The Possibilities for Anarchy (II)Written by Angelique van Engelen
Continued from page 1
The philosophic sciences bring out issues that wider society has been dealing with intensely since 1970s in many ways. Both proponents of determinism and their opponents, 'pluralists', boast incessant streams of prominent examples. "One would think that it should be at least a clearly decidable question", according to Carl Hoefer in an article "Causal Determinism", which is due for publication in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in Summer of 2005. But further reading teaches you soon that to expect any outcome in battle between determinists and pluralists is not realistic. The debate, which to some extent has been ongoing for almost as long as humans have been around, was first highly topical for a brief moment at turn of previous century in more restricted area of mathematics. What's become known as 'Russell Paradox' knocked mathematical community off its feet. It gave rise to more experimental mathematics than any of generally lazy formula makers had expected, who thought they were making progress in denoting reality this way, had been reckoning with. The Russel paradox points out that until then, mathematicians had held false pretenses as to ramifications of their field. The paradox in simple terms amounts to following question about sets (a collection of objects that can be defined as a rule). He wondered whether it was possible to create a set out of sets defined as ‘not members’. Russell wondered if that particular set contains itself and this way formulated first paradox in mathematics. He argued that there are only two possible answers to question of whether a set made up of sets not part of themselves can actually be part of itself. If answer is yes, then set A does contain itself. But if set A contains itself, then, according to its definition, set A would not belong to set A, and thus it does not belong to itself. Since assumption that A contains itself leads to a contradiction, it must be wrong. If answer is no, then set A does not contain itself. But again, according to defining condition, if A does not belong to itself, then it would belong to set A. We have contradictory propositions that imply one another. The assumption of no yields yes, which yields no, and so on apparently. To still see this as a threat to foundation of mathematics would be a somewhat out of date response, because dilemma apparently has been fixed since. Ed Pegg at Math.com says Russell paradox was later fixed, via so called ‘Zermelo-Fraenkel axioms’. “So far, no errors have been found”, Pegg says.
It’s a cliche but this is probably one of first examples to show us that reality is not black and white. And rather than grey, it’s just bigger all time. That is one thing every scientist agrees on. Perhaps Russell Paradox only indicated an end to era of hunter gatherers in mathematic sciences, but it is interesting to see that Russell went on to deal with this issue by basically working on a new domain in sciences.
Rather than solving problem in maths, his resultant thoughts were better applied in another field of science and man is still credited in part for rise of computer science. In attempts to argue his way out of paradox, Russell invented a concept of a logical transformation as an operation that requires equivalent of a quantum of time. He designed a set of logical operations in which a particular problem would be expressed as a program of operations to follow. 'We then turn program on and let it run. Each logical inference is implemented in turn, and when process is completed, we get our answer', Hoefer describes essence of work as. A search for an ‘end theory’, some explanation for everything which incidentally will also decide determinist – pluralist issue is in some ways goal of everybody’s scientific work, but argument these days is more or less centered around alternative ways of discovering possibilities to obtain knowledge on this issue. Work on ‘earth’s genomics’ has hardly been anything more than making silly presuppositions, efforts to piece together a puzzle which ultimately might just appear to be an exercise trying to stack boxes on top of each other in an atmosphere which doesn’t allow for gravity. To say that only a sound system for anarchy could be found after we’ve actually figured out how nature really works would be defeatist. All good systems are in need of some real protestant work ethic, rather than dreams of utopic proportion that simply prove false. The vastness of universe is at once dizzying, awe inspiring and also offers a bounty of opportunities.
Angelique van Engelen is a freelance writer/researcher living in Amsterdam the Netherlands. She writes for www.contentclix.com and contributes to a writing ring http://clixyPlays.blogspot.com
The Possibilities for Anarchy (I)Written by Angelique van Engelen
Continued from page 1
Studying input that various disciplines have on subject makes you understand some more why anarchy is rather impossible to achieve in any other way than unpremeditated violence it comes disguised as mostly.
Economists, experts if not inventors of models so heavily in use in all disciplines now, are refreshingly unscrupulous in doing away with state organisation as we know it today, yet alternatives they come up with turn out often more tedious than what governments propose anyway. However, economists do have most leeway it seems to argue case for greater thought of alternative rule. The current rise of libertarian thought that's by product of US global dominance goes hand in hand with ideas that economists have been mumbling on about for ages; leave world to its chaos and one way or other an order will emerge. Most of them base their systems on appropriation of property in some way or other, which might be a good idea. Basing your initial foundation around who owns what is proving a workable concept if you look at European Union. But somehow it feels a bit hollow and to only have economic principles ruling a society would essentially be degrading for humanity.
The ideas of other scholars provide more exciting input. Philosophers come out with by far most interesting ideas but it might be frustrating to gauge just how consequential or tennable their views are for rest of world. The current trend in academies is to loosen philosophical debate from belief that it is arguing about a real reality. This has opened up discipline to condemnation that their so called 'language games' is reducing philosophers to fools rather than wise men. Yet this dismissal is unfounded, because not all philosophers stick to idea that reality is merely known through language and even if this were case anyway, there would still be too much value in this to dismiss it.
From practical point of view however, philosophers come in most handy when structured thought about alternative society organisation is focused on technology or science or a mixture of both. The debate in sciences and in philosophy of science over whether reality is determined by interwoven forces or whether there is no relation between them -the battle between determinists and pluralists- is by far not resolved. Yet, given modern society's leaning to include anything to do with our immediate future, it is likely that not only will we see this debate feature prominently in any research on alternative ways of organising real life, but also in established system. In fact, anarchization of life has started ages ago, and we simply need to realise it.
All efforts by humans are geared toward mastering dizzying intricacies of life some way or other, but speed at which this takes place is a determining factor for success rate more than anything else. The sciences provide this speed, so it's no wonder that rest of disciplines are gathered around this consternation and have started to provide their tools in a scientific light.
That is why it is interesting to see what's going on in philosophy of science. It appears to yield ideas for finding decisive answers as to whether philosophers are right in stating that researching chances for a country to be ruled by alternative rule might be pointless because -as many economists, philosophers and scientists claim- way reality interrelates is determined by forces we do not have a chance to control. The debate is by dint of nature of perceived progress of sciences imperative for any initial thought on way society can be organised alternatively.
Angelique van Engelen is a freelance writer working for www.contentclix.com and living in the Netherlands. She also contributes to a writing ring http://clixyPlays.blogspot.com