Archive for October, 2014

Quora Answer: When does too liberal borrowing crossover into unacceptable plagiarism? The strange case of Terry Deacon

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

When does too liberal borrowing crossover into unacceptable plagiarism? The strange case of Terry Deacon see


Having not read the works of  Juarrero  or Lissack and thus have no idea about the veracity of these allegations. However, it should be noted that Berkeley investigated the allegations and exonerated Deacon of the accusation of plagiarism.      Investigation Exonerates Terry Deacon

No responses yet

Quora Answer: What is the best introduction to David Foster Wallace for someone who has never read any of his work?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

First chapter of All Things Shining by Kelly and Dreyfus

All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age: Hubert Dreyfus, Sean Dorrance Kelly: 9781416596165: Books

No responses yet

Quora Answer: Why don’t we have enough art?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

What is art? Heidegger attempts an answer in The Origin of the Work of Art.
What we find out by reading his essay is that there are very few works of art in his sense, i.e. that define a worldview. In other words, from this viewpoint most are is not really art in as much as it does not give basis for our worldview. What we see is instead the nihilistic production of a lot of non-art and almost no actual art in the sense he gives the term. He says something similar about thinking in “What is called Thinking”, i.e. there is very little real thinking going on, and most of what we call thinking is just a nihilistic form of rumination. Actual Art as well as actual thinking is something very rare. So the real question is why we are driven to engage in the production of nihilistic pseudo-art (or ratiocination) as a relentless imperative and why do we not engage in producing art (or thanking thought) that might anchor our civilization. One gets the impression that we produce ersatz art or cognition in order to suppress actual art or thinking. What we are locked into is an intensification of nihilism, in which the art or our thinking merely gets worse and worse all the time expressing our increasing desperation.

For instance, on quora we multiply questions and answers. However, how many of these questions and answers have any real significance. My answer is very few. So why do we do that? Why don’t we confront deep problems of our Civilization and attempt to solve them? Why don’t we engage in genuine dialectics instead of asking and answering random questions that leap into our pristine and almost thought free minds.

Heidegger says that Poetry and Thinking are the Same, i.e. belong together, and of course poetry is an Art. Some things you can get at in poetry that you cannot get at in thinking and vice versa. Why is there so little dialogue between poetry and thinking? Both of these disciplines are not very popular in our current culture. Art in general is not appreciated and supported widely in our society. James Hillman in one of his last books suggested we should make Art not War. But it is easier to destroy than it is to create. And of course philosophical creation is the most difficult because that actually changes the nature of our world. Literature, Poetry and other arts give us insight into our world, but when we create a philosophical fiction we actually create a different world if we actually enhance our understanding of our current world. But that world does not get captured unless we can produce actual works of art that capture the spirit of our world as it is in the present moment, or as it could be. I don’t think there is a drive to create actual art that can ground the world, but only facsimiles of art and calculation that obscure the world. These facsimiles cover up and obscure the actual possibility of deep art, or deep thought, or deep poetry. We are driven away from those deeper approaches to understanding better our existence though art of thought and the thought of art as well as its execution in literature, poetry, prose, painting, watercolors, etc. and other media of the arts that exist today which are newer.

No responses yet

Quora Answer: Is there anything wrong with Western Civilization?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

Is there anything wrong with Western Civilization? If so, what is it, why is it there, and what can we do about it?


What is wrong with “Western Civilization”? (an Oxymoron?)

This is an interesting question. It is like the question, is there anything wrong with being a Shark?

A shark merely is what it is, a killer from the deep. There is nothing wrong with being a Shark. However, one may be in the wrong place at the wrong time and get eaten by JAWS (i.e. suffer colonization and the brunt of globalization whereby the Western Worldview destroys other worlds).

So I think the point is not that there is something wrong with Western Civilization. But it is merely what it is, and we must recognize what it issomehow. But it turns out that understanding what the Western Worldview ISis extremely difficult because ISness is unique to Indo-European languages. So when we say “Is there something wrong . . .” we are employing IS. Right there the whole question becomes problematic because we are entangled in Being from the start. Perhaps Being is one of the things that makes the Western Civilization what it IS (beyond right or wrong, or beyond good and evil).

Is there something wrong with a antibiotic resistant bacteria that kills everyone in a hospital. The bacteria is doing what it does best, make people sick and perhaps kill people. The fact that they have become stronger and more resilient due to our misuses of antibiotics implicates us in our own demise.

Similarly we are involved in a population explosion on earth which is thought to max out around 20 billion. This is probably more than the carrying capacity of the planet, but the fact that we are misusing, wasting, and defiling the planet at the same time makes us more or less like the bacteria on a planetary scale. The fact that not just our species but all the species are likely to eventually die from our activities . .  is that wrong if that is who we are in ourselves, in our Being.

But what is this Being that we have, and no one else has, that seems to make our worldview more virulent than other worldviews. This it seems to me to be a fundamental question that few are addressing. Heidegger made a start in addressing it but being within the Western worldview he attributed Being to everyone, not realizing that it was specific to  Indo-Europeans. He is asking the nature of Indo-European Dasein but thinking that this term applies to all humans because he does not realize that Being is not universal. But still it is a very good question as to the nature of Indo-European Dasein. What is it about us that generates this world dominance. Obviously it is caught up in our relation to Technology and Science. Science is based on the Pure Being (present-at-hand) and Technology on Process Being (ready-to-hand). Dasein is our ecstatic Existenz in the Human Situation that renders these various modes of being-in-the-world meaningful.

Why did this linguistic anomaly that is the ultimate basis of science and technology arise in the Indo-European worldview? Shear chance? Dumb luck? An Evil destiny? Who knows. But our job is to try to understand it and its implications. What we can do is try to understand ourselves better. That does not mean that the lemmings will not stream over the cliff. It merely means that some of the lemmings might wake up, attempt to go the other way, change the blind direction of the pack behavior of the big Other, or Das Mann (They). It is probably only with utter disaster looming that we might attempt to change some of our behavior, but probably too late to have make any relevant difference to the fate of the planet and its inhabitants. But you never can tell, there is of course pure inexplicable happenstance (maybe a virus will kill off just humans and leave the planet to other species in a kind of Deep Ecological Utopia without humans: The World Without Us: Alan Weisman: 9780312427900: Books). There are is always possible but improbable scenarios like this one.

One day someone wakes up and thinks, maybe I won’t continue to go along with the Others continuing my blind non-self-conscious behaviors that are leading toward our communal suicide. Enough people do this and perhaps something will change for the better. But, we are more likely to wake up if we understand ourselves better. That means going back and trying to trace the rise of the Worldview in its cultural origins and to concentrate on what is unique in it like the diabolical connection between ‘Being’ and Science & Technological dominance that ultimately leads to our terraforming of the planet.

No responses yet

Quora Answer: Greek Philosophy: What texts/books should one start with in order to get into Zeno of Elea?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

You start with Parmenides poem, as Zeno was defending the view of Static Being which is the only viable path according to the Goddess in the poem, the other non-viable paths being non-Being, i.e. existence, and appearance, i.e. becoming or Process Being which is full of contradictions, as Zeno pointed out.

Our way of dealing with Zeno is via the Calculus the invention of which allowed Newton to enunciate our first real Law of Nature concerning Gravity.

See also . . .
Zenoís Paradoxes: A Timely Solution
Peter Lynds…

No responses yet

Quora Answer: Which are the alternatives to UML?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

There is human readable UML. See TextUML Toolkit

Also I have done research into Domain Specific Languages for Systems Design. You can see some of this work at Kent Palmer’s Resume. There is a tutorial there based on a paper I gave at CSER 2011 called Reworking the Integral System Engineering Method Domain Specific Languages. There is also a critique of SysML and UML at A Critique of SysML from the point of view of General Schemas Theory submitted to CSER 2005

No responses yet

Quora Answer: Is The Profession Of Systems Engineering Dying?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

As an out of work Systems Engineer it is easy to think the profession is dying when one cannot get a job doing it.

However, normally insinuations of demise are premature, especially when something is in the process of being born. However, the question is what is being born? My research on General Schemas Theory suggests what is being born is not what everyone thinks is being born, i.e. Systems Engineering. I have been concerned for a long time about the foundations of Systems Engineering. If it is going to be an academic discipline then it must contribute to our knowledge in a fundamental way, like Software Engineering has since its inception. But Systems Engineering is content just to follow along holding on to the apron strings of Software Engineering, not really contributing anything fundamentally new to our understanding. When we look across the curricula of Systems Engineering Masters programs what we see is the same thing being taught everywhere. There is nothing new under the sun as far as these programs are concerned. For instance I do not know of any program that actually teachings Systems Science as the basis for Systems Engineering. I created a sample syllabus for a course in Systems Science for Systems Engineers but no school to whom I have presented it has shown any interest as yet. See and also Until Systems Engineers actually know something about and understand and extend to their own discipline the sixty years of General Systems Science research that has happened to my mind the discipline will not really have gotten started.

However, merely understanding Systems Science as the basis of Systems Engineering is not enough. What is necessary for a genuine academic discipline is to contribute something unique to knowledge which is the basis for the education of Systems Engineers different from what is taught in other disciplines that is a genuine contribution to our knowledge. Systems Engineering just by practical application of Systems Science does not accomplish that feat. It is my belief that General Schemas Theory does make that contribution. General Schemas Theory asks what is the next higher level of abstraction beyond a System. I studied this intensely as part of my Ph.D. work in Systems Engineering {See Emergent Design (emergentdesign) on and concluded that it must be something that recognizes the difference between Schemas of different kinds like: Form, Pattern, Domain etc which are at the same level of abstraction as the System Schema but different. I discovered that no one had posited such a discipline previously because I could not find any precursors in the literature. And once I developed the S-prime hypothesis as a basis for instituting a research program in General Schemas Theory then I realized that if there were such a discipline at the next higher level of abstraction from Systems Science, called Schemas Science perhaps, then this would indeed provide a fundamental and new perspective on Science and Engineering because although they used schemas all the time they were not self conscious about that use and they had no idea of the relations between the schemas that they were using. Such a discipline that studied schemas would in effect provide the internal coherence between the disciplines of Science and Engineering, which in effect are two sides of the same coin. Science strives to discover knowledge about nature or human culture, and Engineering attempts to apply that knowledge to provide new supports to the technological infrastructure underlying culture and interfacing with nature. Schemas Theory provides a way to understand the a priori ontological projections that the work of Science and Engineering are based upon. For instance, all designs are based on the projections of schemas on nature.

Interestingly enough the schemas of nature are more complex than we as a species project as a priori syntheses and that is the basis for our feeling that our technological infrastructure is artificial. But the key point from a Systems Engineering perspective is that our discipline is actually much wider than we suspect. Our discipline is not just an overdue implementation of Systems Science in Engineering. Rather our discipline deals with all the schemas, not just systems, and thus is misnamed in a fundamental way, i.e. we should really call our discipline Schemas Engineering or something else that suggests that we deal with all the a priori schemas in their internal coherence not just the systems Schema. This is already true in practice but unrecognized because we do not have the vocabulary or concepts to recognize the true nature of our own disciplines. This bodes for a fundamental paradigm, or even episteme perhaps even an ontological change in the discipline in the future when we run up against the narrowness of our conception of it in our engineering work, and we reflect that back in the development of the fundamentals of the discipline. Recognizing that we indeed use other schemas such as facet, monad, pattern, form, (system), meta-system, domain, world, kosmos, pluriverse in our work on complex systems and meta-systems that we build is the key to a fundamental rethinking of what we are doing and to my mind that will be the actual beginning of our discipline, not as an imitation of Systems Science or Software Engineering but as a sui generis and emergent discipline that seeks to understand the inner coherence between all the schemas that we embody in designed artifacts that improve the technological infrastructure of our culture in its rich relation to nature.

The problem is not whether this new conception of Schemas Engineering is practical, but the problem is at a fundamental level Systems Engineering is impractical because of its over reliance on one schema for understanding the artificial technological infrastructures that we design and construct. Systems Science is not a broad enough foundation for the kind of Engineering we actually do. And when we actually figure that out and develop General Schemas Theory as the basis of our Schemas Engineering then we will actually be providing research into the coherence of all the schemas used by Science and Engineering in general that befits the position of Systems Engineering as an top level Engineering discipline that encompasses all other Engineering disciplines in order to build Whole systems that work and extend the technological infrastructure of culture and manages the interface with nature properly, i.e. in a way that does not degrade nature any more than necessary. There is in this vision much for us as Systems Engineers to do that is new and innovative because it opens up a whole horizon of research into the way we actually build our technological products and how we understand them. And of course this challenges the status quo in our Systems Engineering programs and in our work as Systems Engineers because it means that our discipline has really not been born yet. We are just at the beginning of a new continent that needs to be explored and settled and our obsession with the systems schema is only the beginning of a journey of intellectual discovery that we have not yet taken. So prospects in the future for this new discipline that attempts to understand and then apply all the schemas coherently are good, but it is probably going to be a long time before this is actually recognized within the discipline, and our educational programs are aligned with this need. But I am optimistic about the future due to the fact that Jack Ring and Len Troncale have initiated cooperation between INCOSE and ISSS organizations and the new framework for Graduate Education has a small section on Systems Science and Systems Thinking. This is a good beginning.

No responses yet

Quora Answer: What are the original sources of Zen’s monistic additions to Buddhist teachings?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

I recommend A History of Buddhist Philosophy: Continuities and Discontinuities: David J. Kalupahana: 9780824814021: Books as a basis for approaching this question.

No responses yet

Quora Answer: Is Taoism a monist or dualist theory?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

Neither, it is nondual & nonmonist with the idea of Void (Wu Ji) Wuji (philosophy) based on  無 – Wiktionary

A friend of mine Rodney H. Swearengin suggested we should call it non-cardinal and we note that zero is the only non-cardinal number.

Non-cardinal is an alternative beyond all the possible logical alternatives. So for instance zero is a non-cardinal alternative to all the numbers.

Void is normally associated with empty spacetime, and thus with the nondual aspect of nature and extensionality as such.

It is distinguished from Emptiness of Buddhism which is defined as something other than the tetralemma (A, ~A, Both, Neither) i.e. something other than the logical possibilities.

When Buddhism first came to China the Chinese scholars thought that by Emptiness the Buddhists in India mean the same thing as they meant by Void. But eventually they realized that the Buddhist Emptiness was different from the Void. Eventually they developed very sophisticated philosophies which dealt with both Emptiness and Void, i.e. internal and external non-cardinality. The best example of this is Hua Yen Buddhism of Fa Tsang, which reinterpreted emptiness as interpenetration. Fa Tsang talks about both interpenetration and interinclusion, i.e. mass-like and set-like ways of approaching other things, which should be contrast with intrapenetration and intrainclusion to cover all the possibilities.

Basically these four cover both set and mass approaches to what is external and internal. Note that emptiness which is internal is associated with inter-x and void which is external is associated with intra-x. In other words there is mirroring between emptiness and void.

We see in the poetry of Stonehouse (Shiwu) the zen taoist hermit lines of poetry where one line is empty and the next line is void and then the next line is empty etc.Thus in the Chinese tradition they become very sophisticated in balancing and distinguishing these two types of non-cardinality both internal and external both mass-like and set-like whose exhausted possibilities (inter/intra//in/exclusion) points to the possibility of a deeper nonduality beyond the difference between emptiness and void.

No responses yet

Quora Answer: What are the intellectual blind spots of western philosophy?

Oct 18 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

This is the question I have been studying for years. This is the problematic of the nature of the Western worldview in relation to other worldviews, and Western Science in relation to traditional sciences of other cultures. In other words we cannot see our own blindspots, except by reference to other traditions that have different blindspots. This pretty much has to be a cross-cultural exploration if it is really going to turn up any blindspots we don’t know about in our own tradition. Unfortunately most people don’t know their own tradition less well other traditions to compare it to. So it turns out that this kind of cross-cultural philosophical anthropology very seldom gets done by anyone. And because no one has a background in the necessary assorted subjects that are necessary, even if you do it because of some strange intellectual aberration or fascination, no one knows what is being talked about and therefore they don’t get anything out of the results of such a study. Many of my posts on quora are on associated subjects and the reception of the various things I have written is a good indication of the level of interest in these sorts of subjects.

Basically if you don’t know your own tradition, and you don’t know any other traditions, then it is pretty well impossible understand these possible blindspots of our tradition. One of these blindspots is the fact that other traditions are more sophisticated that the Western tradition. We think our tradition is the most sophisticated tradition and that blinds us to the sophistication of other colonized cultures. Just to appreciate the sophistication of other traditions in relation to our tradition one has to learn quite a bit of other traditions. The basis of this greater sophistication is that meditation drives some other traditions and they are about not just mundane everyday experience but higher order states of consciousness which changes our view of our existence. Another point is that our tradition is stuck in Set-like approaches and Syllogistic Logic while say Hinduism, Buddhism and Chinese philosophy is rooted in Mass-like approaches and uses Pervasion logic. Another Blindspot is that Being is only an Indo-European idea, but we assume it is the fundamental basis for understanding everything, but other cultures have different fundamentals or ultimates different from Being. Europeans assume that everyone is talking about Being and they cannot differentiate Existentials that are the basis for approaching things in other traditions.

These are just a few points. Other points are made in different answers I have given already. And further examples are given in my various writings that are available at – Share research. But I would like encourage others to study different traditions in order to try to see the blindspots in our tradition. Those blindspots are your own blindspots too. We cannot separate ourselves from our tradition. Ignorance merely means not only do we have blindspots but are actually blind because we accept without thinking what ever we have picked up randomly.

No responses yet

« Prev - Next »

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog