Sep
16

The end of Airbnb…

…at least for me has come. In my case, the reason was a very very bad visitor who made damages for which Airbnb refused to pay a single euro. The visitor, of Pakistan origin who had a misleading profile, also went on to rate me very low (without me rating him).
But this is just a random incident, anybody could have such a bad guest. But oh, wait, that’s why Airbnb is supposed to cover for our damages. But Airbnb didn’t.
Is that all? I mean, one could be extra careful and avoid such cases, or just happen to have a positive profit/loss ratio – exactly as I had before I permanently close my Airbnb account. It seems there is more, though.
Airbnb is changing the identity of cities
Airbnb is changing the identity of cities. Free market on its worst: giving people the opportunity for uncontrolled profit. But we already knew that, didn’t we? Well, it seems you don’t actually “know” something if you don’t experience it by yourself. I work as a teacher in special needs education; every year it gets harder and harder for us to rent a house around Greece, as locals prefer to use their apartments for Airbnb. This causes huge problems and has brought a significant change in both identity and traditional hospitality values in local communities. Whole villages and towns have transformed into Airbnb ghettos. There is a philosophical/legal question lingering here as well: till what point does a place “belongs” to locals? Is the exploitation of habitable land without any limits?
Whole villages and towns have transformed into Airbnb ghettos
Anyway, as the national debt keeps rising, and as the government – the Greek government – refuses to face the problem in its entirety even some 8 years into a most destructive crisis which has led to the selling out of national wealth, Airbnb is the next target. The forthcoming taxation will make renting via Airbnb, or via any digital platform, a lot less attractive. This adverse effect of the controlled bankruptcy that is happening is another reason for the forthcoming end (or at least partial failure) of the Airbnb model – which, as I said, might also be a good thing.
Airbnb lists properties in illegal Israeli settlements
A final reason that affected my decision to both close, and never open my Airbnb account again, is the activity of Airbnb in Palestine, or should I say, in the parts of it that were taken from Palestinians at gunpoint (and I bet similar airbnb activity can be found elsewhere in the world as well). Airbnb lists properties in illegal Israeli settlements – an extra perk for settlers to look forward to. Families have been left without houses and homes, as they were taken from them in the most brutal manner, and the illegal settlers that robbed them of their property, now rent it, with the blessings of Airbnb, to tourists. Maybe, that alone should qualify as a reason for the general boycott of Airbnb activities worldwide.
Airbnb should serve society and make up for lack in national legislation, honoring its social responsibility, by posing limits to its own activity
Airbnb should serve society and make up for lack in national legislation, honoring its social responsibility, by posing limits to its own activity. However, Airbnb provides incentives for its clientiel to increase beyond any control and outside any ethical constraint. Thus, Airbnb has become a hydrocephalus giant who does not guarantee air bed and bathroom for all; it guarantees it for the selected elite it serves its interests. At any cost.

Aug
18

The Whereabouts of Knowledge

Ποτέ ξανά δεν υπήρχε τόση γνώση διαθέσιμη και τόσοι ανήξεροι άνθρωποι.

When people were discussing in classical Athens, philosophers and non-philosophers alike, there was something no one could see it coming. When reading the lengthy platonic dialogues, today, one can only see their impossibility: from the very first question the reply would now be something along the lines of “c’mon now dude, are you serious? Definitions and shit?”

People don’t discuss. People don’t discuss, don’t read, don’t remember shit. Notwithstanding the quantity and the quality of the knowledge nowadays – quality you can easily find in e.g. the huge amount of MOOC’s offered for free – people remain painfully ignorant. And not only that: they also never acquire any noteworthy level of skills.

Skilled individuals is a rare species. You can pay enormous amounts of money for programming jobs, translations, and all kind of services, just to receive a mediocre end-product. Plain folks can’t really drive their car, can’t really sell goods well, can’t really play music well, can’t really play tennis well. If you are just mediocre, you are considered exceptional. So sad.

In the middle ages, several institutions ensured that people would stay uneducated. People (were trained and) simply hoped that a better life is there for them after death. In contemporary times, we do that to ourselves, without any mediation from e.g. the Church. Of course, we don’t expect anything better for us after we’re done here in this life; we just try to fully enjoy our self-imposed ignorance here and now.

The same applies to universities. Too many students world-wide, too many academics, too much stupidity. And ah, they have a name for it: expertise! Know everything about nothing! Literally nothing…

Maybe theosophists were right to claim that the amount of knowledge is limited worldwide and there exists a kind of competition for this limited type of resource. Metaphysical bullshit? Could be, but then again, it describes the current situation neatly.

People that have a truly great education are considered giants of knowledge – but they are not, they’ re just baseline. Giants do exist, but their level is so out-of-this-world, we tend to confuse them for jerks.

I am not an elitist, however I cannot but see where this leads to. People who share the same higher values have the responsibility to unite, NOT to promote ourselves, but to serve these unique individuals who can be the bearers of a new era. Why?

Because if we are on the verge of a new scientific revolution, such an advancement can only be through the work of ONE individual, NOT many.

The “many” are ignorant, and the ones conceived as “giants”, actually just pass the baseline threshold. Up there, where true giants contemplate, there is no room for discussion. Sorry guys. And democracy is bad. Again sorry.

Yours,

Konstantinos G. Papageorgiou

Jun
30

My new free online e-book!

My new (free online) book is on the move! Go to the menu and download it for free.

Magical Thinking – the book – is a homage to cognitive biases. It is directly connected to the author’s personal experiences, modified through his writing style in order to become as educative as possible for his students.

Cognitive biases are not just interesting and amusing stories; they reflect the very deviation of our culture, our educational systems and our way of seeing, thus forming, not only “our” world, but the world of the generations to come.

Jun
20

Ten is Club

Ten is Club

The production of such a multi-faceted disc is in concert with a colourful lifestyle: epistemology, tennis, martial arts, special-needs education, PhD theses… a whole array of experiences ready to be expressed through music! I have always been a proponent of a universal artistic mode, a mode that permeates, transforms and is transformed by each and every expression of one’s personal disposition. The end result incorporates all these variables in at least four distinct ways. First and foremost, originality: blending one’s (presumably well-developed) style with the teachings and traditions of the School one descends from – that is, if one gets to be lucky enough, in the first place, to be related to any big school, such as a big Russian school, or the school of E. Boudounis (student of A. Segovia). Secondly, the tight time- and energy- restraints were a first-class test for the motor-expertise practice system I have developed (Distal Method); it is a system for the attainment of world-class expertise that I’ve been developing for the last several years. Technical expertise (virtuosity) isn’t everything, but its lack spoils the rest! Thirdly, arranging Demetrios Lekkas’s score for guitar was a pleasant challenge – even more so since I was accompanied by the distinguished violinist Stefanos Melas. Fourth, we (the composer, Dr. Filippos Peristeris, the sound engineer, P.A. Dove, and I) attempted to produce, for the first time ever, a work for ten separate guitars (non-reducible to any less), played by me and mixed together digitally. Filippos, single-handedly, achieved to capture the essence and the soul of the whole disc in one work. He served an ace!
Ο Τόνυ Σάρτζεντ, ο δάσκαλός μου στο Αϊκίντο, επιμένει πως ο συνεπής αϊκιντόκα θα πρέπει να εκφράζει την τέχνη (το Αϊκίντο) σε κάθε του δραστηριότητα. Αλίμονο αν αυτό δεν ίσχυε και για κάθε άλλη τέχνη και επιστήμη – ειδικά όταν η ίδια η ακαδημαϊκή μου ενασχόληση αφορά, από τη μια πλευρά, στη Φιλοσοφία, και από την άλλη πλευρά, στη διερεύνηση των τρόπων επίτευξης επιδεξιότητας (virtuosity) και επιτηδειότητας (expertise) παγκοσμίου κλάσεως (www.distalmethod.com). Οι σχολές από τις οποίες προέρχομαι εκφράζουν όλες αυτές τις αξίες της υψηλής απόδοσης: στη μουσική, η σχολή του A. Σεγκόβια μέσα από τον δάσκαλό μου, Ε. Μπουντούνη καθώς και η σχολή του Β. Σαγκαϊντάτσνι, μέσα από τον δάσκαλό μου, Σ. Γκεζερλή. Στις πολεμικές τέχνες, η σχολή του Σάρτζεντ. Στην επιστημολογία, Δ. Λέκκας. Όμως, η ακτινοβολία του Δ. Λέκκα είναι πολύ ευρύτερη. Έτσι, διαπέρασε και αυτό το δίσκο με απόσπασμα από ένα έργο του με ιδιαίτερη σημασία για την Αριστοφάνεια Σχολή, που τόσο αυθεντικά εκφράζει: την Ειρήνη. Η συμμετοχή του εκλεκτού βιολιστή Στέφανου Μήλα συνέβαλε καθοριστικά στην αρτιότερη εκτέλεση του έργου. Αυτό θα ήταν ήδη αρκετό για τον πρώτο μου δίσκο… όμως η τομή έγινε με το έργο του συνθέτη Δρ. Φίλιππου Περιστέρη, το Ten is Club, για 10 ξέχωρες φωνές / κιθάρες, τις οποίες και παίζω όλες ταυτόχρονα: με τη βοήθεια πάντα της ψηφιακής τεχνολογίας, αφού συνδυάστηκαν 10 διαφορετικές ηχογραφήσεις σε μία! Το έργο αυτό θα ήταν ήδη ένα εξαιρετικά ενδιαφέρον πείραμα, αν δεν ήταν, επιπλέον, και τόσο εξαίρετα μελωδικό!

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/konstantinosgpapageorgio

Mar
23

SYLFF SCHOLARSHIPS SUCK

Jan
08

Το επιστημονικό στάτους του Νευρογλωσσικού Προγραμματισμού (NLP)

nlp_man

«Whatever calls itself science isn’t». Αυτό το απόφθεγμα αποδίδεται στον πρωτοπόρο της τεχνητής νοημοσύνης, Μάρβιν Μίνσκι (M. Minsky). Και είχε δίκιο ο Μίνσκι: βλέποντας πόσο «καίγονται» να κατηγοριοποιηθούν ως «επιστημονικά» διάφορα προϊόντα και θεωρίες έτσι ώστε να αποκτήσουν ένα πιο υψηλό στάτους, το κατηγόρημα «επιστημονικό» έχει καταστεί έως και κιτς.

Φυσικά, όπως σημειώνει και ο διάσημος ιστορικός της επιστήμης Π. Φαγιεράμπεντ, το επιστημονικό στάτους δεν είναι πανάκεια: υπάρχουν και άλλα είδη γνώσης με τεράστια ιστορία και παράδοση των οποίων οι υπηρετούντες διατείνονται πως είναι εξίσου σημαντικά ή αξιόπιστα. Και εμείς δεν είμαστε οι νέοι κατακτητές της Αμερικής που ως άλλοι αποικιοκράτες θα εξαφανίσουμε κάθε διαφορετική και «αιρετική» μορφή γνώσης, είτε πρόκειται για θρησκεία, φιλοσοφία, παραδοσιακή ιατρική, μαγεία κτλ. κτλ. Ας ασχοληθούμε καλύτερα με τα του οίκου μας για να ελέγξουμε καταρχάς και καταρχήν αν είμαστε σίγουροι για το τι ακριβώς είναι επιστήμη. Και ας ξεκινήσουμε με το τι δεν είναι.

Το επικρατούν μόρφωμα, γνωστό και ως science, μτφρ: ειδητική, παρόλη την βεβαιότητα περί του αντιθέτου, δεν είναι επιστήμη. Το αντίθετο μάλιστα: κινείται σε τελείως αντίθετη τροχιά από την επιστήμη. Είναι ένα εμπειριστικό μόρφωμα με βάση το πείραμα, την παραβίαση της λογικής σειράς αιτιότητας σε βάση δήθεν μαθηματική (στατιστική) και με σκέψη μάλλον διπολική. Αποκλείοντας την ορισμική ως βάση της, η ειδητική έρχεται τελικά σε πλήρη ρήξη με την επιστήμη: ένα καλώς ορισμένο και λογικά δομημένο σύστημα γνώσης, με βάση την εποπτεία και την αξιωματική.

Σίγουρα, όταν κάποιος αναρωτιέται για το επιστημονικό στάτους του NLP, παίρνει δύο αντίθετες απαντήσεις ανάλογα με το αν αναρωτιέται στα Ελληνικά ή σε κάποια άλλη γλώσσα. Ο NLP δεν είναι science, ειδητική, είναι όμως επιστήμη –και αυτό είναι το μεγάλο του προσόν. Ας δούμε το λόγο.

Πως δομείται η επιστήμη; Αξιωματικά. Κάποιες υποθέσεις εργασίας τίθενται, μέσω των οποίων στήνεται ένα ολόκληρο σύστημα γνώσης το οποίο οφείλει να είναι συνεκτικό, ουχί επαναληπτικό, κομψό και θεωρητικά παραγωγικό. Έτσι είναι δομημένα τα μαθηματικά και έτσι θα έπρεπε να είναι δομημένη κάθε άλλη εφαρμοσμένη επιστήμη. Αντιθέτως, η ειδητική, υποπίπτοντας διαρκώς στο σφάλμα της απάτης των αισθήσεων, δομεί συστήματα βασισμένα στο πείραμα, τα όποια συστήματα βρίθουν αντιφάσεων, τις οποίες και πάλι προσπαθεί η ειδητική –τουλάχιστον όποτε το αντιλαμβάνεται—να τις επιλύσει με… επιπλέον πειράματα.

Ο Μπάντλερ, χωρίς να το έχει καταλάβει (θεωρώντας ότι κάνει science!), κάνει επιστήμη: εποπτικά (και όχι εμπειρικά), έχει ως έρεισμα διάφορες παρατηρήσεις (π.χ. πως θεραπεύουν επιτυχημένοι ψυχολόγοι, ή πως σκέπτονται άτομα που έχουν ξεπεράσει φοβίες κτλ.). Αμέσως μετά ξεχνά την προέλευση των παρατηρήσεων αυτών και αφού τις αρχετυπώσει και τις καταστήσει ένα όμοιο αλλά άλλο σύστημα, τις παρουσιάζει ως NLP. Το νέο αυτό σύστημα είναι συνεκτικό, ελεύθερο εσωτερικών αντιφάσεων και κομψό. Στηρίζεται σε αξιόλογες υποθέσεις εργασίας (οι οποίες –υπόψιν- δεν χρειάζεται να δικαιολογηθούν!) οι οποίες εκκινώντας από την αφαίρεση και όχι από την πράξη ή την εμπειρία (όπως ίσως νομίζει ο ίδιος ο Μπάντλερ), αφορούν και πάλι τον κόσμο υπό μια συγκεκριμένη ερμηνεία.

Από εκεί και πέρα, περνώντας σε ένα δεύτερο επίπεδο, βλέπουμε πάλι την αδυναμία της ειδητικής να αξιολογήσει τον NLP. Τα μισά πειράματα δείχνουν ότι ο NLP είναι αποτελεσματικός, και τα άλλα μισά ότι δεν δουλεύει. Μέσα από την ειδητική μέθοδο, η οποία κατά βάση είναι η πειραματική μέθοδος, είναι αμφίβολο ότι θα έχουμε ποτέ κάποιο αξιόλογο συμπέρασμα όχι μόνο για τον NLP, αλλά και γενικότερα για την ψυχολογία, τα οικονομικά ή την κοινωνιολογία. Όσο στηριζόμαστε στο πείραμα και σε δήθεν «αντικειμενικές» συσκευές για να μετράμε παραμέτρους έτσι και αλλιώς τιθέμενες από εμάς κατά το δοκούν, θα βρίσκουμε αυτό που ψάχνουμε να βρούμε, είτε θετικό, είτε αρνητικό, είτε οποιονδήποτε συνδυασμό ανάλογα με το πώς στήνουμε το εκάστοτε «αντικειμενικό» πείραμα.

 

Κωνσταντίνος Γ. Παπαγεωργίου υπ. PhD
Επιστημολόγος, Θεραπευτής NLP

Jul
10

Περί Ερμηνείας…My new (web)-TV show

I urge you to watch my new epistemology-oriented telecast!

The first telecast is introductory, and the second one deals with the Greek Referandum

…and pay a visit at my Facebook Page

May
24

Am I related to the late J. Nash?

Ἀνδρῶν γὰρ ἐπιφανῶν πᾶσα γῆ τάφος

Am I related to the late J. Nash?

Indeed I am. Of course, everybody may be said to be related to such influential personalities -one way or another. But I have a bit stronger (and weirder) connection than that.

Professor R.J. Duffin taught mathematics in Carnegie Mellon. He is now famous for (among other things) the shortest Letter of Recommendation ever written: “This man is a genius”. “This man” was none other than John Nash, a student of him at that time in Carnegie Mellon who wished to continue his studies in Princeton back in 1948, almost half a century before he won the Nobel Prize in 1994.

Some years later, after sending Nash to Princeton, the very same legendary professor R.J. Duffin found another student who reminded him of Nash. Back in the 70’s, after the said student solved intuitively a multidimensional cube problem with ease, Duffin exclaimed in front of his class “I have met only one similar case in my career”. The class of course asked who was that other past student of him to which Duffin replied that “You don’t know him, he is a brilliant man but has some problems now”, referring of course to the still unknown J. Nash. It was the 70’s and Nash was, of course, almost a nobody.

But who was this new student of Duffin that reminded him of Nash? It was Demetrios Lekkas studying at that time mathematics in Carnegie Mellon. Demetrios Lekkas, a student on scholarship from Greece, had begun studying Physics in Carnegie Mellon only to demand from the Dean, before the first semester was even over, to “study a serious science, NOT physics”. He was offered the opportunity to continue by studying mathematics, which he accepted as he considered mathematics “an easy topic”. Composing music was his thing and the fact that mathematics was “an easy topic” –easy for him that is– was a relief.

From then on, Lekkas and Nash developed a sort of an intellectual bond, something like (distant) spiritual brothers. They have communicated repeatedly by correspondence, but the health problems of Nash prevented further communication or collaboration.

While having already dedicated my career to the work of Lekkas (see attached LINK), a mysterious phone-conversation between Lekkas and my father some hours before my dad passed away (even though at that point he seemed fine) set Lekkas as a kind of spiritual father to me. My father did not know who Lekkas was, and it was one of the last things he said. In an intellectual reality, we all are a kind of family now I guess.

What about Lekkas’ work? Who is Lekkas anyway? Suffice to say that the world has no idea what his work is or how important it will be for the next generations. The least known “spiritual brother” of Nash will become the cornerstone of future “science”. This is my estimation. I could be wrong. Who knows!

It so happens that today, the day that J. Nash passed away, it was the day I had planned to present the “Introduction to the epistemology of D. Lekkas” in a symposium (party!) I want to organize to honour D. Lekkas and what he has done for me. Due to a series of events it has been postponed for next Sunday, which is really fortunate after today’s tragic news.

RIP J. Nash.

May
21

Why dedicating my career to D. Lekkas did not involve a “leap of faith”.

D. Lekkas is –among other things– a mathematician. He reintroduced music as a formal branch of mathematics, something you couldn’t possibly know as his dissertation has not been published yet due to a series of unfortunate coincidences. However, his contributions in many epistemic1 (“scientific”) disciplines have been equally spectacular, something you could have known but don’t, partly because high impact peer-reviewed journals do not publish his articles. However, the latter is not the issue here, and I will not get into the discussion of why this happens, nor who is responsible, how and if. After repeatedly and exhaustingly discussing the matter with many friends, colleagues and members of the working group I have created for the study of the work of D. Lekkas, I just want to support that identifying a person as at least one of the most important personalities in arts and episteme ever, includes no leap of faith, but rather a very clear and consistent mechanism.

Episteme (known as science in the west) is largely like a sport (one reason it is not episteme). Federer and his fans do not need to announce him a top tennis player. He has been No. 1 in the rankings for quite some time, and this is enough. Similarly, any scientist’s caliber is (mainly) measured as a product of his / her publishing achievements in high impact journals and big publishing houses. Institutions such as the Nobel Prize etc. ensure that some scientists are crème de la crème. A question, however, should be whether such institutions ensure that someone who is not scoring high on their lists is not noteworthy —let alone top-class. I think you should agree that not being on such prestigious lists is not exclusive of your capacity to be such an extraordinary person, even though it may be somewhat unusual.

The benefit of the doubt. Let us take an extreme case. Suppose you had a conversation with someone you knew nothing about, and he told you that all science is ill-based, physics is junk and he held the key to all major (scientific) questions. What would you do? What did I do? For example, should I suppose he is mad? Is he the genius of our century? Something in between?

OK, I have heard similar stuff before, i.e. there are some problems with science etc. Admittedly never that far-fetched. The person making such a statement (science is witchcraft2) should either be mad or the supreme genius. So, at least I am in a position to recognize the importance of the statement. Case 1: he is mad, which is the most likely. No harm done. Case 2: He is both mad and right at some points; indeed many people see problems in contemporary sciences or even in the politics contemporary science includes. It should be no big deal for him to have discovered some faults –but again, going from that to such an overstatement about the status of science as a whole and about well-established disciplines such as physics (not parts of physics; the whole thing called physics) is too much. Anyway, case 2, in general, is the most probable according to my personal experience.

And we come to case 3: he is totally right. If this is the case then there is no room for errors. Even if I heard 10 great stuff and one bullshit, then it would be a total failure. What I had to judge was something that required infinite accuracy and consistency. No room for mistakes. If case 3 holds –quite improbable I gathered– then the importance and the impact should be huge for everyone, everywhere. Harvard, Yale, MIT and Oxford (among other top educational organizations)should close or change their curricula, a big part of Nobel Prizes are about to lose their value and basic textbooks in sciences should change. All this mean that no matter how improbable it may have been for him to be completely right, were he right, the impact would be unimaginably huge. So huge, that were he right, no-one would admit he is right –no-one inside the system, that is. Still, quite impossible but the weighted cost in case he is right is huge. So what do I do given I cannot yet refute his claims?

I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Now, giving someone the benefit of the doubt is not making any leap of faith. It is not like I accepted or adopted his stance. It only meant, and it only means, that I will try not to be prejudiced, but listen to what he says and judge accordingly.

Judge what? What I had to decide was not only whether he was right or wrong, but whether the whole scientific edifice is fundamentally problematic and whether he could possibly be the biggest personality in modern history –to say the least. I mean, when I, as a tennis trainer, have to evaluate some new player who comes supporting he is better than anyone I’ve seen, my mission is not to just see if he plays tennis –even well– but if he is what he says, even though I’ve never heard of him and he is not on the rankings. Is there a way to judge that player? Indeed there is, if, for example, I just let him show me his skills and he manages to serve in a row 50 serves >200 km/h on the side-line, then yes, I could take his claims very seriously and evaluate him further.

But even if Lekkas could do something as impressive as serving those 50 serves, what would that be in terms of science or whatever else? And am I eligible to understand such a feat in science even if I saw it?

An analogy. If I were a professional conductor, would Ι –or indeed should Ι– be capable of recognizing that some pianist, composer or even violinist is the best I have ever heard? I believe I should; it is part of the job. Why, to take another example, am I expected to concur that, say, Aristotle was one of the greatest philosophers? Or, even MORE so, when I say “Aristotle was one of the greatest philosophers ever”, why doesn’t anybody ask me, “How the heck do you know”? Is there really a way to know? Did anyone read everything and fully to be able to understand all philosophers from the naturalists (before Aristotle) till, say, Heidegger to have an opinion? Maybe five or ten geniuses but certainly not me. Others say it is common knowledge. Why is it “common knowledge” that Aristotle is great? As in Münchausen’s trilemma, when I try to justify this opinion, how far back should I go to find someone who is expert enough to ensure me this to be the case? Or is it just a consensus? Among whom? If a person living now is to become as famous as Aristotle in 1000 years, should I wait till then? Are is there NO systemic criteria NOW? Were I a contemporary of Aristotle, would there be no way to understand his magnitude? Is magnitude then due to the consensus of others, only?

But if I were a scholar specialized on Aristotle? Then I could say “Aristotle was the greatest philosopher ever”, and, while many people might wish to know how I arrived at such a conclusion, no-one would say I am mad! But how could I have known that he was the best even if I were an Aristotelian scholar? Am I the genius he was to judge him? Besides, have I read everyone else to really know? In the end, we shouldn’t even dare to say anything about how great Aristotle was (or wasn’t)! Or should we? Aren’ t there qualitative criteria in science? Can I not make systemic evaluations? If not, why do I do science I the first place? I could just do statistics and evaluate scientific claims according to votes (but oh, wait, science —not episteme!— is based on statistics… damn!).

Then we have science. Arguably, any physicist should have a say over (e.g.) relativity or quantum mechanics. How come? He is an expert. In what? Physics. All physics? No, only his particular domain. Even though it feels more natural for a physicist to be able to evaluate any domain in physics, physicists are specialized. Why are they eligible to have an opinion about as diverse physical domains as supernovas and microchips? We seem to understand that the mechanisms are common or similar. It would be somewhat far-fetched to declare that Einstein was too great for anyone less than him to be able to understand him. Any physicist can or indeed must understand physics owing to the way he is educated: they have not learned isolated “facts” but rather mechanisms.

What about science in general –or even more so episteme? Let us try to answer a simple question. Suppose there are two “scientific” conferences, one about food chemistry and one about phonetics in ancient Greek language. Quite irrelevant, right? Then how come they are both “scientific”? What do they have in common and in what way? Can we call two fields “scientific” for NO systemic reason at all? Is it just a matter of tradition? Even in this case, there should have been some systemic reasons some time in the past somewhere.

You see, science has not one coherent definition to make things clear. But episteme has one, which makes thing clearer in science as well. Episteme is a system of knowledge logically structured. Therefore, anything that is a knowledge system, structured logically (consistently, non-redundantly etc), is episteme. Phonetics and chemistry may be called epistemes exactly for this reason.

So why can a physicist have a say over all physics justified by the mere fact that he is knowledgeable of the underlying common mechanisms, and not a scientist (or, even more an epistemon), for the same reason? Logic, i.e. mathematics, is the necessary condition to have a saying about all episteme (and of course its empiristic counterpart, science). But is it a sufficient condition?

The sufficient condition ( ~ telic cause) is to know the particulars of each field. Is this even possible? Is contemporary science not so vast that one may not even be able to become specialized in one domain during a lifetime? As I will argue next, this popular belief is the gravestone of contemporary science increasing the need for a shift from science to episteme. (This may not be the purpose of this article, but still needs to be addressed in order to answer the initial question).

Should one examines tendencies, it is quite clear that the contemporary tendency is to create absolute experts who know everything about nothing and interdisciplinary committees knowing everything, without any single member being able to question anything outside his specialization. However, this is not how episteme started, and it definitely is not a healthy development. It is in principio opposite to the fundamendal doctrines of episteme, and if someone thinks science is better, then OK, this is another discussion, but whatever science is, it may not be an evolution of episteme. Fundamentally, episteme seeks broad surveillance, unity and interdisciplinarity inside each and every person –despite the particular interests every person has— and should have. The deviation of specialized science from general episteme is the basic reason for the host of hidden fallacies tormenting science that will eventually lead to its collapse. But how could anyone have such a general overview of the immense edifice of modern science to be able to make such judgments? I could just say I am an epistemologist –or philosopher of science if you prefer– but then again this doesn’t reveal the reason I can know. How can Lekkas, I or you know?

The answer to these questions is more simple than one would expect. It is a matter of logic, and logic, not statistics is the first thing one learns when one learns episteme (see Aristotle’s Organon). Logic, in contrast to, say, statistics, is a method of prooving. Unfortunately students are taught much more statistics than logic (if any). Fortunately I, as a philosophy of science student, had the opportunity to study logic (and set theory) in more depth before focusing even more under the guidance of Lekkas. Therefore I know that if two things are in principio inconsistent, they remain inconsistent at any other level –thus no need to know everything about every science. Moreover, if two things are inconsistent and one shows that the first of the two is correct, then, automatically, the second is false. This is the simple case of contradiction studied as early as in Aristotle’s De Interpretatione.

Whatever Lekkas says is inconsistent with the basic methodological premises of science. I don’t care what a field unknown to me supports; if its conclusions are based on a wrong methodology, even if they happen to be correct, I reject the field in principio. I have logic as a tool to evaluate judgments; indeed it happens to be the only tool available for this job!

So, I started listening to D. Lekkas. Carefully. Every day for about three months. Each day motivated me to listen to him one more day. I had many doubts. I had many questions. I also had many unclear things in my epistemology (things I did not even know I had to clarify before he asked me). Not only did he give me sufficient grounds to doubt about the very foundations of science, but he went too many steps ahead: he offered me the alternative theory: episteme. Becoming a lekkasian scholar changed my approach to many things –none of which is to be mentioned here; I must be particularly cautious not to deviate from this article’s main purpose and refer to the content of his system here because then it will be inevitable to expand too much. This will be done when I publish a book I am preparing about the foundations of his epistemology.

In a nutshell then, I know logic and I can evaluate all theories in principio otherwise I’d better go home and stop pretending being an epistemologist, as a conductor should do were he unable to discriminate between the various characteristics of instruments, genres and musicians (in spite his inability to perform in all and every instruments all and every genre). Lekkas showed me unbelievable inconsistencies in science from his original inter-disciplinary perspective. He also presented me the contradictions-free alternative. I have not become himself, nor can I reproduce everything by heart exactly the same way he expresses everything –but I am fully capable of following the arguments.

I have to address one very common (pseudo-) argument sounding convincing enough to many. “OK, you can’t find any mistake to his arguments. What if someone else comes to you who will successfully support other stuff that are incompatible to what Lekkas supports?”.

He/she would be welcome. As a matter of fact, I am looking for anyone who could successfully argue with Lekkas. However, there are some consistency issues in regard to this claim. In episteme, when one has a working hypothesis, he is to drop it iff one presents a counter-argument or (equally) one presents a clearly better working hypothesis. A better working hypothesis could be a more consistent one, a more concise one or a more theoretically productive one (or, of course, a combination of the former). If not, one can’t live his life waiting for that to happen. Mathematics, being the archetypical episteme, offer us the best example: they are completely based on axioms. An axiomatic system can be evaluated based on its consistency, productivity, non-redudancy and elegance. One could conceive of the possibility to be offered better mathematics –evaluated exactly by the former criteria. So what? Should we stop using mathematics because someone could someday improve or change mathematics?

Yes and no: indeed, if we had reasons to believe that someone could or would present a system that would overthrow the totality of mathematics (or even a big part of them), then yes, we might as well wait before keep on using them. But if we just suspected that someone could someday just make minor corrections at some specific, marginal cases, then no, we should keep using mathematics as the best tool there is. By the way, the most thorough and consistent reform about mathematics I have ever heard of, has been announced by Lekkas. Still we both (I and Lekkas) consider mathematics as by far the best tool we have.

Of course, the former argument wasn’t made for me to admit that “look guys, Lekkas is super, but might be wrong somewhere, I don’t know!”. On the contrary, the former argument’s lesson for our case is that when Lekkas’ system is so BIG, including so many domains, so coherent, consistent, productive, so much more than any other known to me system, then yes, I will admit, beyond any doubt, that he is by far the biggest personality of our cultural system, ever. But what if someone presents something better, even at some specific points?

If that someone brings “something better with minor changes”, then that would be what Lekkas says with some minor changes. Science is still overthrown, Lekkas wins and is hugely right. The real question is what if someone brings something completely different –or manages to show that science is correct.

The second is impossible: Lekkas has already shown too many inconsistencies. The first is a logical impossibility as well. One should first change mathematical logic! Let us see why.

Let me elaborate at this point on the issue of logic a bit more. What does logic do? Logic does one thing, JUST ONE. It establishes identities. It tells us when proposition A is identical to proposition B –or not identical. Logic is the anatomy of tautology, nothing more, nothing less. One very interesting consequence is that logic may be used as a generator of possible scenarios. “It either rained on May the 12th 1983 in Oxford or it did not rain on May the 12th 1983 in Oxford”. No other logical possibilities exist. In every phenomenon, every issue or subject, logic may be used as the generator of all possible cases and scenarios. Can there be more scenarios? No, as long as we accept mathematics the way they are! There may be only a specific number of scenarios, more would be either tautologies, or contradictions.

The great thing about logic as a scenario generator is that it may produce all and every possibility without any need for empirical data: no matter what data are offered, the number of ALL possible scenarios is limited —language has no way to express other scenarios even if they existed; but then they would be unintelligible scenarios! We would need to meditate or something to grasp them –much like Germans need to meditate to grasp scenarios their language doesn’t allow them to have. Statistics is irrelevant, or, it just measures the probabilities of the scenarios predicted by logic; statistics CANNOT produce scenarios!

D. Lekkas is able to a) point out the inconsistencies of the scenarios and doctrines of many accepted, fundamental and mainstream theories. b) point out what is wrong with theories that are popular among alternative theories (by alternative I mean non-mainstream, as they are often presented in, say, TED conferences) and c) go as far as to produce and propose new theories to replace the defective ones. All this is done through the strict usage of logic. His strictness in mathematics is infinite. Please note that the logical possibilities he is able to detect in the fundamentals of basic sciences are (unfortunately) not common ground since if they were, they would have been mentioned or addressed in all major textbooks, or these major textbooks would not contain such fundamental flaws. Please do not ask me how do I know they are flaws. While I was in junior high school I learned how to follow (and make) mathematical proofs. In the meantime, there have been 2 bachelors, one Msc and one Phd (among others). “Science” is my job –as is the job of others who I am sure will agree with me as soon as they have the chance to talk to Lekkas. Many, many people, scientists, academics and professors have discussed with Lekkas in my presence. Not a single one of them rejected what he said, while many of them consider him a genius. I am not using this as a proof for anything, inductive reasoning may not be used to prove anything. It is just a token of my personal experience. How do I know this to be the case? This is exactly the meaning of logic; to know who is inconsistent! But please, do not ask me how do I understand an inconsistency when I see it. This is stuff for cognitive science or the philosophy of mind to answer, similar to questions such us “why do we find it intuitively correct that 3-1=2?”

But I can’t stress this enough because its importance is fundamental: I do not need more logical tools than a junior high school pupil has to evaluate simple logical inferences. Nothing more than what is needed to draw conclusions and make proofs in euclidean geometry taught to a 13 year old boy. This is exactly the reason my case is so powerful. I repeat, the content of Lekkas’ epistemology will be presented elsewhere, while there is (elsewhere) papers written by him on several issues. Α 13 y.o. (as much as any professor) knows that the sum of the angles of a triangle in an euclidean space equals 180 degrees. As long as the maths we know apply this will not change. Will it ever change? Even though this is sort of an analytic truth, i.e. an obvious, a priori truth, I will grant you the benefit of the doubt and agree that it might change –even though I cannot see how. So what? Should I stop considering the sum to be 180 degrees because it might change? Why not? Do I have any empirical proof that triangles will always behave this way? … see where this line of thought takes us?

Now, there are many other people who have dedicated their career to, say, the study of a historical person. People do have careers, their careers often involve specialization of some sort, and specializing on another person’s work and life is common. Maybe I and such people should found a club or something. Understandably, many would like to consider the persons they focus on to be unique, special and noteworthy. Why not me? Indeed, belonging to the animal kingdom I would share many traits with others of my particular species. And I do. I cannot claim I am not biased after dedicating my career to D. Lekkas to consider him extraordinary. However, it should be clear that the reason I decided to do this was exactly because I realized he was extraordinary and he, alone, could change the route of science for ever. From this point on, it is your responsibility as well to evaluate the matter.

1Epistēmē refers to επιστήμη, not knowledge (as in gnōsesγνώσις), being inaccurately translated as science which is its opposite. Some differences: Episteme relies on the classical Greek tradition; science in the tradition of logical positivism. Science is based on experience, episteme on surveillance.

2In case this rings a bell, Feyerabend did not say science is witchcraft, he merely said that as a knowledge system, the “truths” of science may be compared to the “truths” of witchcraft.

Sep
23

Εορταστική συνάντηση ομάδας εργασίας Δ. Λέκκα

Τετάρτη 24/9/2014 Εορταστική 10η συνάντηση ομάδας εργασίας Δ. Λέκκα! Όπως πάντα στο Αίτιον. Αυτή τη φορά μπορείτε επίσης να πάρετε μια γεύση από την ηχογράφηση της 9ης συνάντησης. Συνεχίζουμε τη συζήτηση πάνω στη λογική, τα μαθηματικά. την επιστήμη, τη μουσική (και άλλα παρεμπίπτοντα ζητήματα). Να επαναλάβω πως είστε ευπρόσδεκτοι/ες όλοι/ες. Τετάρτη λοιπόν, 24/9 στις 17.00 https://www.facebook.com/AitionPolychoros

Jan
01

Theosophical Octaves Law Explained

l3

I want now to explain something that may be a bit puzzling for some people. In various works of, say, P. Uspenski (like the Fourth Way), one finds references about octaves in relation to planets, orbits, the universe etc. One may not understand, in principio, what this relation might signify. I will explain briefly and only, as I said, in principio.

First of all, Uspenski was a mathematician. Music is one of the four parts of mathematics. Only recently has music been separated from maths, with detrimental consequences for science. D. Lekkas has reunited music and maths the previous decade.

An octave in physics means “the double frequency”. If La (A4) is 440 Hz, an octave higher (A5), is 880 Hz. It is a very simple and fundamental concept.

Now, 1 Hz is, by definition, one cycle (period) per second. The lowest note, C0 is 16.35 Hz and the highest frequency belongs to D#8, which is 4978,03 Hz. Therefore, one could say, that if for example something had a period of say 16.35 revolutions per second (a fan or a car wheel), it is a C0, or if a tennis ball is spinning at 4978,03 Hz, that would be a D#8. If you walk around your house and you need 100 seconds for that, that would be 0,01 Hz or about 11 octaves lower than F0 which has a frequency of 21,83. Likewise, a planet could have an orbit that is many many octaves lower than a specific note, and an electron has a frequency that is many many octaves higher than a certain note.

If you would think now that music, as a part of mathematics is necessary to describe the universe, you would be correct.

Konstantinos P.

Nov
07

If Logic: True, then why Logical Positivism: False


Logical positivism was built on a contradiction. Formal mathematical symbolic logic (henceforth simply logic), as the most important scientific tool is on the same time the cornerstone of science, the reason being that logic is the only generally accepted route of putting together antecedents and reaching a sane and safe conclusion. Logic is concerned with the form of a syllogism, not with its semantic content; therefore, logic is formal; this means that it is void of meaning. Like the rest of mathematics, it is axiomatically set and its symbols are void of signified content.

So when one tries to support a verifiability principle seeking mathematical proofs in observed phenomena (and Not in “veritas”=reality/truth, which is NOT observed), one has taken the first step towards disaster. Add to that a number of premises derived from the work of one of the greatest comedians of modernity, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and you may very easily get the whole picture.

Thing is that scientists nowadays regress to what logical positivists cranked up and try to support their findings implementing observatory data. Or, even worse, they fantasize that they are basing their theories on experiments. At some point though, logic must prevail, if what we want is science and not empiricist essays.

Jun
02

Also Sprach Steiner

rudolf-steiner--3638--t-600x600-rw

 

 

Also Sprach Steiner (oder Steiner gegen Kant)

 

Nietzsche was a philosopher whom Rudolf Steiner greatly sympathized, even though he did not share his beliefs – something that was of secondary importance to Steiner. However this article is about another great spirit, Emmanuel Kant, and a first approach to his philosophical system through the critical words of Rudolf Steiner, as we find them in several of his works.

 

As with Descartes’ “cogito ergo sum”  (which Steiner found it not enough to draw –like Descartes did – further conclusions about other things of the world), talking about Kant, one should right away start with his infamous “categorical imperative” and more specifically, its first expression:

 

„Handle nur nach derjenigen Maxime, durch die du zugleich wollen kannst, dass sie ein allgemeines Gesetz werde.“ – Immanuel Kant: AA IV, 421

(“I ought never to conduct myself except so that I could also will that my maxim

become a universal law.”)

 

There are many implications from this statement. The most known one is that you shall not lie, even if this means that the world will end.

 

Kant is THE model of deontocracy:  Act according to the absolute and global truths, no matter the consequences. Kantian philosophicoethical system, that combines freedom, rationalism and morality is maybe the single most influential current of our century in disciplines as different as bioethics and education.

 

“Handle so, dass die Grundsätze deines Handelns für alle Menschen gelten können”?

 

— Stimmt nicht! Sagte Steiner:

— Das könnte Nicht sein!

 

“Dieser Satz ist der Tod aller individuellen Antriebe des Handelns. Nicht wie alle Menschen handeln würden, kann für mich maßgebend sein, sondern was für mich in dem individuellen Falle zu tun ist.”

(“Act so that the principles of your actions can be valid for all men?” “This principle is death to all individual impulses of action. How all men would act cannot be a standard for me, but rather what is right for me to do in the particular instance.”

 

Why is Steiner so negative? Where does he stand? I will try to explain it in a way that will elucidate Steiner’s more general views.

 
Read the rest of this entry »

Apr
17

The Monroe – Gaga effect.

Among my other activities, I am an active tennis teacher. As a tennis teacher, I have quite many kids in my facebook. Whenever I take a look at my news feed or when I happen to take a look at someone’s “about” page I see what one would expect to see when kids and teenagers express themselves: Boys talk about football, girls, music and 9gag and girls talk about boys, other girls, music and relationships.

What one will not see is any quote from anyone intellectually worthy man or woman. No Plato, no Kant, no Mill, or anyone with a great work in arts or sciences. Youngsters are not dumb; if they had read any of these they would definitely appreciate many things and quote them (as they already do with singers, actors and football players). We pay so much for an educational system that is unable to have the majority of our children to read an important philosophical – or other – book till they graduate (and I doubt how many do read one even afterwards). How useless school is, is another point though and not currently to be further analyzed.

Interestingly, what is common for everyone to have at some time posted in their profile are two quotes, one from Merylin Monroe, and the second from Lady Gaga:

Monroe:

“If you can’t love me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best”

Gaga (usually all or some of the following):

“Well, that’s your opinion, isn’t it? And I’m not about to waste my time trying to change it.”

“Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.”

“I am beautiful in my own way, ‘Cause God makes no mistakes. I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way.”

Most children will never have the opportunity to be parts of real schools and work hard to develop themselves, thus acquiring true inner value(s). Worst part is that because they already spend a huge amount of time and energy in common schools, they are told – and they believe – that this is all there is to it. This way, they have even less chance to really find a school, as they are deceived. What are and where true schools are is – again – not the subject of this article. In brief, a school may only exist when the leader is a truly inspired, educated, skilled individual and represents a great tradition. What the school teaches is not of importance: It can be anything from piano to aikido and philosophy or mathematics.

So, what does a teenager really says to him/herself and everyone, left uneducated and confused? Let’s see the thread of thought…

– “You have to tolerate everything from me, not because this is the right thing to do as I am a weak creature learning things, but because I AM already important!”

– “Am I unique and therefore, important?”

– “Of course! Gaga says I am!”

Unfortunately, this a priori-importance-of-our-“distinguished”-personality attitude (the Monroe-Gaga effect), is something that actually characterizes children’s behaviour and their worldview today, making it so much harder for them to evolve and actually reach a point when they will indeed be unique and valuable – to themselves most importantly.

Socrates said “ I know one, that I know nothing”. People who actually know nothing, think they know much. It is people who do know unimaginably many things that truly appreciate the unimportance of their knowledge and their existence. My generation hoped that with so much information freely and unrestrictedly available through the internet, next generations of children would be so well educated. Till now, this hasn’t been the case.

 

Mar
18

I find you (training) irresistible!

 

Some empirical evidence to acquire a point of reference:

 

Morihiro Saito (Iwama Aikido Founder and the one who Ueshiba himself left to lead the Iwama dojo where he taught weapons) demonstrates tai no henko with one of his students in a seminar somewhere abroad. Afterwards, the rest of the students who participate in the seminar repeat the exercise. A foreign student who came for the seminar pairs with the student of Saito Sensei to practice the technique. When it is Saito’s student turn as an uke (receiver of the attack), the foreign student cannot move because he is grabbed too strongly by him. He complaints:

– Why do you hold me so strongly? Please hold me lightly, as you did with Saito Sensei some seconds ago!

– (answer) I held him even tighter than you!

 

Tony Sargeant (6 Dan, student of Saito Sensei) notices:

“I hear people all the time complaining that this or that person is strong, resistive or too heavy, or not cooperative and that they have a difficulty in executing the techniques with such persons. Or I hear them commenting that this or that person is “light” or “heavy”. I honestly cannot understand what this means. I feel everybody, no matter who they are or what they do, the same, that is, weightless.”

 

Zacharias Kapandaidakis, en statu nascendi representative of  Ju-jutsu in Greece explains that if your pair in practice doesn’t try to give you what he’s really got, it’s unethical: He lets you leave with illusions about your real abilities.

 

The views about training resistance of the aforementioned people come in direct contrast with the proponents of a resistance-less training to “develop sensitivity”?

 

I will try to support in this article not only that both are right but that they are simultaneously right. In order to do that, I will try to use appropriate methodological tools developed by the science of exceptional achievement, a science that has been developed only recently and combines cognitive science, sports sciences and social sciences under a huge program that tries to explain world-class expertise in any domain.

 

We should agree right away that at least a minimum of resistance is necessary. Let’s take judo. In judo, a throw has three distinct phases: Kuzushi, Tsukuri and Kake: Unbalancing the opponent, loading and unloading (throwing) respectively. One could say that many martial art techniques can be split the same way or in similar fashion. For example, Kuzushi may well be the Atemi or first attack, Tsukuri – sometimes more and some time less obvious – the main technique and Kake, could be the final damage that the technique is supposed to cause to the opponent.

 

Now, if no resistance at all was present at any time, the learner would not even feel when each phase takes place. Loading and unloading the opponent would just be mere concepts, but with no physical counterpart. Indeed, in judo, the minimum of resistance is both desired and naturally supplied by the weight of the opponent.

 

On the other hand, there is no point in resisting your opponent too much and block his techniques. No one wants – nor does it appear any useful – to try a hip-throw on a bulldozer! I said “it does not appear any useful” because one actually needs to physically repeat a movement to learn it. This might seem a tautology, but because people daydream, even the most obvious facts must be stated.

These two examples of the two extremes seem intuitively logical as well.  The crucial question is, what is the best resistance for learning a martial art (or even another motor skill) ? Again, one tends to assume that the ideal level of resistance would fall somewhere between the two extremes of  no- and full- resistance. But where exactly?
Read the rest of this entry »

Older posts «

Page optimized by WP Minify WordPress Plugin