Plato’s reading suggestions, episode 94

Here it is, our regular Friday diet of suggested readings for the weekend:

The complex ethics of being a tourist.

Coincidences tell us more about our minds than how the universe works.

The origins of post-truth and why we can’t really do much about it.

David Hume and Adam Smith, friends.

Freudianism is pseudoscience, so why does it survive? ‘Cause it ain’t as bad as the alternatives…

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Please notice that the duration of the comments window is three days (including publication day), and that comments are moderated for relevance (to the post one is allegedly commenting on), redundancy (not good), and tone (constructive is what we aim for). This applies to both the suggested readings and the regular posts. Thanks!

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Categories: Plato's Suggestions

51 replies

  1. Socratic

    But I also do think that simply “kicking out” tourists isn’t desirable, and it does bring in important money (it wouldn’t be as much of a problem if Europe hasn’t be screwed by the neoliberal reforms as a result of the EU in the past few decades) There needs to be some way to actually manage the situation, have you heard of anything?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Cousin,

    Freud is made worse by the ‘translation’ as it replaces straight forward German with Latin based jargon. Ich –> Ego, Es –> Id.

    You get so much more pecunia if people don’t understand you, providing your superego doesn’t interfere.

    https://goo.gl/xSCQU6 Id volo pretium (Id indeed)

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  3. Dan’s argument using GDP as an automatic answer is very weak.

    Bill gates walks into Moe’s Bar just as Homer leaves. The mean income (more or less equivalent to GDP/Population) has just gone up by several orders of magnitude.

    GDP is not a good measure of the income of a typical person. Policy that increases GDP may not help most of us.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Saph, the problem is ultimately booze. The British yobs are even worse at binge drinking, it seems, than US college frat housers. So, any solution starts there.

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  5. There is nothing “weak” about pointing out that it might not be the most productive thing in the world to bash and insult people who provide 20% of your country’s income.

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  6. And, while I love philosopher friend Brett Welch, this link he posted on Twitter about Freud and the herd instinct is also wrong. Love has nothing to do with crowd psychology. https://aeon.co/classics/love-and-identification-lie-behind-the-dark-urges-of-the-mob

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  7. Daniel Kaufman

    Yes, because a country’s GDP isn’t the income of the country’s budget or the income of it citizens. Why does most of India look impoverished and several dozen countries below their GDP ranking do not?

    And yes, whether to facilitate economic growth at the expense of other social costs is a very basic policy question to answer.

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  8. My problem with Freudianism isn’t just about it being pseudoscience but the fact that there “is such a thing”. I mean okay, some of his way of approaching the mind might persist because we don’t have alternatives, but they’re not inherently “Freudian” they’re just ideas that have been thought out and tweaked. I’m always skeptical of any framework that expresses itself of following one person’s particular ideas, they always turn out to be not quite right. It’s been true in physics with regards to Newton and “Newtonian Physics” and it’s even more true for questions involving complicated questions about the mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I lived in NY for most of my life and in Manhattan for a good portion of it.

    Annual number of tourist in NYC: 61 million or so.
    Population: 8,5 million (Manhattan: 1,6 million).

    Annual number of tourists in Venice: between 22 and 30 million.
    Population: 265 000 (55 000 in the historic city).

    Annual number of tourists in NYC if it reached the scale of Venice: between 700 and 960 million (extrapolated from the populations).
    If you compare Manhattan and the historic city of Venice: between 640 and 870 million.

    700 million… that’s about one tenth of the world population. I wonder how New Yorkers would cope with that. Not to mention the subway, the sewers etc.

    As I already said, few people are against tourism, and in most tourist areas they appreciate and welcome visitors – and their money. However, in certain places (Venice, Dubrovnik, Barcelona apparently …) it has reached untenable proportions.
    I don’t know what’s obnoxious about pointing this out.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Dan, Just cause they get 20% of the income, does not mean they provide 20% of the income.

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  11. It’s been true in physics with regards to Newton and “Newtonian Physics

    Newtonian physics is accurate in it’s domain of applicability. No one would use GR to calculate a route to Mars.

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  12. Saph, the problem is ultimately

    Even British physicist have a booze problem.

    Once I went to a workshop about the physics of the BaBar collaboration in Rome with collaborators from around the world. After the collaboration dinner most of us walked about down looking at the famous sites. Due to DOE compensations rules we did not have much time for such tourism.

    Walking about we stumbled on the Brits in a pseudo English pub lapping up warm beer.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. In my little (pop 1200) town in Southern Oregon, there is much talk of promoting tourism, and I generally favor projects that make the town a more desirable place to live. I think that’s a better course for the long run. In the case of seriously overrun places like Venice, I think it’s a development similar to the ridiculous inflation of prices for art: the increase in global population has placed a great premium on things that are old, attractive, and unique, and Venice (and many other sites in Europe) has all these attributes in spades (so does the Grand Canyon, but that has more space to accommodate the overflow crowds).

    I think the post-truth problem has its roots in the might = right theory, which I remember from my college philosophy class as a tough one to refute.

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  14. Arthur,
    To second saphsin, there is that, “Standing on the shoulders of giants” thing.

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  15. synred

    True, but that’s not how it was initially categorized until the 20th Century, it was treated dogmatically at one point. I mean Kant thought we needed to derive Newtonian physics from a priori principles for instance, as if it was mathematics.

    Maybe it wasn’t the best example to mention Newton, but any field where we’re flailing about confused while being so pro- or against- one person’s ideas is probably very distorted.

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  16. Maybe it wasn’t the best example to mention Newton, but any field where we’re flailing about confused while being so pro- or against- one person’s ideas is probably very distorted

    Newtonian theory is not in least confused. Psychology, sociability, economics and ‘political science’ are.

    That’s because physics is ‘easy’ and these others are much ‘harder’ problems. I’m pretty sure their is not a mathematical solution — least ways not one we can figure out.

    And we don’t really know how much further we can get done in physics. So far what we have been relatively simple; there’s nothing to guarantee, strings or whatever is too difficult of us — not that we should stop trying in physics or the social sciences.

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  17. WTC, per some old threads here, online bucket lists, selfies and other things Net 2.0 maybe tie in?

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  18. Hi saphsin,

    Maybe it wasn’t the best example to mention Newton, but any field where we’re flailing about confused while being so pro- or against- one person’s ideas is probably very distorted.

    But in science this doesn’t really happen. The person’s ideas are built upon and improved. What we call “Newtonian physics” today is a vastly improved version of Newton’s original writings (which hardly anyone ever reads now). Fidelity to the original versions is irrelevant in science (which is one big different with philosophy, where discussion continually refers back to the original writings).

    Similarly, if we talk today about “Darwinian evolution”, one could take that as referring narrowly to Darwin’s original ideas, but most people would take it as referring to the improved and updated version of evolutionary theory that we have today.

    Names such as these in science are honorifics, but are little more than that, and don’t indicate a primacy of that person’s original ideas (and the fact that Freudian theory still harks back largely to Freud is one indication that it is a pseudoscience).

    … it was treated dogmatically at one point. I mean Kant thought we needed to derive Newtonian physics from a priori principles for instance, as if it was mathematics.

    But how Kant regarded it is not indicative of how physicists regarded it.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. “And we don’t really know how much further we can get done in physics. So far what we have been relatively simple; there’s nothing to guarantee, strings or whatever is too difficult of us — not that we should stop trying in physics or the social sciences.”

    Physics is about the basics, but that doesn’t make it immune to social proclivities and it is not like there are no elephants in the room, just like in economics.

    How about a serious debate between presentism and eternalism? How do you reconcile the conservation of energy with block time? Is mathematics prescriptive, or descriptive?

    It’s not as though adding ever more complex patches to accepted assumptions doesn’t have a long history.

    When there is no more forward momentum, the only option for those do want to continue to explore is to examine the foundations. That physicists don’t appreciate such basics says something about the narrow specialization of their worldview. Something about progress and funerals.

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  20. synred

    I realize that, which was why I admitted it might not have been the best example to bring up to illustrate what I meant.

    Coel

    I’m aware, I’m talking about how Newtonian Physics used to be evaluated, clearly it’s not anything like that for over a century.

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  21. How about a serious debate between presentism and eternalism? How do you reconcile the conservation of energy with block time? Is mathematics prescriptive, or descriptive?

    Conservation of energy just mean that energy doesn’t change as you move a time axis (block or otherwise).

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