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About qualia

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  1. qualia added a post in a topic "Money is debt"   

    [notice]Post removed. qualia has been suspended for 7 days.[/notice]
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  2. qualia added a post in a topic "Money is debt"   

    Then it appears there is absolutely nothing therein stated which hasn't already been included in the video or the posts which have followed. I'm not too sure, then, what exactly is the point being raised.
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  3. qualia added a post in a topic "Money is debt"   

    Briefly before I have to dash. 'Mark' appears to be talking about another world, in this one the fractional reserve system is healthy and in action. From my own persepctive the wiki gives a nice introduction to the state of affairs here.

    On passing, mainstream economic theory as taught in most universities is mystification with purpose. Firstly, it legitimates the occupation of economics by clothing its prescriptions in language that looks like the language of some hardcore science, like physics. Secondly, this elaborate 'hyper' structure serves the pure aim of deprecating the importance of "aesthetic and humane factors". Neo-liberal and Austrian theory, for example, show the viability of some banal economic system which is then translated into assertions about this world that we live in. Theories can pursue truth or serve vested interests. In the later capacity they will incorporate only concepts suited to attaining the results desired. An economic theory, for example, may highlight profits, quantities of output, amount of investment and prices, and leave out alienation, direction of investment and bargaining power. This theory will serve capitalists, and, since capitalists pay economists' wages and endow their universities, economists and their students who comply will benefit. Whatever the motives of a particular economist might be, the sleight of hand called micro and macro economics is not an art or science, but ideology, dogma and propaganda. The explanation for the longevity of the confidence game is obvious: the commercial magnates and power elite who decide what is and what is not to be valued, who is and who is not to be respected and well paid, legislate that mainstream economic theory is jolly good while maverick critics are lunatics who ought to swot up and read a 'real' economics book. And all the students and all the learners can read this handwriting ever more clearly than they can read their given economic text. They know that they will never gain credentials and wealth worth protecting if they don't play the game as it is meant to be played. Firstly, by propping up capitalism and capitalists and then within that foremost aim, manufacturing some non-threatening assertions and old rehashes on which they can build a career.
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  4. qualia added a post in a topic "Money is debt"   

    Thanks, Parody. Thinking about it, there is probably no direct reference to 'capitalism' outside the word itself and to this extent we cannot separate its meanings from the observers' point of view.

    If this were so, I think folk could begin to abandon the essentialist's argument that would be trying to pin down the word to some distinct, autonomous entity which can be defined in terms of an unchanging essence. If we feature a referent, a something beyond the word to which the words refers, then perhaps all we're doing in such circumstances with a (loaded) word like capitalism, is merely highlighting some general features of a social system we think lends a descriptive quality to that word whilst acknowledging that we may be mistaken.

    To this extent, "the Fractional Reserve Banking System" or "a monetary system based on interest-loans whereby private enterprises create money as demanded and charge interest on that creation's quantity when borrowed" is an important feature of a word like 'capitalism', as essential as the idea that the means of production are more often held in private hands than not, and these features tacked onto the word 'capitalism' are exposed in relation and contrast to terms and features tacked upon words like anarchism, communism, socialism or even a murabahah based contractual system, for example. It may not help much, but rejecting the dogma of essentialism, perhaps it's the best we can ever hope for.

    There are business cycles, debt deflation, speculative bubble burst, recessions and depressions, 'national debts', resource depletion, and the collapse of economies which occur within the paradigm of the fractional monetary system. An obvious example was when the Asian Tiger market collapsed at the end of the last decade. When this occured, IMF, W.B. (that is, us the tax payer) had to bail out many occidental banks and businesses before they went to the wall. In the long run, debt increase must increase and when a widespread default on debt occurs there generally occurs a recession/depression, and so on within the business cycle as explained by folk like Marx. And so on, until the next full swing of the business 'wheel' (yet another contested term). How long the capitalist game can last is anyone's guess although one could make an intelligent observation and declare, 'one day capitalism will collapse'. Incidentally, every time you hear about interest rate movement all this means is that some money is being created or has disappeared.
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  5. qualia added a post in a topic A Problem With The Objectification Of Women   

    I'm not really going to be able to add anything here, but just spring board thinking from the observations given. Identity appears to be a complex weaving of varying influences. Biological factors are affected by the environment and social factors are influenced through our understanding of biology. Certainly, it appears that folk can construct their gender identity but that this choice will be constrainted by cultural and societal perceptions, most notably those evolving around feminie and masculine characterisitcs. In other words, our identities are not something we are completely free to choose and use exactly as we may wish; they are shaped by the society and culture we live in and our experiences and understandings of them. Class, ethnicity as well as gender are going to be contributers to the sort of identities we hold.

    As a passing note, from these strutural constraints, acts of agency are notable in a concept Althusser called interpellation or self-categorisation in which people are literally hailed or repelled when they see a representation of some social category. The social representation connects the individual to a set of broad pre-existing meanings in which the individual can take up his or her identity, or not. If this were so, the relationship between the individual and the representation (sign of signifier and signified) has an emotional quality, an empathy. Just as much as Saussure's sign is marked by differentiation, so to these social categories of identity. If X identifies with a gender group called 'woman' as oppossed to 'man', it means that X sees people divided into two broad gender categories and that she/he see her/himself as a member of the category of women, and so on. Without difference there could not be a social identity, without the them there could not be an us. These categories are probably organised into complex systems which make us and them possible.

    As a passing note on this notion of interpellation, a social category in which a given pole dancer might identify with could be one as simple as that between 'squares' and 'hipsters'. The pole dancer noting that most folk her/his age are doing some banal 9 to 5 or swotting in some dull concrete education system pumping out future factory and office managers. As noted in a given stripper's web site, "We felt empowered through our work, not degraded. In fact, most of us admitted to feeling much more degraded in mainstream occupations such as administration, service and hospitality, retail, and more."
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  6. qualia added a post in a topic "Money is debt"   

    I've gone through most of my economy books and at the moment it appears that the term 'capitalism' is more generally used as signifier of something negative. Would I be exaggerating to say the term was coined by Marx, or socialists or anarchists in the 19th century? And even if I were, there lingers this suspicion that the term, like so many other social terms, is already gunked in prejudice. Its connotations are limitless and do not neutrally represent the way things are - even if such a state of affairs could be conceived. Indeed, the term seems to appear mainly in critical studies of the prevalent economic system and I feel that that which is not economic system x is more often classed as capitalism. Nevertheless, I believe that we can highlight general tendencies of the economic system we live under but what we call this system is open to debate.

    With this in mind, economic growth as measured by GDP (itself an ideological function) need not be limited to 'capitalist' societies, communist societies can also grow, thus a capitalist society is not necessarily one defined by growth. However, a system of capitalism needs growth to survive if we define an essential feature of that system as one grounded on a monetary system based on interest-loans whereby private enterprises create money as demanded and charge interest on that creation's quantity when borrowed. As this is the state affairs, if we call such a system capitalism, we can point out that growth is required for capitalism.

    Imagine my village's elite (state) have created a law which places the more than less of the means of production in private hands and has put $10 into circulation. At the same time a budding entrepreneur has asked a bank to lend him $40 so he can buy all the strawberry fields in the village. We can imagine that upon transaction there is now $50 in village circulation. The bank has stated that in reasonable terms the loan is going to be made over 5 years at 5% interest per year. So the budding entrepreneur owes the bank $53.48 (sorry if the math has gone wrong). So, if all things remain, even if the entrepreneur got hold of the village's entire monetary wealth, he still needs to find $3.48 which simply doesn't exist. The only way that interest can be found is that either the bank increases money circulation on someone else's debt or that the village state makes more money. Both actions will impact the village's inflation or deflation levels which is possibly something the village elite fear and the former merely increases the level of debt, not lowers it.

    There's also a twist to this tale. Our entrepreneur borrows that $40 from our village bank to pay the strawberry field owner. The bank creates that $40 and gives it to the entrepreneur who in turn gives it to the field owner who ends up putting it back in the village bank. Thus, one individual of the bank must be in debt to that amount which equals the village bank's money creation. Sometime later the field owner gives the $40 to the entrepreneur who puts it into the bank. At that moment the money disappears. It's as if it never existed. Nevertheless, as there was interest to be found on it, we now have a situtation like before where the entrepreneur needs to find $13.48 and, again, in principle, it appears that the debt is unrepayable. As it stands, even if the whole village were to go hungry and enter some kind of messed up Third World situation to enable the entrepreneur to pay back his debt, he still can't do it.

    This is merely a contingent state of affairs, it could have been different, but because the village elite per se have decreed that fractional reserve is the foundation of its monetary system and one of the centre pieces of its economy, it follows that the necessity of growth lies in the necessity to repay the debt. Only that.

    Thus, a function of the village state and its banking and business elite who benefit from this set up will be to persuade the public to honour debts with threat of imprisonment or death, for it is understood that if the entrepreneur refused to pay his interest based debt the monetary system of fractional reserve would come crashing down. To the entrepreneur's cry, "but how do I pay back the impossible?" The answer would be, "Economic growth, my friend! You must expand, move beyond the village, work more productively, seek out your comparative advantage, realise economies of scale, exploit the natural resources and workers to a better degree, introduce new technologies which speed up the production process and reduces necessary labour to produce the same product or service. In this fashion, you can repay your debt and begin to make a profit."

    Moreover one could imagine that this system would also try to ensure that housing, for example, would also need a given degree of debt creation, thus ensuring that all normal adults in the village were placed in indebtedness to keep the system rolling and that overtime the message of the naturalness of indebtedness, competition, exploitation, comparative advantages (whether this be in one's education, experience, abilities, business exploits, or what have you) were drummed in to every child's head.

    Thus, growth is not necessary for an economis system to survive but is necessary if shadowed by a monetary creating debt based interest system which demands the impossible task of repaying it.

    Do you think this makes any sense? Do you think the general idea portrayed is sufficient to ground a coherent argument?
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  7. qualia added a post in a topic "Money is debt"   

    Money is Debt – The Fractional Reserve Banking System
    0 to 27 minutes...

    "....Money is made by the mint but most money is created by private corporations which are known as banks. Folk believe that banks lend out money which has been entrusted to them but the fact is banks create the money they loan, not from earnings, not from the money deposited but directly from the borrower’s promise to repay. The borrower has an obligation to pay back the loan plus interest or lose the assets placed as collateral. The bank’s obligation is to conjure into existence the money for the loan and tap it into the computer.

    Little History – Goldsmith Tale

    Money – anything can be used as money so long as it is portable and contains the community’s faith that it can be traded for goods. Gold and silver are attractive, soft and easy to work with. Goldsmiths began to cast coins for circulation and to protect his gold kept it in big vaults, soon fellow towns men wanted their own gold, coins and valuables kept safe, so the goldsmith started to rent out his vault.

    Goldsmith Observation – depositers rarely took out their valuables and never came in at once to remove them. That was because the claim cheques the goldsmith had written as receipts for the vauables were being traded in the market as if they were the gold itself. Paper money was more convinient than heavy coins and amounts could be written rather than counted for each transaction.

    Goldsmith Business Venture – goldsmith started lending out his gold charging interest. When his own claim cheque-money came into acceptance, borrowers started asking for loans in this form rather than lumping around gold. As business expanded more and more people asked him for loans, this lead goldsmith to make further observations.

    1) few depositors removed their gold from his vault
    2) so goldsmith could lend out claim cheques against his depositors’ gold and his own stock of valuable
    3) so long as loans were repaid the depositirs were be no worse off, and the goldsmith could make far more profit than he would just lending on his own gold. Goldsmith thus earned interest on everyone else’s deposits into the bank.

    Suspicions grew of goldsmiths growing wealth and the depositors thought he was spending their money. They threatened to withdrew their gold if the goldsmith didn’t state how his new found wealth came about. The goldsmith showed his depositors that they hadn’t lost anything, that their gold was still in the goldsmith’s vault. Rather than withdraw the gold the depositors demanded a share of the interest made by the goldsmith. And this was the beginning of banking.

    The banker paid a low interest rate on the deposit of other people’s money that he then loaned out at a higher interest. The difference covered the cost of the bank’s operation and its profit. Banking satisfied the demand for credit. However, this is not the way banking works today.

    Goldsmith-Banker’s Observation – demand for credit grew as Europeans ventured out upon the world but his loans were limited by the amount of gold he had in his vault and the goldsmith-banker was no longer content with just the income remaining after sharing the interest with his depositors. New idea, since no one knew what was in his vault he could lend out claim cheques on gold that wasn’t even in his bank. As long as all the claim cheque holders didn’t come to the bank and demand the real gold how would anyone find out?

    The new system worked well and banks became wealthy on the interest of gold that did not exist. Bankers created money out of nothing. Overtime, there were problems such as ‘runs’ on particular banks whereby claim cheque holders lost faith in their cheques and flooded the bank demanding gold rather than the paper money representation. But in the long run the credit bankers were offering had become essential to the success of European commercial expansion. So instead of government outlawing the practice of making money from nothing it was legalised and regulated. Bankers agreed on limits of the amount of fictional loan money which could be lent out and in the event of a bank run, central banks would support local banks with emergency infusions of gold. Only if there were a lot of runs on banks simutaineously would the banker’s credit bubble burst and the system come crashing down.

    Essentially this practive is known as the Fractional Reserve System – an integrated net work of banks backed by a central bank. The dominant money system of the world. The fraction gold backing the debt money has shrunk to nothing. The basic nature of money has changed. Money used to represent value, money now represents debt. In the past the paper money was a receipt that could be redeemed for a fixed weight of gold or silver, in the present the paper or digital money can only be redeemed for other paper or digital money.

    In the past each privately created bank credit existed only in the form of the particular private bank’s cheques and notes which could be accepted or not, but today privately created bank credit is legally convertable to government issued fiat currency. Fiat currency is money created by government fiat or decree. Law states that citizens must accept this fiat money as payment of debt or else courts will not enforce the obligation.

    So, if governments and banks can just create money, how much money exists? In the past the total money in existence was limited to the physical quantity of whatever commodity was in use as actual money. For example, in order for gold or silver money to be created more gold and silver had to be found and melted. In the present money is created as debt. New money is created whenever anyone takes a loan from the bank and as a result the total amount of money that can be created has only one limit - the total level of debt.

    Governemts place a statatory limit on the creation of new money by enforcing rules called ‘fractional reserve requirements’; fractional reserve requirements vary from country to country and from time to time. In the past it was common to require banks to have at least 1x of real gold in the vault to back 10x of debt money created. Today reserve requirements ratios no longer apply to the ratio of new money to gold on deposit but merely to the ratio of new debt money to existing debt money on deposit in the bank. Today a bank’s reserves consists of two things: the amount of government issued cash or equivalent which the bank has deposited in the central bank plus the amount of already existing debt money the bank has on deposit.

    To offer an example of what this means, imagine a new bank has started with no depositers. However, the bank investors have made a reserve of 1111.12x of existing cash money at the central bank. The required reserve ratio is 9:1.

    Step 1: first loan customer. He needs 10,000x to buy a new car. At the 9:1 reserve ratio the new bank’s reserve at the central bank (also called high powered money) allows it to legally conjure into existence 9 times that amount. Or 10,000 on the basis of the borrowers pledge of debt. This 10000x is not taken from anywhere, its brand new money typed into the borrowers account as bank credit. The borrower then writes a cheque or whatever on that credit to buy his car.

    Step 2: the seller of the car then deposists this newly created 10000x into her bank but unlike the high powered money deposited at the central bank this newly created credit money cannot be multiplied by the reserve ratio. Instead it is divided by the reserve ratio. At the ratio of 9:1 a new loan of 9000x with the reserve of 1000x can be created on the basis of the 10000x deposit.

    Step 3: If that 9000x taken as a loan is then deposited by a third party at the same bank that created it or at a different one it becomes the legal basis for a third issue of bank credit. This time at the ratio of 9:1 the new loan will be 8,100x and 900x in reserve. Thus each new deposit on that first 10000 created contains the potential for a slightly smaller loan in an infintely decreasing series.

    If, however, the loan money created is not deposited at a bank the process stops and this is unpredictable part of the money creation mechanism. But more than likely at every step the new money will be deposited at a bank and the reserve ratio process can repeat itself over and over until almost a 100,000 of brand new money has been created within the banking system. All this new money has been created entirely from debt and the whole process has been legally authorised by the initial reserve deposit of 1111,12 which is still sitting untouched at the central bank.

    By law each bank in the chain must show on its books that it has 10% more on deposit than it has out on loan. This gives banks the insentive to seek deposists in order to be able to make more loans, supporting the general but misleading impression that loans come out of deposists.

    Now, within our example, unless all the successive loans are deposited at the same bank it cannot be said that any one bank got to multiply its initial highpowered money by 90 times (1111.12x90=100,000) by issuing bank credit out of nothing. However, the banking system is a closed loop, bank credit created at one bank becomes a deposit in another. In the theoretical world of perfectly equal exchanges the ultimate effect would be exactly the same as if the whole process had taken place within one bank.

    Thus, banks loan money they do not have. In many countries the requirements to make a reserve deposit at the nation’s central bank have all but disappeared and that actual reserve ratios can be higher than 9:1. For some type of accounts 20:1 or 30:1. In raising loan fees, banks have also found ways to circumvent fractional reserve requirement limitations.

    As we have seen, banks can potentially create as much money as we can borrow. Government created money accounts for about 5% of the money in circulation. More than 95% of all other money in existence is created by someone somewhere signing a pledge of indebtedness to a bank. This bank credit money is being created and destroyed everyday as new loans are made and old ones repaid. The amount of the loan (P - principle) is created from the borrower’s promise to repay and once repaid the principal (P) is uncreated ceasing to exist as money.

    Banks can only enact this money making system with the coroporation of government. First governments pass legal tender laws to use the national fiat currency. Secondly, governments allow private bank credit to be paid out in this currency. Thirdly, government courts enforce debts. Lastly, governments pass regulations to protect the money syetms functionality and credibility with the public while doing nothing to inform the public about this kind of set up.

    The bottom line is that when one signs on the dotted line for a loan or mortgage our sign pledge of payment backed by the assests we pledge to forfeit should we fail to pay back the loan is the only thing of real value involved in the actual transaction. That loan or mortgage agreement is now a portable, exchangable and saleable piece of paper. It’s an ‘iou’, it represents value and is therefore a form of money. This money the borrower exchanges for the bank’s loan. A loan in the real world means the lender must have something to lend, but in the world of money the banks give money they don’t have which is allowed to be passed of as money. And we accept it as such.

    Once the borrower signs the pledge of debt, the bank then balances the transaction by tapping in a matching debt to the borrower. From the borrower’s point of view this debt becomes loan money and because the government allows this debt of the bank to the borrower to be converted into government fiat currency everyone has to accept it as money. So, without the loan or mortgage document the borrower signed the bank would have nothing to lend. Thus, banks do not lend money they create it from debt. And because debt is potentially unlimited so is the supply of money. It turns out that the opposite situation will also be true. No debt, no money.

    On an individual level if debts are paid one does have more money to spend, but on the global scale there would be no money if all debts were paid. We are totally dependent on continually renewed bank credit for there to be any money in existence. No loans, no money. Which is what happens in depressions, money supply shrinks as the supply of loans dry up. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation – cash or credit. Our system requires perpetual debt.

    Banks create only the amount on the principal, they don’t create the money to pay the interest. So where does that come from? The only place borrowers can go to obtain the money to pay interest is the general economy’s overall money supply but almost all that money supply has been created exactly the same way, it is bank credit which has to be paid back with more than was created. So everywhere there are other borrowers in the same situation, frantically trying to obtain the money they need to pay back both principal and interest from the total money pool which contains only principal. It is impossible for everyone to pay back the principal plus the interest because the interest money doesn’t exist.

    The problem is that for long term loans the total interest far exceeds the principal loan, so unless a lot of extra money is created to pay the interest it means a high proportion of foreclosure. To maintain a functional society the rate of foreclosures needs to be low and so to accomplish this more and more new debt money has to be created to satisfy the demands for money to erase the previous debt but of course, this just makes the total debt bigger which means that ultimately more interest must be paid resulting in an inescapable spiral of mountain indebtedness.

    It is only the timelag between money’s creation as new loans and its repayment which keeps the overall shortage of money from cathching up and bankrupting the entire system. However, as the bank’s credit gets bigger and bigger the need to create more and more debt to feed it becomes increasingly urgent. Why are interest rates so low? Why do we get unsolicited credit cards in the mail. Why is the US government spending faster than ever, could it be to stave of collapse of the entire monetary system. One has to ask, can this go on forever? Isn’t collapse inevitable?..."
    - - - -
    This was copied from the given link above by some of my practicing English students who went about it as a listening exam. I think they did an excellent job! I'm sorry for any spelling mistakes and the such but I just don't have the time to go through it. Nevertheless, I think the script covers the general idea and hopefully will save folk a little time.
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  8. qualia added a post in a topic "Money is debt"   

    Thanks for the link, Parody. I'll ty to pen a brief summary of this general idea so as it's a little more assessable to the general reading public and raise some questions which arise from the notes. I wanted to do it sooner rather than later, and although the next 12 days are going to be very hectic, I hope to post on this within the working work.
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  9. qualia added a post in a topic European Championships - 2008   

    There are so many posts being produced these days that I simply missed Hugo's suggestion. Alright, not something I'd ever do with money, but:
    Spain 1 (XAVI) -- Russia 0
    Greece 2 -- Sweden 1
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  10. qualia added a post in a topic Question: Constancy & location of the Physical Laws   

    This looks like a wonderful thread and has the promise of revealing much and although I cannot participate because of my ignorance, I am reading each if your posts with great pleasure. So thank you, gentlemen, thank you jedaisoul, Mathsteach2 and Thinker for stepping through this and I look forward to your further contributions.
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  11. qualia added a post in a topic TGL Upgrade   

    I'm going to see if I can ignore me more often . Might make for a higher ground of revelation.
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  12. qualia added a post in a topic Literary Recommendations   

    Good one, Lewis. When I was young, I got really into 'dark' stuff. It was triggered by a fellow coming into our primary school and showing us kids how to use a pendulum, or broken coat hanger to seek out water, lost objects and the such. For my tenth birthday, my mum bought me a pack of tarot cards which lead me on to reading a lot about occultism and authors such as Poe, Ligotti, the three volumes of Lovecraft and even looking into stuff like Crowley, Regardie and if i recall correctly, some fellow called Eliphas L
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  13. qualia added a post in a topic S.O.S. Save Our Selves   

    This is a really nice and clearly written post, Campanella and thank you for taking time to write it and to surrender it to us. The idea of 'collective representation' has been a growing suspicion of mine and I have realised that my ideas and beliefs and way of life are not my own, not individually generated and I have tried to say those things in my simplistic manner to people and here, but because they've not been picked up on or because I'm just offered a curious look of pity, I think I'm merely slipping into my own madness. So in this way, to have you confirm my suspicions, direct me to a thinker who has observed similar things and to lay the ground from which I can make further enquiries has been a wonderful revelation this morning and for this I must thank you, if not from saving me from my madness, at least showing me that I'm not on my own when suffering it.

    The other thing I've noticed, Campanella and hoping it is in spirit of your "systems created by man and for man - yet escap[ing] the consciousness and control of any individual" is that of our technologies and economic systems. Although it could be thought that the invention of science and capitalism gave rise to the individual, of its fame and of considering intellectual life as purely individual and a private affair, it also gave rise to this 'collective representation' which paradoxically reduces the individual and its means of self-expression. Sure, you know about this already, but I merely wish to add something constructive to your post.

    As the individual is granted a higher social status it becomes ever more necessary to reduce that individual to the ditto of others. Gradually, the team succeeds the 'self', the brave village warrior becomes a drilled soldier, the academic essay becomes ever more 'instant steals' of quotic devices and footnotes, the roaming and suffering field labourer becomes a factory unit, individual goals are reduced to roles, professionals are placed in totalising environments, and so on. I think that if the individual has never existed, or is becoming ever more a mere replicant and disappearing into the violence of things, maybe the last humanistic cry, if so desired, is not to save the individual but to celebrate and participate in amateurism. To a given degree a professional is that which is merged into a system of totalising control, whereas the amateur is that which is left somewhere to its 'own' behaviour. In such an environment, the amateur may be granted a larger degree of autonomy from which idependence and originality can grow.

    If this is so, I think a general message can be given which ought to be spread throughout TGL. That all folk here must try to loss their fear of saying silly things, lose the fear of posting what is eating their minds for fear of being critiqued and ridiculed, lose their 'professionalism', try to forget their 'self' in order to save it. This doesn't mean we reduce TGL to banality but try to foster that environment in which each of us can move and can afford to lose and be in error.
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  14. qualia added a post in a topic Literary Recommendations   

    Nice question, Lewis. Generally, I'm not attracted to 'genre' books and apart from a very small number of given reads, I dislike the sci-fi, horror, goblins, swords and dragons type set up. It's not that I haven't read the stuff and followed males' - typically middle class males' - advice, but essentially they bore me - and the books. In general, I dislike novels which place an obvious plot over everything else. If I scan my bookshelves on literature about 70% is made up of your 'Penguin' classic series. I also like to read poems and plays, but, again, like the genre reads, I don't have any comics. Although I do like to catch up on poetry stuff and what folk call flash fiction from day to day, apart from a few dozen books I haven't read literature seriously in a number of years. The list could be endless, so picking just five books which were a real pleasure to read, I would recommend Anna Karenina, Moby Dick, Don Quixote, Le P
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  15. qualia added a post in a topic S.O.S. Save Our Selves   

    That's a good question, Parsec. As you may have noticed what was happening in the post was a quick run through of some of the more pertinent ideas raised about the 'self', from Locke, Hume, Kant and then onto structuralist (post Kantian) thought. The one you have picked up on was a Kantian idea which was highlighted as a formal or structural requirement necessary to interpret experience in the way we do.

    Briefly, we can imagine that in the world of Blade Runner, to build a replicant would minimally require some kind of data feedback for the machine which could distinguish between its own movement and those of other objects. Thus, the machine would be receiving new views of objects and noting whether those objects or itself were moving or stationary. In order to fulfill this function a minimal system of recollection or memory would be required for our replicant, that is, it would need a system to compare what the image received was like and what it is like now. Order would have to be represented and a system of intergration of the past scenes to those of the present. Thus, within Kantian terms, positions of things in space and of their movement would be solved via a point of view, its own, say, and time duration in which the replicant could record or note its own movement.

    In other words, to build our replicant we need a system which tracks the machine's own movement through space, and a time order of the images (data) it receives. We could do this via monitors which we view as 'third' persons, but to solve this problem for our replicant in Blade Runner, we would need to give our replicant the 'egocentric' point of view which would present space as centred around 'itself'. With a basic language system built into the machine which would follow the structural requirements of our own language, if we asked our replicant to report on a given situation, it has the ability to say things like, "The tube of boiling eggs is five feet to the left of me", or "I can see a star". But most certainly, we needn't assume from these utterances that the machine now has some special and privileged aquintance with a soul, mind, spirit, or supernatural self.

    By way of this thought experiment, we needn't uncritically accept the notion that there "really is an ontological point-of-view-having subject or 'I'", not if we're going to read into that signifier notions of internal egos and immortal souls, for example. This point of view, one could argue, is merely a structural feature of interpreting experience in the manner that replicants and humans may do.

    To the final question, "what perspective could a member of a species have other than first-person?" I think this would make a really wonderful story and a lovely thought experiment. Indeed, in light of the given post, what persepctive could a replicant have but its very own.

    Hope this post has helped.
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