ANTHROPOLOGY UNBOUND: Defining the meaning of 1 + 1!

TUESDAY, MAY 18, 2021

Anthropologists float theory: Very frankly, we almost felt triggered. 

We'd turned to the leading authority on Bertrand Russell's 1903 classic text, The Principles of Mathematics. 

"The book presents a view of the foundations of mathematics and Meinongianism and has become a classic reference," we were quickly told.

We'll admit that we knew nothing of this Meinongianism. But when we clicked the kink we'd been provided, we were confronted with this:

[Meinong's] theory of objects, now known as "Meinongian object theory," is based around the purported empirical observation that it is possible to think about something, such as a golden mountain, even though that object does not exist. Since we can refer to such things, they must have some sort of being. Meinong thus distinguishes the "being" of a thing, in virtue of which it may be an object of thought, from a thing's "existence", which is the substantive ontological status ascribed to—for example—horses but not to unicorns. 

Since we can refer to some entity we have imagined, it must have some sort of being! 

Already, our youthful analysts felt triggered. They felt triggered even before they reached the important distinction between the "being" and the "existence" of some such imagined entity.

We understood the youngsters' deep discomfort. For ourselves, we'll have to admit, we felt divinely amused!

For now let's return to Meinong's theory of object:

Since we can discuss some entity we have imagined, it must have some sort of being! Stating the obvious, that passage traffics in a kind of conceptual madness.

In the face of such attacks on sanity, we humans will often defer to academic authority. Given the high academic source, we'll assume that there must be something of substance to the puzzling claim at hand.

In making such charitable assumptions, might we humans be wrong? 

Here at this site, we'd dug out our antique copy of Russell's text as an act of renunciation. Our Town's public discourse had reached a point of such vapidity that we found it hard to watch "cable news" or to bother with the foolishness found in our major newspapers.

In a flight from this banality, we had returned to loftier concerns, and to one favorite book—Rebecca Goldstein's Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel. That favorite book had sent us back to Russell's concerns with the "foundations of mathematics."

Soon, we were reading about Meinong's theory of objects. While the analysts were triggered by the passage we've quoted, we were filled with a type of delight.

Sometimes, you just have to laugh, a bit like the god on Olympus. As we were first told in undergraduate days, the tortured ruminations of the western world's "philosophers" may, or may not, make sense.

That said, these ruminations will often provide a type of amusement. On page 4 of Russell's classic text, we found him saying this about the state of philosophy as it had existed:

RUSSELL (page 4): The Philosophy of Mathematics has been hitherto as controversial, obscure and unprogressive as the other branches of philosophy. Although it was generally agreed that mathematics is in some sense true, philosophers disputed as to what mathematical propositions really meant: although something was true, no two people were agreed as to what it was that was true, and if something was known, no one knew what it was that was known. So long, however, as this was doubtful, it could hardly be said that any certain and exact knowledge was to be obtained in mathematics. We find, accordingly, that idealists have tended more and more to regard all mathematics as dealing with mere appearance, while empiricists have held everything mathematical to be approximation to some exact truth about which they had nothing to tell us. This state of things, it must be confessed, was thoroughly unsatisfactory. 

At the start of that passage, Russell seems to speak poorly of the various branches of philosophy circa 1903. The amusement begins when he describes the disputes among philosophers as to what mathematical statements mean.

"Although something was true, no two people were agreed as to what it was that was true, and if something was known, no one knew what it was that was known," Russell lamented. 

Given this state of affairs, "it could hardly be said that any certain and exact knowledge was to be obtained in mathematics," Russell  then said. "This state of things, it must be confessed, was thoroughly unsatisfactory.". 

One who is inclined to defer may assume that Russell is speaking here of some highly abstruse region of higher mathematics. 

Apparently not! Two pages later, his classic text offers this:

RUSSELL (page 6): Mathematical propositions are not only characterized by the fact that they assert implications, but also by the fact that they contain variables. The notion of the variable is one of the most difficult with which Logic has to deal, and in the present work a satisfactory theory as to its nature, in spite of much discussion, will hardly be found. For the present, I only wish to make it plain that there are variables in all mathematical propositions, even where at first sight they might seem to be absent. Elementary Arithmetic might be thought to form an exception: 1 + 1 = 2 appears neither to contain variables nor to assert an implication. But as a matter of fact, as will be shown in Part II, the true meaning of this proposition is: “If x is one and y is one, and x differs from y, then x and y are two.” 

In that passage, Russell seems to explain what 1 + 1 = 2 truly means. This simplest of all arithmetical statements actually means this:

“If x is one and y is one, and x differs from y, then x and y are two.” 

Finally, someone had said it! 

Russell said he was going to prove it in Part II of his book. Meanwhile, at the end of that paragraph, Russell takes things even further: 

RUSSELL (continuing directly): And this proposition both contains variables and asserts an implication. We shall find always, in all mathematical propositions, that the words any or some occur; and these words are the marks of a variable and a formal implication. Thus the above proposition may be expressed in the form: “Any unit and any other unit are two units.”

Any unit and any other unit are two units! 1 + 1 = 2 may be expressed in that form.

Those who are inclined to defer will assume that we're on our way to something truly significant. For ourselves, we decided to turn to the leading authority for a quick overview of Russell's classic text. 

Instantly, we were linked to Meinong's theory of objects, which—let's be perfectly clear—comes from from the realm of conceptual madness, at least as it is described.

(According to the leading authority, Russell agreed with that "theory of objects," until such time as he didn't)

Does any of this make any sense? We who defer will be inclined to assume that it simply must.

Russell occupied the western world's highest level of academic authority. It's hard to believe that the work of such intellectual giants could really have been the work of a type of madness.

That said, anthropologists have whispered to us that the gods on Olympus continue to laugh, right to the present day. According to these credentialed experts, the later Wittgenstein sits by their side, obsequiously assuring them that they had it right all along.

Within the journalistic realm, Our Town's daily discourse has reached a point of almost complete banality. The dumbness is on full display, even over here in Our Town..

Might it be, anthropologists ask, that the jumbled wiring of our human brains has produced similar manifestations on much higher levels, possibly extending all the way back to the dawn of the west? Could our journalistic incompetence be part of a larger mess?

Were the Olympians right when they laughed? In our experience, leading experts—anthropologists—glumly continue to ask.

Tomorrow: Whatever may seem to come next 


24 comments:

  1. Tsk. What can we say to all this? Okay, here it is: just leave the liberal cult, dear Bob, and -- we promise! -- your life will start making sense again. Just leave 'Your Town'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mao, here you are urging TDH to join the Dark Side.

      Delete
    2. No, we aren't, dear dembot. We're asking dear Bob to stop joining 'sides', and come back to the world of ordinary humyns instead.

      Delete
    3. Isiyku Abdulahi
      My ex-boyfriend dumped me one week ago after I accused him of seeing someone else and insulting him. I want him back in my life but he refuse to have any contact with me. I was so confuse and don’t know what to do, so I reach to the Internet for help and I saw a testimony of how a spell caster help them to get their ex back so I contact the spell caster and explain my problem to him and he cast a spell for me and assure me of 2 days that my ex will return to me and to my greatest surprise the third day my ex came knocking on my door and beg for forgiveness. I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that, we are about to get married. Once again thank you Dr Believe. You are truly talented and gifted.He is the only answer. He can be of great help and I will not stop talking about him because he is a wonderful man. Contact this great love spell caster for your relationship or marriage problem to be solved today via email: believelovespelltemple@gmail.com or WhatsApp: +19713839183


      Delete
    4. LOTTO, lottery,jackpot.
      Hello all my viewers, I am very happy for sharing this great testimonies,The best thing that has ever happened in my life is how I win the lottery euro million mega jackpot. I am a Woman who believe that one day I will win the lottery. finally my dreams came through when I email believelovespelltemple@gmail.com and tell him I need the lottery numbers. I have spend so much money on ticket just to make sure I win. But I never know that winning was so easy until the day I meant the spell caster online which so many people has talked about that he is very great in casting lottery spell, . so I decide to give it a try.I contacted this great Dr Believe and he did a spell and he gave me the winning lottery numbers. But believe me when the draws were out I was among winners. I win 30,000 million Dollar. Dr Believe truly you are the best, all thanks to you forever












      LOTTO, lottery,jackpot.
      Hello all my viewers, I am very happy for sharing this great testimonies,The best thing that has ever happened in my life is how I win the lottery euro million mega jackpot. I am a Woman who believe that one day I will win the lottery. finally my dreams came through when I email believelovespelltemple@gmail.com and tell him I need the lottery numbers. I have spend so much money on ticket just to make sure I win. But I never know that winning was so easy until the day I meant the spell caster online which so many people has talked about that he is very great in casting lottery spell, . so I decide to give it a try.I contacted this great Dr Believe and he did a spell and he gave me the winning lottery numbers. But believe me when the draws were out I was among winners. I win 30,000 million Dollar. Dr Believe truly you are the best, all thanks to you forever

      Delete
  2. "Since we can discuss some entity we have imagined, it must have some sort of being! Stating the obvious, that passage traffics in a kind of conceptual madness."

    Here are some things that we imagine and that have some sort of being without actually existing: (1) Santa Claus, (2) God, (3) concepts such as love and freedom, (4) aliens, (5) dragons and unicorns, (6) superheroes and other fictional characters and beings.

    There is no conceptual madness to imagination. It is only when being and existence become confused that people get into trouble. If I thought that Scrooge McDuck were real instead of fictional, I would have a problem. It would not be "madness" but rather confusion.

    There is a part of the frontal lobe that engages in "reality testing." We not only make the distinction between the real and imagined, but we have methods for determining what is real and what is not. Am I in love, does my self-image correspond to the way others see me, are my goals realistic? We are constantly evaluating such things using thought processes that serve those purposes.

    Somerby is behaving today as if he had no notion of how his own mind works.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But the important and interesting issue is our daily discourse has reached a point of almost complete banality. But was this media "madness" avoidable or was it prewired like the sunset?

      Delete
  3. "Here at this site, we'd dug out our antique copy of Russell's text as an act of renunciation. Our Town's public discourse had reached a point of such vapidity that we found it hard to watch "cable news" or to bother with the foolishness found in our major newspapers."

    There is something very sad about this paragraph. Somerby says that he is seeking some grounding from the nonsense in the news, but then he proceeds to criticize and ultimately undermine the security found in the texts he wishes to use as reassurance against nonsense. This is self-defeating, even if Somerby did have the capacity to find flaws in Russell's work (he doesn't).

    What is to be gained by Somerby's exercise in throwing over Russell (much as he tried to do with Godel)? Is it ego enhancement? Is it rejection of authority? Does he perhaps think he can reject some other expert pronouncement by rejecting the notion of expertise? A medical diagnosis perhaps? Whatever it is, it has nothing to do with Russell.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "For ourselves, we decided to turn to the leading authority for a quick overview of Russell's classic text."

    Who uses Wikipedia as a fact check on Bertrand Russell himself?

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Does any of this make any sense? We who defer will be inclined to assume that it simply must."

    Somerby doesn't seem to be capable of making sense of things that make sense to other people. I wouldn't suspect madness but dementia, given his age. However, I don't think dementia explains Somerby's statements, but rather sophistry. Somerby has some interest in attacking Russell and other philosophers, and those who write about them.

    Maybe he is depressed. Maybe he is being paid by the right wing or Russia to undermine the concepts of expertise, authority and the press, freeing readers to accept the nonsense spouted by Tucker Carlson and Q. Somerby might be perfectly sane but also engaged in a disinformation war that benefits only autocrats such as Trump.

    Math tends to have its own reality to us. If we are given a dollar and then given another dollar, we have two dollars, no matter how much Somerby manages to undermine our faith in Bertrand Russell. A wise person will pay attention to the evidence at hand and disregard Somerby's nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Were the Olympians right when they laughed? In our experience, leading experts—anthropologists—glumly continue to ask."

    It is doubtful that any anthropologists (much less leading experts) are glum or continuing to ask whether the Olympians were laughing at Russell. Those anthropologists long ago concluded that the Olympians were beings without reality.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Somerby has apparently never heard of any advance in philosophy since his own college days. Modal logic, for example. Putnam's reference theory. He never reads anything in cognitive science. It never occurs to him that his own ignorance may be the source of his conceptual confusions.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "The dumbness is on full display, even over here in Our Town.."

    even over here in The Daily Howler...

    FTFY

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is why Somerby is arguing that perhaps the formal proof that 1+1=2 is suspect:

    "On Saturday, Trump baselessly alleged that Arizona Senate's election auditors found an "unbelievable Election crime."

    "The entire Database of Maricopa County in Arizona has been DELETED!" the former President exclaimed in a statement.

    Maricopa county recorder Stephen Richer immediately demurred Trump's claim as "unhinged."

    "I'm literally looking at our voter registration database on my other screen," he tweeted. "Right now. We can't indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country. This is as readily falsifiable as 2+2=5."

    ReplyDelete
  10. TDH again here with his irrational obsession about Wittgenstein, Russell, Goedel. He must know only a tiny few nowadays care about a book on the philosophy of mathematics written 120 years ago. If TDH doesn't understand it, it's probably because he isn't competent to do so. I'm sure there's more to the treatise than the snippets quoted by TDH, though I personally don't see what the problem is with the quoted cites; they seem to make sense, although pretty abstract. Russell did write a book called 'Why I'm Not a Christian.' That one is pretty good. Russell opposed World War I (with its senseless slaughter far greater than anything we see today), and may have gone to jail because of that (not sure.). If TDH wants to read something to help him grasp human nature, I suggest he try Shakespeare's plays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "A later conviction for publicly lecturing against inviting the United States to enter the war on the United Kingdom's side resulted in six months' imprisonment in Brixton Prison (see Bertrand Russell's political views) in 1918."

      Delete
    2. TDH should stop reading 'The Art of the Deal', although it is obviously very important in Trumptard circles like his.

      Delete
  11. Am here to testify what this great spell caster done for me. i never believe in spell casting, until when i was was tempted to try it. i and my wife have been having a lot of problem living together, she will always not make me happy because she have fallen in love with another man outside our relationship, i tried my best to make sure that my wife leave this woman but the more i talk to her the more she makes me fell sad, so my marriage is now leading to divorce because she no longer gives me attention. so with all this pain and agony, i decided to contact this spell caster to see if things can work out between me and my wife again. this spell caster who was a man told me that my wife is really under a great spell that she have been charm by some magic, so he told me that he was going to make all things normal back. he did the spell on my wife and after 5 days my wife changed completely she even apologize with the way she treated me that she was not her self, i really thank this man his name is Dr ose he have bring back my wife back to me i want you all to contact him who are having any problem related to marriage issue and relationship problem he will solve it for you. his email is oseremenspelltemple@gmail.com  he is a man and his  great. wish you good time.
    He cast spells for different purposes like
    (1) If you want your ex back.
    (2) if you always have bad dream
    (3) You want to be promoted in your office.
    (4) You want women/men to run after you.
    (5) If you want a child.
    (6) You want to be rich.
    (7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever.
    (8) If you need financial assistance.
    (9) HIV/AIDS CURE
    (10) is the only answer to that your problem of winning the lottery

    Contact him today on oseremenspelltemple@gmail.com or whatsapp him on +2348136482342.  https://www.facebook.com/Dr-odion-spell-temple-110513923938220/

    ReplyDelete
  12. To know more about Chief Dr Lucky you can visit his website (https://chiefdrluckyherbaltherapy.wordpress.com/)
     
     A friend that suffered from Herpes and was cure with the help of this great herbal doctor Chief Lucky so i decided to contact him for help in getting rid of my families genital herpes virus 1/2 which i did and all i was told to provide was just some useful information and some materials used in preparation of the natural cure and that i did and now i am the happiest person on earth because i am writing this testimony of mine with joy and happiness in my heart to the whole world to know that natural remedy is real because i am a living testimony of Chief Lucky traditional herbal cure and i want you all to contact Chief Lucky via his email: chiefdrlucky@gmail.com or WhatsApp him +2348132777335 am sure he will help you too.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great post! For getting the best assignment help UK you can visit our website where we provide you the assignment writing help for 100+ subjects of all fields like economics, management, engineering, accounting, programming, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Isiyku Abdulahi
    My ex-boyfriend dumped me one week ago after I accused him of seeing someone else and insulting him. I want him back in my life but he refuse to have any contact with me. I was so confuse and don’t know what to do, so I reach to the Internet for help and I saw a testimony of how a spell caster help them to get their ex back so I contact the spell caster and explain my problem to him and he cast a spell for me and assure me of 2 days that my ex will return to me and to my greatest surprise the third day my ex came knocking on my door and beg for forgiveness. I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that, we are about to get married. Once again thank you Dr Believe. You are truly talented and gifted.He is the only answer. He can be of great help and I will not stop talking about him because he is a wonderful man. Contact this great love spell caster for your relationship or marriage problem to be solved today via email: believelovespelltemple@gmail.com or WhatsApp: +19713839183


    ReplyDelete
  15. This is another testimony on how Chief Dr Lucky cured my HIV disease. Do you need a cure for your HIV disease? Do you want to be cured from your cancer disease? Or you want to be free from any type of disease. Kindly visit his website https://chiefdrluckyherbaltherapy.wordpress.com/ , he just cured my HIV disease and I’m very grateful to him, he is the only herbalist that can cure you.
    WhatsApp number : +2348132777335
    Via Email : chiefdrlucky@gmail.com
    Thank you all for reading,
    God bless"

    ReplyDelete
  16. DR EMU WHO HELP PEOPLE IN ANY TYPE OF LOTTERY NUMBERS
    It is a very hard situation when playing the lottery and never won, or keep winning low fund not up to 100 bucks, i have been a victim of such a tough life, the biggest fund i have ever won was 100 bucks, and i have been playing lottery for almost 12 years now, things suddenly change the moment i came across a secret online, a testimony of a spell caster called dr emu, who help people in any type of lottery numbers, i was not easily convinced, but i decided to give try, now i am a proud lottery winner with the help of dr emu, i won $1,000.0000.00 and i am making this known to every one out there who have been trying all day to win the lottery, believe me this is the only way to win the lottery.

    Dr Emu can also help you fix this issues

    (1)Ex back.
    (2)Herbal cure & Spiritual healing.
    (3)You want to be promoted in your office.
    (4)Pregnancy spell.
    (5)Win a court case.

    Contact him on email Emutemple@gmail.com
    What's app +2347012841542
    Website Https://emutemple.wordpress.com/
    Https://web.facebook.com/Emu-Temple-104891335203341

    ReplyDelete
  17. LOTTO, lottery,jackpot.
    Hello all my viewers, I am very happy for sharing this great testimonies,The best thing that has ever happened in my life is how I win the lottery euro million mega jackpot. I am a Woman who believe that one day I will win the lottery. finally my dreams came through when I email believelovespelltemple@gmail.com and tell him I need the lottery numbers. I have spend so much money on ticket just to make sure I win. But I never know that winning was so easy until the day I meant the spell caster online which so many people has talked about that he is very great in casting lottery spell, . so I decide to give it a try.I contacted this great Dr Believe and he did a spell and he gave me the winning lottery numbers. But believe me when the draws were out I was among winners. I win 30,000 million Dollar. Dr Believe truly you are the best, all thanks to you forever

    ReplyDelete