Link: The Copenhagen Interpretation

A profoundly good example of the problem philosophers face in reducing that which we cannot sense and perceive without instruments to analogies to experience which we can.

As I struggle with the cultural conflation of truth with strategic good, assumed as metaphysical property of reality, and reconciling this with the requirement for ethical testimony, which can only be claimed by observation and measurement, I realize the problems facing those in quantum mechanics and those of ethics and politics of heterogeneous polities, are both products of vast increases in scale and complexity that our minds neither evolved for, nor have our language and epistemological traditions evolved to accommodate.

We are still mystics at describing reality at scale, not because we are conservative or unwilling, as we were with religion in reaction to science, but because despite our willingness we do not yet know how.

There are two solutions to this problem: to state scale concepts in perceivable terms as best we can, or to restate all concepts in new terms. Under both models language will eventually evolve, and with it the populace. I suppose the former is more pragmatic but less truthful, and the latter more truthful but less likely to succeed.

In ethics I face this same problem. And its painful.we must use extant language despite that it is wrong, clarify its meaning by cleansing it of error, and restate relations formed in homogenous polities with the properties of heterogeneous polities.

Universalism is an error in scale, measurement, and logic.

Its yeoman’s labor.


(important piece)

–“We can speak about truth even without a warranty, and we don’t mean truthlike or agreed to be true, just plain true.”—Bruce

Yes, but how do we know you are speaking truthfully?

How do we prevent pseudoscience? Or are you, like free speech advocates, saying that the damage that is done by error is less than the good that is achieved by tolerating it? Which is terribly pragmatic. It’s also demonstrably false. Propagating false arguments turns out to be much more effective than true ones.

Or do you claim that scientists should be able to engage in untruthful speech? Or are you saying that because truth is unknown and never knowable, that I can never speak the truth?

***What is the material difference between a theory stated truthfully (internally consistent and externally correspondent), and a theory not stated truthfully (internally consistent and externally correspondent) yet excused as not being possible to be true, and therefore not subject to requirement that it is spoken truthfully?***

This isn’t an immaterial question. It is perhaps THE ethical question facing scientific investigation in ANY field.

Evidence is that in hard science this rule is respected. Evidence is that outside of hard science it is not. Then difference is that hard science is a luxury good without opportunity cost, and everything else is — particularly politics and law, where laws do not perish like falsified theories. The communist manifesto, the labor theory of value, the possibility of a universally DESIRABLE moral code vs a universally moral set of laws. These are all false statements, because they are false in construction, not in prediction.

You see, science is pretty much ‘irrelevant’ because it is a luxury good, but truth must apply universally no? or it is not truthful definition of truth?

***While it may be true that the ultimate truth (the most parsimonious statement possible) is the optimum definition of true, does that obviate us from pursuing it with truthful statements? Furthermore why not simply state the truth: that all truthfully constructed arguments and theories are true but incomplete, and constantly open to revision, rather than no theories are true except the one most parsimonious statement that we can never make?***

You see, you might think it’s clear and simple – but it’s not. It’s just experience that has convinced you so.

You see, popper’s warning is merely moral, not necessary. And I submit, like the ethics of the ghetto peoples whose verbal methodology, and whose ritualistic literature, was purely pragmatic, that there are vast consequences to platonic truth just as there are vast consequences to platonic (false) anything.

As far as I know I am correct. I cant get away from it. because we are currently the victims of a century and a half of pseudoscience the immorality of which has not been achieved since the forcible conversion to christianity or the muslim conversion to scriptural perfection.

If we look at just the one’s that I see as catastrophic; kant, freud, marx, cantor, russell/frege, keynes, mises, rothbard, then all of these fallacies were preventable by a requirement for operational definitions – proof of internal consistency: proof of existence.

Analogy and meaning are properties of myths. Action and measurement are properties of reality.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine


—“All arguments put into the marketplace of ideas function as conceptual goods – products for our use. Now since we are producing goods we do have the ability if not the necessity to provide consumer protection. This is all that operationalism does for us. It doesnt say you’re doing good (telling the truth) it tests whether or not you are doing HARM. It makes sure that you’re not using verbalisms. Under Propertarianism we require you warranty your goods and services. And those warranties are subject to legal enforcement by universal standing where the loser pays.”—-


Knowing is an experience. Constructing an existence, logical, or mathematical, proof is an action. We can demonstrate them. That is not to say that they are true, it is to say that they are proofs. If we have constructed proofs, we may err, but it is very hard to lie. And even if one does, err, we need not hold him accountable for his error.

Speaking truthfully, constructing a proof, and possessing the ultimate truth are very different things. I can however speak truthfully, and I can construct an existence proof, and that is the most that I can do. I can know those things even if I cannot know if I possess the truth. So what does that do for me? I doesn’t tell me anything about whether I possess the ultimate truth, but it does allow me to speak truthfully to the best of my ability – and that is all that we can ask of anyone. Because it is all that is possible for anyone.

Conversely, we must ask it of anyone who seeks to place an argument into the commons the result of which would subject others to harm.


The problem I have with this table, is that I’m not sure that the european side is true. Because hunter-gatherer and cattle-raider are two different things. And I think our unique ethic comes from cattle raiding.



(probably a little difficult for most but possibly profoundly useful)

—“But we can claim that our theory is true and often do so. In fact, the idea that we cannot do so is itself a theory which, if true, cannot be claimed to be true.”—

Of course, I didn’t make that claim. I only claimed that we can test if you speak truthfully, as in honestly and diligently, not whether your theory is true.

Any statement reducible to human actions is open to sympathetic testing, and is no longer subject to the errors of meaning. Processes work or do not, there is no error of meaning in them. That which is demonstrated is true. Theories are the opposite. Very little of what is spoken is other than a word game.

We can state human actions both as actor and observer.They are the same, merely from a different point of view. But, we must anthropomorphize the “actions” of the physical universe if we state the universe’s position (theoretical definitions) — or we can state the observer position (operational definitions). When we state the observer position we need not add imaginary content. When we state the universe’s position we must always add imaginary content – we must hypothesize.We can not read the mind of the universe (at least yet).

This is what mises intuited by imitating the ideas of other thinkers, but he was not able to state it, and fell into pseudoscience instead.

In economics we have a constant problem of this nature between Austrians and mainstream macro. Austrians stress the human position as both actor and observer. However, in the mainstream is common if not universal to state that ‘the curve moves this way” in response to some change. when the cause is human activity.

(Sometimes I wonder if all this talk of theories is just another type of justification, and recipes are the only truth we can or do know. We can categorize our recipes, but that is all. Everything else, is imaginary.)

This is probably more important than is obvious at first blush. Between the problem of (a) anthropomorphizing the physical universe (theoretical definitions), (b) the obscurity provided by functions, (c) the obscurity provided by experiential definitions, (d) the obscurity provided by imaginary definitions (analogies), (e) the obscurity provided by the verb to-be, (f) the variety of cognitive biases that we know of, (g) and pervasive human framing and loading, if not (h) the cosmopolitan techniques of critique as means of overloading (deception), it seems that human beings are desperate to add meaning wherever they can – when the exercise of science is in no small part an effort to remove meaning.

We do not need to psychologize the universe. Which is in no small part what is being done.

(psychologizing the universe: I have to work on this a bit more but it’s pretty close to the criticism I’m looking for.)


(from CR discussion)

Well, I have very consistently argued that platonic ‘ultimate’ truth is not extant, which is exactly what CR says: I can never possess it. (this may not be true at some point in the future but it is now, since we cannot reduce the universe to first principles as yet). Once we have reduced the universe to first principles It becomes difficult to understand how that would not be the most parsimonious truth, just as voluntary exchange is the most parsimonious ethical truth.

So popper defines truth … as in-extant. I am just agreeing with you all because I see no way of reconciling performative truth with absolute truth other than my oft-repeated argument that it is possible to produce many truthful statements(true), none of which are complete(ultimate truth). So I’ve had to stick with truthfulness and ultimate truth as a means of not fighting a linguistic argument over habituated semantics.

As far as I know I am correct in making both arguments, even if the argument that I can’t ‘sell’ is the accurate one. Platonic truth is a moral, not necessary or logical constraint. Whereas performative truth, always open to revision, offered to the market as products for consumption is probably the most accurate version of truth I or anyone else, has been able to construct, for non-formal languages. (which is something I think some of people in this group don’t understand the meaning of.)

(And I have kind of been fussing with this problem for a year now. It’s freakin’ killing me. no wonder so much ink has been spent on it.)

So again, I can go either way with it, and I suspect that in my book I will answer it correctly first, then say why it is so culturally impossible to change platonic truth, and then simply surrender to the dichotomy of using performative truthfulness, and platonic truth.

“Cause if I can’t seem to even get one of you guys to at least see it, then I kind of think the only people who will, are going to be specialists. ie: a handful of people. So the best solution is to address both audiences. That way I get the specialists with the accurate version and the passionately interested with the utilitarian version.

I mean, I bet I could have this conversation with, say, Dennett or Searle if I explained the reason for it, and and I don’t think it would be very hard. Eh… most of the top 100 would be pretty easy. They might not like my application but I doubt they would disagree with my logic.




So, under freedom of speech, libel, slander, defamation, are acceptable to you? So are Keynesian economics, Marxism upon which it is based, Freudian Psychology, Cantor’s sets, Mises’ Praxeology, Rothbard’s Ethics, The Frankfurt School, Feminism (feminist socialism), Boasian Pseudo-Anthropology, Postmodernism (the attack on truth), the marxist attack on education, the marxist attack on art? All of which were constructed of pseudoscientific arguments and all of which were permissible under free speech, but none of which would have been possible if individuals possessed the right of standing to require truth in free speech.

It is ok I suspect to pollute the physical commons but not the normative commons? Do you have some evidence that such constraints place such limits on progress rather than improve progress? Or even a rational argument to demonstrate why (because you can’t, which is Bridgman’s position).

Calling a woman a whore under anglo saxon law was equivalent to attempted murder that exposed the skull.

Words have consequences. Why would some people prefer that words NOT have consequences unless they feared being held accountable for their consequences?



(possibly the latter bit is profound)

From my notes….

–“An operational definition is produced by defining a process of operationalization and recording the results of operating that process; in order to define a variable, term, or object in terms of a set of tests needed to determine its existence, duration, and quantity or quality. Operational definitions define changes in state as those operations necessary to change state; define unobservable entities concretely in terms of the physical and mental operations used to measure them; and ensures that the definition of each observable and unobservable entity has been uniquely identified with the instrumentation used to define it. Just as the operational naming of numbers via positional numbering gives a unique name to every number, this process of operationalization gives a unique name to an extant entity consisting of the definition for that step, rather than consisting of an analogy that approximates it in some form or other. Operationalism is a process of granting unique names.”–

This ensures that we are discussing names of extant entities rather than allegories, functions, experiences, or imaginary projections.

Operationalism is not a truth test, it is a test of truth telling.


Operationalism asks us to demonstrate that we are conducting observations of extant entities not projecting imagination and subjectivity.

As a general rule:

*** We shall define all phenomenon which we choose to observe, in terms of the sequence of physical operations (actions) used, the instruments used, and the measurements taken with those instruments (whether cardinal or ordinal), rather than either the use of analogies of any form, interpretations of those observations, or subjective experiences of those observations, so that we guarantee to any audience that all entities that we refer to exist, and that no information is added to the observation but that which can be observed when reproduced by the repetition of those actions, instruments and measurements by others.***

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