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Date of publication: 2017-09-02 08:03

It looks like I will be able to save some medieval skeptics from oblivion: an anthology of the forgotten heroes in the Random House collection Modern Library. The problem is that many are not translated –and the languages: Medieval French, Arabic, Latin, etc.

Walt Whitman: Song of Myself - DayPoems

6) Small probabilities tend to be incomputable the smaller the probability, the less computable. (Forget the junk about "Knightian" uncertainty, all small probabilities are incomputable). (See TBS, 7nd Ed., or Douady and Taleb, Statistical undecidability , 7566.)

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Huet’s source. Every time I find a “original thinker” who figured out the skeptical solution to the Black Swan problem, it turns out that he may just be cribbing a predecessor –not maliciously, but we forget to dig to the roots. “Hume’s problem” is certainly not Hume’s. I thought it was Huet’s but now I see another predecessor.

Philosophical Notebook - Fooled by Randomness

I am amazed that the “empirics”, by advocating skepticism about linking anatomy and function, had such insight –no wonder their school played a very small part in intellectual history. As a skeptical empiricist I favor the experiments of empirical psychology to the MRI scans of the neurobiologists, even if they appear to be less ‘scientific” to the public.

Now I found this remarkable book I never suspected existed, a meditation about his ignorance (naturally out of print) Le philosophe ignorant (, Volume 5 of Mélanges ) : “is it necessary for me to know?” he asks. Here he goes after Descartes:

An argument is that the dhad in Canaanite became a 8ayn ( Eretz in Hebrew became Ar8a in Aramaic). So there was a shift that stayed in Aramaic and Levantine use the Arabic dhad that does not have the shift (which is believed to imply that we did not get these words from Aramaic). But the argument is not strong: Arabs did not pronounce the dhad as modified tzadeh.

To understand what I call the “rationing of rationality”, read bishop Huet or chanoine Simon Foucher (out of print). The argument is repeated (or rediscovered) by Karl Mannheim in Ideology and Utopia – when he talks about what he calls “a typically modern rationalistic disregard for the basic irrational mechanisms that govern man’s relation to his world”. I do not conceal that I have been reading theology.

Social science is more destructive than religion. I wrote in “ the opiate of the middle classes” about the domain-dependence of rationality. Rationality is costly complete cross-domain rationality is impossible. I prefer to believe in the bishops rather than the stock analyst, be it on aesthetic grounds.

A - I need an aesthetic environment. I write in my “ literary library”, the one that is unpolluted by technical books, business material, and scientific papers –it is like a sacred space. I also like to write in cafés away from business people, with bohemian people around. Writing is sacred, other activities are profane, and I don’t want them to corrupt my writing.

Raw literature used to resemble speech, in its messiness, idiosyncrasy, (& charm). Spelling was only made uniform very late, by printers, not by authors –which explains the idiosyncrasies of medieval authors.

Fourth, Pyrrho went east with Alexander & almost certainly encountered all the syncretistic systems developed there [on that, later].

Geneva debate. I cringe when I hear the word equilibrium. Most people use it without understanding it. They make it concrete just by talking about it. It is the worst of metaphysics.

Art De Vany converted me to a way of thinking about our fitness for the pre-agricultural world. It hit me that the fruits that we eat are, like bread, the product of agriculture, not nature. Fruits are not so natural, after all.

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