Read the latest posts from Wordsmith.

from Thinking Thoroughly

My theoretical project is broad enough that I'm not always sure how to distill it into a single overarching target or program. This post is really for me, since I feel this write-down is finally the one that makes the direction I'm heading in more explicit so that I can know what my next steps should be. What I will say is that, generally, I seem to be in the midst of trying to combine various different research paths, those being the following:

  1. The relationship between function and selection in the philosophy of biology
  2. Developing a normative ethics of “hedonic coherentism”¹
  3. Looking into expressivism & prescriptivism within meta-ethics
  4. Attempting to revamp teleology/teleonomy in metaphysics and the philosophy of history²
  5. Using meontology as a foundation for conducting any further metaphysics

For now, I don't think I'm missing any other major ones. The general impetus behind all of these research paths seems largely unconscious or at the very least subconscious to me. I can try a rather vague articulation, however. What runs across all these research paths is a concern with praxis. Even my metaphysical research is related to a concern about praxis insofar as metaphysical theories impact the philosophy of history, and therefore constrains or expands our practical imagination and clarifies the limits of deliberate action, whether in relation to what can be done or is to be done about the past, what can be or is to be done about the present, or what can be or is to be done about the future. After all, philosophy of history has a dependence on our philosophy of time, and, insofar as time and space have been shown to be connected at least phenomenally within physics, a dependence on the philosophy of space. Indeed, even without these empirical connections, it would nonetheless have been the case that philosophy of space too would be relevant given the way time is spoken of through spatial analogy in natural language (which presents problems of logical clarification).

The issue of praxis also drives the ethical and philosophy of biology research paths, as, given my Marxist background, the material conditions of a span of time—which includes biology if one goes into deep time and not the shallower time of history—are also relevant in determining the degrees of freedom afforded to moral agents on the stage of time and history. And, perhaps also due to my Marxist background, I have a recognition that Marx left nature as a neutral background input within his explanation of capitalist dynamics, though his language—that language in particular of the “organic composition of capital”—suggest that the exploitative dynamics of capital extend over and against nature as a whole. However, this lacks any kind of formal analysis—it is left as an assertion, made possible only by an argument of analogy which draws from Marx's recognition of the exploitation of the human body. This argument of analogy would seem easy to digest at first, if not for the fact that within Das Kapital Marx draws a division between humans and nature within the flow of value. Namely, Marx posits the economy as a closed system of valuation, which does not follow the laws of conservation qua value except within circulation, due to the ontological necessity of human action for value's existence and persistence. Other factors of production are not seen as necessary for value.

Some (like Steve Keen) have decided to completely reject this move. I disagree with rejecting it. I think there is something more important going on here that has to do with the way Marx relates different systems to each other. For Marx, systems are open when it comes to interaction, but they are functionally closed. This is easy to see in an ecological context: the living conditions and base resources that are essential to a bacterium's fitness is not the same as that essential to a chicken or human's fitness. Niches and habitats are precisely networks of local functions that are differentiated at the global scale. “Value” can then be seen in this light as a way of simultaneously connecting and differentiating the economic system with natural ecology. On the one hand, these two systems do not sit easy with each other in some kind of pre-ordained harmony or “equilibrium”—at least not in the sense where there is no possibility for systems to become mutually exclusive, to the detriment of either. Rather, since they are functionally closed, they are capable of conflicting with each other, and thereby producing higher-order “dysfunction.” On the other hand, the systems are otherwise connected, because without any kind of connection, functional specification would not even be possible. Not to digress too much, however, as what is important here is that the idea of “function” is essential to Marx's story about capitalism, which itself also happens to suggest (some argue misleadingly) a teleological interpretation of some kind. Since practical action is judged under this account of historical development in relation to a concrete resolution of “contradictions” within all particular historical periods (albeit engaged with and represented abstractly in the present), this would seem to point to systemic function restricting what kinds of actions can actually be more or less successful in relation to their consciously posited goals.

This theme of function is then what brings into relevance the philosophy of biology. Does function come prior to selection or posterior to it (the usual answer is, it comes posterior, but it seems that function could bias evolutionary change given how, for example, organisms' features can lead to higher or lower rates of mutation)? This is a crucial question when we interpret biological phenomena, but also for a 21st-22nd century teleology that does not rely on intentionality or anthropocentrism. It also allows us a pathway into integrating the social and natural sciences with biology as mediator, because we can start to think about the ways interactions between biological factors and social action impact function of either social groups or organisms comprising those social groups. This might require taking a more critical look at the theory of natural selection, expanding or modifying aspects or parts of it. This probably puts me on board as highly sympathetic to those advocating for an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.

The relevance of the ethical research path, or meontology in particular, to praxis would take too long to elaborate. At the end of the day, integrating all this research might allow an attempt to at least narrow (not solve) the gap found in the is-ought problem by producing a more robust kind of praxeology, together with a minimalist ethical proposal for use of a criterion of hedonic coherence in ethical decision-making. The latter defended by demonstrating an instrumental albeit uneasy relationship between the abstract agent and nature (their being mutual “tools” of each other), that ties them together functionally. I could even consider calling this a more environmental or ecological axiology.

  1. For purposes of flexibility, I define “hedonic coherentism” as a normative ethic that tries to find coherence among pleasures, or a normative ethic that tries to find coherence among (concrete) desires.
  2. I will be using teleology and teleonomy interchangeably for a few reasons that may become clear in a future post, but as a preview: First, humans only experience desire or will based on a fundamentally ambiguous internal experience of teleonomy—ambiguous due to functional variance at different scales and among different parts under increased specialization. This suggests that there's not much being added by this distinction in explanatory terms. All it does is specify a subset of teleonomy (e.g., one that occurs under the “consciousness” program of the brain). An act which would only be theoretically helpful in some other context that wasn't precisely trying to explain the emergence of goal-oriented behavior. Second, most of the actions humans take which indeed do not need or necessitate this knowledge for deliberation cannot be said to be “goal-oriented” because they are not oriented by such knowledge. Yet many of these actions are called “goal-oriented.” One could argue that action can be guided by a representation of some outcome (a “goal”) without needing to have knowledge of it, so that in this sense one can be both goal-oriented and ignorant to one's goals—but if one is in fact ignorant of whether it is true or not that one has a goal, one cannot make other knowledge- claims that require this knowledge (such as “I am goal-oriented,” and even more-so “people are goal-oriented”). Now I am aware that people do do so, and I am not going to dismiss people's knowledge claims about themselves based on philosophical skepticism—the point is if people can claim this knowledge, it needs to be accounted for. And if the claim is merely a belief-claim, it doesn't dissolve the problem but simply backs down from making a stronger claim: it no longer matters to claims about goal-orientation whether it is in fact true that people have goals or not! This is a practical approach, but a theoretically problematic one. So either (a) cognition is not required for goal-orientation and teleology is thereby just a subset of teleonomy, or (b) cognition is required for goal-orientation and it's nothing but a combination of teleonomic phenomena and knowledge of that teleonomy, or at least knowledge of a subset of that teleonomy (which makes the distinction between teleology [“goal-orientation”] and teleonomy trivial).

from Kirstin Bernstrom

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from mukt

#Contact #Mukt

Diaspora : mukt@wk3.org Email : mukt2@disroot.org Mastodon : @mu@inditoot.com Pjuu : mukt@pjuu.com Twitter : @MuktTalks, @MuktArth XMPP : mukt2@disroot.org


from Roguelike Devlog

In the few games that I have written I have always had something called the State Machine that handled what was being executed during the main loop. I am unsure where I first picked up this method but it has the following simple interface:

interface StateMachineI {
    Push (s *State)
    Pop (s *State) error
    Replace (s *State) error
    Peek () *State, error

type StateMachine struct {
    stack []*State

With State being just as simple:

interface State {
    Init (owner StateMachine)
    Update (dt float32)
    Draw (dt float32)
    Destroy (owner StateMachine)

When a State is added to the state stack via either Push or Replace its Init function is called. Similarly if its removed via either being replaced or being removed from the head via Pop the states Destroy function is called. This allows each state to manage its dependencies and clean up if needed.

Then within the main function I am able to set up the state engine like so:

func main() {
   sM := StateMachine{stack: make([]*State, 0)}

   var dt float32

   for {
       if currentState, e := sM.Peek(); e != nil {
           // You can imagine what this does
       } else {

       // Calculate dt, sleep to keep constant
       // time, etc.

This allows me to have a pause screen loaded like so within the Update method of the calling state:

func (s WorldState) Update (dt float32) {
    if pauseButtonIsPressed() {

Now the state will look like: [PausedState, WorldState] and the next game loop execution will happen on the PausedState.

Once the user wishes to resume the paused state can Pop itself off the top of the stack and in doing so its Destroy function gets called and the WorldState gets executed on the next loop.

This was probably one of the quickest things I got set up and working in Golang for my game. It has been very useful displaying different scenes, windows and menus.

In case you're wondering, I pass the pointer to a Game struct between states that need access to shared variables by doing s.owner.Push(Inventory(s.Game)). This has the added benefit of keeping the save/load functions within that struct so from the load menu it can create a new instance of Game and using its load function marshal the saved file data before handing it to the WorldState constructor function:

func (s LoadMenu) Update (dt float32) {
    if UserHasSelectedSavedGame() {
        g := &Game{}

I will be packaging this code into a go library that I will continue to use in future projects and further discuss its utility both here and on my main blog.



from Roguelike Devlog

For a while now I have dabbled in game development. My day to day work involves building web applications and event systems mostly using PHP and Vue.js and so I haven't the systems experience that comes with building desktop applications in languages like C#, Python and Rust.

Over the past few years the folks over at /r/roguelikedev have been hosting an eight week long event where members of the community go through the Complete Roguelike Tutorial and build their own game.

The tutorial focuses on using libtcod with Python and is in my opinion very well written. Teaching is difficult and writing good tutorials is even more so and yet within a few hours I had a working yet basic Roguelike game ready for me to expand upon.

Having completed the tutorial and deciding that Python was maybe one step outside my comfort zone too far I opened a new Golang project to see how much I could get ported into that language. Having no prior experience of game development in either Python or Golang wasn't going to hold me back.

I have in the past used the faiface/pixel library to tinker with game development ideas however for this project I felt that may be too complicated and instead opted to use the gen2brain/raylib-go Go bindings for the Raylib game engine.

Raylib reminds me a lot of the simplicity found in the p5.js project and getting set up was quite easy thanks to the extensive list of examples they provide.

The available Go bindings for libcotd are a good three to five years out of date so I decided that as I was only using libcotd for FOV and font image to tiles; that it should be fairly easy to write something native in Go especially if doing so from the libcotd source.

So here I begin, an adventure in building a game in a language I am learning. This is going to be fun.



from Mbox to Pst converter

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from Thinking Thoroughly


One of the things I enjoy about Durkheim so far is the way he uses notions of both space and time to analyze society. It is rather ingenious. It does seem like the density and number of nodes on a social network have an effect on the way time is socially experienced across the network, as well as other features of society and how individuals experience society. Put in other terms, Durkheim links network topology (looking at a network as a geometrical object that can experience displacement of its components while preserving certain properties) with social ontology (the social being of the individuals that form the nodes of the given social network). I’d like to expand on this insight, since so far at least Durkheim is not incredibly clear about his reasoning process from quantitative population measures and network size to qualitative differences in solidarity. What he does make clear is the relationship between qualitative differences in solidarity and the sophistication of the division of labor. It is this which makes me not fully buy into Durkheim, and, I think, if I go over why this doesn’t make me buy into it in detail, it may reveal this comes from some of my sympathies for Marx.

So maybe I should think abstractly about social networks for a moment. For example, if you have millions of people you socialize with, each of whom know at least a subset of those who you socialize with, even if its to varying levels, one can say that your social network is “high density.” Perhaps we could measure density in terms of how often network links intersect with each other, and thereby how many times an intersection must happen (wherein the intersection is not yet another individual, and is thus not a node insofar as nodes are specified to be individuals in our analysis here). Or, perhaps, in terms of how many links are likely to radiate from any given node in the network. In any case, a high density network is going to affect each node’s experience of time insofar as each node’s traits remain constant (or, more generally, to the extent that nodes are constrained in their use of resources and their rate of capacity to reproduce themselves before they’re completely spent out of existence). That is to say, a high-density social network would make agents in them experience a higher pace life since it may require them to divide their time, however disproportionately they may do so, and it would also make agents in them experience higher risk in decision-making. Both of these are because:

  1. Each node has to divide their time in a way correlated with the amount of links radiating from them, leading to a loss of integrated social information by which to make decisions, increasing uncertainty about the general reception of their personal/social decisions;
  2. Each given node is more saturated with information that is of personal relevance (whether negative or positive), which means that cultural symbols lose consistency of meaning across groups and the likelihood of miscommunication across social groups is thereby high. Society can here then be said, not only to “speed up” since social formations become more ephemeral/flexible with higher density, but higher density can also put pressure on nodes in the network to the degree that there may be an incentive to meet social status goals more quickly or as quickly as other individuals.

Yet, Durkheim’s interpretation of this breaks down right here. It’s not enough for society to be high-density, in order that it speed up or accelerate. This already presupposes a generalized social status factor that requires a high degree of competition, due to its object being scarce (whether naturally or artificially). This is not a given. An alternate possibility is for high-density networks to incentivize the growth of each individual’s capacity for manipulating abstraction as well as each individual’s capacity for metacognition (or, capacity for entertaining a multiplicity of perspectives/interpretations of behavior).

In the same respect, it could then disincentivize them from relying on fight-or-flight, fear, etc., as sources of problem-solving. This is because the necessity of these skills seem to be latent in the fact that those individuals have to deal with more complex social networking (although, again, this is mediated by status-seeking). Further, Durkheim seems to see this “civilizing” force as, in retrospect, promoting individuation (i.e., increasing the average uniqueness of traits across individuals). But he never asks whether this individuation is on the individual’s own terms; he seems to implicitly think so since his language for describing what happens in this individuation is that society leaves a space open for the development of individual powers. He doesn’t say that society produces that uniqueness. Rather, for Durkheim it seems to be a side-effect of the space left open, to members of society, for independent action. This way of characterizing it may be a bit naive, for if indeed society also tends to speed up or accelerate with this process, it’s not clear where Durkheim’s assumption of agency comes in. Is it not the case that agency may be decreased given a loss of huge amounts of integrated social information available to the individual?

Even Durkheim’s point about specialization and the division of labor may not be straight-forward if its justified only on the basis of properties of the network. To illustrate: The other property of the network we can look at in terms of space is the number of nodes in the network. It seems obvious that, since any given level of density in a social network is also constrained by the quantity of nodes/agents in the network, a high number of nodes/agents in society is necessary but not sufficient for high network density. What, then, is the more direct impact of a high population of societal members on that same society, if it’s not necessarily high network density? Well, with higher population, a higher range of differentiation is possible simply because there is a higher number of possible permutations that may act as variables related to particular traits that may be manifest in individuals, and because there is a higher variability of possible distribution of individuals in that society across a whole geography. Higher population, then, is likely to increase diversity.

However, here’s where Durkheim’s optimism falls apart a bit: Durkheim interprets this diversity to mean specialization. The previous point I mentioned shows this to be a non-sequitor, as the skills that a high-density network can promote may allow for incredible ease at multi-tasking, integrated application of different skills as a single person, and an over-all improvement of performance across various domains. While the level of skill or performance in some things would still be higher than others, other skills and performance can nonetheless be high enough that tasks requiring them do not have to be outsourced to other labor so that the given project undertaken is successful. The relevant variable being what “successful” is, but it will involve an average understanding of success by that society that may not need to absolutely emphasize productivity (output per unit time, in money or product) or efficiency (trimming of labor extraneous to the basic expected average use of the product).

Even if we grant that the domain-general skills a high-density socially networked society demands of individuals need not prevent specialization even if may make it less necessary in more general terms, there’s another issue with Durkheim’s assumption that diversity means specialization: he lumps, or conflates, all division of labor as essentially the same. This makes his parallel between the development of mechanical solidarity into organic solidarity, and the development of low specialization to high specialization, quite suspect, even if we take it to be a logical/ontological claim (a claim about one thing’s logical dependence on another, or one thing’s dependence on another for its existence) rather than a historical claim (a claim about what came first in a temporal order, in actual fact). How is it suspect?

Well, given what has been said so far, it seems reasonable to say that mechanical solidarity can hold, internally, a high degree of specialization if it is extremely strict, as all mechanical solidarity requires is that individuals in the society be highly integrated into performing a single function at the societal scale. We see this in some ants. What it can’t incorporate is a flexible and highly dynamic allocation of individuals into particular divisions of labor. Organic solidarity, on the other hand, could probably internally hold both sorts of division of labor. In fact, we see this in how some societies are constituted by some rather essential social conflict due to the disproportionate significance given to certain divisions of labor, or in how the production of a division of labor may be largely related to culturally specified roles more than they are necessary to the material provision or production of goods in more general terms (this role having material necessity only to the extent such a contingency itself affects the politics of distribution of wealth and of the distribution of the returns on production). On the other hand, if we see history in terms of forces of production, as Marx does, we can see how this “cultural contingency” is not entirely a contingency, but a matter of the relative development of the forces of production from one point in history to another given both scarcity and the inextricability of consumption from the development of unified culture out of inconsistent norms and values.


from Thinking Thoroughly

So I gave this article on some more recent discoveries in IQ and genetics a read.

Some of those genes which correlate not only with IQ but social success at the same time, may not actually be contributing directly to IQ but to capacity for acquiring or building those environments relevant to IQ gains (which can involve environmental factors as an individual’s traits can affect society’s receptivity and vice versa). Note, by directly contribute I mean that it enhances the phenotype, all other conditions at the genetic level being equal, and by indirectly I mean that it enhances the phenotype based on its ability to precisely break or leverage initial environmental conditions (and thus irrespective of genetic or environmental heterogeneity). In any case, genes that contribute directly can get muddled up with traits that contribute indirectly, which is where the danger comes as the latter type of trait’s contribution is mediated by social status. I also suspect that the more complex the phenotype, the more that phenotype just tracks correlates produced by patterns in social selection. This is important to emphasize due to the fact that scientific racists rely on the strict dichotomy between the social and biological world.

Paradoxically, not selecting some adverse genes might—depending on which they are—in the long-term further entrench social, and thereby ecological, ills the more fit the aggregate of the populace is in its own unecological & antisocial social structures and institutions. People who lack reproductive success, who in aggregate have lower rates of survival due to social vulnerability/negligence/violence, or who have trouble accessing social environments that enhance potential survival outcome perform a positive long-term function in interdependent societies by supplying short-term potential negative feedback to population-scale coordination, incentivizing the society as a whole to develop either more efficient or more rewarding forms of coordination. It would seem any contemporary eugenicists out there might feel threatened and would rather not acknowledge any positive function for mutations or “unsuccessful” or “low-achievement” genes. This would seem to make political sense since eugenicists—having historical roots in scientific racism and misogyny as well as sympathies with fascist concerns—would hate if the society they benefit from were pressured to improve.

The lazy way out preferred by them would be to edit all undesired genes out so that they can continue to justify their incompetence, though as ecological destruction accelerates nature will indeed have the last laugh. When there's a demographic that normies (literally normies—those who are nearer the center of the bell curve for things) find undesirable, even sub-/un- consciously, the two options are to adapt social conditions to make room for that desire or those people, or to continue to reject their existence as desirous beings themselves (the modern racists & modern eugenicists seemingly favoring the latter by default). Which option should be taken likely varies situationally on a cost/benefit basis, but most of the time, for reasons I will not digress into, nature is suboptimal, so I can expect people often err on that analysis even if we tend to do well enough on that analysis to make it through as a species on average (a rather low bar for a species that would see itself as intelligent and trifles over stupid things like IQ scores). In any case, any “hard scientist” in these areas should be looking into sociological theory (functionalism, “conflict theory,” and symbolic-interactionism) and its sub-disciplines of sociology of knowledge and sociology of deviance. This is why science these days requires a greater synthesis across disciplines, not snide interdepartmental condescension.

Here’s a key and interesting quote from the article, which to me resonates with the idea that we need a functional biology and more biosemiotics. So far my impression is that the interaction between social and biological phenomena can only be analyzed if biological phenomena are treated as wholes with functional excesses that are constrained and honed in by and through social behavior, and if the selection of such functions is seen to involve the relatively short-term, error-prone, heuristic processing of group information or interpretation of signs by individual organisms:

[…] Stanford University geneticist Jonathan Pritchard and his colleagues argue that complex traits aren’t polygenic, or influenced by multiple genes, as geneticists have long assumed. No, Pritchard argues: They’re omnigenic, or influenced by every gene.

In essence, the omnigenic hypothesis posits that the networks regulating genes are so interconnected that any gene expressed in a given tissue is going to have some impact, no matter how infinitesimal, on the function of that tissue. What’s more, the genes likely aren’t neatly arranged in discrete clusters, as behavioral geneticists have hoped.


from Thinking Thoroughly


Joule was faced with the dichotomy: heat is either a substance or a kind of motion. From the experiments which were performed with the magneto-electric machine, he inferred that heat must be a kind of motion, since it could be created or destroyed through motion. Since heat is motion, the experiments were interpreted as conversion from mechanical motion into another kind of motion or vice versa. The conversion factor is called mechanical equivalent of heat. The interpretation of the paddle-wheel experiments is analogous. He defended that friction consisted in the conversion of mechanical power into heat. This statement was not published in accordance with the wish of the Committee to whom the paper was referred (Joule 1884, p. 328).


Energy is usually presented in the following way: ‘energy can neither be created nor destroyed but only transformed’. If energy cannot be destroyed, it must be a real existing thing. If its form changes, it must be something real as well. Thus, that statement can easily lead to the concept of energy as something material. The German physician Robert Mayer did not find, however, anything like a substance but rather a methodology for dealing with phenomena. Using observable or measurable elements, he established equivalences between different domains, such as those which concern heat, motion, position or electricity. Let us suppose that we use Mayer’s methodology for dealing with phenomena. In this case, we know in advance that an equivalence is established by us between certain quantities. Hence, we do not need the ‘indestructibility’ of an entity to express that the quantity does not change. As we also know that we establish equivalences between mechanical, thermal, electrical quantities, we do not need to suppose the ‘transformability’ of the same entity.

The above excerpt about energy sounds a lot like Marx's concept of value to me, especially since he analogizes it to weight in Capital, vol. I. After all, value also acts almost as a mere conserved quantity in the context of exchange—the main difference being that value can be “created” and “destroyed” because its also tied to an exclusive domain of activity, i.e. some “transformations” are either irrelevant to the particular world in question in which entities act—due to differentiated fitness landscapes or the presupposition of a given, particular input—or act to antagonize that particularistic world—e.g., waste, death (violence more generally according to Bataille). This also makes it easy to incorporate Bataille's insights on the connection between life and death through his scheme of continuity v. discontinuity (synthesizing Bataille's concept of excess with Marxian economics’ concept of surplus).

In addition, this may have connections to the concept of abstraction as understood in software engineering and programming language development since exchange-value does not just refer to exchanges in the sense of transformations, but exchanges as a consequence of a sort of particularized abstraction (represented by Marx's theory of commodity-money). If it were just a matter of exchanges in general, then treating the economy (understood in terms of value) separately from the ecosystem (understood in terms of energy) to any degree would be a mistake (I don't think it is though, despite obvious continuities between value and energy). That it isn’t a mistake to do so is especially so when one considers that information conservation is at odds with the thermodynamic tendencies of closed systems (more generally, at odds with highly efficient thermic systems), as well as when one considers how economies are in some ways cognitive systems (an insight we get from Hayek), as are the living actors or agents particular economies depend on. Here becomes visible a potential notion of teleology that is already mired with conflict from the start—a sort of conflict involving possibilities.

Needless to be said that conceptualizing energy in terms of motion rather than as substance also means one can't just treat all energy uses as equivalent in that they refer to the “same sort of thing,” as if there were no opportunity costs for specific “effects” of “motion” (thereby as if “energy harnessing” involves the containment and local conservation of some specific scarce “stuff,” and as if energy is indifferent to the type of “harnessing” it undergoes). This take also creates a distinction between matter and energy. This distinction doesn't necessarily contradict Einsteinian equivalencies, but just implies that this equivalency need not suggest identity (am reminded of Heidegger's critique of reducing identity to a mathematical discourse of equality). This distinction also allows us to think energy outside of the properties established by substance theories. Energy seems precisely to be about the relationship between a whole and its parts (e.g., the conserved quantity being the speculative whole that acts as the denominator to plural entities), and formal/structural possibility sets. This may present some issues for strict mechanism, and would also then possibly link the problematic notion of energy to the problem of non-locality in quantum physics.


from Thinking Thoroughly

In reaction to the following question posed:

Suppose I have a 1st order desire A; a 2nd order desire B which is to not have desire A; and a desire C which is to not have conflicting desires. Is C a 1st order, 2nd order or 3rd order desire?

It can be achieved by changing desire A to conform with B (and if I wanted exactly that then it would have been a 2nd order desire) or by changing desire B to conform with A (and if I wanted exactly that then it would have been a 3rd order desire), but what if I don't have any preference as to how to achieve C?

When one speaks of “orders” of desire, it is likely one is looking at the issue propositionally, as the idea of “orders” is a logical one, hence one that applies to propositions. Namely: (1) “I desire 𝓍,” (2) “I desire that it not be the case [I desire 𝓍],” etc. In which case, if there is some desire for the consistency amongst desires, such that one can conceive of the desire as higher-order, such that it becomes “I desire that it not be the case that [I desire that it not be the case [I desire 𝓍]],” what occurs is merely further inconsistency in evaluating the truth or falsehood of any particular proposition about desire, as stating a desire does not seem to mean simply stating a factual state of affairs, but stating something about a factual relation to some event or object that may well be non-factual—and if one were intent on further solving for that evaluative undecidability (that, in a determinate form, would result in inconsistency) by searching for some foundational desire, one gets into an infinite regress insofar as the number of possible orders of desire are indeterminate. And in any case, if that foundation were found or the regress arbitrarily limited, it would deviate from our actual diversifying, everyday, concrete desires. Yet if that arbitrary limit is not reflective of the nature of simple desire as such, such that the limit is actually a priori given as “I desire or do not desire X” (i.e., a point of indecision rather than a real limit), it is possible that such an arbitrary limit itself remains the consequence of at least some second-order desire, such that desires are at least limited up to the second order for purposes of description (that is, in order to be put them in propositional form).

But in the case of the second-order limit, one assumes a contingent decision has to have already been made, and, insofar as the possible choices are constrained in their occurrence according to at least this factor of desire (the factor we are isolating here, the second-order desire), that means the arbitrary limit can only be “justified” or caused precisely if a regress were to have been presupposed prior to decision-making. Proposing an arbitrary limit or foundation for the sake of allowing assessment of the truth-value of desire-propositions, or being able to make propositions about desire, would at the same time mean excluding the issue of decision-making which is either a condition of possibility for desire or an outcome of desire. This means the regress problem applies not only in the case of negative desires¹ that are more than or equal to the second order of propositions, but to positive desires² at any order as well. But this looks like an infinite regress merely from one perspective—if the several orders of desire are herein being treated as a hierarchy, then there is no reason to assume there's any bidirectional relationship among the different positive or negative desires occurring in this context.

All these objections would ultimately come down to the desire for consistency or inconsistency being located outside of the given orders of desire, in the same sense that in a formal system there will ultimately be a presented undecidability between consistency and inconsistency when striving for soundness. Yet it's not even all that clear there really is a consistency problem in this case despite the analogical structure between orders of desire and orders of justification—the objects of the proposition “I desire that it not be the case that [I desire 𝓍]” and “I desire 𝓍,” or “I desire that it be the case that [I desire 𝓍]” and “I desire ¬𝓍”³ are different—only one of the orders in the second-order/first-order pairs provided here is about 𝓍. The idea that there is an inconsistency presupposes that desiring that it not be the case one desire 𝓍 entails something about what happens to 𝓍 as much as the desire for 𝓍 does. That is, it implies that all desires with the same “nested” object are functionally equivalent, i.e. all bare some consequence on the nested object.

To the contrary—the former second-order desire regards a desire and not the object of that same desire, to that effect producing or suggesting paths of action that would differ radically from a simple negative desire towards 𝓍. In other words, one is presupposing a set of conditionals of the sort: (1a) “If there is an 𝓃th-order positive desire nesting 𝓍, then 𝓍 will/shall be the case,” (1b) “If there is an 𝓃th-order negative desire nesting 𝓍, then ¬𝓍 will/shall be the case.” If these conditionals are rejected, there is no inconsistency to solve, and so there is no desire for consistency or inconsistency of desires possibly implicated. That is, the perceived inconsistency, circularity, or regress comes from too straight-forward a view of the relationship between desire and action/decision-making, and thereby too naive an assumption that statements about desire have the same consistency requirements as statements about the world. Desires are rarely, in other words, merely intended towards objects, but implicitly already involve possibilities of action and approach given a combined state of objective and subjective affairs. The regress of orders of desire is an illusory effect of the fact that desire both produces and is produced by this state of affairs. The problem across the orders of desire isn't so much one of inconsistency or regress as of practical action: its indeterminate what will be the case, or what will be desired in the future and, consequently, what can and should be desired now—it is here that the conflict plays out. This is why desires are nonetheless experienced as conflicting—desire is unitary and singular as a vague generality without a determinate object, but it splinters into agonistic pieces when active reality breaks through the intertia of subjective affect. The additional implication here is that it is impossible to know what one desires except post-facto.


In some sense, too, desires do not just appear to conflict, but desires actually do conflict at that point at which “active reality breaks through the inertia of subjective affect”—it's just that this conflict cannot be characterized in logical terms. This moment of breakthrough is whence a set of universal practical dilemmas: scale v. span/scope of decisions (long-term v. short-term, local v. global effects), as well as opposite directionality of effect internal to action itself (anticipation v. production of some outcome, preparation v. follow-through of some process) that produces imperfect information. Imperfect information regarding the erotic or desirous content of future experience, and its relationship to affect at the finalization of an action. Imperfect also in the fact that holding any particular thing as an object of desire automatically segregates it, at a cognitive level, from other phenomena that nonetheless constitutes or captures that object while likely affecting the production or capacity of desire as well. So the real question is how one's desire or lack of desire for 𝓍 relates to both 𝓍’s and the desire’s own conditions of possibility. In turn, the question also becomes how these conditions of possibility affect how the relationships among (positive) desires are to be evaluated or how the relationship between a (positive) desire and itself is to be evaluated, insofar as any given (positive) desire could lead to a network of (negative or) opposing desires given the latent potentials of the object of (positive) desire.

The relevant desire is then not of consistency of desire, but of the consistency among actions in upholding the possibility of the fulfillment of any given action—that is, the integrity of action. Integrity is often described as honesty with oneself regarding one's own moral principles and how one's acts fit within those principles—but this is rather an epiphenomena of actual integrity, as inconsistency between cognition/conation and action is the bread and butter of all passionate action. Given the practical contradictions aforementioned, it would be unreasonable to always expect people to “do as they say.” That is to say, integrity in this case does not indicate a lack of hypocrisy—if hypocrisy is treated broadly as any observed contradiction in one's actions (the quintessential being a contradiction between what one declares belief in and what one does). Rather, integrity is a stance towards consistency in relation to the conditions of existence for the desired object and the capacity to affect that object, as well as a stance towards those conditions necessary to reasonable reproduction of that desire. Desirous or erotic action therefore inherently involves a working through the inconsistencies of practical life, which will mean starting from these inconsistencies as bias and moving towards some attempt at greater consistency. It also otherwise comfort existing between temporal antinomies (past v. future), which is the same as to say comfort with acting in the present.

The “orders of desire” are really a helpful but limited gimmick when it comes to describing this—the “orders” really just have different objects of desire that reflect a dialectical movement in the development of desire. Going back to our conditionals, they would more accurately be: (2a) “if there is an 𝓃th-order positive desire regarding 𝓍, then 𝓃-𝟏st-order positive desire regarding 𝓍 will be the case and 𝓃-𝟏st-order negative desire regarding ¬𝓍 will/shall be the case” which is practically the same as to say “if there is a positive desire regarding 𝓍, then 𝓍 will/shall be the case”; and (2b), being an inversion of the former as far as the positivity/negativity of 𝓍 and of the 𝓃th- or 𝓃-𝟏st-order desires. In other words, we can already see that there is a kind of churning wheel of negation that constitutes the orders of desire. Perhaps the problem then is that we are assuming a propositional nature for desires, and thus that desires about desires are “second order” in a propositional sense. Instead, it may well be that desires have a metaphysical contingency to them, but nonetheless a sort of subsequent logic (dialectical rather than propositional) that makes desire look like a pseudo-coherentist affair.

Yet, supposing we wish to maintain the propositional form, perhaps modal propositions need to be introduced. Suppose that propositions about desire equal to or beyond the second order are actually different in form in a sort of patterned way: e.g., rather than a second-order desire taking the form, “I desire that it not be the case that [I desire 𝓍],” it would be more-so “I desire that it be possible that [I desire 𝓍]” or “I desire that it necessarily be the case that [I desire 𝓍].” In this case the situation becomes far more interesting—one could argue that the language of necessity or possibility renders even propositional inconsistency a non-issue and thus erases it as a possible erotic/desirous concern.

Either of the solutions presented here (which are not necessarily mutually exclusive) would render locating a “desire for consistency or inconsistency” a non-problem. The result, of course (if we're using “desire” as the basis of, or a significant complicating factor in, our ethics or axiology), is a sort of value pluralism—but the role of practical and material conditions (and their various levels/scales) can constrain or expand its scope, such that some value dilemmas indeed are rationally decidable and are thus non-arbitrary despite the intrinsic contingency of desire. That is to say, under an ethics developed from the point of view of desire, traditional kinds of moral rationalism would be scrapped. A new moral rationalism that accepts the indeterminacy and contingency of the ends of action would be birthed, whose concern would be internal instrumental consistency within action and among actions at any given scale. Preference of how to achieve 𝒞 (as specified in the question) may be a matter of indifference to desiring subjects, but what was just explained suggests that the preservation, expansion, degradation or constraining of possibility is itself going to have ethical/axiological implications that slips past any sort of ethical consequentialism. Ethical consequentialism would play a role, but would be perceived as a severely limited approach due to its negligence of internal instrumental consistency. Neglecting such comes at a high cost in ethics, because it makes it more difficult to find a link between personal and sociopolitical morality, and makes it less likely that ethical teaching could have any observably positive effect on social life. In this regard, an ethics informed by desire as it is conceived in this post could be called a kind of “ethical structuralism” insofar as conditions of possibility are an object of concern for all desires and all action, even if the connection is not immediately apparent for subjects (hence the possible indifference to the means of achieving 𝒞).

  1. Negative desires are desires not to do something.
  2. Positive desires are desires to do something.
  3. While this was left out as being a tangential concern, it is certainly possible that there is a material difference between “I do not desire 𝓍” and “I desire ¬𝓍”—that is, between a negation of desire and desire for the negative of some object. For example, if I say I do not desire coffee right now, this is to say that this object is uninvolved in any of my desires. Not only do I not desire coffee, but I consequently do not desire not coffee. That is, in the sense that one could not conclude that I desire everything or anything else. On the other hand, if I say I desire not coffee, I am indeed saying I desire everything or anything but coffee. Perhaps this is why the grammatical convention in natural language use is to negate the verb or adverb, or implicitly negate the copula.

from Kearsey Wingard

A question that I was requested to answer.

Positive nonverbal communication is likely a great place to start. In fact, it should be implemented in any social environment until it is so natural that it literally improves your mental health and brightens the day and mood of everyone else around an individual.

If you’re ever interested in getting deeper with nonverbal communication, I recommend Joe Navarro’s What Every Body is Saying.

Doing some research for this answer, because I do not want to misinform you.

I have just heard of the reciprocity principle that founders and CEOs of organizations/corporations use to their advantage, which is the obligation or pressure to repay someone for a favor or anything they’ve done for us, and individuals tend to give back more than they initially received to get rid of any guilt felt for receiving the preliminary favor. It is said that, “Internally, this can help improve or repair work relationships, win over co-workers and build consensus.” Kind gestures can overcome feelings of dislike or suspicion that are directed towards you in the workplace. Things like bringing some of your co-workers a beverage they like, or surprise some of your colleagues with breakfast/snacks/lunch. Actions do, as everyone knows, speak louder than words.

Priming concept is interesting. Give the people a nice environment to work one (a visually appealing one) with minimal decorations that give off bubbly vibes, or a theme that reflects your desired work culture and product.

Social psychology can be used in several more ways, I’m sure, but I’m honestly not that versed in social psychology.


from Kearsey Wingard

A question that was requested I answer.

Overall, yes, it does—at least in my opinion. Forgive me, I am entirely biased. Bias? That in and of itself is psychology, no? Anything outside of my mind or within it has an impact on my brain and how I process things.

If there was one single individual in his lonesome on the Earth with no person or animal to interact with, it still remains psychological, because everything is filtered through the mind. Your thoughts on the sky, the trees, and its effect on you.

Granted, a human would go insane without social interaction. Eventually, the brain would construct itself a realm of social interaction. For all you know, it could start calling trees their friend. Ready to be a tree hugger? A study in the past I did research on was conducted by two scientists who sat in caves, both for separate amounts of time. The one who stayed isolated longer was much more deeply impacted by the traumatic experience. He'd made the rats skittering around in the cave his friend, talked to them as if they were people, and lost all concept of time. He also slept for 2-3 days at a time, feeling as though it had been a normal eight-hour slumber.

I can't imagine how humans would be today if they were all isolated from social interaction, but nonetheless, psychology would not cease to exist unless creatures themselves ceased to exist.

In conclusion, a human can still experience negative emotions or overly positive ones. In fact, social interactions are likely what's keeping a person's sanity intact. I believe that psychology and how susceptible your brain is to outer stimuli is significantly higher than it would be without social interactions.


from notes?

Links to do with Language:

From questions of how language is approached – aka defined?

(eg, while we use the term “language” in connection to humans sharing ideas, memories, means of communications, ways to inform and coordinate, and suchlike, “language” is also used in a wider range of sequences.)

How is language to be approached?











Motion's language? https://www.jstor.org/stable/30225400?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

https://wave.umww.com/assets/pdf/wave_8-the-language-of-content.pdf (a dead links?)


Bubbles' physics and language? https://neurosciencenews.com/language-bubble-physics-7168/



Stones? Language? https://monoskop.org/images/a/ad/Caillois_Roger_The_Writing_of_Stones.pdf (a book)

DNA as a language? http://nautil.us/blog/is-dna-the-language-of-the-book-of-life



Culinary language? http://www.supercook.org/CULINARY_FACTS/language_1.asp

Transportation – language? http://dusp.mit.edu/cdd/project/transportation-language


Language and drinking languages? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319813.php



Language and the economy?





Legal lingo? https://lexresearchhub.com/q-a-define-legal-language-b-nature-and-scope-of-legal-language-c-importance-of-language-in-law/

Spaces language? https://www.evolutionatwork.org/language-of-spaces

Language and + of time? https://www.popsci.com/consent.php?redirect=https%3a%2f%2fwww.popsci.com%2flanguage-time-