Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Division of the Social Sciences and the (Hard) Sciences

One way to distinguish the hard sciences, i.e. biology, chemistry, physics, etc..., from the social sciences is to depict the hard sciences as relationships as they actually are and to depict the social sciences as relationships as an individual gives them and acts upon, in relation to how they actually are. Under this arrangement, the predication criterion of the hard sciences can be understood as involving reality and not the mathematical relationships, in the same way that the predication criterion of the social sciences should involve the consciousness and not the economic relationships. Interestingly, since we create relationships, we predict our own future. Not only do conscious actions have truth preserving analytic relationships (economics), they predict their own future over a series of trails based on a synthetic relationship to reality (stochastic movements). Furthermore, economic events have more than one sufficient cause, of which there is an unknown number of sufficient causes, making economic events vague or fuzzy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Second Response to Casey

This should not be viewed as a critique of Gerard Casey's paper but comments about how it relates to the main direction of this blog. I've noticed that my own usage of words, such as possession, ownership and property, differs from that of Casey's usage. Possession, for me, is a word that is relevant to legality, i.e. illegal possession of stolen goods. Ownership is a word that is more abstract, and more ordinal in terms of relationships. Possession references facts about society. It is cardinal and concrete. We use these terms in opposites ways.

One mistake that I've made but have not included on my blog is not recognizing the distinction between property and propriety (and thus propertarian and proprietarian). I can attempt a definition of property as, a thing imbued with intentional qualities by an individual. It is possible that this definition is too abstract, but it does serve the purpose in conveying what I am implying by property. Furthermore, the definition recognizes overlapping is a possibility that must be resolved by the development of norms and customs, that is the establishment of precedence from prior events. In addition, ownership can be defined as the act of imbuing a thing with intentional qualities. In other words, a single individual, rather than a society, is the only thing that is necessary for there to be property and ownership.

[Interestingly, is it odd to associate precedence with property when property is established as an ordinal relationship in the first place? Possibly that is too abstract, but then why accept a prior claim? Why is a prior claim stronger than just pure will and desire?]

Propriety is a social product. For example, propriety can refer to a governing order to grant exclusivity, or a corporation protects a secretive process or formula. Rather than precedence, as with factual development of norms in relation to property, propriety is based on privilege. Casey does not use the word propriety, but he identifies both meanings. However, I suggest that the general philosophical discourse on the topic has conflated the meanings of these two words. Above I've broken them apart enough to say something substantial without taking a compatibilist disposition.... Property can be described independently of propriety, but propriety cannot be described independently of property. In the same way, ownership can be described independently of possession, but possession cannot be described independently of ownership. Property and ownership are prior to the social constructions propriety and possession.

On my last post, I translated Casey's question into what are the limits of property, from a question about where you draw the line between mere possession and ownership. I think Casey basically has the same idea. Nevertheless, what are the limits of property is at the core of what competing ethical, religious, social, moral and political systems are battling over. It is the meat and potatoes of social philosophy. The Stephen Toulmin's argumentation model has had an influence on the way I understand fallacies. For example, Toulmin tended to interpret informal fallacies as strategies, or fallacious strategies. Instead of ad hominem, straw man, appeal to emotion or black or white, the informal fallacious can be seen as a part of a larger argument and a strategy within that argument. Getting to the point, dispositions of ethical et al. systems that proceed past the limits of property without addressing the notion of vagueness, or cannot satisfy the burden of proof to overturn property titles, i.e. a divine right of kings type of theory, can be deem as fallacious strategies, since they are attempts to not advance an argument.

Lastly, Casey references a paper by Block & Barnett that I'll have to properly cite later. I read the paper two years ago. I recall they mentioned trail by jury as a way to deal with ambiguity (vagueness or fuzziness) as opposed to a decree form of sentencing. I agree with the notion that juries can deal with vagueness with regards to justice a lot better than lawyers. Lawyers have too much structure going on to deliver verdicts.

My April 2012 Post

Monday, June 23, 2014

Changed my Subtitle; First Response to Casey

I recently changed my blog subtitle to better reflect the topics and direction of my blog. The basic theme of this blog is that property (and for that matter ethics) is important to the epistemology of economics and finance mainly due to property being what provides economics and finance with analytic structure. In other words, property, as well as the economic concept of subjective value, are ordinal numbers, also called ordinal sets. I believe some of the approaches by philosophers of economics to topics regarding the geometrical patterns/relationships of supply and demand curves and the economic laws (syllogisms) have been misled in dismissing the geometrical patterns being foundational in themselves or the laws lacking scope.  They overlook that ordinals inherently have compositional and mathematical qualities and are what provide truth preserving characteristics of supply and demand curves and economic laws.

This leads to the topic that I've been attempting to write about, that is the problem from Gerard Casey that I've mentioned before.  Casey asked what are the limits of property? [my language: Casey uses the metaphor of drawing a line for limits.]. 'Limits' is an ordinal concept, which I can say uncontroversially since Bertrand Russell said it too. Casey points out that property has limits that are vague and have continuum problems. However, Casey's problem is solved through the use of infinitesimals. We do not just understand property as a ordinal set, but as a cardinal set also.  Cardinality is evident whenever we mark off the boundaries of a property.  We use measurement, natural and unnatural barriers, GPS, legal codes, contracts, standardized lots, etc... In other words, there are cardinal relationships involved in property when it is situated within a society. The relationship of cardinals and ordinals is controversial in the philosophy of mathematics. Axiomatic set theory builds cardinals on top of ordinals, but Michael Potter, in Set Theory and Its Philosophy: A Critical Introduction (best current work on the subject that I'm aware), used an overlapping theory. Intuitively, cardinals seem to be build onto ordinals because ordinals lack qualities of cardinals (same-size), yet cardinals have qualities of ordinals, i.e. order.

Casey's continuum problems seems to trace back to Walter Block. I happen to be an UWBF (Ultimate Walter Block Fan), but I have found that Block is misled on his attack on cardinals and supply & demand functions. Supply & demand functions are only used for pedagogical reasons within economics. They are only used, along with geometrical patterns of supply and demand curves, in economic courses. Even if it skips the foundational issues of economics, it serves a purpose in understanding the relationship.

Casey's question really opened up a Pandora's box, since it leads me to other topics of interest. This is one of the joys of philosophy (or I would say the philosophical approach) though. Hopefully, as time permits I will investigate those topics. Expect to see something on terminology.

 Fuzzy Sets: A Primer

Laxmidhar Behera explains fuzziness on 3:10 to about 30:00. [Ex. on 14:40 he describes the ambiguity of height in a similar way as Casey.] Behera defines fuzziness as that which is not precise. I would rather explain fuzziness or vagueness as something that lacks cardinality (although not completely), but has ordinal relationships. I suggest that a theory of rights, laws, etc... should take into account a transition from a Wittensteinian family resemblance of shared but ambiguous norms into increasing levels of cardinal relationships with standardization, laws, barriers etc. Most ethical and moral systems seem to have the tendency to find concrete laws as the ultimate source, whereas I argue that origins are Humean and Nietzchean with a few presuppositions based on the physical world and the exercise of actions. A theory such as this would taken into account of the diverse influences, in terms of cultural, religious, political, etc..., as well as the ambiguous nature that serves as the foundation.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A New Route

I have not been able to write that much on this blog for the past two years, but in the foreseeable future I'll have more time to develop a few areas of thought.  I originally intended this site to be experimental and then changed it into a cultural/educational approach.  Although I enjoyed these topics they can be developed only on a rare occasion, as with the experimental, or require timely execution, as with the cultural/educational approach.  Nonetheless, the topics that invoke the greatest interest in me are the philosophy questions that deal with the foundations of economics and property.  I wrote something earlier about changing the focus of this site, but even that now needs updating.  This site will investigate three areas:

  •  Property Theory

In this area, I will not be breaking new grounds, as there are volumes of work out there on this topic.  However, the topic is highly neglected among current philosophers.  For example, I find that current deontological and consequentialist ethical systems fail to recognize assumptions regarding property.  I argue that ethical dispositions can only be resolved if property presumptions are taken into account.

  • Epistemological Foundations of Economics and Finance

I may have goals here that I'll have to explain later.  Nevertheless, I have been influenced by Charles S. Peirce (1839 - 1914) into reconciling abductive/hypothetical forms of knowledge regarding human nature from behavioral economics, cognitive science, and neuroscience with deductive economic relationships and inductive relationships of financial theory.  The controversy here derives from lopsided understandings of practitioners and system-builders alike.  Typically, they fail to understand one of the areas and thus have a negative bias towards one of the types of argument, or they fail to recognize the overlapping of arguments in terms of knowledge.  System-builders may confirm only areas of knowledge that promote their system, etc...

Analytic tendencies in economics, called extreme aprioirism, have avocated that economists can only state modus ponens that price floors cause a good to be unavailable or not sold below a particular price. For example, we can't say minimum wage (a price floor) causes unemployment, but we can say that minimum wage causes those employed (or will be employed) to be unemployed (with a strict meaning of employed => a single good).  On the other hand, since the same data that exhibits aprioistsic or economic relationships is part of a composition, we can say how much or to what degree a price floor causes a good to be unavailable while preserving truth relations with fuzzy set-theoretics.  I believe Lugwig von Mises speculated about this. He mourned that statistics was inadequate for this, although he acknowledge statistics as being appropriate for time-series of prices, which exhibits class-relations [set theory/number theory terminology], as well as probability theory (his brother Richard von Mises was influential in creating the frequentist (also called class-probability by Ludwig von Mises) school of thought of probability theory, which is the standard today).  I foresee fuzzy set-theoretics increasing the precision of descriptive knowledge about economics events in the same way the risk theory, which is built on statistical relationship, has expanded in precision.  In addition, I like to pursue possibly theory, game theory and what I would call a turn from an analytic blockhead mentality towards a fuzzy, synthetic or stochastic mentality in economics and finance.

  • Property-base Ethical Justification

On this topic, I will argue that property-based ethical systems are stronger than competing non-property-based systems.  Ignoring some limited distributional theories (the more extreme versions no longer being taken seriously), advocates of non-property-based systems have acknowledged (at least rhetorically) that property-based systems, although they may have a better foundation, do not explain how their theory would work. An explanation can be found in property relevant presuppositions, Adam Smith's invisible hand, Ludwig von Mises' Social Co-operation, and some supplemental relationships based on spacial/geographical distance, production and supply of goods with David Ricardo's comparative advantage.  Human nature will be a topic of concern here, since human behavior is relevant to the question of how property-based ethical systems provide social order.  If a property-based ethical system can demonstrate this, then I suggest it could pull the rug from under competing systems.