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Where Philosophy Meets Science

WHERE PHILOSOPHY(rational instrumentalism) MEETS SCIENCE (physical instrumentalism)?

Philosophy and Science are identical processes until we attempt to use one of them without the other.

That point of demarcation is determined by the limits beyond which we cannot construct either (a) logical, or (b) physical, instruments with which to eliminate error, bias, wishful thinking, suggestion, loading and framing, obscurantism, propaganda, pseudorationalism, pseudoscience, and outright deceit.

What is moral foundation theory good for?

I've written quite a bit about Haidt in my work on Propertarianism. Perhaps I can move the discussion out of the psychological and often pseudoscientific (preferential experience) and into the legal and often scientific (necessary cooperation)

1) Haidt's Moral foundations are reducible to descriptions of those instincts necessary for the preservation of the disproportionately high rewards of cooperation through the various prohibitions on 'cheating' which disincentives and undermines that cooperation. He describes his work by referencing evolutionary theory. He does not take cooperation further into economics (productivity). Nor does he discuss the evolution of the family structure and property rights in parallel to our evolution of production.

2) The different weights of our biases reflect differences in reproductive strategy between the male and the female: the males operate as a collection of brothers defending a reproductive resource, and they attempt to ensure the strength of the tribe as a vehicle for their genes and are conscious of MERIT (costs/return). Females and seek to bear children at will and place the cost of their upkeep upon the tribe, and then seek to ensure the success of their offspring in competition with those of other females regardless of the child's MERITS since her genes must persist. In large groups this difference in reproductive strategy is adopted by different classes as well as genders. (See Haidt's Bibliography)

3) These moral biases also express themselves as biases in perception, cognition, knowledge, advocacy and labor, where progressives (feminine) favor consumption in the short term, libertarians (neutral) favor production in the medium term, and conservatives (masculine) favor accumulation of all forms of capital (especially genetic and normative) in the long term. Each of us specializes in a temporal division of perception, cognition, knowledge, advocacy, and labor: progressive short consumption regardless of merit, medium production, and long term defense. And we tend to be be morally blind to the other members of the division of perception.


4) Just as prices function as an information system for the production of goods and services, voluntary cooperation functions as an information system across the reproductive division of labor. Such that cooperation between each of the specializations provides the optimum 'game' outcome for all even if none is able to achieve it's desired state of perfection. This follows monogamous reproduction which is the best for all even if not the best for some.

5) As such, the moral foundations are reducible to statements of property rights necessary for the construction of a state of natural law, and provide us with the scientific (necessary and parsimonious) basis for law: the preservation of cooperation.


I have become very skeptical of any ethical, moral, economic, and political philosophy that is not expressed as decidable law strictly constructed from the first principle of cooperation: non-parasitism. Because that use of law was the anglo-law, natural-law, then jeffersonian model, and avoiding that constraint, is how the postmodernists (neo-puritans), neocons, socialists and libertines (cosmopolitan libertarians) managed to use empty verbalisms and justificationary rationalism to confuse the academic and popular discourse.

Curt Doolittle The Propertarian Institute Kiev, Ukraine

Welcome to Less Wrong! (7th thread, December 2014)

HI. Curt Doolittle. I follow LW via Feedly, but today someone asked me to comment on a LW article. I write analytic philosophy in epistemology (specifically truth), ethics, law, politics and science. I'm reasonably well known and easy to find on the web.

Here is my response to the recent post on Signaling by Outliers (Hipster analogy). You can use it as a test of worthiness.

All, Thank you for asking me to respond. I'll convert it from signaling (the author's criticism and somewhat humorous demonstration of signaling), from moral justification, to scientific language, and I think it will be clearer:

1) All radicals do not fit into the center of the distribution - the statement is tautological, not insightful.

2) We all signal, and signaling is necessary for evolutionary reproductive selection.

3) The presumption of not fitting into some locus of the median of the distribution is a democratic one - that we are equal rather than (as I argue) we constitute a division of cognitive labor: perception, evaluation, knowledge and advocacy. (humans divide cognition more so than other creatures because we specialize in cognition.)

4) Our theories do tend to justify our social positions (signaling) but then, we would not have information necessary to theorize about any other set of interests, now would we?

5) The origin of theories is irrelevant (justification is false), and therefore the question of a theory produced by any subset of a polity can be judged by only criticism - its irrelevant who comes up with a theory.

The vast difference between pseudoscience and science in ethics, law, politics, and economics is captured those few words.

Now, to state the positive version: the solution to the fallacy of the enlightenment hypothesis of equality of ability, interest, and value is captured in these additional points:

6) economic velocity (wealth) is determined by the degree of suppression of parasitism (free riding/imposed costs). This eliminates transaction costs.

7) central power originates to centralize parasitism and increase material costs, by suppressing local parasitism and transaction costs. Once centralized they can be incrementally eliminated. If and only if an institutional means of following rules can be used to replace personal judgement.

8) The only means of producing institutional rules to replace personal judgement (provision of 'decidability') is in the independent, common, evolutionary law resting upon a prohibition on parasitism/free-riding/imposed costs (negatives), codified as property rights (positives): productive, warrantied, fully informed, voluntary transfer(exchange), free of negative externalities.

9) Language evolved to justify (morality), negotiate (deceive), and rally and shame (gossip), and only tangentially and late to describe (truth). Truth as we understand it is an invention and an unnatural one - which is why it is unique to the west, and why it has taken philosophers so long to understand it. However, westerners evolved a military epistemology because they relied upon self-financing warriors voluntarily participating, as well as the jury and truth telling. (The marginal difference in intellectual ability apparently not common - they were all smart enough. and such testimony was in itself 'training'.)

10) We cannot expect or demand truth from people unless they know how to produce it. ie: Education in what I would consider the religion of the west: "the true, the moral and the beautiful". So I consider this education 'sacred' not just utilitarian.

11) We cannot demand truth and law from people unless it is not against their interests: ie: the only universal political system is Nationalism, because groups can act truthfully internally, truthfully externally, and can use trade negotiations to neutralized competitive differences. And with nationalism, individuals cannot escape paying the cost of transforming their own societies, and themselves, and laying the burden of doing so upon other societies.

12) Commons are a profound competitive advantage. Territorial, institutional, normative, genetic, physical, and economic (industrial) commons are a profound advantage to any group. The west is the most successful producer of commons so it is even more important to the west. So we must provide a means of producing those commons. The difference between market for private goods and services (where competition in production is a good incentive) and corporate (public) goods, where we must prevent privatization of gains an socialization of losses, requires that we provide monopoly protection of those goods from consumption. But does not require that we provide monopoly contribution to them. Commons require only that the people willing to pay for them, do so. Otherwise there is no demonstrated preference for that commons. Insurance is a commons and I will leave that for another time. Return on investment (dividends) are the product of commons. I will leave that for another time as well. The central point is that we can produce a market for common goods using government just as we do in the market private goods. But that law and commons are two different things. and that there is no reason whatsoever, knowing how to construct the common law, that government should be capable of producing law. it cannot. Law is. It cannot be created. Only identified.

(This is also probably the most profound 1000 words on politics that you will be able to find at this moment in time)


Curt Doolittle The Propertarian Institute