assuming a bell curve):

1. normality being within three standard deviations of the estimated population mean;

2. abnormality being > +/- 3 s.d. from the mean.

3. disorder being an abnormality which has harmful effects or carries a meaningful risk of having harmful effects either for yourself or for others.

Here, I'm distinguishing between abnormality and disorder. The first means you're unusual, the second says their's a risk associated with that unusualness.

If the question was:

Everybody has abnormal mental traits.

then I'd have to agree.

1 point

Ah yes. A great time to be going into the pharmaceutical industry. The customer base is just going to sky rocket. We could tell people they're broken but they didn't know it. But we do know it and would be happy to cure them of their issues for just a couple of hundred dollars.

We're in the money, We're in the money,

We've got a lot of what it takes to get along.

I think the DSM should be split out into three publications: one consisting of clinical conditions requiring medical intervention, the second consisting of sub-clinical conditions which require attention and occasionally require medication, and the third consisting of normal conditions which require no attention or medication but patients may present if they wish to change the condition through counselling and simple thought exercises.

The third volume would really just be an inventory of personality traits which are not socially problematic to the person but they may not be happy with the trait. Presenting for one of these conditions would be the psychiatric equivalent of a perfectly healthy young woman asking for breast enlargements so that she can just feel more attractive.

1 point

Governments without corruption can exist.

Ok. How?

As long as they listen to the people, don't support the corrupt corporations and don't except their demands.

But is listening to the people and ignoring the corporations sufficient to preclude corruption? Well, it's easy to ignore corporations when they don't exist and they didn't always exist but corrupt governments where still seen. I'm sure corporate corruption contributes a fair amount to government corruption but I don't think it is the only cause.

Also, it is possible to listen to the people by pursuing popular projects while simultaneously giving project sub-contracts to the company tied for top rank in the industry which is also offering the largest bribe. In that situation, you would be listening to the people and making illegitimate personal gain from exercise of your legislated powers.

They can exist

I agree. But I dispute that your suggestions would be sufficient to bring that about. Please provide a fuller explanation for me to get my teeth into.

Thanks for posting.

1 point

I think it comes down to job design. An artist friend told me he used to be a police officer and he figured that most people who join the police force are people who are politically right of centre. I disputed that. I said that my experience with people about to join the police force are politically representative of the population but have simply found themselves at a stage in their lives where they have several career options and they happen to prefer the police officer option. It is then in doing the job and finding themselves frustrated at times by liberal legislation, designed to do things like protect the human rights of suspects etc., that police officers become politically right of centre. My point is that people are shaped by their jobs and that their thoughts and behaviour are really a result of their job rather than their nature. If some part of the shaping is not desirable then redesign the job.

1 point

Your surprise isn't surprising.

I see this as a kind of engineering problem. Suppose you're a microchip manufacturer. The plan is to produce 1,000 working chips. You have a battery of tests to ensure that all the chips are working. Each test has a 90% chance of detecting any faults and thus fails to detect an actual fault 10% of the time. If you choose to use only one test on the 1,000 chips, you'll probably have 100 faulty chips which is pretty bad. Two tests would reduce this down to 10 and three would reduce the probable number of faulty chips down to 1. Adding additional tests would steadily increase your odds of having zero faulty chips, that is, a greater guarantee that your 1,000 chips really do all work. Indeed, a battery of more than 163 tests each being 90% reliable would reduce the odds of missing a fault to less than the odds of you and me both happening to independently choose the same atom in the universe.

Going to the definition of political corruption:

the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain

Ok. So now suppose we're looking at 1,000 cases where a government official has used legislated powers. We need 163+ tests each 90% effective at identifying illegitimate private gain if present. We don't have a government absent of corruption in the strictest sense but the presence of corruption has no practical significance.

So how could we seriously perform 163,000+ tests in any reasonable amount of time? We could have a computer system which monitors the use of powers and any personal gains made. It could red flag any correlations between the two and attach all the evidence which will be required in court to obtain a conviction.

Political corruption can be approached as an engineering problem of a fairly routine variety. It's just that political philosophy doesn't teach engineering problem solving.

1 point

Ok. Wasn't sure whether to click support or dispute. I choose to support your argument but dispute your side.

I'm not saying we should (I mean you should... I get so riled up about US politics almost as if I'm a US citizen) favour the Republican perspective. Whenever someone advances their political views, my bullshit detector goes on high alert. It gets tripped far more frequently with Republican speakers than with Democrat speakers. I think the basic social gist that Democrats promise (empty promises) are great but they (Obama) aren't coming up with the goods. The American people suffer as a result of this. The Democrats have the power to change things but are too gutless to do it.

I say we should be upset with the Democrats more because they are in power, they've been put in power to take specification actions and all the American people are seeing is mealy mouthed double-talk telling them "Well, I know I promised you this but...". Not good enough. Americans deserve more.

It would be a travesty to have Republicans in power again but we have more reason to be upset with the incumbent government. Such high spirits. So much laudable intent. So few results.

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