Tagged: covid-19

Law 18: On the Individual Right to Own Nuclear Weapons

A military occupation of a foreign country allegedly “for the oil fields” means you want to convince people it is in order to pay top dollar for oil, when it would be much less expensive to just buy it. Give me a break.

*

Vaccination in an Age of Opioid Crisis

DC AG subpoenas Facebook for data on ALL users that have spread “COVID-19 misinformation.”–Unmasking people for wrongthink. (Reclaim the Net)

“The subpoena is part of a previously undisclosed investigation into whether Facebook is violating consumer protection laws.”

The story is quite hazy. It isn’t clear to me on what legal grounds the subpoena is issued. Consumer protection? When someone opposes vaccination, he certainly is no consumer of vaccines. ‘’Consumer’’ protection for vax dealers from their market then?

That they still have the effrontery to tell people what is information and what is misinformation on health issues while in the middle of an opioid crisis that has claimed more than half a million lives is mind-blowing.

ii

In the middle of an opioid crisis that has claimed more than half a million lives† the ‘’administrative state’’ (John Marini) is in no position to tell citizens what is information and what is misinformation (for instance on vaccines).

‘’The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices.’’ (FDA’s Website) No, the FDA is not responsible for that since in the middle of an opioid crisis of such magnitude no accountability claim is raised against the FDA.

†« La crise des opaciés ayant fait plus d’un demi-million de morts depuis vingt ans » (Le Figaro newspaper, June 28, 2021)

*

Compulsory Love: State Rape of Consciences

Supreme Court Refuses To Decide If Floral Artist Loses Her Religious Liberty At Shop Door. (The Federalist, July 2, 2021)

Soon no one will know what to expect.

“In Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority (1961), the U.S. Supreme Court noted the ‘public aspects’ of a restaurant charged with racial discrimination, primarily attributable to the fact that it was a lessee in a publicly owned building. However, the ruling made it clear that not every lease of public property would be considered a sufficient entanglement to justify a finding of state action.” (Kennedy & Schultz, American Public Service, 2011).

This means there can be no charge of racial discrimination against restaurants that have no ‘public aspect’ about them (not in the sense of public accommodation but in the sense for example of being a lessee in a publicly owned building).

And this while “Under U.S. federal law, public accommodations must be accessible to the disabled and may not discriminate on the basis of ‘race, color, religion, or national origin’” (since the Civil Rights Acts – the case cited above predates the 1964 federal act but, as you know, a federal statute does not empty out a Supreme Court’s decision and, on the contrary, if it were argued that the federal statute runs into the decision that would mean the statute is unconstitutional.)

The case discussed by The Federalist is about derogations to anti-discrimination laws in public accommodations such as cakeshops or flower shops. Why even talk of derogations? If a restaurant with no ‘public aspect’ about it is immune from charges of discrimination under federal law, you bet a flower shop is immune from a whacky state law (unconstitutional to begin with).

The Supreme Cour of the United States (SCOTUS) declined to hear the case because, I’m sure, they know they would have to uphold the florist’s rights against Washington state’s anti-discrimination law and… they didn’t want to.

ii

The Court had the clear duty to protect the florist’s right because this was expected by everyone from 1/ the Court’s case law (Masterpiece Cakeshop, 2018) and 2/ the Court’s action in the present case: “The Washington Supreme Court upheld the ban, even after SCOTUS asked the state’s court to keep the landmark Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling into account.” (The Federalist) 1+2=hear the case, not dismiss it.

One responsible for the declinal and contempt of an American citizen’s freedom is Justice Amy Coney Barrett… It seems it always works: she was so vilified and demonized as an extremist during the hearings that she might become a liberal swamp creature now in everything she does as Justice, if she has freaked out.

There are enough community-friendly businesses around with the little flags, leave people alone.

*

Pastor Green

As Finnish politician Päivi Räsänen is currently prosecuted for hate speech in Finland after having expressed her Christian views about homosexuality (see Law 11), let us remember a case in Finland’s neighboring Sweden, where Pentecostal Pastor Åke Green was acquitted by the Swedish Supreme Court applying Articles 9 (freedom of conscience and religion) and 10 (freedom of speech) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) against the Swedish criminal code.

For having in a sermon ‘’described ‘sexual perversions’ (referencing homosexuality) as ‘abnormal, a horrible cancerous tumor in the body of society’ [and] said that a person cannot be a Christian and a homosexual at the same time’’ (Wikipedia), Pastor Green was prosecuted for group libel (hets mot folksgrupp, ‘’incitement against a group’’) and sentenced to one month in prison. The court of appeals overturned the sentence, leading the attorney general, unsatisfied that Pastor Green could get off scot-free for expressing his views, to bring the case before the Supreme Court.

In 2005 the Supreme Court, invoking the ECHR that applies to all party states (among them Finland too), upheld Pastor Green’s right to express his views.

‘’Responding to the sentence, Sören Andersson, the president of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL), said that religious freedom could never be used as a reason to persecute people.’’ (Wikipedia) This is a testimony of this person’s blatantly muddled notions since, even though there were no separation of Church and State in Sweden (there is a national Lutheran church), expressing one’s negative views about homosexuality from outside the national church and state in no way can be construed (contrived) as persecution of homosexuals, and on the contrary it would be Pastor Green’s conviction for his speech that would be persecution – and actually was state persecution (endorsed by RFSL) until the Supreme Court overturned the conviction.

I ask the Finnish courts regarding Päivi Räsänen to uphold Sweden’s interpretation of the ECHR and not to make an empty nutshell of the Convention.

Pastor Åke Green (left)

*

On New Definitions as Hot Air

A new definition of antisemitism by the U.S. State Department is not a matter of law and can have no judicial effect on American citizens since antisemitism is nonexistent as a legal object to begin with (there is no constitutional hate speech law in the U.S. thanks to the First Amendment).

As I see it they intend the move as an international policy pressure tool: since anti-Zionism is now, by this new definition, antisemitism, they can object to anti-Zionist standpoints from other countries as antisemitic and presumably they believe it will give the American administration more self-wilfulness in their unconditional (and therefore, in my opinion, unconstitutional) alignment with Israel (aligned no matter what the latter’s policies are).

ii

Probably mainstream media will talk a good deal about it? Governor Greg Abbott led the way by having the definition adopted already in Texas (see Law 17). I don’t know what it is in Texas, whether a statute, an executive act, or a sheet of paper signed by Abbott and flaunted to cameras… No idea, but neither this Texan nor the U.S. State Department’s definition is a normative act. They’re using their constitutional powers for non-normative activity: HOT AIR. Symbolically you might resent it, and symbolically mainstream media might make a lot of fuss about it as if it were lawmaking, but legally speaking this hot air is showing us some people at the end of their tether if anything.

(“At the end of their tether” means that if the hot air becomes too visibly pathetic they are going to resort to illegality in broad daylight.)

iii

To be sure antisemitism might be considered a legal object through the dubious category of hate crime (a crime against an individual is thought more egregious when the alleged motivation is hate towards a group). I call the category dubious but so far it has not been declared unconstitutional so I make the present qualification. However this does not change one jot to what I wrote, as neither the State Department nor Abbott’s definition binds courts, which will continue to use their own sovereign definitions.

*

Given that the new administration’s barefaced hostility to the First Amendment can only lead to their blowing hot air and never to legitimate lawmaking, the greatest threat of illegal violence at this juncture in the USA is poised against law-abiding white dissenters. There is something pathetic about blowing hot air which cannot escape them (the administration, the government) long.

*

New York Will Allow People to Sue Gun Manufacturers for Violence.

People are already allowed to sue and courts are and will continue to be allowed to dismiss such claims as groundless. Another example of hot air.

*

On the Individual Right to Own Nuclear Weapons

‘’If you wanted to take on the governement, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.’’ (Joe Biden)

Defenders of the Second Amendment have memed about the F-15s, with pictures of jet planes displayed on private lawns and such like.

The Second Amendment, I argue, allows one to own nuclear weapons.

Here’s the story: ‘’The only instance where a court has permitted the prior restraint of a newspaper was in United States v. Progressive, Inc., 467 F. Supp. 990 (W.D. Wis. 1979), where a federal court enjoined a magazine from publishing the directions on how to make a hydrogen bomb. The government feared that publishing the recipe for the bomb would threaten the United States. Eventually a federal court of appeals decision lifted the injunction on publication of the directions and the Progressive Magazine published the hydrogen bomb recipe in an article.’’ (Encyclopedia of American Law, Schultz ed., 2002: prior restraint)

The recipe for the H bomb was published in a magazine around 1979 (after the restraint on publication was lifted by a court of appeals). The prior restraint was lifted because the court of appeals did not agree with the government that publishing the recipe would threaten the United States. Therefore, as publishing the recipe for a nuclear weapon is not a threat such as prior restraint would be warranted, similarly owning a nuclear weapon is not, since publishing is only a step to making and owning the weapon and not an end in itself. As a consequence, any statute prohibiting the making and owning of nuclear weapons violates the Constitution.

*

Health Official [Nova Scotia, Canada]: Banning Public Gatherings Stops “Misinformation” Spread.

Every piece of information about Canada should appear with a mandatory warning: ‘’Canada.’’ You can’t go on freaking people out like this.

*

Libel Law and Political Cartel

Justices Thomas and Gorsuch call for a revisiting of 1964 case that prevented public figures suing for defamation. (Reclaim the Net)

Well, public figures are not “prevented” from suing, only they must show actual malice when the statements are untrue, that is, the onus of the proof is on them. – Let these two (Justices) have their way and soon you’ll have nothing to envy to beloved Canada.

Of course public figures can sue, only claimants have to demonstrate defendants’ actual malice and this is what Justices Gorsuch and Thomas disagree with. They want politicians to be censors through gag trials as politicians do in other countries like Canada.

ii

Reclaim the Net wrote a rather supportive paper on Justices Thomas and Gorsuch’s opinion that libel law should be changed regarding public officials (read: politicians), that is, that NYT v. Sullivan should be reversed. Therefore they endorsed a view contrary to free speech, they defend politicians’ so-called personality rights against free speech, supporting the two Justices’ view that the line should be drawn as it is in Canada, for instance, which is to pave the way to a political class forming a protected political cartel.

This, in my opinion, betrays Reclaim the Net’s conservative militancy, that is, their alignment with party politics. As it is observed that the media environment is biased towards the Democratic party and against the Republican party, the two Justices think that to align libel law with all other western democracies’ practice (with their political cartels) will allow Republican politicians to respond to smear campaigns (as if such campaigns were really detrimental to them, to begin with, rather than the opposite).

To make a long story short: this will Canadize (Canada-ize) the USA. (But as I said already time and again hostility to free speech is universal among professional politicians: this statement is my contribution to political SCIENCE.)

(One more thing: When you will have Canadize USA through libel law, it will only be a matter a time before USA adopts hate speech laws Canada-wise and alternative social platforms will be no more.)

*

Irrevocable Laws

Canada marching towards tyranny as move to criminalize dissenting speech moves closer to reality. (Natural News)

Hate speech is already a crime in Canada and has been for decades. Therefore Canada is not “moving to criminalize dissenting speech,” as if it did not exist already in the country.

“The proposed legislation by the Justice Department of Canada would tamp down on hate speech by adding language to the Canadian Human Rights Act and Canadian criminal code to try to clarify the definition of hate speech.”

We’re talking of a mere “clarification” of the definition of hate speech. – Opponents to this “clarification” are not opposed to hate speech legislation, quite the contrary: “This bill will not target hate speech – just ensure bureaucrats in Ottawa are bogged down with frivolous complaints about tweets,” Rob Moore, the Conservative Party’s Shadow Minister for Justice and Attorney General of Canada, noted.” Canadian conservative opposition feels the clarification of the definition of hate speech will not target hate speech and therefore it is bad. For them criminalization of hate speech is GOOD. And they’re the opposition.

*

Two ‘’Western Democracies’’ Worlds Apart

Tennessee mayor powerless to remove ‘vile’ anti-Biden flag.

The flag, which says, “(expletive) Biden and (expletive) you for voting for him,” was propped up at least a month ago at a home in Munford.

Mayor Dwayne Cole said the city attorney looked into the matter and, despite the wave of complaints, determined that the homeowner is within his rights to fly the flag. (Washington Examiner, July 4, 2021)

Compare:

Une jeune femme interpellée à Toulouse pour une banderole “Macronavirus” dans son jardin. La police l’a placée en garde à vue pour « outrage », avant de la relâcher, indique son avocate. Mediapart fait état de plusieurs interventions policières en France pour des affaires de ce genre.

Les résidents ont obtempéré à la demande de décrochage, mais les policiers sont revenus le lendemain remettre une convocation à l’une d’entre eux. (Sud Ouest, April 24, 2020)

*

‘’If violent crime is to be curbed, it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither the judge nor jury. Therefore, what he must be taught to fear is his victim.’’ (Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper USMC [United States Marine Corps])

« Réduire la criminalité, seule la victime considérée peut le faire. Le criminel n’a pas peur de la police, du juge ni d’un jury. Aussi, ce dont il doit apprendre à avoir peur, c’est de sa victime. » (Lieut. col. Jeff Cooper [1920-2006])

Tout le reste est État policier.

Cours de philosophie 2

Après une introduction assez substantielle (Cours de philo), un cours de mise en jambe avant du plus lourd.

Ce cours, tiré de mon activité de blogueur, est composé de quelques réactions qui furent les miennes à la lecture de textes philosophiques de deux autres blogueurs.

*

Tout d’abord, une réponse à un blog qui n’a pas daigné ou osé publier cette réponse et dont j’oublie le nom, réponse à une présentation de la pensée du philosophe Hans Vaihinger (1852-1933).

Je ne suis pas certain – et cela rend d’autant plus intriguant pour moi le fait que ses sources soient « principalement Kant et Schopenhauer » – que l’espèce d’utilité cognitive que dessine Vaihinger ait vraiment un sens. De prime abord, je crois retrouver des échos du « Tout est bon » qui caractérise l’anarchisme épistémologique de Feyerabend (c’est-à-dire que c’est la pensée de Feyerabend qui en serait l’écho, car plus tardive, bien que Feyerabend ne me paraisse pas citer Vaihinger dans son Contre la méthode).

Kant, de son côté, souligne certes l’utilité des sciences positives (empiriques), ce qui a néanmoins chez lui deux sens qu’il convient de distinguer.

Le premier, le plus connu, est que ce terme d’utilité vise à souligner a contrario les fruits d’une critique de la métaphysique dévoyée – toute la métaphysique traditionnelle –, en indiquant l’intérêt d’un usage empirique de la raison dans les sciences positives, à savoir que cet usage est utile.

Le second sens est que la science empirique est utile même si en soi la connaissance empirique est à jamais incomplète dans la synthèse continue des connaissances relatives à la nature. (À cet égard, l’expression de « connaissances cumulatives » est une feuille de vigne, une pudeur de l’entendement, car la réalité est simplement qu’il n’y a rien d’apodictique et donc rien d’autre qu’une roue de hamster intellective dans ce domaine de la pensée.) Kant ne valorise donc pas cet utile, et la remarque de Carnap selon laquelle Kant, penseur des sciences, n’a pas cherché grand-chose dans les sciences et la méthode scientifique elles-mêmes (à part une théorie des nébuleuses dont les savants lui font encore crédit), est très pertinente, plus même que Carnap ne s’en doutait.

L’utile, en dehors de domaines particuliers considérés, ne peut être défini que par le biologique et est donc en philosophie une notion complètement bogus. La science n’est même pas utile : les primitifs se reproduisent tout autant et même plus, donc leur état est caractérisé par une plus grande utilité que l’état civilisé. – Et la rhétorique kantienne de l’utilité de la science est palpablement un artifice, une ficelle dans le projet de Kant d’éloigner les esprits de l’étude de la métaphysique traditionnelle.

*

Les autres textes qui suivent, en anglais, sont tirés d’échanges avec la blogueuse maylynno (Lien vers son blog), professeur de philosophie et poétesse libanaise (qui blogue en anglais). Les citations sans indications d’auteur sont de maylynno.

Perhaps it’s secondary to the content, the length and the style in philosophical writings is still a dilemma. What are the reasons behind this issue and is there a mold to respect?

From Alain’s extremely short and concise Propos to Kant’s ponderous yet not verbose in the least bit Critique of Pure Reason, all formats may indeed do in philosophy.

Yet there’s a domain where long-windedness seems to be the rule, and a detrimental (but inevitable?) one:

‘’Dijksterhuis and van Knippenberg (2000) demonstrated behavioral effects of activation of the stereotype of politicians. In pilot testing, they had established that politicians are associated with longwindedness. People generally think that politicians talk a lot without saying much. In an experiment, Dijksterhuis and van Knippenberg activated the stereotype of politicians with the use of a scrambled sentence procedure for half of their participants. Subsequently, participants were asked to write an essay in which they argued against the French nuclear testing program in the Pacific (this experiment was carried out in 1996). As expected, participants primed with politician-related stimuli wrote essays that were considerably longer than did control participants.’’ (Dijksterhuis, Chartrand & Aarts, in Social Psychology and the Unconscious, 2007, John A. Bargh ed.)

*

Whether global warming needs urgent and immediate actions, it is high time we let go of the past in order to face the future. What past are we talking about? Traditions and religions.

Let’s call tradition your ‘’traditions and religions.’’ Your programmatic call has already been taken up: By science – the very hard science that is burning our planet Earth to ashes. Science has assumed a dogmatic guise wholly uncongenial to its very essence; scientism is in truth the hopeless and embittered realization that the relativity of empirical knowledge (in the continuous synthesis of empirism) cannot fulfill the metaphysical functions of tradition.

In Heideggerian terms, science is not even so much relativism as outright nihilism. In that view, tradition would have to be re-understood, which means two things. First, tradition must be re-understood over the nihilism of hard science that has colonized modern Man. Second, to re-understand tradition means to understand its dialectics, which is to say that the actual tradition of our traditional past and present is not tradition yet.

*

One might consider that thoughts or “a thought” is not a philosophical object to begin with, but a sociological one, what German psychologist Karl Marbe called a ,,Fremdeinstellung,’’ or borrowed attitude/disposition (ingrained, customary or transitive, through suggestion, priming, education, hypnosis and what not): More often than not a thought we call ours (‘’My thought is…’’) is a replicate of a thought from amidst the group we live in. These are thoughts in the sociological sense; philosophy being, in this context, meta-cognition, the way one deals with one’s sociological thoughts – which dealing, as Heidegger stressed, is bound to remain impractical in every sense of the word.

*

That there be any individual benefits in reading philosophy is a moot point, and my conclusion is that this is why it should be made compulsory reading at one stage or other of one’s schooling.

The most obvious answer to the question about what the benefits of reading philosophy are, is, following Heidegger, that there are none for the individual: He or she will be no worse a cog in the machine if he or she completely lacks philosophical culture (or even, plain and simple, culture, as philosophy is part of culture). Yet when one gets acquainted with culture and philosophy, one needs it as one needs oxygen. There are no benefits but only one more need, and this is the need to be a human in the full sense of the word. Were it not compulsory during one’s education to read philosophy and work on these readings, in most cases one would not wish to get acquainted with it, precisely because the benefits of it are immaterial on the monetary market that we tend to see as “our future” in this life. Even when compulsory at some point, philosophy is discarded by many when the subject is no longer required for grades (and for getting in the marketplace). One underlying reason may be that, as the Hungarian economist Tibor Scitovsky once put it, “Culture is the occupation of the leisure class.” Where one’s vocation is to be a cog in the machine, philosophy has no place.

That the activity of thinking should make some people roll their eyes is no surprise, as it comes as no surprise either that sometimes feathers fly when a wealthy bank manager hears his son telling him he wants a degree in philosophy or in other “humanities.”

*

‘‘I think philosophy should be marketed in order to be read/learned. Philosophers never really market themselves because they are above this and I agree with them. However the world today functions with marketing. While some silly stuff are followed by millions, I don’t see why we should not market philosophy and make it (look) accessible.’’

It happens already – philosophy is marketed – and I’ll tell you how this is done. There is that wealthy banker or industrialist; his son had his own way and studied philosophy instead of the business of trading bonds and securities. This son of his, not too brilliant as a matter of fact, has got his degree in philosophy anyway. What is he going to do now? His daddy picks up the phone, calls the manager of the weekly newspaper that his bank or holding owns, and tells him or her: “I want a column for my son in your paper.” Aussitôt dit, aussitôt fait! A new “influencer” is born, an abortive mind of rabidly conservative tendencies.

People who ask what the point of studying philosophy is, deserve no reply, or the reply of one’s shoulders shrugging. Among the very few things I find good in my country is that philosophy is (well, not sure that I shouldn’t have to say ‘’was’’ in fact, this is something I must check) compulsory for all students at least a couple of years till the baccalauréat.

*

Xennials

Thank you for introducing this new object, Xennials, to my noetic sphere.

Albeit I am no buyer generally speaking of such overgeneralizations, I tend to see a statement like “Xennials are described as having had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood” as relevant, being under deep influences from the side of Marshall and Eric McLuhan (media ecology). Yet, although I understand that a characteristic such as multitasking skills may be logically inferred from statements about technological environments, I fail to see the link with “ambition,” or the alleged “unbridled optimism” of Millenials, an optimism I do not observe (especially since dispositions acquired during childhood are always subject to adjustments to current situations and in many countries such dispositions are bound to be blasted by events such as skyrocketing levels of poverty).

As to the present technological environment, my own view is that today’s kids are growing up along a virtual reality at the stage of the ”uncanny valley” (Masahiro Mori), that is, too realistic to be taken as the pixelated fairy tale it used to be when I was a kid (bordering with Xennials on the older side) and yet not realistic enough to be interchangeable with non-virtual reality. This uncaniness of computer-generated imagery (CGI), Actroids, etc, may be warping their tender minds, perhaps creating in the long run a deep-seated hatred toward all things virtual, and a willingness, so to speak from the cradle, to develop Blade-Runner tests for the ultimate sparks of uncaniness in the insurpassable Androids of the future, while, on the other hand, all animal life will have disappeared in repeated megafires, animal life in the mirror of which human minds find a neverending spring of emotional upheavals. When nature won’t be surrounding us anymore but we will be surrounding nature, owning it like a fish tank in a living room furniture, we will have lost, as Kant would say, our sense of the sublime, all generations alike from that time on to the end of times. Paradoxically, when there is no nature (natura naturata) any longer but a ‘’fish tank’’ zoo, Man is bound to lose all sight of his supernatural vocation.

*

Aesthetics 1

Colors are the antidote to a modern world of greyness. This especially has been, after years of classicism militancy in the fine arts, what led me to modify my appreciation of contemporary art, namely its colourness as antidote (as well as its abstractness as antidote to perceptual overload).

As often, though, Kant’s philosophy serves as a mitigating factor here again, as he describes the value of fine arts as being in the drawing, colours being the lure (inferior). Quoth:

“En peinture, dans la sculpture, et d’une façon générale dans tous les arts plastiques … c’est le dessin qui est l’essentiel : en lui, ce n’est pas ce qui fait plaisir dans la sensation, mais seulement ce qui plaît par sa forme, qui est au principe de tout ce qui s’adresse au goût. Les couleurs, qui éclairent le dessin, font partie des attraits : elles peuvent certes rendre l’objet lui-même plus vivant pour la sensation, mais non pas beau et digne d’être contemplé.” (Critique de la faculté de juger)

*

Aesthetics 2

I used to worship Beauty. I was young.

Now whenever she shows up I am hurt.

Beauty makes me feel sad for the life I’m living.

Beauty, what have I done to you that I can’t look at you in the eyes?

It is a betrayal of Beauty when one feels called to it and yet withholds the offering, as with time passing by one looks ever more deeply into the inescapable. Sometimes, then, when a grown-up man hears a song, a simple song from a simple heart, he is deeply shaken, as he remembers the days when a song was all he needed and yet he turned his back on the song, letting the song pass by that was the meaning of his life. What’s worth the song, he asks to himself. He looks around and comes to the conclusion: None of this. Beauty blinds him again. Always.

*

All in all, I don’t think this Covid-19 pandemic will change anything in depth, that is, we will not stand corrected. We’ll find a vax and then conclude that quarantines aren’t needed anymore, even though vaccination campaigns won’t prevent relatively high rates of yearly deaths in case the coronavirus becomes recurrent like the flu. The flu is killing between 300.000 and 650.000 people every year (10.000 in a country like France where the vax is available for free); did governements impose quarantines each year, the death toll of the flu would be far less (say 200 in France), but the economy would stand still. So the choice is made (although no one were asked their opinion about it) to sacrifice human lives each year so the economy can go on. We’ll simply add the death toll of Covid-19 to the figure (in case it too becomes periodic) and will have business as usual.

People who will have experienced hunger and participated in food riots, like in Lebanon and South Italy, and in lootings in the US, certainly are not likely to forget these days soon. But – perhaps because, as some social scientists would argue, I have an alienated personality – I don’t think the future will be shaped by the people themselves, unless a revolution occurs, as business interests are always in the mood of keeping things as they are. Of course even business interests will have to make some adjustments, for instance in the way they brace for such so-called black swan events like Covid-19 in the future (black swan event theory is a brainchild of Lebanese-American economist Nassim Taleb), or in the short run to the hyperinflation that some see coming, and if things go awry, then it means collapse, and then again, revolution.

*

1 Philosophy and Psychology
2 ,,Universätsphilosophie’’ and Philosophy

1/ The main difference between philosophy and psychology is that psychology being a positive science it is empirical throughout, whereas there is no such thing as a philosophy empirical throughout.

2/ “Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.

True as far as the first part of the sentence is concerned, extremely dubious as to the rest.

As a matter of fact, the expression ,,Universitätsphilosophie’’ (university philosophy) reminds us that there is no congenial bond between the two. True enough, as early as the Antiquity philosophers taught at so-called Schools: Plato’s Academia, Aristotle’s Lyceum, the Stoics’ Portico… Yet at the same time, since Socrates they criticized the Sophists’ practice of having their teachings financially compensated. Which, I assume, means that a philosopher in, say, the Academia would not be paid. University professors being paid, they are the Sophists of our days. And the other distinction made by Schopenhauer, which overlaps the former, between those who live for philosophy and those who live of philosophy, stands. As was to be expected from these facts, Schopenhauer is hardly considered a philosopher by university “philosophers.” – All this bears no relation to anyone’s own personal situation, and I believe my readers are above taking my views as being personal regarding their situation. Kant was a professor too. (Schopenhauer explains that Kant could be a professor and a philosopher at the same time due to the ruling of an enlightened monarch in Prussia; and by this he was not meaning that in a democracy, then, university teachings would be free by mere virtue of a democratic Constitution.)

1 – I  may agree that psychology is not quite on par with physics, but this is only on a superficial level, given, at the core, the incompleteness of all empirical knowledge, its incrementality. As empirical sciences, both physics and psychology suffer from the same defect of being incremental knowledge providing at best an ,,analogon” of certainty.

Predictions based on exact sciences are in fact much more limited than usually acknowledged. True, when you start your car, you know it will go at your command, and this is due to scientific predictions upon which the apparatus is built up. Yet this is all we can do with exact science: to make technique out of it, that is, to harness forces in a predictable way — until the prediction is contradicted (by black swan events). It happens from time to time that a powder magazine explodes for no apparent reason, because of the particles’ Brownian movement which cannot be detected at the present stage of our technique; so these explosions are unpredictable, yet we are closing our eyes on the danger on which we stand. In the future we will find a way to predict these movements, but then still other events will escape our knowledge, ad infinitum, so progress amounts to nothing, it is only a change in conditions, not a progress in the true sense of the word, and that is true of the whole empirical field.

In this context, psychology is no different, and only ethical considerations have (allegedly) prevented us so far from designing apparata to predict and control human behavior based on the empirical knowledge of our psyche. Such apparata would, I believe, work as satisfactorily as a car does (only, we would have to deal with casualties there too, as we are dealing with road traffic casualties).

2 – When universities and schools are not free from all influences, philosophy professors are sophists because not only do they hold a remunerated tenure but also they make believe philosophy is what the government, the authorities, the “Prince,” or any other interest-holding influencer, says it is.

If we look at the history of relationships between university and philosophy beyond the controversy involving Greek philosophers and sophists, we see that universities were created in the middle ages and that the philosophy taught in these institutions then was scholasticism, as the ‘‘ancilla’’ (maid-servant) of theology. Modern philosophy developed against Scholastics (Hobbes et al) and from outside the university. As far as modern philosophy is concerned, the connexion with university is therefore not foundational, but a late evolution, the turning point of which is Hegelianism. Yet the relationship remains shaky at best. To take only a couple of examples, Nietzsche left university at an early stage in his professoral life as an uncongenial environment, and Sartre, although his curriculum was the via regia to holding a tenure, chose quite another path (namely, a literary career and journalism), leaving no doubt, in a couple of his novels, as to the paramount existential importance of this choice. Conversely, Heidegger made a brave attempt at justifying the position of tenured professor for a philosopher, namely, that “To teach is the best way to learn.” And I already talked about Kant. Kant and, in a lesser measure, Heidegger are the reason why I see the two distinctions, that is, between ,,Universitätsphilosophie’’ and philosophy, and between those who live of philosophy and those who live for philosophy, as overlapping greatly but not quite perfectly.

Thank you for your attention.