The Case for Anarchism, Pt. 1: Social Ontology | Who Shaves the Barber? #14

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Stanford Prison Experiment

What does the Stanford Prison Experiment have to do with a case for anarchism?

In this episode, I argue for a certain view of the state. Piggybacking off Max Weber’s definition of the state as a “human community that successfully claims the monopoly over the use of physical force within a given territory”, I propose a similar but broader definition. Whereas Weber’s definition is a political one, based on power analysis, my definition purports to be sociological, and therefore less morally charged than Weber’s. Crucial to my take on the state is the concept of a Collective Interpretive Framework (CIF) – a shared lens through which we interpret reality. I argue that the state is a function of a particular CIF; in other words, it is a certain CIF we share that causes reality to manifest governments. This view of the state as a “self-fulfilling prophecy” and “shared hallucination” sets the stage for the case for anarchism coming in part 2.

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Next week: The Case for Anarchism, Pt. 2: Necessity and Strategy
Special thanks to Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Topics discussed

0:20 – What I’m arguing and what I’m not
4:33 – Stanford Prison Experiment
12:04 – Weber’s definition of the state
13:17 – The “human community”
14:14 – Who has the power?
19:10 – The sociological v. political perspectives
21:47 – The correct definition of the state
23:23 – Mafias and cults
25:07 – Collective interpretive framework: necessary, inevitable, legitimate, real
29:05 – Summary so far
29:52 – The state-generating feedback loop
33:04 – Applying the analysis to all social phenomena
34:27 – Stanford Prison Experiment as metaphor
36:49 – Setting up part 2

Sources

Stanford Prison Experiment” by Philip Zimbardo (website)
Politics as a Vocation” by Max Weber
Would You Press the Button?

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Against Certainty, Pt. 2: Logic | Who Shaves the Barber? #13

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What about 2+2=4? Can we be 100% sure of that?

In this second part of my case against 100% certainty, I tackle claims to logical certainty. These include appeals to the three fundamental laws of logic: the Law of Excluded Middle, the Law of Non-Contradiction, and the Law of Identity. To call excluded middle into doubt, I discuss non-referring terms, vagueness, fuzzy logic, and Aristotle’s problem of future contingents. For contradiction, the topics are legal contradictions, the Liar paradox, and Zeno’s Arrow. To argue against certainty of the law of identity, I cover Theseus’s ship, problems with time, problems of mereology, and the universe of symmetrical spheres. I then argue that even claims like “2+2=4” and “bachelors are bachelors” can’t be fully foolproof. Finally, a quick barrage of skeptical concerns – concerns that, while they may not be enough to justify a self-defeating view like skepticism, are enough to block claims to 100% certainty.

Audio

Video

Next week: The Case for Anarchism
Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Topics discussed:

0:20 – Quick pt. 1 recap
1:21 – Introducing claims to logical certainty
2:21 – Classical logic, syllogistic logic, and the 3 laws
5:48 – Law of Excluded Middle
6:45 – Non-referring terms: the present king of France
9:16 – Vagueness and fuzzy logic
12:11 – Future contingents
13:51 – Law of Non-Contradiction – DeMorgan’s Law
15:38 – The legal case
18:22 – Liar paradox
22:09 – Zeno’s arrow
26:45 – Law of Identity – Theseus’s ship
29:26 – Content of an instant
31:17 – Mereological – Tibbles
36:06 – Symmetrical spheres
37:47 – Do we understand identity?

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Against Certainty, Pt. 1: Knowledge and Experience | Who Shaves the Barber? #12

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sense data
Knowledge of perception?

How old are you? Are you sure? How sure? 100% sure?

I’m here to argue that there’s is nothing we can be fully, 100% sure of. Yes, that includes the fact that there is nothing we can be fully, 100% sure of. That doesn’t mean we can’t know anything – I think we can. But knowledge comes in degrees of certainty, and nothing meets the requirement of full certainty: knowledge that it is logically or metaphysically impossible to be wrong about.

To establish my case, I explain the difference between knowledge and certainty. I then discuss regress issues about certainty of certainty of certainty, followed by the Agrippan trilemma and Quine and Plantinga’s naturalized epistemology. Finally, I address claims to certainty of knowledge of immediate experience.

To address these, I argue that Descartes’s famous cogito is flawed, that there is no such thing as the present, and that raw perceptual experience must go through a translation process before it can be understood and therefore known.

Mentioned during the episode: the interview w/ Professor Jim Slagle about Plantinga’s naturalized epistemology, and the interview with Professor Graham Priest about the sorites paradox.

Audio

Video

Next week: Against Certainty, Pt. 2: Logic
Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Topics discussed

0:19 – Taking all objections
1:04 – Skepticism, fallibilism, certainty, knowledge
5:47 – Non-certain knowledge (sorites)
8:07 – Certain of uncertainty?…

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