Holism Not Profitable?

Ian Goddard (igoddard@erols.com)
Mon, 23 Mar 1998 05:52:37 -0500

Lee Daniel Crocker (lcrocker@mercury.colossus.net)

>> IAN: A definition is useful IF it puts
>> the defined in context, IF it defines
>> the relations of the defined to things
>> that are different than it. The "A=A"
>> definition of A does not do that...
>I have an even stronger standard: that the identity
>of an can be expressed as the relationship between
>X and not-X is a truism that a 12-year-old could
>understand with a bit of reflection,

IAN: And yet many people over twice
that age seem not to understand it
even after a lot of reflection.

>and it is "true"
>in the metaphysical sense that it is impossible to
>show a counterexample, but it is /not useful/ to
>anyone, because It doesn't help me predict things.

IAN: How do you know that it does not?
Holism does help us to predict things.
Half the "bizarre" phenomena occurring
in quantum physics would not be so un-
predictable IF holism had been a more
understood philosophical paradigm.

>The symbolic string manipulations of traditional
>boolean algebra, starting with "A=A", are useful to
>prove complex theorems; /they don't mean anything/,
>and never have, so your rant against them is hollow.

IAN: I think not, the fact that there
is so much belief/resistance to the
idea that the identity of A is derived
from the A/~A relation, not A alone
(which you seem to agree with), is
the measure of the fact that to argue
against the contrary is not hollow.
It seems to mean that people have
mistaken the A=A symbology for truth.

I think it's inherently not hollow
to argue against a popular fallacy.

>Don't tell me that holism is /true/. I don't give a
>damn. Tell me how I can /profit/ from it.

IAN: I hear what your saying and I think
you've articulated it well, however, before
we can get to profits from logical analysis
we have to get to truths. I think that the
goal of inquiry is to arrive at truths, how
ever unprofitable they may seem by them-
selves. If I find that popular belief holds
to an idea about truth that, as you said, a
twelve-year-old child can see through, then
that belief should and must be challenged.

I believe that if profit is held as the
ideal of wether X is "useful" or "good,"
we're really selling ourself short. There's
much more to life than profits. I guess you
see profit as a prime directive, while I see
"to know the truth" as a prime directive.
I think that the two can be harmonious.

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