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Michael S. Pearl

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About Michael S. Pearl

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  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Folsom, Louisiana

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  1. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic Music you like...   

  2. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic What books are you reading now?   

    Just finished The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery.
    I am currently reading The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov as well as On Feeling, Knowing, and Valuing by Max Scheler.
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  3. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2016 NBA Playoffs Picks!   

    If Cleveland hits threes well and consistently (from game to game), then Cleveland in six. Otherwise, okay, Golden State in seven -- nah, six.
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  4. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic E-mail to Petkov   

    The terms necessary and contingent used above are terms of logic; more specifically, they are terms of modal logic. But does scientism (metaphysical systematization built upon scientific positions) have any need of modal logic? For that matter, how does logic fit in scientism? Or, to put it another way, how does scientism account for logic?
    For scientistic purposes, logic can simply be the structure which undergirds both valid and sound explanations. Hence, given an initial physical context and the so-called laws of physics, there is - given that context and those laws - a nomological necessity. This necessity is not modal necessity, but physics is a pattern that is expressible logically inasmuch as that which is spatiotemporally subsequent follows of necessity from a previous context, given the regularity (the so-called laws) of physics.
    If the products of science trace the non-modal metaphysical speculations of scientism, then the notion of modal necessity is wholly irrelevant, and the notion of contingency is most likely and at best indicative of an epistemic uncertainty; however, given the operative presumption of physicalist nomological necessity, that epistemic uncertainty could presumably be described or explained in terms of the physics (the physical state) of the factors referred to as mind, about which there is not actually an uncertain condition.
    Does a physicalist or some other sort of scientistic metaphysics necessarily have to be conducted in modal logic terms? If not, then can there be even compatibilist freedom?
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  5. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    To be more precise, what I said was: "Comparisons to the Fascist governments in Germany and Italy ... do not strike me as useful. ... If there are any useful comparisons, I expect that they would regard not Fascist ideologies (whatever those may be), but, rather, similarities between conditions that give rise to a worsening of the political domain."

    I also said, "The interesting authoritarianism is not the top-down variety; the interesting authoritarianism is that which appeals to a number of people sufficient to effect increased authoritarianism in government: the bottom-up variety." Let us begin to peek into this bottom-up variety.

    Fascism has come to be thought of primarily as authoritarian. However, it may well prove most useful to end up eschewing the terms "Fascism" and "authoritarianism" -- if for no other reason than by ridding ourselves of those conventions, those categories, we might have to go into more depth in order to analyze what is happening. Furthermore, Hannah Arendt (for one) did not regard Nazi fascism as authoritarian; rather, according to her, it was a version of totalitarianism. We could ask at what point Nazism became totalitarian. We could ask whether it was essentially totalitarian and only awaiting for the circumstance in which it could bloom forth as totalitarian such that we could say it was authoritarian up to that point. But, do we even need the terms Fascism, authoritarian, or totalitarian - particularly with regards to analysis of what seems to be occurring in the present?

    Trump is not the problem. In isolation, Trump is himself a buffoon. Reprehensible, but still a buffoon. He is an outlet or a vehicle for feelings, opinions, perspectives that many people have, and those people are not just some Republicans; they also include self-described Democrats and Independents. The relevant feelings, opinions, and perspectives which those people have are longstanding; they did not arise with Trump or because of Trump, and they are not to be dismissed outright - as if they are wholly unjustified and unjustifiable - simply because prior to Trump the public expression of such feelings, opinions, and perspectives seemed to be broadly regarded as being anywhere from impolite and usually impolitic to being indicators of moral disease or at least the outlier status of anyone who expressed such notions.

    Trump is not the problem. The problem is that too many people hold the very thoughts which Trump expresses, and a still bigger problem is that these people admire him for saying out loud thoughts which have been previously regarded as socially unacceptable even if rather widely held. The Trump supporters/admirers would say "not Politically Correct" rather than "socially unacceptable", and their preferred choice of words would likely hold up well to challenging analysis. This would be because the distinction between the political and the social is so blurred as to be arguably or practically non-existent. (As an aside, Arendt tried to keep the political and the social wholly distinct, and to this day her attempted separation of the two is used a way to justify missing the points she was trying to make - which is not to say that such an attempted abstract/categorical distinction is not without problems, of which she was well aware as she knew that ultimately she needed non-political and non-social authority - in the form of something along the lines possibly of Levinasian ethical responsibility, for instance - in order to protect the promise or hope of the political.)

    Take, as but one example, the case of Teresa Buchanan, a professor at Louisiana State University who was fired by the school after the university apparently decided that she was guilty of sexual harassment for using in class "a crude term for female genitalia, a joke about lesbianism, and a joke about sex after marriage." Is crude speech a political matter? Should it be? And what would distinguish political and social here? Well, if government indicates that crude speech can be subject to legal penalty, then, regardless of whether or not this might have been regarded as a social matter, it is at least in effect or more certainly in fact or practice a purely political issue.

    LSU had instantiated a sexual harassment policy based upon a 2013 federal government "'blueprint' for colleges nationwide." After LSU was criticized for firing Buchanan, the school released a statement explaining that “The Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education has advised universities that ‘harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents.’”

    In other words, Buchanan was fired because someone did not like what she said. Someone took offense at what she said or how she said it: regardless, offense was taken at the saying. When the taking of offense at something said is regarded as just basis for legal penalty, then it is reasonable to be concerned with whether what is at first restricted to offensive sexual reference will afterwards be extended to other sorts of offensive expression. The worrisome aspect of the Buchanan saga is that the legal basis for action against her was instigated by bureaucratic fiat, and, what many Trump supporters have surely lost all patience with is the fact that elected officials never act to place responsibility for laws back in the hands of elected officials - officials who, unlike bureaucrats, are subject to the supposed approval or disapproval of voters; accordingly, these non-acting elected officials are seen as being content with having abdicated legislative responsibility in relegating it not only to the executive branch but more specifically to the bureaucrats who act while being nearly totally insulated from "the people".

    When Trump offensively rages in a Politically inCorrect way rather than, as is the style of other politicians, just against the abstraction of Political Correctness, he gets people to imagining that this guy might actually do something to make government officials less insulated and more accountable. Having attained a supremely impatient state, Trump's supporters fail to consider the means by which Trump might well seek to accomplish that about which he bellows. Will he substitute his own fiat (such as via executive orders) for the fiat of the anonymous bureaucratic others so that he pseudo-messianically takes upon himself the responsibility which the bureaucratic structure puts on no one?

    When faced with such a question regarding the means which Trump might fabricate to accomplish his goals, many of his supporters would cheer the idea that he would take responsibility where other government personnel - elected and non-elected - have for so long neither taken nor accepted any such responsibility. These supporters are not the least bit concerned with whether this new form of fiat is at all compatible with what heretofore has been referred to as the American myth/ideal. And if it is suggested that Trump's plan for Muslims*, for example, is contrary to the American myth/ideal, Trump supporters are likely to respond noting how the U.S. government dealt with Japanese and citizens of Japanese descent during World War II -- as if previous legally allowed government actions are necessarily in line with American mythic ideals.

    The logic in that way of thinking is inept, but it would be an error to regard that thinking as irrational, because, with regards to the American myth/ideal, one deeper concern these people have has to do with the sensed ever increasing isolation from the people that the government has as it becomes evermore government by no one (which is how Arendt described government by bureaucrats) where government by no one is not to be confused with chaotic anarchy but, instead, where subjection to government becomes evermore a government to which the ordinary citizen has less and less opportunity to appeal for redress of grievances although there always remains a procedure for filing grievances.

    This sort of deeper concern is very much in line with the American myth/ideal, but most people - and not just the Trump supporters - are simply angry; they are simply angry because human individuals generally are rarely good problem solvers, and they are not good problem solvers in large part (but particularly in political contexts) because they are not especially good at analyzing/questioning (probably because there are so many variables at issue) their own subjective being/thinking. And that is a condition which will not soon - if ever - be improved, much less rectified. Regardless, given the brief peek here into one aspect contributing to what is being called "anger", it should be apparent that a Trump loss will not dispense with the feelings for which he is serving as mouthpiece.

    *There are also many Trump supporters who assume that Trump's most extreme, most offensive proclamations will simply not be allowed to come to actual fruition. It is this sort of assumption that is most worrisome inasmuch as it seems that there were more than just a few Germans who assumed that the German people would keep Hitler contained. For instance, Karl Jaspers kept trying to assure Arendt that the German people would never let Hitler actually fulfill his vision; she vehemently disagreed, disapproving of such an assumption, and many years later, after the war, Jaspers acknowledged how right she had been.
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  6. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    The complexity of the American system is not sufficient to guarantee that worrisome proclamations (such as Trump's) could never be translated into government action. Comparisons to the Fascist governments in Germany and Italy, however, do not strike me as useful. I understand that such comparisons arise from the title of this thread. If there are any useful comparisons, I expect that they would regard not Fascist ideologies (whatever those may be), but, rather, similarities between conditions that give rise to a worsening of the political domain.
    The interesting authoritarianism is not the top-down variety; the interesting authoritarianism is that which appeals to a number of people sufficient to effect increased authoritarianism in government: the bottom-up variety.
    How do opponents of any elected authoritarianism-inclined regime know when "to go to war against it" as distinguished from continually objecting to and (let us say) non-violently fighting it?
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  7. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    Not that they matter, but here are two Trump-related links:

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  8. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic Music you like...   

    Edmar Castaneda
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  9. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic Movies i've seen...   

    Saw Hail, Caesar! last night. It is definitely worth seeing. Even better than the philosophical ramblings of the "study group" that kidnapped George Clooney's character, were the scenes with Channing Tatum and Alden Ehrenreich. Both of them were very good. Tatum's dancing sailors scene was well danced and very funny; Ehrenreich had more scenes, a greater variety of scenes, and they were all well done
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  10. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Super Bowl thread   

    For Carolina, Ealy and Kuechly were certainly outstanding, but let's not give short shrift to the play of the one-armed Davis. I recall one play where Anderson bounced off of him because Davis could not wrap up, but Davis was still all over the field.
    As for Denver, I do not recall a team winning with essentially no offense at all. And that makes this Super Bowl defensive performance the most impressive one I can remember. For that matter, the Carolina defensive performance was the most impressive one I can recall for a losing team; they sure smacked Manning around. But, at the end of the day, it was Newton who looked the worse for wear by a long shot; he got hit a lot harder than Manning got hit.
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  11. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Super Bowl thread   

    puppy monkey baby
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  12. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Super Bowl thread   

    One other factor worth a comment: Denver has not recently faced a RB as good as Stewart. He will not be much of a factor if the Denver defense can dominate the Carolina line; there is plenty of talk about how the Panthers OTs (particularly Oher) are of dubious quality, but, with Newton running the read option, the blocks do not have to be held all that long, meaning that Stewart can be the difference maker.
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  13. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Super Bowl thread   

    1) If the Denver o-line can hold off the Carolina rush, the Denver receivers are good enough to take advantage of the Carolina DBs (save for Norman, of course) often enough.
    2) If the Denver safeties are healthy enough to keep Ginn from getting behind them (especially early in the game), and if the safeties and LBs maintain assignment discipline and keep their eyes on Olsen (assuming Denver stays away from the defensive scheme used against Pittsburgh), then Denver might be able to frustrate the Carolina offense.
    3) If Manning avoids INTs as he has been doing of late (and if his RBs stay awake enough to go ahead and assume any backfield passes are laterals) while managing to take advantage of the Carolina DBs, then Denver has a chance to frustrate the Carolina defense.
    4) The key to this game is this: a fast start by the Carolina offense. If the Denver defense prevents the Carolina offense from jumping out to a fast start, then a Denver offense which avoids turnovers can pull out a victory; if the Denver defense not only constrains the Carolina offense especially through the first half but also creates turnovers the way the Saints defense did in the December Carolina game while the Denver offense avoids turnovers, then a Denver victory becomes much more likely.
    Conclusion: Since all of the above will happen, Denver wins. Why will all (or enough) of the above happen? For one very simple reason. Because the season has to conclude with a justified contrarian pick, of course!!!
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  14. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic Movies i've seen...   

    I completely agree about Birdman. I think you've over-rated American Sniper. I really really disliked that movie.
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  15. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic Movies i've seen...   

    Saw 13 Hours. Very entertaining and, in that way at least, superior to The Revenant. Did not find 13 Hours to be a political hatchet job. The utter chaos depicted in the movie was fantastic. Glad to have seen this movie.
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