23, 2014
me+M.E.: About my philosophy
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton


My philosophy in outline
2. My philosophy in key terms

About ME/CFS


This is not a crisis file.

Instead, it contains two brief items I have written that together give a fairly brief answer to the question "what is your philosophy?"

The first is a note of yesterday, and the second the section Keyterms from my
Philosophical Dictionary.

As to today's file: The keyterms have been written since 2004. Most are OK, but a few need editing. And I left the opening quotations since I like them.

1. My philosophy in outline

This is a fair description of my philosophical self: logical, scientifically realistic, rather skeptical and somewhat cynical. Here are some brief explanations.

I like mathematical logic a lot, and have studied a great amount of it, and hold it to be critically important for real philosophy, but I also agree this is for the few only, at least so far as the formulas and mathematical books are concerned. Also, I know much of it is misdirected, and little of the considerable amount of work that has been done gets known: too technical, for one thing, or too specific - and again technical - problems for another.

I am a scientific realist, in that I hold that all human beings live in one natural reality, and the best - though by far not the only - way to get to know it is by the methods of real science. The "real" is thrown in because considerable amounts of what is pushed as science is in fact pseudoscience, partial science, etc. Also, there is considerably more, but the only other road that is, in principle, valid to find real knowledge is by way of literature, and here I mean the great literature, and not the 99.999% that is not: Lots of things about being human may be learned from Sophocles, Lucretius, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Pope, Dr. Johnson, William Hazlitt, Multatuli, but they are rare writers, of which there appears at most a few in every century.

Then I tend to be skeptical, mostly in an academic sense, probably best stated by Hume: A scientific realist knows that most he believes is at best probable and not certain, which also means that most that is asserted to be knowledge is not knowledge. I also think we know things, but the empirical things we do know - lots of technology, for example - is also partial knowledge, even though it works, and the underpinnings also tend to be uncertain, even if what they imply very probably is true, in some not yet fully comprehended sense.

Finally, I am somewhat of a cynic, but this needs immediate qualification: First, I mean it in the very oldfashioned sense of the cynical philosophers of ca. 2000 years ago - such as Lucian - who decided that much of their civilization was based on falsehoods and maintained by personal deceptions and pretensions of nearly everyone, which was then true and is now true, and should be countered by doubting all and relying on one's own strengths, though this often meant a partial withdrawal from ordinary society. Second, I should add that the cynics have been mostly not well understood (and much of their work has been intentionally destroyed, especially by Christians).

2. My philosophy in key terms

This is a list of keyterms in the Philosophical Dictionary. These are terms for important ideas or terms with many links to other parts of the Dictionary.

Let's start with basic philosophy:

Philosophy: This gives the definition of the OED, and provides links to
First Assumptions, Natural Logic, Natural Philosophy, Natural Realism, Metaphysics, Minimal metaphysics, and Personalism all of which are pretty fundamental. The last two items are worth reading if you believe yourself to be a commonsensical sort of person. Other important items here are Theory, Representing, Reason, and Wisdom.

Another basic concern is logic:

Logic: This gives a simple definition and provides links to
Basic Logic, Classical Propositional Logic, Extended Propositional Logic, Logic Notation, Logical terms, Natural Deduction, and Set Theory all of which are important if you want to know about reasoning. Personal probability gives a system that explains everyday logical reasoning of all kinds based on probability.

Then there are human persons:

Person: This gives a basic definition and exposition and provides links to
Consciousness, Character, Ego, Hypocrisy, Personality, Role, Self, Suffering. Other important related terms are: Brain, Self-deception, Self-interest. An important aside here - it concerns a different type of experience than is normal - is Mysticism. In any case, it is important to be clear about one's personal probabilities and one's capacities for willing, for these are fundamental to all one's believing and acting.

Then there are a number of important illusions and delusions:

Illusion, Delusion, Self-deception, Collusion. In this context other important terms are: Ignorance, Prejudice, Fanaticism and Madness, More specifically but still general, there are: Ideology, Religion, Wishful thinking and their generators: Priests and Clergy. In roughly the same class are most kinds of Politics, in which context Cant and Hypocrisy are important, as are Propaganda and indeed Advertisement. A very normal product and cause of much illusion and delusion is Totalitarianism, for which also see Us, Them, We.

Then there is society:

Society: This gives a basic logical sort of definition and provides links to
Collusion, Conformism, Groups, Hypocrisy, Ideology, Politics, Power, Religion, Prejudice among other things, and also to Metaphysics and Ethics and Morals. Important here are Cooperation, Ends, Agreements, and Promises, and in general terms Leaders, Followers, Ordinary men, Groupthinking and Roles. There also is a useful listing of commented Politics - introductory texts, and items on Anarchism, Conservatism, Liberalism, Socialism and the State and Government. Also relevant here are Authority and Bureaucracy.

Then there is knowledge:

Knowledge: This gives a basic logical sort of definition and provides links to
Belief, Ignorance, Evidence, Experiment, Fallibilism, Science, Scientific knowledge. Here also enter concerns like Adequacy, Wishful thinking, Meaning, Truth and Theory and Representing. Also relevant here are Propositional Attitude and concerns relating to Probability and Certainty.

I wish you much pleasure and enlightenment!


About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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