Posts

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 20: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Conclusion: Reaffirming the Intellectual Foundations of Western Civilization (20/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

When the scope of science as the act of systematic discovery of knowledge is confined to the experimental methods appropriate to the study of the physical causality by an underlying ideological commitment to mechanical materialism, positivism, and empiricism, however well intentioned, no room is left for seeking knowledge under the guise of science in the realm of human action with its teleological roots in the form of intentions or plans activated by the desires, motives, and purposes of individual actors. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 19: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

The Scientific Roots of Production and Destruction (19/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

It is widely accepted by many leading scientists and intellectuals that self-awareness of volitional consciousness is a phenomenological illusion somehow generated by unconscious material brain matter. Because they reject the axiomatic status of existence, identity, and consciousness, and inappropriately demand proof for their validity that cannot be forthcoming because such proof is a logical impossibility (any proof presupposes these axioms), they choose to abandon epistemology and reason rather than revisit their invalid premises and assumptions. They choose to pretend that the phenomenon we call free will or human agency or human action does not really exist.

It is self-contradictory and irrational to attempt to use reason to put forward arguments and evidence for a conclusion while at the same time proclaiming that reason as an active volitional process of man’s consciousness is a mere illusion.  Instead of checking their premises, many scientists and others choose to reject reason. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 18: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Machine Messiahs (18/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

As we have seen, there seems to be a significant number of modern scientists and influential intellectuals who, in the post-modernist tradition, want to obliterate the human mind by obliterating the need for a science of epistemology. Their pretense that they are advocates of reason under the guise of science is just that: a pretense to garner social credibility and respect.

Many go one step further. The more ideological among them take to bullying an unknowledgeable and trusting public predisposed to deferring to self-proclaimed but ideologically motivated and politically aggressive experts. In the worst of cases, scientists knowingly conspire in the guise of mercenary soldiers to produce fraudulent research in support of ideological and political ends. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 17: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Mindless Survival is an Invitation to Chaos (17/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

An outright attack on the efficacy of the human mind, not just as the allegorical locus of human agency, but on the very existence of agency, is an outright attack on humanity, society, economy, and human survival itself.

When that attack it is done in the name of, and with the full backing of our institutions of science and their leading public voices, there is a legitimate worry that science will become a propaganda tool to serve anti-mind, anti-reason, anti-freedom interests. Even if leading scientists themselves are unlikely to have and value such explicit and consciously derived proclivities, they still bear responsibility for their conclusions and the foreseeable implications of the policy initiatives they advocate. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 15: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Ah, You Don’t Believe We’re on the Eve of Destruction? (15/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

Identifying valid methods of human thought in pursuit of life-sustaining human action through sensory perception, observation, reason, and logic is itself a science.

Built into the human mind is the structure and latent capability to identify causality, to value profitable outcomes, and to differentiate success and failure, profit and loss, pain and pleasure, guided by reason and logic.

These built-in capabilities provide the potential and set the stage for human discovery and are necessary for individual survival. They allow us to discover and recognize the utility of and need for peaceful cooperation to advance the development of socially beneficial production and trade to satisfy our needs and desires. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 4: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

 

A Distinct Methodology for Human Action (4/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

Unlike the method of discovery applied to the natural world that is governed by unchanging laws of nature that we seek to discover, the method of discovery is different when it comes to human action and the centrality of human action in the social sciences. The way one economist puts it is that “Actions are the field of phenomena which constitutes what we regard as the subject matter of the social sciences” (Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Economic Science and the Austrian Method, 35).

Nature is an endless succession of necessitated events, of cause and effect of entities that are incapable of seeking a specific goal or end. Wherever humans are involved, things are different because humans possess volitional consciousness, are goal-directed, and act purposefully in pursuit of self-chosen ends.

In this respect, human beings are not like billiard balls or the weather. Humans have the capacity to make choices and strive to achieve goals through self-initiated purposeful, goal-directed, action. At the same time, humans are constrained by, and have no escape from conforming to, the causal laws of nature that govern the universe, the same natural laws that are applicable to all entities. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 3: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Upsplash.com)

Science for Civilization, or Chaos? (3/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

In moving beyond “common sense” and trying to understand and make sense of the nature of the world in which we live and function, there is occasionally a clash in perspectives that bubbles to the surface, as happened in a recent conversation between Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson in their attempt to identify the meaning of truth in a world centered around human action.

Where a conflict of ideas is encountered, what some people refer to as “academic” or esoteric issues come to the foreground.

How and whether such conflicts of fact, truth, and values are resolved as fundamental philosophic issues can be the difference between the success of human endeavours – perhaps even entire civilizations – and the flourishing of humanity on the one hand, and the fall into barbarism and human misery on a grand scale on the other. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 2: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas at Unsplash.com)

Sam Harris–Jordan Peterson “What is True?” Post-Podcast Analysis (2/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

The challenge Sam Harris faced in his discussion with Jordan Peterson on his Waking Up podcast episode 62, in my opinion, is that he couldn’t or wouldn’t comprehend the position Peterson was putting forth because it was outside of his philosophic and scientific paradigm of a materialist/positivist/empiricist worldview. These are premises that in my assessment Peterson understands perfectly well and appears to reject as being insufficiently robust to capture the full spectrum of the subject matter of science. The materialist/positivist world-view is too narrow and exclusionary of the full gamut of real-world events important to, and reflective of, human meaning, human values, human experience, and human action. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 1: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas at Unsplash.com)

Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, and the Search for “Truth” (1/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

In a recent podcast of a discussion by popular and best-selling authors Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson with the title “What Is True?”, these two high profile intellectuals attempted to discuss the nature of truth in science.

Harris had received more requests from his fans to interview Peterson than “any other person on earth.” Peterson is the author of the worldwide #1 bestseller, The 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

The discussion proceeded with the two hoping and expecting to identify some areas of fundamental agreement and disagreement in order to fuel intellectual sparring for Harris’s Waking Up podcast audience.

Instead, for more than two hours, Harris and Peterson agreed on almost nothing, which made the encounter all the more fascinating. Read more