fevereiro 25, 2010

Sci-Philosophy III

Casual acceptance demonstrated how easily rational thought could be directed by wishful thinking. This was a common susceptibility of all sentients.

The play of words can lead to certain expectations which life is unable to match. This is a source of much insanity and other forms of unhappiness.

But the dreams would be gone, lost in that season of death. There would be a special kind of silence: no more beautiful speech strewn with arrows of meaning. Who could console the universe for such a loss?

Never underestimate the power of wishful thinking to filter what the eyes see and what the ears hear.

It is impossible to see any absolute through a screen of interpreters.

One species can, all by itself, produce infinite varieties of experiences. The interaction between many species creates the illusion that infinity has been enlarged by several orders of magnitude.

Providence and Manifest Destiny are synonyms often invoked to support arguments founded in wishful thinking.

If you believe yourself sufficiently hungry, you will eat your own thoughts.

Any conversation is a unique jazz performance. Some are more pleasing to the ears, but that is not necessarily a measure of their importance.

If words are your symbols of reality, you live in a dream world. Frank Herbert, The Whipping Star

fevereiro 22, 2010

Sci-Philosophy II

We sift reality through screens composed of ideas. These idea systems are limited by language. That is to say: language cuts the grooves in which our thoughts must move. If we seek new validity forms, we must step outside the language.

What was instinct? An innate pattern impressed on the nervous system.

To remove a man's delusions is to create a vacuum. What rushes into that vacuum?[...] It's normal to share the delusions of one's society. It's abnormal to develop private delusions.

Societies don't believe they can die. It must follow that a society, as such, does not worship at all. If it cannot die, it'll never face a final judgment.

Every system and every interpretation becomes false in the light of a more complete system. I wonder if that's why you're here -- to remind us no positive statement may be made that's free from contradictions. Frank Herbert, - The Santaroga Barrier

fevereiro 18, 2010

Axiomas II

Na Matemática procura-se axiomatizar as disciplinas que a compõem (como a geometria, a aritmética ou as probabilidades). As características que os axiomas têm de possuir são a coerência e a expressividade. Elas focam o aspecto da utilidade da respectiva disciplina (axiomas incoerentes demonstram qualquer coisa e o seu contrário, pouca expressividade amputa a aplicabilidade do sistema) não sendo suposto os axiomas reflectirem alguma verdade subjacente. Assim, certos axiomas não são nada evidentes (e.g., o axioma da escolha) e há disciplinas que usam axiomas opostos (e.g., as geometrias euclidiana e não-euclidianas).

Pode esta atitude ser aproveitada na ética ou na epistemologia? Sejam os dois seguintes axiomas: "Todas as pessoas devem ter direitos iguais" e "Existe uma realidade objectiva". Seguindo o raciocínio anterior, não teriam de ser evidentes mas sim coerentes e expressivos (a expressividade, aqui, corresponde ao que podemos obter com a sua adopção). E se há argumentos fortes a favor da coerência destes axiomas, a evidência histórica é indiscutível em relação às vantagens obtidas do seu uso. O suficiente, creio, para os aceitarmos como axiomas mesmo que, para os mais cépticos ou mais cínicos, eles não se mostrem óbvios.

fevereiro 16, 2010


fevereiro 11, 2010

Axiomas I

"Ask a beginning philosophy of mathematics student why we believe the theorems of mathematics and you are likely to hear, "because we have proofs!" The more sophisticated might add that those proofs are based on true axioms, and that our rules of inference preserve truth. The next question, naturally, is why we believe the axioms, and here the response will usually be that they are "obvious", or "self-evident", that to deny them is "to contradict oneself" or "to commit a crime against the intellect". Again, the more sophisticated might prefer to say that the axioms are "laws of logic" or "implicit definitions" or "conceptual truths" or some such thing.

Unfortunately, heartwarming answers along these lines are no longer tenable (if they ever were). On the one hand, assumptions once thought to be self-evident have turned out to be debatable, like the law of the excluded middle, or outright false, like the idea that every property determines a set. Conversely, the axiomatization of set theory has led to the consideration of axiom candidates that no one finds obvious, not even their staunchest supporters. In such cases, we find the methodology has more in common with the natural scientist's hypotheses formation and testing than the caricature of the mathematician writing down a few obvious truths and preceeding to draw logical consequences. [...] The fact that these few axioms [of set theory] are commonly enshrined in the opening pages of mathematics texts should be viewed as an historical accident, not a sign of their privileged epistemological or metaphysical status." Believing the Axioms, Penelope Maddy (1987)

fevereiro 08, 2010

Sci-Philosophy I

The sweeping passage of shoreline caught her eyes hypnotically: fused movement. It was like time -- the immediate past never quite discarded, no fixed starting point for the future -- all one, all melted into one gliding, stretched-out forever. . .

The humans were very difficult to understand with their gods and their accumulation patterns. [...] The brain thought then how strange it was, this thought-mode of existence, this transference of internal energy to create imaginary visions that were in fact plans and schemes and that sometimes must move for a way along non-survival paths. How curious, how subtle, yet how beautiful was this human discovery which had now been copied and adapted to the uses of other creatures. How admirable and elevated it was, this manipulation of the universe that existed only within the passive confines of imagination.

Decisions -- conscious decisions, the Brain thought, these are a punishment inflicted upon the single-self by consciousness. There are conscious decisions that can fragment the single-self. How can humans stand up under such a load of decisions? Frank Herbert, The Green Brain

fevereiro 05, 2010

Teoria de Jogos

A Justiça é uma virtude. A Lei não. Só que a Justiça é apenas um conceito, um ideal não implementável na sua totalidade. Assim, a Lei é um mal necessário, um conjunto de coerções sustentadas pela força do estado com o objectivo de uniformizar soluções para os problemas inatos à dinâmica da sociedade. Um dos perigos da Lei é fazê-la tão vasta, tão ubíqua, que a comunidade se vê substituída pelo jogo arbitrário que o legalismo define e impõe.

fevereiro 02, 2010


Construir juízos sem ouvir as partes envolvidas serve apenas para reforçar as nossas próprias convicções. Iterar este comportamento demasiado tempo é o caminho para a dissociação com a realidade e um gerador de injustiça.