C: Of course science – which just means “knowledge” – is about truth. Earlier you have wrongly said that modern/ Western culture is peculiarly obsessed with truth. I would say that as much as I agree with much of what you say, appreciate the tendencies of thought, the social construction of knowledge jazz etc, the problem is that you basically exchange the common meanings of “truth” and “fact”. Interchange those two words and you usually make better sense. The correct, and I think commoner, observation, is that modern Western culture is singularly obsessed with “fact”. For every human culture always and everywhere is obsessed with “truth”.
Saying that there is no such thing as truth, absolute truth (” ‘absolute’ truth? – as if there were any other kind!” (Hegel somwhere)) or that man cannot know the truth – well, as Hegel said in a place I do remember (Philosophy of Mind) – people who say such things cannot be understanding what they are saying. I repeat myself, but I think it is necessary, Hegel and many others felt this need to repeat when unintelligible odes to unintelligibility had not become as utterly de rigeur as today.
KZ: Calgacus, “The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.” (Albert Camus) Is this truth, your truth, any one’s truth? Is it Camus’ truth, or is he just using it to rev up the in crowd? Truth is like everything else in the life of human culture. It’s made up by the humans involved. Made up for use. That’s the beginning and end of truth. As for Hegel, I tend not to pay much attention to old white guys delivering truth. And repeating nonsense doesn’t make the nonsense sensible. If you want to understand what people do and say, watch the people involved, not so called clever philosophers. As to what science is. It’s one form of knowledge. Not the only one. Perhaps not even the most useful one.
Me: There is particle of truth in everything. Differentiating, evaluating and integrating them all until one is fully conscious of them is the object and the point in economics and in Life.
JB: Hi, Craig, when we give a lecture in economics, engineering or any science, we are not a Albert Camus. We are normally using what passes for clearly defined variables & seek numeric ways of linking them. That is what we are paid to do as best I know.
That said, of course Camus was a very senious & clever person, but doesn’t he normally still appear in lit or culture courses these days? Am I out of date?
Me: James, Camus wrote aesthetically and effectively about the mind at the end of its orthodox scientific mindset tether and so was simply expressing the flip, absurd and yet still un-integrated side of that perspective. What is required is the complete integration of science and wisdom/self actualization which enables one to see both fragmented/scientific and the deeper, broader and more consciously complete truth….in its total perspective.
And science should be applied (especially after looking where I correctly have observed that economists are NOT looking) and wisdom/natural philosophy/spirituality must needs be the guide for policies derived from that scientific examination…because the cosmos is a mostly unperceived integrative whole and the integration of philosophy/thought and policy/action makes for logic in the temporal universe.
KZ: Craig, William James agrees with a lot what you say. But take note that he reaches these points by looking for the basis of why life is worth living. That basis for him is based on “believing” that life is worth living. Belief, the judgement of humans is what makes life worth living or not. We may argue about the details and operations of these beliefs, but ultimately, it’s the beliefs that give meaning and significance to human life. I believe we agree. We arrive at the same place but by different pathways. Also, reaching this end demands we change the meaning and pursuit of since. Science is still empirical. Data is its basis. But now data is something much more than that envisioned by sciences that began 500 years ago in the West. We’re IMO moving toward a unification of the western versions of science with those of China, Islam, and India. Scientists see this certainly. But right now, it’s not much discussed, as scientists everywhere try to save science in general from the populist mob.
KZ: But which particles are truth, and which are not. And how do we figure that out? If everything is in some sense or part true, then why do we even need the notion of truth?
Me: That’s for scientists to discover and define…along with the even more comprehensive and superior mental discipline of wisdom.
JB: “Can you tell the rest of us what economics departments would make such a course as requirement. —I have students who might be interested.”
Me: Sure, The Essence of World Wisdom Traditions and The Signatures of Paradigm Change 501
KZ: Craig, I agree, science should be applied. Otherwise it’s not science. The cosmos may be fused through some connections we don’t see, and perhaps will never see. We can work to see them, but we don’t control them. It thus escapes me how these “spiritual” universal connections can in any way guide us. Plus, the entire history of Sapiens is creating partitions or wrinkles we call culture. All incomplete and uncertain.
Me: Grace, satori-kensho, atonement, samadhi are all the same experience and concept. And those/that concept is also the deepest, broadest, most universally applicable (because it is the most basic aspect of human life, i.e. consciousness itself) and you can’t divide consciousness up into parts, although there are differing levels of it.
So just contemplate it in all of its aspects. By all means call it the scientific study of grace….but remember to make sure you focus on its experience not its abstract once or tenth removed significance.
And so far as economics is concerned focus on its aspects of abundance, directness, reciprocality (back and forthness, interactivity, integrativeness, process)
Me: They’re right of course to resist the populist mob and their dis-integrative leaders like Trump and Bannon, or gross religionists who would deny the validities of science.
But unfortunately, because they’ve not integrated the truths in opposites (and also not deleted their separate and/or mutual untruths) they miss the mark of Wisdom and its pinnacle concept grace as in gifting, abundance, directness, inversion, transformation, immediacy, universal benevolence, the essence of tolerance, continual integration/integrating, the moral fortitude to act when wrong is actually taking place even if it is an uncomfortable or unpopular decision, discernment of the deeper truth and of when best it is correct to act or not to act, etc. etc. …..
Orthodoxy is the curse word of truth because it’s a stop in a universe of process, and via is the curse word of consciousness, which if continually integrated, enables one to experience the cosmos as it actually is, a graceful, adventuresome flow of beauty that’s always there…just waiting for one “to stand in its light”.
AZ: I have not yet had the time to read Lawson, highly recommended by many whose judgments I trust. I just started on his Essays on the Nature and State of Modern Economics, and find it very much in conformity with my views. The following paragraph provides an apt summary of exactly the same methodological point I am trying to make. Criticizing someone else and then proposing an alternative model is NOT the way to make progress: Quote from Lawson:
Most of these individuals unhesitatingly presume that the recourse of
criticising substantive claims (typically modelling assumptions) of others
and thereafter substituting (equally questionable) alternatives of their
own is always sufficient and proper procedure (the sort of error that I am
here seeking to dispel). To the extent that a few of the individuals in
question do reveal some awareness of somewhat philosophically oriented
critiques, the resort typically is to avoid the effort of engaging by instead
displaying overtly dismissive postures, suggesting for example that their
formulators know no economics, have hidden agendas, cannot do the
mathematics, are ‘economic flat-earthers’, merely hide behind terms
ending in ‘ism’ and ‘ology’, and so forth. The inevitable consequence is
that discussions of the state of the modern discipline remain largely
superficial, criticism is mostly misdirected and overly tame, and supposed/
proposed alternative approaches or projects (some of which receive
significant financial backing) end up, in the main, being essentially more
of the same.
Me: Asad, Correct. And then we have my approach which is complimentary toward the heterodox and only wanting true and actual integration of the best aspects of their separate theories. That plus pointing out where economists are not looking and how looking there will enable them to see ways of implementing all of the things the heterodox say is needed in modern economies like additional individual income, more, and more rational government spending, policy means of integrating large normally opposing political constituencies because the policies greatly benefit both sides of such artificially maintained “differences”, ending the rule of private finance and making it take its proper, smaller and non-dominating place ALONGSIDE every other business model, which anyone with a particle of objectivity must acknowledge is both the current structural and paradigmatic dominant force.
And all it would entail is a little closer look at the economic significance of the point of sale, recognizing the digital nature of both the pricing system and the integrative tool (double entry bookkeeping) that guides, records and would enable policy to be seamlessly integrated into the economy.
KZ: Craig, not all populists are bad for science or society. The populist Progressive Movement of the late 19th and early 20th century US stopped the Gilded Age, saving democracy and honest and effective government for the nation. In other words, not all mobs are composed of defective humans. All the things you list, wisdom, tolerance, transformation, etc. are created and used by humans. Used for good ends and bad ends. The differences are not in the universe, or in the concepts. The differences are in the humans who use them.
Me: “not all populists are bad for science or society.” Correct.
“The differences are in the humans who use them.” Correct again. Everything depends upon their awareness of and degree of integration of the concept of grace.
AZ: I agree completely — scientific theories are created to explain empirical phenomena and rejected or revised in face of conflicts with empirical phenomena. This VERY SIMPLY and ALMOST OBVIOUS methodology is NOT the dominant methodology — in fact, the dominant methodology conflicts strongly with this idea. This was noted by Keynes, who said that economists do not seem to care if the data conflicts with there theories. Similarly, Romer was outraged by economic theorists complete indifference to conflicts between their theories and reality. How did such a BIZARRE methodology come to dominate the profession? We need to learn this history to understand how the train went off the tracks, and how we can try to put it back on track. In this connection, my earlier post on Economists Confuse Greek (axiomatic, pre-scientific) Methodology with Science, provides some clues as to what happened. I have also studied this question elsewhere, particularly in Economics for the 21st Century, where I show that there were THREE different DEEP methodologlcal mistakes in the course of intellectual progress (/regress) which led to the current methodology. We need to correct all THREE to have a chance at a viable methodology for the current century/millenium.
Me: Here’s three methodological flaws off the top of my head:
1) choosing abstraction over direct looking at/examining data, temporal universe structures and problematic relationships
2) making abstraction an orthodoxy and hence further restricting full examination
3) Not having a good study of paradigms and their signatures, hence not being able to clearly see or understand both the current and the new paradigm, hence having an excess of abstraction, theory and confusion and a dearth of actually workable and effective policies….as a new paradigm is always a single concept that fits seamlessly within the body of knowledge it is applied to while resolving its major problems and transforming the entire pattern.
KZ: Craig, scientists of human communities only study what other humans have created. Whether that be families, politics, wars, or economics. These social scientists stop being scientists when they begin to substitute themselves in that work. When they chose how communities do economics, families, politics, wars, etc. Grace, atonement, etc. are part of the creative work of human communities. No more, no less. These may be loved, hated, ignored, or made the basis of a civilization. Every aspect of which social scientists have committed themselves to describing in as much detail as possible. This is the only duty of social scientists.
Me: I’ve never said anything but exactly that….and that they haven’t entirely cognited on and integrated the full understanding of the natural philosophical and personal concept of grace etc. …..yet.
KZ: My apology, Craig. All these actions, beliefs, feelings are grounded in human culture. They are not ethereal. I believed that was your position. Sorry for my misunderstanding.
Me: No problem. Actually all of those things are both ethereal and extremely deeply mentally rooted. It’s a supreme paradox that a human mind is both the easiest and the most difficult thing to change in the entire cosmos. And that’s another reason why studying the world’s wisdom traditions is important because they were the scientists of consciousness and how to best self actualize it before science became the dominant form of inquiry and “observation”. And very good scientists of consciousness and its various levels of awareness they were.