CONTEMPLATIONS ON THE CHINESE CORONA-VIRUS

The truly apocalyptic view of the world is that things do not repeat themselves. It isn’t absurd, e.g., to believe that the age of science and technology is the beginning of the end for humanity; that the idea of great progress is a delusion; along with the idea that the truth will ultimately be known; that there is nothing good or desirable about scientific knowledge and that mankind, in seeking it, is falling into a trap. It is by no means obvious that this is not how things are. — Wittgenstein, Ludwig. “Culture and Value”. Trans., P. Winch. U. Of Chicago Press (Chicago, Ill. 1980) p. 56.

A common propaganda tool in TS (Technological Society) is to quote science or some scientist as support for whatever explicit or implicit normative values one may be proposing. This technique has become very obvious in the recent virus lock-down propaganda battles in which almost any soundbite or headline of value will begin with the phrase: “Scientists say …”. To anyone experienced in what scientists actually say, this phrase is immediate warning that whatever sentences follow this phrase should be viewed with skepticism at a minimum and perhaps with outright doubt. The reality of any so-called science that really is a science and not a pseudo-science pretending to be a science or an outright fraudulent science is that “scientists” do not “say” much of anything but “some scientists” say one thing and “some scientists” disagree with them often by concluding the exact opposite. Holistically, this disagreement through critical thought is used eventually to reach pragmatic truth: that is, not true or false propositions but sentences that solve the problem about which the scientists are arguing. The acceptance of this skeptical almost nihilist epistemic reality for science and then being able to continue doing science in a leap to hope of eventually achieving non-pragmatic knowledge is what makes the scientist more than just a technician.

 
As I have contemplated and argued in more detail elsewhere, scientific language is instrumentalist language. It does not deal in true or false sentences in the classical propositional sense but in sentences that are pragmatically true or false: they either work or do not work to solve a problem. Science does not give explanations of reality, it gives descriptions of reality that can be falsified and thus in a world lacking knowledge are used to achieve useful solutions to problems. As with reason, scientific language is a great tool and a great pragmatic improvement on normative descriptive language — especially that of ultimate value — which can only say what the world ought to be and gives no way of getting there nor even lets us know if there is a way of getting there. Though, ultimately, it is no more useful in giving life meaning than any other language. “We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all. Of course there is then no question left, and just this is the answer.” Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus at Prop. 6.52.

 
Real scientists disagree and are natural skeptics on everything. Everything that non-scientists assume as scientific truths are really only isolated sentences in a vast holistic collection of sets of inconsistent and incomplete hypotheses that are always subject to be proven false by the parameters of a future experiment. This is as true of the present so-called “hard” sciences as it is of the so-called “soft” sciences — many of which are not really sciences since many of their premises and descriptive sentences are tautologies that can never be falsified (i.e., evolution). The physicist Ernest Rutherford once said, “[a]ll science is either physics or stamp collecting.” Well, those glory days may be gone even for physics whose physicists are now stuck in a convoluted mess of contradictory and incomplete theories in which they must make up words such as “dark matter” and “dark energy” to hide the fact they do not know what makes up 95% of the universe. If pressed, most physicists at least would admit the mess in which they are. Such admission would most definitely not come from those who worship science (or concepts such as evolution) as the ultimate explanation of all that is life. The fact of the matter is that all science may become stamp collecting eventually if the technicians of science continue to have their way and allow propagandists to use them and scientists as tools in propaganda by allowing the propagandists to get away with saying “scientists say” as if they all say the same thing and by treating science either as dogmatic or worse as a discipline that is decided by consensus.

 
For an age that loves storytelling, there is an almost universally known and simple story that attacks this propaganda technique and shows it as the fraud it is: Galileo and his heliocentric theory of the solar system. In the 16th century, the almost universal consensus among scientists accepted an ergocentric model of the solar system in which everything revolved around the earth as first described by Ptolemy a couple of thousand years earlier. A small minority including Galileo argued for a heliocentric model in which the earth revolved around the sun as proposed by Aristarchus of Samos a couple of thousand years earlier. The Catholic Church had a trial; the scientists came to present their evidence; Galileo had no opposing evidence or experts since he lacked the necessary mathematics at that time; and thus deciding the science by scientific consensus, the Church ordered Galileo to stop teaching his heliocentric theory as foundational truth but allowed him to continue contemplation of it as theory — which eventually allowed him to develop the mathematics to make his heliocentric model become the dominant consensus. Thanks to Einstein, we now know they were all wrong and both theories have been falsified; space and motion are relative, either model would work but the heliocentric one is much simpler mathematically and thus it is accepted as true pragmatically. Now that the consensus of physicists accepts Einstein’s mathematical models as descriptive, are they foundationally true and not subject to doubt? They better not be so accepted or physics is no longer a science but stamp collecting.

 
Getting into serious analysis and contemplation of the nature of scientific language may be beyond the capabilities and skills of many who quote what “scientists say” but it should not be if one is going to go around treating such phrases as dogmatic authority. The Galileo story is a simple and readily available means to understand what is going on if there were a genuine desire to understand what is going on by those who propagate the “scientists say” propaganda and by those who blindly or dogmatically accept it as true. Even if one is not able to look up the data and do the math, if one is going to read any “scientists say” propaganda should one at least be honest enough to know there must be disagreement out there by opposing scientists and should one not be so lazy as to avoid finding it and contemplating it? As always, what should be and what is are very different and incompatible. The dishonesty and the laziness of accepting “scientists say” propaganda exists and is the norm, this is why the phrase is so powerful and omnipresent by the Powers-that-be (PTB). As I have contemplated elsewhere, this dishonesty and laziness are the unavoidable reality of TS because there is a need to make science a religion. I have argued that the only way to deal with this TS reality is by accepting nihilism as a morality. But, how would this work with scientists themselves? Can scientists avoid being used and useful as propaganda tools through nihilism?

 
The philosopher of science Paul Feyeraband wrote in a letter:

The withdrawal of philosophy into a “professional” shell of its own has had disastrous consequences. The younger generation of physicists, the Feynmans, the Schwingers, etc., may be very bright; they may be more intelligent than their predecessors, than Bohr, Einstein, Schrodinger, Boltzmann, Mach and so on. But they are uncivilised savages, they lack in philosophical depth – and this is the fault of the very same idea of professionalism which you are now defending.

Though I would not go as far as calling modern and post-modern physicists uncivilized savages; but, just as with philosophers, their need to make language — in the case of physicists, it would be the language of mathematics — more real than reality does threaten to convert them from scientists not only to technicians but to technicians who do not care if what they say becomes propaganda for the PTB. Is there a way to avoid such conversion? I will argue next — consistent with my arguments before — that acceptance by scientists of nihilism as a morality is the only way to avoid such conversion of a scientist to being a technician that worships science as one’s religion.

 

 

The withdrawal of philosophy into a “professional” shell of its own has had disastrous consequences. The younger generation of physicists, the Feynmans, the Schwingers, etc., may be very bright; they may be more intelligent than their predecessors, than Bohr, Einstein, Schrodinger, Boltzmann, Mach and so on. But they are uncivilized savages, they lack in philosophical depth — and this is the fault of the very same idea of professionalism which you are now defending.
— Lakatos, Imre; Feyerabend, Paul. “For and Against Method: Including Lakatos’s Lectures on Scientific Method and the Lakatos-Feyerabend Correspondence”. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, Ill. (1999) at Appendix B, 1969 letter to Feyerabend’s Berkeley philosophy chair Wallace Matson.

Not sure if Feyerabend’s above criticism is directed at philosophers or at scientists; if at scientists, it is not warranted. Even if scientists are becoming “uncivilized” technicians in the sense they lack any holistic philosophy for their scientific wordgames, given the power of science in Technological Society (TS) and its potential for abuse by the Powers-that-be (PTB), such becoming of technicians is not necessarily a bad thing. It may in fact be the only option TS gives for continuing working class struggle against the PTB by scientists as they like everyone else in TS become wages slaves. What would make it disastrous and what most likely is happening is they are becoming not only wage slave technicians but technicians for whom the wordgame of science is a religion or at least a religious cult controlled by the PTB so as to control them. With such becoming, science is no longer science but a propaganda tool and what is supposed to be its pragmatic and instrumental truth instead becomes a dogma tool for the PTB to use for their power as an end-in-itself. As contemplated in other essays, the PTB through the normative power of their ethics and its monopoly on violence that is the law create a world in their image in which power is an end-in-itself. Because science is conceptually a descriptive and empirical instrumentalist wordgame concerned only with pragmatic power over nature and not over the supernatural, it lacks normative concepts of ultimate value and thus it is inherently open to the temptation of becoming a god for those seeking power on earth; at the same time it is not open to being directly subjugated to any normative wordgames (i.e., science is just as viable a wordgame under fascism as it is in a democracy). The only way to subjugate it is by converting its wordgame into a cult or religion having a normative form of life controlled by the PTB. We saw this at work in the recent Chinese Coronavirus debacle by the use of the phrase “scientists say” as justification by authority of whatever the PTB wanted be done.

 
Science was never intended to be either a cult or a religion. It demands skepticism toward all teleological views of life and at worse the only non-pragmatic limitation on its instrumentalist methodology is aesthetic: “[s]ince all models are [eventually] wrong, the scientist cannot obtain a ‘correct’ one by excessive elaboration. On the contrary following William of Occam he should seek an economical description of natural phenomena. Just as the ability to devise simple but evocative models is the signature of the great scientist so overelaboration and overparameterization are often the mark of mediocrity.” — Box, G.E.P. “Science and Statistics”. Journal of the American Statistical Association, Vol. 71, No. 356 (1976). p. 792. Conceptually, the religious can be scientific wordgame players but the scientific cannot be religious wordgame players because in the latter form of life science becomes as dogmatic as religion. The religious can place aside their religious beliefs and be total skeptics while doing science because to them science is simply a tool and not their meaning in life nor an end-in-itself. However, if science is your religion, one cannot put it aside without putting aside one’s meaning in life or the end-in-itself of being a scientist. Thus for one whose religion or meaning in life is science, one cannot be a total skeptic while doing science; instead one must accept scientific concepts as the dogma of one’s religion.

 
The recent worldwide Chinese Coronavirus debacle is the most recent example of the power of this scientific conversion: something known as statistical modeling calling itself a science and calling their conclusions “scientists say” was accepted on faith and by the authority of the PTB using the word “science” to generate dogma accepted as true without skepticism. Though statistical modeling is more of a gambling methodology similar to what bookies and Wall Street do than being a scientific wordgame, statistical modelers have been calling themselves “scientists” in order to establish their normative power within the PTB and are getting away with calling what they say as “scientists say”. The problem with calling statistical modeling a science is that like so many pseudo-sciences it does not limit itself to finding correlations as data science does nor in making predictions that can be falsified such as scientists and even bookies do with their instrumental statistical modeling nor does it deal in any type of holistic reasoning. Data science comes up with many potentially pragmatically useful correlations that can be used for normative decisionmaking but it cannot value one normative decision over another nor provide an explanation for any correlation; thus it does not need holistic reasoning. Those who use data science correlations to make normative arguments are supposed to be doing the holistic reasoning (i.e, there is a 99.79% correlation between spending on science, space, and technology and suicide by hanging, therefore we should reduce such spending to reduce suicide by hanging is a sound and valid normative argument based on data science but is still holistically irrational in terms of holistic social viability.) Bookies and Wall Street change the odds in their models as win, lost, place, and other data come in so when they lose the odds are then changed so they will win and they do this holistically (i.e., bookies set odds for the whole race not just one horse and change those odds so they will win for the whole race regardless of what individual horse wins or loses or places; Wall Street hedges their bets by creating hedge funds in case their modeling fails and incorporates those hedges into their modeling). The statistical modeling of the Chinese Coronavirus however sought to explain instead of just describing; it did not just give odds and the basis for those odds but gave explanations of what is occurring and then gave normative conclusions as to what ought to be occurring to avoid what their explanations say will occur; furthermore, statistical modeling explanations are not done holistically (i.e., hedging their conclusions of virus deaths against deaths that would correlate with the effects of their conclusions).

 
Unfortunately, any explanation and normative conclusion can be supported by statistical modeling if the necessary premises for that explanation and conclusion are assumed in the modeling. In statistical modeling as with all wordgames that want to explain instead of just describe, we can make 2+2=5 as long as we assume the premise that the first 2 in any equation equals 3 and hope no one notices in the convoluted mess of numbers and premises that will be given to hoi polloi. What really happens with statistical models that are treated as science is that if their explanations and conclusions are aesthetically pleasing and are presented so that the PTB can use them to generate fear and achieve more power, they are dogmatically accepted as truth through the authority of the PTB and its use of the words “scientists say”. Thus, what are supposed to be just wordgame models of what could happen if all the assumed premises are accurate are treated as scientific dogma in a religious sense based on authority without the chance or ability for anyone outside the PTB to review or challenge the soundness and validity of the modeling — i.e., the PTB shutdown the world in the name of “scientists say” and for the common good when really it was just a few scientists say and for power as an end-in-itself for the PTB. Most of the world complied with this shutdown order without even seeing the data let alone without analyzing it and actually doing the math — most likely the vast majority could not do the math even if they had seen the data and premises. The authority of “scientists say” and the PTB is accepted in the same way one accepts the religious dogma of a religion in which one has faith.

 
Conceptually, can we have science in TS without it also being a religion? Yes, we can. But, whether TS will allow for such or whether it can occur without acceptance of nihilism as a morality is an additional question. Consider the following statements:

It is a dogma of the Roman Church that the existence of God can be proved by natural reason. Now this dogma would make it impossible for me to be a Roman Catholic. If I thought of God as another being like myself, outside myself, only infinitely more powerful, then I would regard it as my duty to defy him.

If you want to quarrel with God, that means you have a false concept of God. You are superstitious. You have an incorrect concept when you get angry with fate. You should rearrange our concepts. Contentment with your fate ought to be the first command of wisdom.

— “Doubt, Ethics and Religion: Wittgenstein and the Counter-Enlightenment”. Edited by Luigi Perissinotto Ontos Verlag: New Brunswick, NJ. (2013) p. 45 & n. 4.

At first glance, these statements seem to have nothing to do with science in TS but this first impression is inaccurate. I place them here because they give a foundation for further contemplation by any reader of the essays here on the nature of science in its TS form in which its technicians are expected by the PTB to have science as their religion.

 
As with anything proposed by the PTB, if the PTB say that the nature of the universe, its beginning, its existence, and its future can be explained by the instrumentalist and reasoning of science or of anything pragmatic, working class wage slave technicians as with anything promoted by the PTB should immediately be suspicious — if they want to continue the working class struggle against the PTB that is. If they do not but are willing to accept the end of class struggle and thus of history, of course, it does not matter as nothing else about TS would matter if one does not care. Science as religion as with any religion does not change the nihilist nature of the universe: it is meaningless; there is no truth or knowledge other than knowing my existence; and it has no ultimate value until the nihilist gives it meaning and value by a leap to belief in meaning and value for it.

 

 

The PTB want their scientists to be religious: believing in the god of science and thus not seeing themselves as technicians but as followers and believers of a true faith. They control this true faith as they control all other faiths in TS. Forget them. Forget Feyerabend’s, Ellul’s, Sartre’s, and many other intellectuals’ ridicule of technicians as somehow uncivilized hoi polloi or as inauthentic waiters. Reject this religion they promote. Nihilistically reject it all and them. Go ahead and accept your fate of being an uncivilized technician free of secular religion and secular religious dogma and thus free to be skeptical of all who claim to know not only the nature of life and the universe but of what you ought to be doing with your life. If you are going to believe in something, let it be something to which you leap not something to which the PTB want you to leap so they can have power over you in their heaven on earth they seek to create in their image. With such freedom of skepticism you will be more of a scientist than any who accept by authority what “scientists say”. Remember, God is the ultimate nihilist.

 
I will end this essay with another statement that hopefully will promote thought on the present and future of the scientific language wordgame in TS:

Let them have their belief, if it gives them joy. Let them also give talks about that. ‘We touch the infinite!’ And some people say … ‘Ya ya, he says he touches the infinite.’ And some people say ‘Ya ya! He says he touches the infinite!’ But to tell the little children in school, ‘Now that is what the truth is,’ that is going much too far.

— (Horgan, J. (2016) “Was philosopher Paul Feyerabend really science’s “worst enemy”? Scientific American, Vol. 24, October. Retrieved from: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/was-philosopher-paul-feyerabend-really-science-s-worst-enemy/)

COLLECTIVISM

The Twentieth Century battles between fascism and communism show both the power and worthlessness of collectivist philosophy and in particular collectivist philosophy of law. The end result for both fascist and communist conceptual systems and their legal systems was the same: creation of a powerful state and a ruling class in which the lives of the individual were expendable in the service of continuing the power of the state. Any readers of history five hundred years from now, assuming there will be any around, reading detailed factual descriptions about communist and fascist countries in the 20th Century and continuing into the 21st Century will find little difference between the end results of these different conceptual systems including their law. Given such a reality, do the conceptual differences and all the libraries of philosophical verbiage on collectivism have any value other than being a game to give academics meaning to their sheltered lives? What value does conceptual collectivism in fascist or communist form have in Technological Society?

 
Supposedly, communism and fascist conceptual systems of metaphysics and history have their birth in the idealism and teleology of Hegelian philosophy. The foundation metaphysics of communism rejected Hegelian idealism but accepted its teleological theory that history is a dialectical struggle toward the end of history except that for communism the struggle is not one between ideas but a material struggle; in particular, communism sees the metaphysics of history to be a material class struggle involving economic classes and quantitative forces. The specific concepts of their foundational class struggle changes as the quantitative economics of the culture involved in the struggle changes. For example, initially, the proletariat created by the Industrial Revolution was to take over the teleology of history according to communist theorists in Europe and Russia; however, in China and the East lacking a proletariat because it lacked an industrial revolution, Maoism maintained it would be the peasant class who will take over historical teleology through the guidance of communism. Communists made changes to their concepts as necessary to rationalize their situation and acts. Fascism on the other hand accepted Hegelian idealism but saw the dialectic struggle of ideas to consist of a qualitative struggle between specific qualities of life. For Hitler’s Nazism, Mein Kampf preached about a World Spirit whose strengths were embodied in the strongest races teleologically destined to conquer and rule inferior races. For Italian fascism, the nation state was the embodiment of the human spirit’s greatest qualities as represented by the Roman Empire and the need for its teleological re-birth in a new Roman Empire nation state. Forgot what Franco’s fascist Falangism was all about — according to some historians, it was not even really fascist but simply a personal dictatorship desiring to re-create the long gone Spanish Empire. Whatever, all this stuff can be placed in a set of concepts commonly called collectivism in which conceptual emphasis is placed on social holism as the foundational metaphysics for teleological historical progress and social progress. As Hitler was fond of saying, the individual dies, it is the collective that lives on and continues in the World Spirit; a thought with little substantive difference to communism’s concept of a social whole greater than the sum of its parts that is the endpoint of history.

 
Collectivism is rampant in philosophy of law though almost all philosophers of law would deny it. They talk about individual rights and equal protection of individuals through natural law and even divine law; others talk about individual rights and equal protection of individuals through ethics; others while admitting there is no necessary relationship between morality and law immediately go into denial of their own arguments on this issue almost in the next breath to start preaching about the divinity of the rule of law. Just as with communism and fascism, the end result is the same: a ruling class with a monopoly on violence called law used and useful to create a world in their image. Why do they even bother?

 
There is the power of philosophy: they bother because having an aesthetically pleasing philosophy clouds the conscience of those in the ruling class who still have a conscience and the rationality of the non-ruling classes so as to allow the ruling class to rule without opposition. The power of aesthetics in relation to social class creation in the post-modern era is more a subject of sociological study than it is of philosophical study. This makes sense because in many ways post-modern philosophy has itself become simply an aesthetic wordgame used and useful to segregate post-modern philosophers from the herd or rabble they are supposedly trying to save by creating a world in their aesthetically pleasing image. Sociology has the advantage that it is pretending to be a science, thus it is allowed some ugliness in its studies, an weakness not allowed philosophy even if this allowance is only nominal and usually ephemeral. Beauty and the aesthetics for creating beauty is an almost universal presence in Technological Society because Technological Society has given up on the concept of objective truth that is often ugly. Appearance and perception are what matter to gain power in Technological Society, and the appearance and perception of beauty even in a delusion is much more powerful than the actual ugliness of any truth. Beauty can create its own factual reality to maintain its beauty, this is not allowed ugliness which is stuck with the truth of its factual reality. For more detail, see AN EXISTENTIAL META-ETHICS: ARGUMENT FOR A RETURN TO ITS ROOTS IN NIHILISM AS A MORALITY and Race and Class: A View from the Bottom Up .

 
This power of aesthetics is also the weakness of collectivist philosophy: in the end, it is just creating appearance and perception with little if any relationship by its conceptual foundations to the ugly facts of reality. The ugly reality is that no one knows the metaphysical nature of reality and most definitely no one knows what if any teleological endpoint there is to history. No one knows but everyone wants to know except for the ruling classes; those who rule have the benefit of creating despite their ignorance a teleological goal for the metaphysics they create to achieve it. In the end, for those who do not rule, we must accept that all collectivist philosophies — left or right, communist or fascist, ethical or unethical — are our enemy and opposition including their rule of law. We must constantly be in struggle with those philosophies and with those who create them regardless of whether the struggle is materialistic or idealist; metaphysical or physical; teleological, pragmatic, instrumental, or realistic. Class struggle is history regardless of whether or not the struggle has any endpoint or even meaning. See EXISTENTIAL PHILOSOPHY OF LAW; NIHILISM’S EPISTEMOLOGY, ONTOLOGY, AND ITS GOD; and On Suicide: A Nihilist Memoir and Other Essays.

AGAINST “RULES” OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS

I. Prologue

This is a conceptual argument against the use of rules or codes of professional conduct as a means to enforce professional ethics or morality because such rules are unavoidably conceptually arbitrary, random, and indeterminate and contradict the foundational concepts of our rule of law such as Due Process and Equal Protection and thus are immoral; are unnecessary given the availability of criminal and civil law to enforce whatever rules or codes of professional ethics are intended to enforce; and their teleological and pragmatic rule following works against the diversity of cultural and individual identity the rhetoric of United States rule of law culture states it wants in its culture of law.

 
The relationship between law and morality is fertile and omnipresent ground for analysis and argument in law in particular in philosophy of law. This is true of both analytic philosophy and of post-modern social justice continental versions of philosophy that used to be called in my law school days critical legal studies but now seem to be calling themselves critical legal realism among many other names. Many would argue all law regardless of whether it is a civil, criminal, administrative, or whatever form serves only to enforce dominant cultural and social power structures of the social group Powers-that-be creating and enforcing the rule of law. However, even if true, such structural evil would not be a sound basis nor a practical basis to argue for elimination of all rules that are called laws — at most it would be a basis for modification or elimination of some, many, or most; inevitably, modern civilization would not and perhaps cannot accept anarchy and “the greater evil of private retribution” instead of some form of law. ( Holmes Jr., Oliver Wendell. The Common Law. Holmes Press: Middleton, Delaware (2012) pp. 25-26.)

 
Similarly, except for outcaste nihilists, no one disputes ethics is a good and all assume inferentially that having rules of ethics is a good. There is a universally assumed inference from “ethics is good” to “rules of ethics are good”. Thus, what once were aspirational, exemplary, or at best custom and etiquette paradigms of professional conduct, often expressed informally and enforced informally, have become omnipresent rules or codes of professional conduct formally expressed and multiplying constantly so as to govern the conduct of every law student, lawyer, and judge in every known Bar of which I am aware and in every activity in every legal forum varying from the lowest clerk-magistrate conducting a traffic hearing or complaint application and on up to the Supremes of the United States and of each state. All assume rules of ethics are as necessary as are rules of law. Even though the Wittgensteinian Rule Following Paradox both as initially argued by Wittgenstein and as developed in its Kripkenstein versions provides fertile ground for challenging this assumption, legal culture ignores this Paradox and its implications when it comes to procreating rules and codes of rules of professional conduct.

 
The assumption that rules of ethics are as necessary as the rule of law is conceptually unsound and as argument is invalid. The Rule Following Paradox undermines not only the validity of the conclusion that rules of ethics are a necessary good but also the soundness of this inference when contemplated in the state of affairs in which and by which rules of ethics are enforced. Ultimately, conceptually through contemplation of the Rule Following Paradox, the conclusion must be that formal rules of ethics which by necessity must be enforced by some form of violence (such as by denying one the ability to earn a living as an attorney) serve only to enforce dominant cultural and social power structures of the social group creating and enforcing the rules of ethics. Given the rhetoric of present legal culture in the United States worshiping diversity of culture and individual egalitarianism as to meaning and understanding and even happiness in life, formal codified rules of ethics are not a good but an arbitrary and random structural enforcement of power dominance whose limited practical value for promoting and marketing a desired image of the legal profession is unnecessary while doing more harm than good. Codes of Ethics are unnecessary both conceptually and practically because the universal presence and acceptance of the rule of law in present society in and through criminal and civil law with its centuries of substantive and procedural Due Process guidance serves whatever purposes — including aesthetic purposes of image promoting and marketing the business of law as a profession — those in power desire to promulgate through codes of rules of ethics.

 
For purposes of this essay, I assume foundationalism in ethics: morally good principles are objective or natural kinds in reality existing either in the mind of God; as entities somewhere in the physical or some other universe; or wherever you want the Good to be. If the Good is actually some kind of social construct, my arguments here would only be stronger not weaker. Thus, we can avoid meta-ethics problems with rules of ethics. This essay is a conceptual analysis, though it could just as easily be a practical one. I keep it conceptual because my argument is a radical one disliked by all aspects and practitioners of the profession of law; as I have argued elsewhere, the practice of law has become a religion for many lawyers and in particular for those who make a living pontificating on the law as a reflection of natural law; as an embodiment of Rawlsian ethics; or as an exemplification of any variety of a vast quantity of other available conceptualizations equating ethics with some kind of either universal cosmic justice social construct good or with a universal morality — even social construct relativist theories of ethics assume a morality of universal application though they go through great distortions to avoid saying so. (See generally, Neiman, Susan. EVIL IN MODERN THOUGHT, an alternative history of philosophy. Princeton University Press: Princeton, N.J. (2002)). Regardless of my assuming there are objectively sound moral principles or entities of the Good, or whatever, it does not follow there can be objective understanding, interpretation, or even meaning for rule following called codes of ethics. Thus, my goal here is to create conceptual doubt for the omnipresent assumption that rules of ethics are necessary; once the doubt begins, practical and empirical support will be easy to find.

 
Personally, I admit to being a dupe in the random and arbitrary structural evil made up of professional rules of ethics. Personally, I also admit to having experienced the pain of watching many other good and honest attorneys become dupes of this random and arbitrary evil called “codes of ethics” as a result of their honest cultural and social inability to understand the dominant cultural language, etiquette, or customs of the wordgame rules or codes of professional ethics. This experience is my motivation for finally writing in essay form my conclusions reached during twenty-five years of trial practice. I say dupes instead of victims because we all come into the practice of law intentionally and knowingly and fully aware there exist professional rules of ethics we must follow or they will bite us if we do not. However, many of us because of a lack of sophistication and cultural indoctrination into the dominant culture of those writing and enforcing such codes of rules were duped into the naive belief indoctrinated into us by law school and the profession that these rules can be knowingly and intentionally followed and even understood and interpreted by anyone with a sense of fairness guided by rationality and that they are so enforced in a rational manner and with a sense of fairness (which they are not). It is this dangerous delusion protecting the emperor from admitting the nakedness of their clothing I am attacking. There is no problem with having a wordgame of ethics to promote standards of conduct and conversations about acceptable conduct; it is quite another form of life to have rules enforced by violence in such a wordgame and giving it a final necessary attribute of violence — the violence consisting of financial ruin and denial of an attorney’s ability to practice law.

 
Though much of my rule following analysis could erroneously be applied to law following, this is not my intention nor would it be rationally sound to do so. To paraphrase Voltaire, even if law following were ultimately to be shown to be a meaningless concept no better than a leap in the dark, if the rule of law did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it. It does not follow from the fact the United States was founded upon a rebellion in which its founders were considered by the rule of law to be criminals and traitors who would be hanged if caught that we should be an anarchy. However, if rule following in the wordgame of professional ethics is conceptual nonsense, it does follow we should be an anarchy as to professional rules of ethics because demanding logically impossible rule following from individuals is itself an immoral demand especially when the rules are enforced by violence; i.e., to demand the blind to see or to demand one both be and not be at the same time to avoid punishment are different in degree but not in substance to demanding one follow a teleological or even pragmatic rule whose meaning and rule following is inherently conceptually unknown or non-existent.

II. Realism Not Idealism Is Assumed

While assuming moral realism and not advocating nihilism, I am also not advocating nor admitting to ethical idealism by my assumption of a moral reality. In my lifetime, I have seen both ethics and law become secular religions. Though some dispute whether the latter is entitled to such worship, almost no one presently disputes ethics and morality and any rule following called ethical and moral rule following as entitled to such worship. This idealism toward ethics and its rule following has no basis in the reality of professional codes of ethics especially in the law. The first code of ethics for any Bar in the United States was adopted by the State of Alabama on 14 December 1887 and it served as the foundation for the canons of ethics of the American Bar Association which then spread to almost all states. The supposed motive was:

… to advance the science of jurisprudence, to promote the administration of justice throughout the State, uphold the honor of the profession of the profession of the law, and establish cordial intercourse among the members of the Bar of Alabama.

The object of the Code of Ethics is to condemn practices which have prevailed, and
which should be avoided, and to set the seal of condemnation of the association upon certain conduct which has been practiced to the detriment of the profession.

— Jones, Walter Burgwyn. “First Legal Code of Ethics Adopted in the United States”. American Bar Association Journal. Vol. 8, No.2 (Feb. 1922) pp. 111-113.

 

 

Beautiful sounding words but the reality of the goals and purposes of these words was to create rules to use and to be useful against “carpetbagger” lawyers and judges whom the esteemed lawyers and jurists of Alabama detested while being more than willing to accept in 1887 and for another seventy five years an Alabama in which racism and classism were not only considered morally good but this supposed Good was enforced by supposed ethical law following and rule following requiring courses of action varying from Jim Crow laws and social serfdom to mob lynching and forced de jure and de facto segregation of white from black and poor from rich. Id. Just as the Alabama legal code of ethics did nothing to make Alabama attorneys take courses of action now universally assumed to be correct and required by ethics and morality (in fact, given its true motive to control so-called carpet baggers who were trying to change Alabama culture to what is now socially considered to be a better society, this Code probably did more harm than good), there is no factual or rational reason for assuming any present legal code of ethics is making the law any more moral or an aspect of the Good with it than without it — even if I assume there is a moral reality the “science of jurisprudence” can know just as the eminent lawyers and jurists of 1887 Alabama assumed. Id. For those who worship the rule of law and moral reality, present professional rules of ethics may be as much a mockery of their worship of the law and morality as was the 1887 Alabama code of ethics. Regardless of how real morality may be, especially given the conceptual problem presented by the Rule Following Paradox, academic scholarship and the law should not assume rules of ethics are moral.

 
III. The Rule Following Paradox

The presently called Rule Following Paradox (RFP) is shorthand for various contemplations of problems in the philosophy of language and of mathematics by the analytic philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in his Philosophical Investigations (PI); the most direct expression of the Paradox in the PI is: “[t]his was our paradox: no course of action could be determined by a rule, because any course of action can be made out to accord with the rule”. (Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations. Hacker, P.M.S.; Anscombe, G.E.M; Schulte, Joachim; trans. Blackwell Publishing: West Sussex, United Kingdom (2009) at ¶201.) This Paradox was highlighted; made more explicit; brought into the mainstream limelight; and studied in analytic detail instead of the dialectical Socratic method of the PI by the philosopher Saul Kripke in his Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language in which he writes this Paradox is: “the most radical and original skeptical problem that philosophy has seen to date” because it undermines the possibility of ever following rules in our use of language and thus the possibility of ever having objectivity in the meaning of words. Because many dispute Kripke’s treatment of the RFP, it is often treated as a distinct RFP and referenced as Kripkenstein.

 
It is not my purpose here to get into a rigorous all-encompassing contemplation of RFP. Given my realist assumption that moral principles or the Good make up an objective reality we can come to know and understand as we do sense experience, there is no need to do so. A basic understanding of the essence of the RFP and of how it occurs in natural language is sufficient.

 

Both Wittgenstein and Kripke and most philosophers contemplating RFP begin by analyzing mathematical language as an expression of RFP because mathematical language is the clearest example of what is almost universally assumed to be clear and precise rule following expressed in unambiguous words applicable to an infinite number of cases that share with natural language the potential for an infinite number of meanings for words, sentences, and rules derived from a finite set of experiences — in the case of mathematical language unlike natural languages however, the infinite possibilities are clear and precise and the rules determinate. If RFP is a real problem in the language of mathematics, it is a real problem in any natural language. Therefore, I will also begin with an analysis of RFP in mathematical language before natural language.

 
Since I have assumed realism for moral principles and their Good, for consistency, I will assume realism for numbers and numeric entities in my reasoning. Again, as with morality and ethics, if numbers are really just social constructs, my argument here only becomes stronger.

 
We must begin by a holistic understanding of the transition from the finite nature of our empirical experiences including the experience of speaking a language to the infinite conceptual possibilities of reason and language. Not only is this transition the source of the RFP problem, it also marks a conceptual wordgame distinction between descriptive and normative rule following:

… although an intelligence tester may suppose that there is only one possible continuation to the sequence 2, 4, 6, 8, . . ., mathematical and philosophical sophisticates know that an indefinite number of rules (even rules stated in terms of mathematical functions as conventional as ordinary polynomials) are compatible with any finite initial segment. So, if the tester urges me to respond, after 2, 4, 6, 8, . . ., with the unique appropriate next number, the proper response is that no such unique number exists, nor is there any unique (rule determined) infinite sequence that continues the given one.

— Kripke, Saul. Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA (1982) p. 60.

 

 

An intelligence tester asking me to predict the next number in the sequence 2, 4, 6, 8, . . . is on the surface testing my understanding of rule following having descriptive meaning — in this case the descriptive meaning is also predictive. The obvious course of action for anyone with the necessary grammar school experience and understanding is to predict the correct answer to be 10; the rule to be followed is the function add(x + 2). However, this answer is not obvious because of any descriptive rule following that is an experienced fact of this state of affairs in the same way the numbers are experienced facts: we experience no addition or other function in the facts. There are an infinite number of possible rules I can experience and follow and resulting courses of action that will predict the next number in this series and go on to predict any number at any point in a following infinite series of courses of action and of their numbers.

 

The remainder of this essay is at AGAINST RULES OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS .

THE CULT OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

The newest cult created by worshipers of science who know little about science is the cult of artificial intelligence. It appears anything is allowed that serves to ridicule hoi polloi beliefs in their uniqueness as human individuals. The Powers need no such beliefs because they have power as an end in itself, including the power to tell hoi polloi what they ought to believe. Artificial intelligence is artificial but not intelligence. It is millions of lines of complicated computer code that cannot speak the simplest language of the simplest human child. In the simplest of terms, code is not language and language is not code even though informally sometimes it is incorrectly called “computer language”. Neither the computer nor any linked community of computers such as the internet speaks a language, humans represent language information in the computer through code in the same way musical notes represent human music. Sheets of music however are not music.

Code is a finite set of rules for getting specific outputs from specific inputs. This is why you can create code for a and any language alphabet but not for a language directly: finite input leads to finite output. All non-mathematical language is vague and indeterminate. Vagueness and indeterminacy cannot be coded: infinite input leads to an infinite output.

Though language is sometimes a rule-based activity, it is not defined by rules — it defines rules and pretty much everything else. Language is best described as a holistic social activity by which individuals in a society communicate. Do not commit the Homunculus Fallacy that is omnipresent in artificial intelligence; in much of modern linguistics; and even in the related cult of so-called cognitive science in which behaviorism tries to hide as a hypothetical-deductive scientific model. (For more contemplation, see Kenny, A.J.P. “The Homunculus Fallacy”. (1971). Reported in his The Legacy of Wittgenstein, Oxford: Blackwell (1984), pp. 125-36.) Language does not exist in the brain anymore than code exists in the computer. A brain is necessary to speak a language in the same way that a computer is necessary for computer code but it is nonsense to say the brain contains or has rules for language in the same way it is nonsense to say the computer contains or has code. Language is the social activity by which we create words such as “brain” and create their meaning not the other way around. To paraphrase the Ancients and Star Trek: language is the fire in which we burn. Talking about language involves an observer effect as much as does quantum physics, however there is no way to compensate for it but we can be aware of it. For more contemplation, see Bennett, M.R.; Hacker, P.M.S. Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience, Oxford: Blackwell (2014).

AN EXISTENTIAL META-ETHICS: ARGUMENT FOR A RETURN TO ITS ROOTS IN NIHILISM AS A MORALITY

I. PROLOGUE / THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM

 

A slave begins by demanding justice and ends by wanting to wear a crown. He must dominate in his turn. — Albert Camus

 

The correct answer to the trolley problem thought experiment omnipresent in academic, philosophy, and experimental psychology studies on ethics and morality has finally been revealed through the acts of a two-year-old toddler who despite his age is an old school existentialist and is shown in the YouTube video entitled “A two-year-old’s solution to the trolley problem” at Trolley Problem. The general form of the thought experiment is as follows. You see a runaway trolley moving toward five incapacitated people lying on the tracks. To save them, the option exists to pull a lever thus diverting the trolley onto a side track where it will kill only one person. What do morality and ethics require be the good and evil decisions? The video shows a two-year-old boy happily playing with his trolley set when the Power-that-be in his life consisting of his father interrupts him for an important life lesson on good and evil. The Power puts five pretend persons on one rail line and one pretend person on the other rail line, as the pretend trolley reaches a fork in the one line leading to the two lines with the pretend persons, the Power asks “Oh oh, what do we do now? The train is going to crash into these people”. So, the kid dude takes the single pretend person from the one line, adds them to the five pretend persons on the other line, and then happily pretends to run the trolley over all six then continuing with his play as he was before the Power interrupted him with a stupid experiment dependent on a pretend almost impossible chain of events that serves only to indoctrinate human reasoning into a cold-blooded calculation of unimaginative restricted options. The trolley experiment is more suited to training concentration camp guards as social engineers than in learning anything about good and evil in the supposedly diversity thinking modern social justice world in which clear options are usually nonexistent.

 
Here is a more old school existential experiment in normative thought. You are driving your two seat car by a bus stop and see three people there: 1) a physically injured person trying to get to a hospital; 2) an old close friend that you have not seen in years; 3) someone you recently fell in love with. You can only give one of these people a ride in your car because there is no room for more than two people. So, who gets the ride? The nihilist answer is: let your old friend drive the injured person to the hospital while you stay with your love at the bus stop.

 
The kid’s nihilist response to the Powers’ wordgame of ethics so he can concentrate on his game of trolleys puts him in the true existential hero ranks of Camus’ Sisyphus, Meursault, and the Rebel/Conqueror of Myth of Sisyphus. As with Sisyphus and his boulder, we must leave the video imagining the kid dude happy as he continues in his meaningless task. (If one has a satirical sense of humor normally not allowed in proper company, the music video version of the toddler’s solution is funnier:  “Kids Solution To The Trolley Problem THUG LIFE”. )

 
The true old school existential question in the trolley problem is not concerned with the freedom of the few Powers authentically controlling the trolley switches but with the freedom, if any, of the vast majority of humanity consisting of the individual incapacitated tied to the tracks. That is, of the waiters out there that new school existentialism ridicules for their being too good at their job and therefore inauthentic. As they “hear Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near; And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity” should they abandon all hope and as did Meursault lay their existential “heart open to the benign indifference of the universe” or engage in Kierkegaard’s religious final stage of hope in God to make the existential “qualitative transition of the leap from non-belief to belief”. Or, more practically, given the chance, how many of the Other tied to the tracks would they kill in a Nietzschean will to power act to save themselves? If history is any clue, the answer is pretty much all of them. But, how many are they allowed actually to kill and who is it that decides whether this natural law of survival is the same Natural Law derived from Divine Law that actually allows them the choice for killing of the Other? How do questions of individual life become questions about cosmic Natural Law?

 
Beginning in the modern world with early 19th Century Soren Kierkegaard and continuing to mid 20th Century Albert Camus, it was the contemplation of the meaning or lack of meaning of individual life that was the foundation of existentialism not social engineering. Kierkegaard and Camus sought individual passion for life as the foundation for meaning in life. However, a passionate life by its very nature is existentially the greatest act of discrimination.

 
As the modern world becomes a Technological Society in which by the conceptual and practical necessity of the epistemology of science and of the methodology, economics, and technique of technology, humanity is becoming C.S. Pierce’s “colony of insects” whose group knowledge far exceeds the knowledge of any expendable individual, old school existentialism is needed more than ever. As Orwell accurately predicted, “[b]y comparison with that existing today, all the tyrannies of the past were half-hearted and inefficient. … The possibility of enforcing not only complete obedience to the will of the State, but complete uniformity of opinion on all subjects, now exist[s] for the first time.” Old school existentialism saw the possibility of an individual life of passion despite despair. New school existentialism sees passion and the individual discrimination that passion by necessity creates between that for which we are passionate and that for which we are not as cause of despair not the solution. Rather, it sees social engineering and ethics reducing everything to the needs of cosmic equality as the only hope out of despair thus serving the necessary need of Technological Society to reduce the individual to isolated paper cutout worker bees — genderless; raceless; no ethnicity; no national, group, or social identity; no family or marital allegiance; nor any acceptable sense of community other than their work including academic work; and pretty much eliminating any passion that would threaten the technological collective — while at the same time whining about the technological collective. All individuals are reduced to being a social construct identity but no individual is allowed to be a social construct identity.

 
Passion is the will to power that compels the individual to cut through the meaningless of life to seek that which the individual decides is worthy of singling out, loving, and fighting for either in offense or defense despite the struggle being without hope of victory. Existentialism is supposed to be the enemy of the authoritarian and the collective. Yet, it has become the exact opposite. New school existentialism with its post-modernism and social justice theory has simply hijacked passion to imprison it within aesthetics so that no one notices the passion is gone.

 
Instead of going old school, we get the new school existential groupthink of Rawlsian utilitarianism, structuralism, post-structuralism, post-modernism, social justice theory, or whatever the Powers-that-be want to call their foundational need for cosmic so-called social justice chaining all individuals to the tracks of their wordgames of ethics and morality — living, dead, or yet to be born — except for the few Powers controlling everyone’s trolley so as to make sure they run over only the individuals they have decided should be run over. Kierkegaard and religion are now irrelevant and subservient to the law and Camus would not even be considered an existentialist any longer just as he denied he was one toward the end of his life because it appears he saw what was coming. Other than serving as an object of satire for Woody Allen movies, old school existentialism has become irrelevant to the class struggle of history.

 
What happened?

 
What happened are the success and aesthetics of Technological Society: its technological material power over the banality of the universe gives the Powers the necessary pragmatics to avoid physical nihilism; and its power of Orwellian propaganda — though it constantly whines about the threat of nihilism — gives the Powers the conceptual power to avoid nihilism as an opponent to its ideology. This propaganda derives its power from the aesthetics of morality and ethics: the ontology present in their wordgame of an objective ultimate value called “good”. Nihilism is a threat to this ontology by making the aesthetics of good and evil equal.

 
Nihilism is the one fear of all successful philosophies: Buddhism seeking the oneness of the whole or the wholeness of the one — which it is, I forget — to the pretend nihilism of Nietzschean continental philosophies worshiping Christianity without a Christ and onto the analytic rationalists and also the empirical pragmatists who all fear the existence of a social ethical and individual moral vacuum in human society as so irrational or so impractical as to make civilization unworkable. This is true even for my boyhood hero Camus and for existentialism as it morphed into social justice engineering. His quote from The Rebel that I use as an epigram is his last genial comment on nihilism and the last intelligent one to have come out of existentialism and its progeny founded on the ramblings of Sartre and his followers’ hijacking of existentialism. Camus goes on in The Rebel to conclude with a condemnation of nihilism:

Nihilistic passion, adding to falsehood and injustice, destroys in its fury its original demands and thus deprives rebellion of its most cogent reasons. It kills in the fond conviction that this world is dedicated to death. The consequence of rebellion, on the contrary, is to refuse to legitimize murder because rebellion, in principle, is a protest against death. — Camus, Albert. The Rebel. p. 285.

 

Camus came from a dirt-poor background and thus likely did not get to play with trains as a child, so why he eventually chose to adopt socially acceptable philosophy is understandable; though — as I will later contemplate — to his credit he subsequently began to regret his sellout to the Powers before his untimely death. However, even those who must have been able to play with trains in their youth such as the proponent of philosophical phenomenology Bruce Wilshire (who ironically ended his career in philosophy as chair of the philosophy department at Rutgers University which at the time was one of the most dominant analytic philosophy departments in the United States) have nothing good to say about nihilism:

Nihilism means to mangle the roots of our thinking-feeling-evaluating selves, to lose the full potential of our immediate ecstatic involvement in the world around us. It means to lose full contact with our willing-feeling-valuing life-projects to have a shallow sense of what is valuable in human life. It means to be arch, smug, dried out — to be a talking head among other talking heads. Speak and reason as we will, we are no longer moved in our depths. — Wilshire, Bruce. Fashionable Nonsense, a critique of analytic philosophy. State University of New York Press: Albany, NY (2002) p. 2.

If all the Powers and their intelligentsia are all opposed to nihilism, there must be something to it, especially for those that are not in the Powers — either Inner or Outer Party.

 
I will argue that existentialism started with nihilism and it should have ended with it as its meta-ethics foundation for all other existential thought — including for morality and ethics — instead of treating it as an “evil” problem to be solved as does social justice theory in all its forms whether it is the analytic rationalism of a John Rawls or the Nietzschean relativists proclaiming the death of God in order to birth themselves and multiple gods in their image.

 
Meta-ethics seeks to know whether there are properties or attributes common to all instances of the words “good” and “evil” in all their forms as normative universals of ultimate value. The term “normative” as are all words is vague and indeterminate with many uses and usefulness. Meta-ethics deals with the conceptualization of evaluative and perspective normative good and evil. It does not deal with the normative in a descriptive rule-following or descriptive predictive sense (though rule-following will be an issue in meta-ethics) such as for example: “to play chess, one must cannot move the pawn more than two spaces”; “to get to manhattan quickly, one ought to take the subway”; “to help your plant live, give it more sun”; “To get to the moon, follow classical physics”. Meta-ethics deals with good and evil in terms of ultimate value: “honesty is good”; “robbery is evil”; “killing is evil”; “all humans have equal human rights”.

 
The conceptual problems raised by various meta-ethics proposed properties and attributes for the words “good” and “evil” in all their forms as normative universals is well known — varying from the famous Hume’s Guillotine and Moore’s Open Question Argument to J.L. Mackie’s error theory and Susan Neiman’s history of philosophy as an inquiry into the nature of good and evil. Though it is important to seek theories of knowledge that can naturalize morality and ethics or at least by Rawlsian style rationalism link them to knowledge about the world, in many ways this problem in meta-ethics is simply irrelevant to modern society. In Technological Society, because its power of propaganda exists independently of any epistemic worth other than for power as an end in itself (As Orwell wrote in 1984, “God is Power”), it is morality and ethics that now often decide not only what ought to be the state of affairs but what actually is the state of affairs — not just as theory-laden language but ontologically as the language of fact and truth. For example, “gender is a social construct” is no longer a question of fact but of ethics; the Powers want it so, it is so. Thus, given this state of affairs, I will argue that nihilism not only acts as individual morality but also as a theodicy because God is the ultimate nihilist. The following I will argue in this essay are all ontologically true, not just linguistically true as a matter of language based on there being “nothing outside of text” or a similar philosophy of language, but ontologically objectively true — to the extent these words can have meaning — for the concepts of evaluative and perspective normative ultimate valuation of good and evil:

1) In the language wordgames of ethics and morality, there are no objective foundational prescriptive or evaluative values for good or evil in a normative sense though these wordgames always assume objective foundational absolute values. Saying there is no truth is a contradiction and nihilism does not require such inconsistent skepticism toward descriptive reality and truth especially toward scientific truth and this is not the nihilism that I will be contemplating. Saying there are no objective values for ultimate normative good and evil is not a contradiction. Nihilism accepts this lack of value as factual truth.

2) Good is anything that one approves as giving meaning to one’s life. Evil is anything of which one disapproves because it opposes or threatens that meaning.

3) Morality and ethics are distinct conceptual forms of life or wordgames. Morality consists of rules by which an individual analyzes compliance with their Good. Since all rules are talked about by public language, morality seems to be public but ontologically it is an individual construct that exists ontologically only as action. Ethics is a set of rules by which a social group defines what is good for the group. Because groups cannot act except through individuals, ethics is ultimately decided by the most powerful of any social group and thus ethics is always ontologically ruling class ideology.

4) A necessary and final ontological attribute of all morality and ethics is violence. If an individual is unwilling to enforce their morality upon the Other by violence then it is simply habit. An ethics unwilling to enforce its ideology by violence upon the Other is simply etiquette or custom. Ethics reaches perfection as ruling class ideology with a monopoly on violence: that is by becoming law. The more a society is dependent upon ethics and law for its social cohesion, the more a society is dependent upon violence for its social cohesion. To paraphrase the philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine’s comments on science, the language fabric of normative language impinges on experience only at the edge of the dagger hidden beneath the fabric: acting upon its attribute of violence.

5) There is no interpretative language that can logically derive normative language from descriptive language and thus neither moral nor ethical beliefs need be based upon true assertions of fact: one can rationally say without contradiction “it is snowing but I do not believe it is snowing” or “Trump is President but I do not believe him to be President”. Epistemically, the foundation of ethics and morality is having norms that are not based on descriptive reality but on what reality ought to be. This gives ethics and morality the power of being the only descriptive wordgame in which a concept of non-pragmatic truth is more than just a deflationary assertion of what is: one can rationally say “there is no objective basis for rape (murder or whatever) to be wrong but I believe it to be objectively wrong”. However, this creates the weakness that pragmatic truth — that is whether an ethics or morality actually works to solve a problem — and descriptive assertions of what is are irrelevant to ethics and morality. For example, for those of a certain ethics, “Trump is not President” becomes a true assertion of fact regardless of whether he is or is not President because according to the norms of such speakers Trump ought not to be President — and similarly the same could have been said of a Clinton if the election results had been different.

6) Modern Technological Society ruling class ideology will by necessity seek through ethics to have power and control over all individual morality including religious morality just as it needs control over everything else in reality. This necessary methodology serves humanity’s needs as a form of life to discover, explore, and conquer the universe trying to kill both the individual and humanity and requires a building of collective knowledge at the expense of individual knowledge — C.S. Pierce’s “colony of insects” with the individual and their morality expendable if not subservient to ruling class ideology.

7) The early religious existentialist Kierkegaard saw hope for individual meaning for the individual living even in necessary servitude to the arbitrary and random Fates through three ascending stages of what are now called phenomenological experiences: aesthetic, ethical, and religious. The incomplete work of Camus reversed the ascending experience: religious, ethical, and aesthetic. I want to begin anew the early thought of the work of Camus by dissolving all three stages into nihilism as a morality based on action not words for the individual trying simply to find meaning in the unavoidable incapacitating ruling class ideology — its ethics — of Technological Society. An opposition struggle to Technological Society so as to continue historical struggle cannot derive from ethics or even from socially acceptable morality but only from nihilism as a morality.

— The remainder of this essay is found at: AN EXISTENTIAL META-ETHICS: ARGUMENT FOR A RETURN TO ITS ROOTS IN NIHILISM AS A MORALITY

META-ETHICS, NIHILISM, AND NIETZSCHE

I. Prologue / the Nature of My Contemplation

It has been more than 30 years since I read Frederick Nietzsche. I appreciate this opportunity to revisit his writings, to rethink them, and to try to understand their relevance to my present philosophical contemplations on meta-ethics, in particularly to nihilism. Back then, I was a Navy veteran trying to work my way through college doing plebeian labor varying from electrician’s work to warehouseman. Nietzsche would have considered me a member of his contemptible “herd” or one of those “everyday intellects, ordinary minds or clumsy, worthy mechanists and empiricists” not worthy to contemplate his writings instead of one of his “free spirits” or his “few” destined to understand him. Though back then I appreciated some of his work to a limited extent, I returned his contempt of me — or more accurately his contempt of my class in life — with the same analysis of him as given by Bertrand Russell:

Speaking of Spinoza he [Nietzsche] says: ‘how much of personal timidity and vulnerability does this masquerade of a sickly recluse betray!’ Exactly the same may be said of him, with the less reluctance since he has not hesitated to say it of Spinoza. It is obvious that in his day-dreams he is a warrior, not a professor; all the men he admires were military. … His ‘noble’ man — who is himself in day-dreams — is a being wholly devoid of sympathy, ruthless, cunning, concerned only with his own power. … This is Nietzsche’s philosophy in a nutshell.

I saw Nietzsche back then, as many still see him, as a nihilist.

 
I have come to realize by this re-reading of him that my dismissal of him was error and that Nietzsche was not a nihilist but a moralist. Over the last 30 years, his statute, influence, and philosophical progeny in continental philosophy and in the modern will-to-power that is post-modernism has only grown — especially in the field of existential meta-ethics that has become the focus of much of my contemplations in philosophy. His pronouncement that “God is dead!” is probably the most brilliant philosophical sound-bite of modern philosophy. In the present post-modern world, it has more power than Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” that begun the modern world of philosophy. His Thus Spoke Zarathustra is without doubt epic poetry. It took some dry ideas that have been around since the ancient Greeks that were turned into practical politics by Niccolò Machiavelli and transformed them to the level of a religion for many claiming to be irreligious. This was my problem with him before and, frankly, still is. He clearly seems to have a problem with religion and humanism, yet a large portion of Western humanism has made Nietzschean philosophy a religion for the irreligious and see him as one of its greatest prophets if not their messiah whose meta-ethics saved humanist morality and ethics from nihilism.

 
A wide spectrum of political, ethical, and moral perspectives see Nietzsche as its savior from nihilism despite the morality and ethics to which Nietzsche’s metaphysics and epistemology led him. Peter Berkowitz admitted in the first line of “Nietzsche: The Ethics of an Immoralist”:

The dazzling beauty of Nietzsche’s writings may blind the reader to the explosive character of his opinions. Nietzsche expounded a radical and aristocratic egoism; poured scorn on Platonism, Christianity, modernity, enlightenment, democracy, socialism, and the emancipation of women; denounced the belief in human equality as a calamitous conceit; and ardently championed a rank order of desires, types of human beings, and forms of life.

Professor Berkowitz is a conservative political scientist and law professor at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute. After making the above introduction and almost three hundred pages of analysis, he ends the book complimenting Nietzsche as a great moralist who “affirms that nature, reason, or revelation supplies moral and political standards; we must study such thinking in accordance with the demands of the intellectual conscience”. Another conservative law professor Brian Leiter, an advocate of the law and economics school in the philosophy of law, in his article “The Truth is Terrible” treats Nietzsche as the ultimate bearer of truth in a meaningless universe that has no truth. While at the other end of the philosophical spectrum, philosophers in the post-modernist school of continental philosophy such as Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida are just as complimentary to Nietzsche. They also see him as the savior of ethics and morality from nihilism arguing that his philosophy makes each individual their own Superman rejecting social construct ethics and morality to create their own individual identity and the identity of the Other through individual constructs of ethics and morality.

 
In fact, all present existential or post-modernist philosophy books that I have seen on Nietzschean philosophy see it as a transvaluation of nihilism into an “affirmation of life”. Furthermore, as almost always has been the case since Nietzsche became popular, many modern artists and would-be artists see his emphasis on aesthetics especially on the aesthetics of geniuses as the givers of ultimate meaning or on aesthetics as the ultimate affirmation of life as of course referring to them and their art. Nietzsche regarded art “as the great stimulus to life”. Admittedly, from the meta-ethics standpoint, “moral values or disvalues … also include non-moral values, notably aesthetic ones, beauty and various kinds of artistic art”. However, I will not be contemplating this aspect of Nietzschean meta-ethics nor of his metaphysics and epistemology unless necessary to deal with his concept of moral values: of good and evil in mortality not aesthetics. In this essay, I inquire into or ask how Nietzschean meta-ethics — seeking to go beyond good and evil as he puts it that led Nietzsche to aristocratic egotism awaiting a “man of the future” to redeem life in the same way Christianity awaits its Savior to redeem life — created and creates such a universal appeal to so many and has so much power.

 
My conclusion and argument are that the substance and so-to-speak successful will-to-power of Nietzschean meta-ethics is in the sound-bite “God is dead!” that successfully attracts all those in the West who have: 1) a Nietzschean resentment to Christianity; 2) a Nietzschean will-to-power need to replace Christianity with their own secular version of Christianity having essentially the same normative language but without the Christ; and 3) a fear of nihilism. Because it is the reader that gives meaning to text, once those with these attributes become Nietzschean readers — regardless of their perspectives on life — they make Nietzsche and Nietzschean philosophers and philosophical writings their prophets and bible substitute in the same way Christians, regardless of their perspectives on life, have the same prophets and bible.

 
Before I get into my argument and conclusion, I have to make sure my concepts of meta-ethics and nihilism are the same as Nietzsche and must summarize my philosophy of language in order to assure that my contemplation is of the same content as that of Nietzsche.

— The remainder of this essay is found at Meta-Ethics, Nihilism, and Nietzsche

PRELIMINARY ARGUMENT FOR A HOLISTIC CONCEPT OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND PERCEPTION

The following is the prologue of an essay that can be read in full at Preliminary Argument:

We are like sailors who on the open sea must reconstruct their ship but are never able to start afresh from the bottom. Where a beam is taken away a new one must at once be put there, and for this the rest of the ship is used as support. In this way, by using the old beams and driftwood the ship can be shaped entirely anew, but only by gradual reconstruction. — Quine, W.V. Word and Object. Martino Publishing: Mansfield Centre, Connecticut (2013) at Epigram. Original in Neurath, Otto. “Protocol Sentences”. Reprinted in Ayer (ed.) Logical Positivism. The Free Press: NY, NY (1959).

I. Prologue / The Nature of the Concepts in Philosophy of Mind that Make No Sense.

 

This essay is a beginning attempt to synthesize and to make sense of the inconsistencies and outright absurdities present in many writings in the philosophy of mind that have led me to conclude there is a basic conceptual misunderstanding in modern philosophy of mind as to what it is contemplating just as there are equally absurd conceptual misunderstandings in the work calling itself scientific study of the mind. The conceptual errors are so foundationally basic to the arguments being made that it makes it impossible to take seriously many of the arguments presented in the readings and their conclusions. Yet, these errors are completely ignored and the arguments and their conclusions are taken seriously both by many philosophers and by many neuroscientists who seemingly believe them on faith or argument by authority. This only makes matters worse. These conceptual errors seem to be related but I am still unclear of how or why. Much of it appears to be due to an archaic realist view of scientific theory that romanticizes it.

 
Conceptually, for example, arguing whether there exists both unconscious perception and conscious perception is equivalent to arguing whether there exists √1 and √-1 (imaginary number i). Of course they exist; here they are in the previous sentence, I just wrote them down. These concepts exist as meaningful words if you can find a use for them or if they are useful in some wordgame but such existence does not mean they are in the same wordgame. Even if their only use is in the aesthetics of using them, this aesthetics exists and is their meaning in the same way that good fiction exists and is meaningful. According to the German mathematician Leopold Kronecker, “God made the integers; all else is the work of man.” This is a statement by a mathematician of a philosophical problem not a mathematical one. Mathematicians and scientists using the imaginary number i do not, need not, and probably should not care who made it as long as it solves the problem they are trying to solve. However, the confusing of or treatment of √1 and √-1 as the same wordgame or type of number simply because they are both square roots is a conceptual error as mathematicians know and not an empirical error. The difference between these number types and the concept of a square root cannot be decided empirically — other than nominally by how they are written as numerals. Without doubt, there is some descriptive and instrumental or predictive values to the concepts of conscious perception and unconscious perception as there are both to √1 and √-1, this does not require the conclusion that these concepts are of the same type or meaning or even exist in the same wordgame so that they can be compared as if they were — in the same way that 1 and -1 are not the same when used under a √ sign or even that √1 and √-1 are the same simply because they are square roots.

 
Matters are made worse when such conceptual confusion found everywhere in philosophy of mind is then routinely and seemingly unknowingly used by so-called cognitive science in cargo-cult science experiments to confirm the conceptual bias of those running the experiments. The basic path of scientific reasoning is as follows: 1) to hypothesize — for example, that all swans are white; 2) observe — all available swans; 3) predicate the property — all available swans are white; and 4) conclusion — all swans are white. This reasoning presents well-known conceptual problems of induction and the logical nature of cause and effect explanation as part of the pragmatic value these observations may have, however this reasoning is scientific reasoning. However, the following reasoning under no empirical conditions is science or even valid reasoning: 1) hypothesizing that all swans are white; 2) deciding to observe only white swans; 3) intentionally and knowingly observing only white swans; and 4) concluding from these observations that all swans are white. Such knowing and intentional reasoning is not even cargo-cult science because at least cargo-cult science can be falsified by the cargo planes not showing up. It may still achieve pragmatic value by coincidence due to the rarity of black swans and for aesthetic and propaganda meaning and has the advantage of avoiding conceptual problems of induction and the nature of cause and effect explanation but does so at the expense of not being induction, science, nor explanation of anything except confirmation bias.

 
Examples of this pseudoscience at work in philosophy of mind are the experiments done on persons who have gone through a commissurotomy or brain surgery that resulting in blind sight. As with any surgery, the surgery leads to observed behavior by the patient that is different from before the surgery. Just as after surgically removing a patient’s arm or making a white swan black a scientist should not expect the patient to behave as a two-armed person nor for the cosmetically created black swan to be white, a scientist should not expect the patient after brain surgery to behave the same as before. Brain surgery patients that are allowed to use the entirety of their available abilities — such as moving their head and eyes as necessary to have full perception of their acts and the things around them — behave as a conscious individual perceiving their actions and the things around them in the same way a person with one arm will get by in life by using other aspects of their humanity in ways two-armed persons do not. An example of this state of affairs is the blind psychologist Donald Kish, the founder and director of the nonprofit World Access for the Blind, and other blind persons who use their other abilities such as human echolocation (orally created sonar) and their sense of hearing to make up for their blindness and thus know what it is like to be a bat without becoming a bat.

 
The patient in these experiments is one conscious person despite their disabilities until so-called cognitive scientists come along to say differently by invalid reasoning from predetermined conclusions. With the aid of neuroscience, they intentionally choose patients who have had a commissurotomy or other surgery because they know of the resulting blindsight or other effects of brain surgery and then knowingly and intentionally experiment on these unfortunate souls by: 1) intentionally not allowing the patient to move their head or eyes as necessary to perceive fully their acts and the things around them; 2) intentionally restrict what the patient can perceive to specified objects in the intentionally restricted field of vision; 3) intentionally restrict the patient’s language ability to say and understand an infinite number of words they have never heard before by restricting them to answering only specific questions asked in order to observe the answers the experimenters expect and want to hear; and 4) then observe the blindsight and other effects of brain surgery they knew would occur thus confirming what they already knew would occur. Why did the experiments restrict the patients’ eye and head movements, what objects to observe, and what questions they could answer? These restrictions occur in order to assure positive results. This is equivalent to throwing a one-armed person in a swimming pool with their legs tied together and then observing and concluding that a one-armed person is not a very good swimmer. The reason for tying their legs together is to assure the result of not being a good swimmer.

 
The most sophist and pompous aspect of these experiments is when the experimenters go beyond the confirmation of their bias not only to the invalid conclusion (actually, just the fabricated conclusion) that the commissurotomy patient is now not one consciousness but two (left and right side of the brain) and that the blindside individual has a defective link between some type of mental monitoring system in the brain and visual sense perception (an example of the homunculus fallacy) but then actually to tell the patients these conclusions. It is bad enough the patients must suffer with the disabilities they have, they now are told they are not one consciousness but two and that there is a homunculus in their brain deciding what they will or will not see. Might as well tell a blind Mr. Kish that he is a bat. What incredible pompous arrogance. Having like gods created a fictional Adam and Eve in the brain, these pseudo-scientists unlike the God of Genesis skip creation of the Garden of Eden to go directly to create suffering for the lives of their creations. (Given that such arrogance is considered ethical further proves my belief that ethics is simply ruling class ideology). Philosophers and cargo-cult leaders and followers calling themselves scientists are not even able to define what consciousness and perception are for themselves or any one person; they have no basis to separate the unknown into two unknowns other than for the aesthetics of being gods.

A. Summary of My Preliminary Argument

“PEOPLE ONLY BELIEVE WHAT THEY WANT TO BELIEVE “

The following is the first paragraph of an essay that can be read in full at “PEOPLE_ONLY_BELIEVE_WHAT_THEY_WANT_TO_BELIEVE”

I. Prologue / The Nature of the Problem and Questions Presented

 

The aphorism “people only believe what they want to believe” is a common description by proponents of an observation or argument of their opponents’ beliefs — proponents and opponents in a relative sense, this aphorism is often said simultaneously by all parties having opposing descriptions or beliefs regarding the same sense experience, theoretical dispute, or “fabric” made of both. What usually occurs, as exasperation sets in, is that proponents and opponents battling over the truth of their respective claims of knowledge often end their disputes by stating this aphorism of each other as a final means to dismiss the opponent’s beliefs as not justified in any epistemic, normative, nor even in a rational sense but as simply an irrational act of will immune to reason. In such arguments, though it is assumed that truth is the goal of belief, the method being used seems to reduce epistemology to a “search for methods that yield verdicts that one oneself would accept”. As a philosophical observation in Western Philosophy of how beliefs are sometimes justified, this aphorism goes as far back as the Ancient Greeks and is formalized in modern psychology as “confirmation bias”. Furthermore, as a matter of practical reality, in our modern Technological Society in which the average individual is flooded and bombarded by wanted and unwanted information almost every waking minute, it is a necessity to have a reflex or intuitive process of deciding between “junk beliefs” and beliefs with value in order to make it through the day. Except for those whose occupation it is to produce ideas, for most people, moments allowed for deductive or other logical contemplations of beliefs are few and far between. However, this aphorism historically is not a creation of modern technology sound-bite wordgames and polemics or relativism nor solely a trait of Clifford’s “den of thieves” but describes an epistemic voluntarism not limited to the uneducated or unenlightened. The Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy having spent his life among the ruling classes wrote:

I know that most men—not only those considered clever, but even those who are very clever, and capable of understanding most difficult scientific, mathematical, or philosophic problems—can very seldom discern even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as to oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions they have formed, perhaps with much difficulty — conclusions of which they are proud, which they have taught to others, and on which they have built their lives.

LAW AND DATA SCIENCE

Data science has been successful in achieving accuracy rates as high as 83% in predicting the outcome of court decisions: Artificial intelligence prevails at predicting Supreme Court decisions. It is only a matter of time before the algorithms used to predict court decisions progress to the point of actually being able to make better decisions than the judges who now make them, that is of replacing judges and juries to be judge and jury but not the executioner — assuming we can get around the human intuitive block to allowing an algorithm or mathematical formula make normative decisions for us. If the words “justice” and “justice system” are to have any practical or pragmatic social construct meanings other than nominal normative meaning created solely to benefit the few in power in the future of our Technological Society, we need to get around this antiquated and unwarranted intuition.

 
For anyone who has studied history and existential reality, there should be no such intuitive block. The progression of history is an anarchic chaotic progression of random and arbitrary events with any historical patterns that exist almost always ignored by those who make history especially normative history; they are ignored in order for the Powers-that-be who create and define the law and its norms to create a future in their image irrespective of the images of their predecessors who used the same will-to-power to create the present. The prior essays entitled “Why Tolerate Law?” and “An Existential Philosophy of Law” have well established that the concept that judges use the facts and something called the law to reach conclusions or that there is such a thing as the common law that serves as premises for future legal decisions are both nonsense. Judges make decisions to enforce their personal ethics and morality through a monopoly on violence with protecting such monopoly one of the goals of their ethics and morality.

 
Even if a judge wanted to synthesize the thousands of pages of common and statutory law and the convoluted almost incomprehensible intertwined facts involved in even the simplest of court decisions, they could not do so. It is simply behind the ability of human consciousness because of the complexity and the large amount of data and information involved. In order to achieve some semblance of fairness and to make court decisions other than simply a product of a particular judge’s personal ethics and morality and thus of their biases and prejudices, we need to use the great human creation of data science and its algorithms. For a detailed argument on this issue, please see the extensive essay: “Knowledge and Truth in Data Science: Theory Without Theory?” .

LAWYERS AS LEADERS / NOT!

There is a new fad among law schools: teaching lawyers to be leaders. Even Harvard Law School has such courses both as part of their curriculum and as separate continuing education courses at $10,000 tuition for each. This would be funny if it were not so sad and even scary.

 
Lawyers are the ultimate followers. Take any established, well respected, and reputable United States lawyer or judge and transfer their birth and life to a different culture such as North Korea, Stalinist Russia, or any similar non-democratic system of law and they would just as ardently preach the divinity of “the rule of law” in those countries as they do in the United States. The “rule of law” has never been on the right side of history and never will be. Law exists to enforce status quo ruling class ideology and serves to suppress any leaders that would oppose status quo ruling class ideology — including lawyers that would be such leaders. From Socrates to Clarence Darrow and onto lawyers such as Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, and even to a Richard Nixon whose working class coarseness and background were seen as beneath the culture of the Washington elite and thus justified their unforgiving hatred of him, any lawyers that try to lead instead of follow will inevitably face legal problems, suspension, disbarment, and even imprisonment from the law.

 
Lawyers get into law because they want to follow rules and believe in rule-following as a distinct and unique virtue completely ignorant of Wittgenstein’s Rule Following Paradox and any modern philosophy of language and even of science. Does not matter the rule, all rule-following is a virtue for the lawyer mentality. This would not be a problem if they would admit to such form-over-substance mentality and thus incorporate or insert methodology to control it within the practice of law and the judiciary but they do not. In fact it is the exact opposite. The judicial system is the largest oligarchy in the American Republic. Its supposed leaders are chosen for their life tenure jobs giving them complete immunity for their actions by small committees of other lawyers based not on any merits that can be tested and falsified but based solely on political etiquette and ideology standards. After its primary purpose of maintaining the status quo ruling class ideology through a monopoly on violence, the second purpose in life of the rule of law is to hide its primary purpose of maintaining ruling class ideology through a monopoly on violence.

 
Having served in both the military and in the legal system, as anyone who has served extensively in both will most likely tell you, I know there is significantly more freedom of speech and development of leadership by merit in the military than there is anywhere in law. As the military knows, leaders are developed not taught. If one needs to be taught how to be a leader, one is not a leader and never will be. The first rules of leadership are to treat all those you lead fairly and not to demand anything from them you would not demand or expect from yourself. These rules are nonexistent in the oligarchy of the law. In practice, what leadership exists in the practice of law consists of the networking leadership of using one’s connections to bring in clients and business to a law firm — that is it is the leadership of making friends with others in order to benefit financially from the friendship. This is not leadership in any sense but in the sense of nepotism — there is no merit-based meaning to such leadership.

 
The prior essays entitled “Why Tolerate Law?” and “An Existential Philosophy of Law” have established how law has become the unopposed normative power with a monopoly on violence in the Western World. What these law school leadership training courses are really about is networking and about establishing an etiquette wordgame for being called a lawyer-leader within the context of ruling class ideology. These courses teach those that can afford the teaching and who are already at least indoctrinated into class ideology what to say and how to say it so that those in power will recognize you as a follower of their power who can be trusted to follow their orders and to make others follow orders so as to maintain their power. It is not about being leaders but about being followers who are nominally entitled to call themselves leaders for the benefit of those they follow and to hide their ignorance of the nature of law.