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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Connecting the Dots...

Eric Armstrong <eric.armstrong@sun.com> writes:    (01)

 % John Sechrest wrote:
 % > 
 % > Perhaps this is the point where it would help
 % > to have a philosophical background, so that we know what the
 % > classic "Previously proved problems" are.    (02)

 % > So that the whole argument did not have to be drawn out to each
 % > node before we gain understanding.    (03)

 % It's possible, but the education in philosophy I received in
 % college (back in the middle of the last century) doesn't
 % suggest much that would of use here, that I recall.    (04)

 The conversation that I had with a philosphy professor last night
 was worth the conversation. I would say that there are several 
 things worth considering like:    (05)

 - What is the basic set of assumptions each of us is making
    about the world. What are the philosophical
    points of view that we are starting from?    (06)

 - What are the conversations that have been had in the past 
   around the basic issues that we are raising. 
   Certainly the fundamentals of this conversation have been
   had before over other actions.     (07)

 % Instead, I'm reminded more of a game theory situation, where
 % we have a variety of past situations that have led to 
 % strategy-formulation. Like chess players, the circumstances
 % on the board suggest potential strategies, but as a result
 % of an association process that links circumstances to strategies.    (08)

 But that seems to miss many of the points like:    (09)

 - It ignores history of this discussion
 - it is reductionist and misses any possible synthesis    (010)

 - It assumes a competition. When in fact, the goal is 
   a collaboration that drives each of us to higher learning.    (011)

 If you are going to think game theory, then I suggest the
 game to start with is the Glass Bead game or
 the Glass Plate Game    (012)

 % The question, "what is the right thing to do?" is therefore
 % tantamount to asking a whole series of questions:    (013)

 Right based on what principles?    (014)

 %   * What is the current situation?
 %   * What aspects of the current situation are relevant?    (015)

 Are you saying that the situation is the basis for deciding?
 I would have to tell you that I am definiatly not a relativist.
 There are some things that are just plain wrong.     (016)

 The destruction of a species is just plain wrong.
 The death of innocents to further personal motives 
 or profit motives is just plain wrong.            (017)

 %   * Which strategies have been successful or not successful
 %     in dealing with situations of this kind?
 %   * Given a strategy is execution possible in this case?
 %     (Example: The king is behind a wall of pawns. That 
 %      immediately suggests a back-rank mate as a possible
 %      strategy. But can it be employed? If all files are
 %      blocked, or there are no rooks or queens on the board,
 %      then the answer would be no.)    (018)

 Sorry. I am totally not on the same page.     (019)

 I am not even sure that the question is "what should we do?"    (020)

 Perhaps it is... "What should we (the US) do about Iraq?"    (021)

 Ok. The question is a implied pronoun:    (022)

"what is the right thing (for me/us) to do (about Iraq)?"     (023)

 % A "resolution", then, would require examining strategies, 
 % coming to an agreement as to whether they are appropriate,
 % and then coming to an agreement as whether they are executable.    (024)

 Ok. So we are searching for actions, and extrapolating the 
 consequences of those actions.     (025)

 % Interestingly, there is a model of chess analysis, where experts
 % evaluate a position and decide who has the upper hand. But there
 % are frequently disagreements, the analysis of even the best
 % experts is sometimes wrong, and even the apparently "best"
 % strategy could suffer from a failure of execution. (So a player
 % may choose an inferior strategy, and succeed with it, because
 % it suits their strengths, or exploits the oppositions weaknesses.)    (026)

 % "Drilling down" in a such a scenario would require lots of
 % additional analysis, both to provide evidence for one's own
 % claims, and to examine the claims of another. But the time
 % spent doing that analysis would defeat the goal that heuristics
 % achieve in the first place -- allowing a decision to be reached
 % in time for it to be of any use.    (027)

 % Again, I welcome contributions from anyone who has ever facilitated
 % such a discussion. Because at the moment, I don't see any basis for
 % solving the problem, with or without a tool. (Which again leads to
 % the notion of delineating cases, so we can separate "computationally
 % unsolvable" problems from those that we can profitably approach.    (028)

 I don't think we have pushed the data/exploration far enough. 
 We stopped because there is a enough data to try to gain some 
 alternative path to understanding.    (029)

 there are at least 50 points where we brushed over them and left
 ends hanging to be explored.    (030)

 But as we push on those , we will start getting to some of the 
 core philosophical questions...    (031)

 What is the value of a life?    (032)

 Who as the right to take a life?    (033)

 Are the lives of all people the same?    (034)

 Is it ok to kill one person for the benefit of the many?    (035)

 Is violence ever justified?    (036)

 Does might make right?    (037)

 And eventually, I suspect that we will get down to 
 are ethics situational?    (038)

 This is the failure of the structure of the dialog.    (039)

 So , we have to change it.... That is the point of the ba-unrev
 list after all.    (040)

 How can we change the dialog so that the goal seeking is
 for greater understanding?    (041)

John Sechrest          .         Helping people use
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1600 SW Western, Suite 180       .            Internet: sechrest@peak.org
Corvallis Oregon 97333               .                  (541) 754-7325
                                            . http://www.peak.org/~sechrest    (042)