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Assertion Through Structure

Posted: January 24th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

The GUNMAN Project

Here's a great description of the project

There's also a short mention of it in a presentation by Jim Gosler: Cyber Threats – The Digital Dimension (4 March 2009)

The story of Gunman is about a minute long @ 42:18 - 43:49 and is at slide 16

Notes: https://dnnpro.outer.jhuapl.edu/media/RethinkingSeminars/030409/gosler.pdf
Slides: https://dnnpro.outer.jhuapl.edu/media/RethinkingSeminars/030409/gosler.pdf
Video: https://dnnpro.outer.jhuapl.edu/media/RethinkingSeminars/030409/Gosler.mpg
JHAPL Series: https://dnnpro.outer.jhuapl.edu/rethinking/PastSeries/20082009.aspx

Foreign Devils on The Silk Road, The Search for the Lost Treasures of Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk

Posted: January 20th, 2013 | Author: danny | Filed under: Book Notes | Comments Off

Foreign Devils on The Silk Road, The Search for the Lost Treasures of Central Asia

I'm a huge fan of Peter Hopkirk, he's one of my favorite authors. Unfortunately I read the vast majority of his books, all but the Quest for Kim, before I began taking notes in them. I find his style delightful and highly enjoyable, he really know's how to tell tale and I can't recommend his books enough. If I was a new reader to this area, I'd start with The Great Game. Below I've selected a few passages that were especially interesting, but really one needs to read everything Peter Hopkirk has written :)

Page 57/58/59/60

Fifteen days later there came a grim warning of trouble. Hedin discovered to his horror that they had only enough drinking water left for another two days. At the last well his men had been told to fill the tanks which the camels were carrying with enough water for ten days, to allow an ample supply until they reached the Khotan-daria. Hedin cursed himself for not personally supervising this. The guide swore they would reach the river in two days, but Hedin was far from convinced. Afterwards, with hindsight, he admitted that he should have turned back. Had he stopped to weigh the risks, he wrote, 'the caravan would have been saved and no life would have been lost'. Instead, after drastically reducing the party's water ration, with none at all for the camels, he decided to press on.

That night they dug in vain for water, working frenziedly for several hours by candle-light but finding nothing Next day Hedin decided to abandon two ailing camels and all superfluous baggage. Rain clouds gathered briefly, greatly raising their hopes, but then dispersed. A sandstorm next struck the exhausted caravan, forcing them to steer by compass alone. Another camel had to be left behind to die. Then Hedin's men discovered that Yolchi, the guide, had been stealing their precious water. There was now none left. But for Hedin's intervention the others would have killed him for this treachery. Hedin now made what he feared would be the last entry in his travel diary. He wrote: "All, men as well as camels, are extremely weak. God help us!" Five full days had now passed since their discovery that they only had enough water left for two.

On May 1, after being without water for an entire day, in desperation Hedin tried quenching his thirst with the spirit brought for the primus stove. Soon he found himself unable to move. His only hope was for the rest of the party to reach the river and then come back for him, so they pressed grimly on without him. After a while, however, his strength returned and he crawled on, following their trail across the sand and catching them up where they had be forced to halt. No one now had the strength to move. That moment, Hedin wrote afterwards, 'was the unhappiest I lived through in all my wanderings in Asia'.

By now one of his four men was unconscious. The others killed the rooster they still had with them and rank its blood. Next came the turn of the sheep, but Hedin found himself unable to swallow its coagulating blood. Two of his men tried drinking camel's urine, only to be violently sick.

Tormented by the thought of the grief his disappearance would cause to his family, Hedin made one last resolution to keep going. Discarding even his small medicine chest, but keeping his pocket Bible, he set off at sunset with two men and the five surviving camels in a desperate attempt to reach the river. Behind them they left their two dying companions, including Yolchi the water thief. His last words to Hedin were: 'Water, sir! Only a drop of water!' But there was none. During the night another camel died. Then one of Hedin's two companions - Islam Bai, the caravan leader - announced he could go no further. Again there was no choice, and he was elft behind, this time with the remaining camels and equipment. Hedin and Kasim - the last of his men - crawled on at night, digging themselves into the sand during the day.

On May 4, their fifth day without water, they were amazed to see footprints. At last, they believed, they must be be near Khotan-daria, and life-giving water. But almost immediately they realized that these were simply their own tracks. They had been travelling in a circle. The next morning, Hedin recalled, ' Kasim looked terrible. His tongue was white and swollen, his lips blue, his cheeks were hollow, and his eyes had a dying, glassy lustre.' But then, as the sun rose, they saw with incredulity a dark green line on the horizon.

'The forest!' yelled Hedin. 'The Khotan-daria! Water!' By 5:30 a.m. they had reached the shade of the trees, bu three hours later had still not come upon the river. Both men collapsed once again from exhaustion and dehydration. By the evening Hedin had recovered a little and was able to crawl on alone through the trees. But when he finally reached the river he found it completely dry. A terrible desire to sleep came over him, but he knew that the would die if he were to lose consciousness, so he forced himself to crawl for another mile along the river bed.

Suddenly, ahead of him, there was a splash as a water-bird rose. 'The next moment,' Hedin writes in Through Asia, 'I stood on the brink of a little pool filled with fresh, cool water -- beautiful water!' He thanked God for his miraculous deliverance, then began to drink feverishly, scooping up the water in a tin. 'I drank, drank, drank, time after time... Every blood-vessel and tissue of my body sucked up the life-giving liquid like a sponge.' His pulse, which had dropped to only forty-nine, began to beat normally again. 'My hands, which had been dry, parched, and as hard as wood, swelled out again. My skin, which had been like parchment, turned moist and elastic....'

His thoughts then flew to the dying Kasim, lying somewhere back by the dry river bed. Filling his leather boots with water, Hedin staggered back int the moonlight to look for him, occasionally calling out his name. At dawn he came upon him, lying just as he had left him. Kasim whispered: 'I'm dying.' Hedin held one of the boots filled with water to his lips. Kasim gulped it down, followed by the contents of the other. Later, after being helped by passing shepherds, they discovered with joy that Islam Bai too had survived and had also been found by shepherds. He threw himself at Hedin's feet, weeping. 'He had thought we would never meet again,' wrote Hedin. One of the camels - the one carrying Hedin's diaries, maps, money and two rifles - had also survived. Everything else, including surveying instruments, had been lost. Of the two other men nothing more was ever heard, and eventually their widows were compensated by Hedin. There was now no choice but for the three survivors to return to Kashgar, which they finally reached on June 21. Hedin had failed to find his lost city. He had, moreover, learned a bitter lesson. But it had in no way lessened his determination to unravel the secrets of Taklamakan. He immediately sent a messenger to the nearest telegraph station on the Russian border to signal for a new set of surveying instruments to be dispatched to him as soon as possible.

Page 150

Each camel carried up to five hundred pounds' weigh of ice, the expedition's sole source of water once they had crossed the Tarim. In addition, Stein hired thirty donkeys to ferry more ice in bags to a point two days beyond the last available water. There it was dumped, carefully stacked to face the sub-arctic winds which howled across the desert from Mongolia.

Page 153

Eventually, as Stein's rubbish heap was to prove, the barbarians succeeded in severing Lou-lan from all communication with the distant capital. But it did not die immediately, having long since learned to be independent of outside supplies or orders. Indeed, although it had lost all touch with home, the the tiny garrison soldiered on for a surprising number of years. This we know from one revealing piece of evidence recovered by Stein. It is the last of the many dated documents he found at Lou-lan. Written in the year 330, it records a payment made to a barbarian (probably a mercenary) on the authority of the Emperor Chien-hsing. No one had told the beleaguered garrison commander that not only had this emperor ceased to rule fourteen years before, but that his whole dynasty had been swept away.

There is a curious, latter-day footnote to the story of Lou-lan. For it is not far from where this little outpost once stood that seventeen centuries later, in the 1960s, China's defense chiefs chose to site their nuclear weapons - pointing towards their new foe beyond the GReat Wall, the Russians. Chinese historians today are particularly bitter about the documentary removed from Lou-lan by Hedin and Stein because knoweldge of this period of their nations past is meagre.

Page 156/157

Locked away in the heart of the Gobi desert, four days' camel ride from the nearest town, lies one of the least-known of China's many wonders, the 'Caves of the Thousand Buddhas' at Tun-huang. Here, carved in irregular rows into the cliff face and filled with magnificent wall-paintings and sculptures, are more than four hundred ancient rock temples and chapels. The greatest and most extensive - it stretches for a mile - of all Central Asia's ming-oi, or rock temple complexes, ti was for centuries renowned throughout the Buddhist world as a centre for prayer and thanksgiving. The reason for this is its geographical position. Situated in a small green valley and surrounded by towering sand dunes, it stands some twelve miles south-west of the township of Tun-huang, which, from Han times onwards, served as China's gateway to the West. Tun-huang, which means 'Blazing Beacon', was thus the last caravan halt in China proper for travelers setting out along the old Silk Road. Pilgrims, merchants and soldiers about to leave China for the spiritual darkness and physical dangers of the Taklamakan desert prayed at Tun-huang's shrines for deliverance from the goblins and other perils ahead. In the same way, travellers reaching Tun-huang from the West gave thanks there for their safe passage through the dreaded desert. Because it was the point where the northern and southern arms of the Silk Road converged, all travelers coming to or from China by the overland route had to pass through Tun-huang. As a result of this heavy caravan and pilgrim traffic, the oasis itself acquired considerable prosperity over the centuries, for its markets offered the caravanners their last to chance to lay in supplies of food and water before passing out through the celebrated Jade Gate towards the first of the Taklamakan oases.

The rock temples of Tun-huang, and the origin of their name, are said to date from AD 366 when the monk Lo-tsun had a vision of a thousand Buddhas in a cloud of glory. He persuaded a rich and pious pilgrim to have one of the smaller caves painted by a local artist and then dedicated as a shrine to his own safe return. Others followed suit, and for hundred of years more and more temples and chapels were hewn out of the cliff and decorated in the belief that this was would ensure the donor protection during his travels. At one time there were more than a thousand of these grottoes, of which four hundred and sixty-nine remain today.

Page 159/160

He was accompanied by what he described as 'the craziest crew I ever led to digging -- so torpid and enfeebled by opium were they'. Stein was lucky to have even them, however, as a rebellion by a fanatical Moslem group some forty years before had severely depleted the local population, resulting in an acute labour shortage.

Page 190/191/192

In the autumn of 1890, around the time when Pelliot was shipping his treasures home from Chinese Central Asia, British intelligence chiefs in Simla began to take an interest in the movements of two young Japanese archaeologists who had turned up on the Silk Road. Although unaware of it themselves, the men had been observed from the moment they entered Chinese Turkestan overland from Peking. In true Kim fashion they were shadowed for over a year by a succession of Moslem traders, native servants and others on the payroll of the Indian Government. Regular reports on their movements as they travelled from oasis to oasis, sometimes together, more often hundreds of miles apart, were compiled in Kashgar by Captain A. R. B Shuttleworth, temporarily in charge of the consulate while Macartney was on leave in England. These were carried across the Karakoram by runner with the official mail to Sir Francis Younghusband, then British Resident in Kashmir, for onward transmission to Simla.


By 1908, when the second Otani mission arrived on the scene, they were regarded in a very different light. Moreover, if the British suspected that they were there for some reason other than archaeology (that well-known cover for espionage), then the Russians, still smarting from their defeat at the hands of the Japanese, were even more convinced of it. Captain Shuttleworth was assured by his Russian opposite number in Kashgar that one of the two Japanese, Zuicho Tachibana, was in fact an officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy, and the other Eizaburo Nomura, an army officer. But besides digging up old ruins, and removing large quantities of antiquities, what were they really up to? The question was to cause considerable head-scratching in British Indian intelligence circles - and, no doubt, in Russian ones too.


The task of shadowing the two men for many weeks and over hundreds of miles had been made considerably easier by the network of aksakals (literary 'white-beards') which had been established by Macartney in the main population centres. They were usually the senior Indian -- and therefore British - trader in ach of the main oases. Officially they were responsible for the well-being and good behavior of their expatriate community, and with assisting any British traveller who might pass through their territory. However, as Shuttleworth's secret reports (now in the so-called 'Political and Secret' files in the India Office Library) reveal, they sometimes turned their hands to the Great Game.

Page 197

... The Finns, rather like the Hungarians, trace their ancestry back to the warlike hordes who once inhabited the Asian steppes, and their scholars were anxious to enlarge their knowledge of the peoples and history of this region.

As Mannerheim rode, in addition to mapping his route and recording military intelligence, he also measured human heads with calipers, collected everything from rustic surgical instruments to rolling pins, and purchased antiquities and manuscripts.

Page 200/201

... that the Russians made their first -- and only -- discovery of major importance. This was Karakhoto, meaning 'Black City', and not to be confused with Karkhoja. ...

... At a remote spot in the Gobi he and his men were astonished to see rising from the desert a huge fortress town. 'The walls of the town are covered with sand, in some places so deeply that it is possible to walk up the slope and enter the fortress,' Koslov reported. The awe struck Russians made their entry, however, through the great western gateway. 'Here we found a quadrangular space whereon were scattered high and low, broad and narrow, ruins of buildings with rubbish of all kinds at their feet,' Koslov added.

Local oasis-dwellers told the Russians how the city came to be destroyed (in the fourteenth century, it is now known, a hundred years or so after Marco Polo's visit). The last ruler of the city - one Kara-tsian-tsiun - putting his faith in his hitherto invincible army, determined to seize the throne of China for himself. The Emperor dispatched a considerable force against him and, after a series of battles, finally cornered the rebel in his capital. Finding that they could not take it by assault, because of its high walls, the Chinese decided to sever its only water supply, the Etsin-gol river. Filling thousands of bags with sand to form a dam, they managed to diver this away from the city. (As confirmation of this story, Koslov came upon evidence of the dam.) The defenders, desperate for water, began to dig a deep well in one corner of the fortress. Finding no water they resolved to face the Chinese in one last desperate battle. Kara-tsain-tsiunn, anticipating defeat, had his treasury, filling eighty carts, it was said - lowered into the well. He next killed his two wives and his son and daughter, fearing what might happen to them if they fell into Chinese hands. Finally, he ordered a breach to be made in the northern wall, and through this he charged at the head of his troops. His once invincible army was wiped out and he himself killed. The Chinese reduced the city to ruins, having firs tried to find the treasury which they knew must be somewhere near. But they failed, as all subsequent attempts had. This, it was said, was because Kara-tsian-tsiun had cast a spell over the spot before charing to his death.

Page 209/213/215

In the autumn of 1923, two Americans floundered westwards along the old Silk Road...

The two bedraggled travelers, both of them orientalists, were Langdon Warner of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard and Horace Jayne of the Museum of Pennsylvania. With their modest four mappas, or two wheeled Chinese carts, and their secretary-interpreter Wang, they comprised the first American expedition to Chinese Central Asia.

... as it turned out he [Warner] and Jayne had come only just in time, for the door was already beginning to close.


AS they continued westwards, the two men became aware of something else. 'For days now,' Warner recounts, 'there had been a strange, half-felt presence on the Great North-West Road, as of other foreigners with us... Every chamber of every inn and many bare walls in abandoned towns were scrawled with Russian names and regimental numbers and dates not many months old.' More foreigners had trodden the Silk Road in the previous three years, he added, than in the two thousand years before. These were the White Russian refugees, civillians and soldiers, fleeing eastwards from the Bolshevik terror. Many were already living in Peking and Shanghai, while some had gone even further east. Warner wrote: '... Japanese cities saw, for the first time in history, white men and barefoot women begging from Asiatics by the roadside.' Except for the occasional straggler, almost all the refugees had now left the Silk Road. They did, however, come upon one lonely, ragged sixteen-year-old Russian boy to whom they gave what money they could spare. His 'fresh blue eyes' were to haunt Warner for the rest of his life. He often wondered what became of that boy 'in the cynical school to which I left him - a North China winter and the cant mercy of the yellow man'.

Page 217/218/219

Soon the men were suffering from exhaustion and Jayne decided to ride one of the camels. It was a near fatal error. When he dismounted from his kneeling camel at the next halt, he fell flat on his face, unable to stand. Warner wrote: 'I stretched him on the snow with his back to a blaze and took off his fur boots to find both feet frozen stiff.' For the next three hours he and Wang, their interpreter, rubbed Jayne's feet with snow (the classic emergency treatment for frostbite, which had nonetheless failed to save Stein's toes). When the sensation returned, the pain was so severe that Jayne passed out. 'Still we scrubbed feverishly, hardening our hearts,' Warner recounts. Occasionally they gave their patient a drink of raw Chinese spirit which they carried as fuel for the small emergency cooker. Finally they rubbed the frozen skin with grease, in the hope that this would save some at least of the blistered skin. 'We put his soles against the bare skin inside our shirts to give them natural heat,' wrote Warner. "All this time he had uttered no word of complaint, mustering up a feeble grin when I asked him the banal question of how he felt.'

... Jayne had developed a high fever and Warner was haunted by the fear of his feet turning gangrenous. After an absence of three days, Wang returned in the middle of the night with a ramshackle cart and its reluctant owner. The next day they set out with Jayne in the cart and the anxious Warner trudging behind, cursing himself for letting the misfortune happen and wondering how one amputated a human foot 'with a hunting knife and no anesthetics'.


It was a nightmarish journey made even worse by the unexpectedly hostile attitude of the local population who, in one village, greeted the foreigners with jeers and catcalls, and in other tried to extort money from them or even rob them. It was their first encounter with such behavior, and was not to be their last. Finally, on the eighteenth day, they reached the walled town of Kanchou. To their relief, the Chinese doctor was there- 'full of Christianity and antiseptics', wrote the grateful Warner. After cleaning Jayne's blistered and swollen limbs he pronounced that they had already begun to heal and that gangrene was no longer a serious risk. After a further sixteen days spent convalescing Jayne felt sufficiently better to leave for Tun-huan.


Moreover, the worst of the Chinese Central Asian winter was still to come. Deeply disappointed, Jayne agreed to make his way slowly back to Peking with the meagre material they had excavated at Karakhoto.

Page 219/220/222

Wang, the little priest, was absent (as ever), but this did not deter Warner. He made straight for the painted caves, and during the next days rarely left them except to eat or to sleep. In The Long Old Road in China he recounts: '... there was nothing to do but gasp... for the first time I understood why I had crossed an ocean and two continents, plodding beside my cart these weary months.' Warner, the most visually educated of the archaeologists to visit Tun-huang, found himself stupefied by the tens of thousands of painted figures in the caves. He confessed: 'I, who had come to attribute dates and glibly to refute the professors and to discover artistic influences, stood in the centre of a chapel with my hands dug deep in my pockets and tried to think.'

But soon, as he visited cave after cave, another emotion seized him - blind fury. Two years earlier, four hundred White Russian soldiers who had escaped across the frontier into China had been interned for six months at Tun-huang by the authorities. Evidence of their frustration and boredom was to be seen everywhere. Warner wrote angrily to his wife: '... across some of these lovely faces are scribbled the numbers of a Russian regiment, and from the mouth of a Buddha where he sits to deliver the Lotus Law flows some Slav obscenity.' The Russians had done so much damage that the photographs taken by Stein and Nouette were now the sole record of many of the wall-paintings. 'My job', he told his wife, 'is to break my neck to rescue and preserve anything and everything I can from this quick ruin. It has been stable enough for centuries, bu the end is in sight now.'

Fortuitously, he had arrived armed with a special chemical solution for detaching wall-paintings, which had been successfully pioneered in Italy. His original intention had been merely to test the solvent and at the same time remove a few small fragments for laboratory analysis. Even this was something none of his predecessors had dared attempt - inhibited, if not by ethical considerations, then by the policing of the caves by Wang. However, having seen the destruction wrought by the Cossack soldiers, Warner's scruples vanished. He wrote: 'As for the morals of such vandalism I would strip the place bare without a flicker. Who knows when Chinese troops may be quartered here as the Russians were? And, worse still, how long before the Mohameddan rebellion that everyone expects? In 20 years this place won't be worth a visit...' He pointed out that every new pilgrim scratched his name on the paintings or removed a bit of 'trembling plaster'.

... he still had Abbot Wang to contend with...

... he agreed to part with one old one - a three-foot T'ang figure of a kneeling saint, today one of the most prized items in the Fogg Museum collection.


In his letters home Warner asked that no mention be made of the paintings to his sponsors, for he was far from confident that the laboratory would be able to disentangle the gluey cloths from their delicate paint surfaces. (I the event, they rescued eleven of the twelve pictures.)


Warner reached Peking safely with his treasures some nine months after he had set out with Jayne the previous autumn.

Page 223/228

But on May 30, 1925, something happened which no one could have foreseen. A British police officer in the treaty port of Shanghai, faced by rioting Chinese students who refused to disperse, ordered his men to open fire. Eleven students died - most of them, it as said, shot in the back. A wave of anger against foreigners swept across China. Warner, who had recently arrived in Peking at the head of a larger expedition, reported: 'News of the Shanghai shooting on that day travelled like wild-fire through the interior.' Missionaries and other foreigners in remote stations had to be evacuated to the coastal cities. When Warner's party reached Tun-huang, where they had planned to work for eight months, they were met by a menacing mob of peasant farmers - the same people who had welcomed Warner the previous year.


The day of the freebooter was over. From now on, if one dug at all one dug for China. There were few, if any, takers.

Page 229/230

For the bigger the museum and the more comprehensive its contents, the smaller the space it can devote to any particular collection. Had Stein been working for the small but ambitious young Fogg Museum, one can imagine the spectacular display his treasures would enjoy today. As it is, one cannot help feeling that he merely dug them up in China only to seem them buried again in Bloomsbury. There is a strong case, it could be argued, for a museum returning to the country of origin all antiquities - like these = which it has no prospect of putting on display.


The biggest wall-paintings, some of which stood over ten feet high, were alas, cemented to the walls in iron frames. At that nobody could have foreseen that this would be the direct cause of their destruction some fifteen years later during World War II. When hostilities broke out, all the movable objects, including the smaller murals and sculptures, were packed away in crates. Some were deposited for safety in the huge bunker in the Berlin zoo, others at the bottom of coal mines in western Germany, while others still were stored in the museum's basement which had been specially reinforced for the purpose.

The very largest of the wall-paintings could not, however, be moved to safety. Not only were they cemented firmly into place, but removing them would have meant first cutting them into pieces once gain. Instead, the museum placed iron covers and sandbags over them tot shield them from the effects of blast. 'Apart from that,' a senior West Berlin museum official told me, 'there was nothing they could do but pray that no harm would befall them.' Their prayers were not heeded, however. The museum, which lay close to today's Berlin Wall, was hit no fewer than seven times by Allied bombs between November 23, 1943, and January 15, 1945. Twenty-eight of the largest wall-paintings - almost all of them from Bezeklik - were totally destroyed after surviving wars, earthquakes and iconoclasts for well over a millenium. All that remains of them today are the plates in von Le Coq's great portfolio of the paintings form his first expedition - and the gaping holes in the walls of the rock-hewn monastery overlooking the Sangim gorge.


Of all the collections I have seen of Chinese Central Asian art - and that includes almost all of them - the one in West Berlin is by far the largest and most imaginatively displayed. Even the secondary pieces are well displayed in the basement, where they can be seen by arrangement.


When the bunker at the zoo, where some of the treasures were stored, fell into the hands of the Russians in 1945, its secrets were quickly discovered. It is now known that at least eight or nine packing cases of clay sculptures - only the Russians know the exact number - were removed and driven away on lorries...

Notes on Scott Belsky's Making Ideas Happen

Posted: January 13th, 2013 | Author: danny | Filed under: Book Notes | Comments Off

Making Ideas Happen

This book has a lot of straightforward advice, that is common sense really, but I think it's useful to see it presented this way. As with most books of this type, I feel like it could be condensed into a pamphlet, but the realities of the book market it make it difficult to receive appropriate compensation in that form. Also, the anecdotes do serve to illustrate the ideas more fully.

Page 32/33

Making ideas happen = Ideas + Organization + Communal forces + Leadership Capability

Organization enables you to manage and ultimately execute your ideas.

The forces of community are invaluable and readily available.

Page 3

Page 32/3334/35

The Action Method:
* A relentless bias toward action pushes ideas forward.
* Stuff that is actionable must be made personal
* Taking and organizing extensive notes aren't worth the effort.
* Use design-centric systems to stay organized
* Organize in the context of projects, not location

Page 39

... the best methods for managing projects are simple and intuitive. They help you capture ideas and do something with them -- no more, no less. This simple efficiency keeps you engaged and on task with as little effort as possible.


Every project in life can be reduced into these three primary components.

Action Steps are the specific, concrete tasks that inch you forward...

References are any project-related handouts, sketches, notes, meeting minutes, manuals, Web sites, or ongoing discussions that you may want to refer back to. It is important to note that References are not actionable -- they are simply there for reference when focusing on any particular project.


Backburner Items -- things that are not actionable now but may be someday.

Page 39

... start each Action Step with a verb ...

... Action Steps should be kept short.

Page 40/41/42

Capture Action Steps everywhere.
... Action Steps that you are ultimately responsible for should remain on your list until completed -- even when you have delegated them to others.

... "Ensure Action Steps." Sometimes you will want to create an Action Step to ensure that something is completed properly in the future.

... "Awaiting Action Step." When you leave a voicemail for someone, [etc]... you're liable to forget to follow-up if the person fails to respond. [used to follow up on stuff]

Page 48

[Managing References]
Question it. "What is the relevance?..."
Label it.
File it.

Page 49

E-mail can kill productivity because the actionable information you receive is always clouded by Reference material.

Page 53

The state of reactionary workflow occurs when you get stuck simply reacting to whatever flows into the top of an in-box. Instead of focusing on what is most important and actionable, you spend too much time just trying to stay afloat. Reactionary work flow prevents you from being more proactive with your energy. The act of processing requires discipline and imposing some blockades around your focus. For this reason, many leaders perform their processing at night or at a time when the flow dies down.

Page 56

... if it can be done in under two minutes, it should be done right away. After all, i t will take a minute or so just to enter it into you system, so why not just take care of it already?

Page 59/60/61

If you were to place projects along the spectrum, the extremely important projects would be placed on the "Extreme" end of the spectrum and the others would be placed accordingly farther down toward "Idle."


The concept of the Energy Line is meant to address our tendency to spend a lot of time on projects that are interesting but perhaps not important enough to warrant such an investment of energy.

If every Action Step belongs to a project and you have your project spread across a spectrum of how you wish to allocate your energy -- then you will have clear direction on which Action Steps you should do first and how you should budget your time.

Page 64/65/66/67

Keep two lists. When it comes to organizing your Action Steps of the day -- and how your energy will be allocated -- create two lists: one for urgent items and another for important ones. Long-term goals and priorities deserve a list of their own and should not compete against the urgent items that can easily consume your day. Once you have two lists, you can preserve different periods of time to focus on each.

* Choose five projects that matter most.
* Make a daily "focus area"
* Don't Dwell ... When it comes to addressing urgent items, break them down into Action Steps and challenge yourself to reallocate your energy as soon as the Action Steps are completed.
* Don't hoard urgent items.
* Create a Responsibility Grid ... Across the top of the chart (the horizontal x-axis) you write the names of the people on the team. Then, down the left side of the page (the vertical y-axis), you write all of the common issues that come up in a typical week. Place a check in the grid for which team member (listed along the top) is responsible for which type of issue (along the side)
* Create windows of nonstimulation ... windows of time dedicated to uninterrupted project focus.

Page 70

Our ideas become less interesting as we realize the implied responsibilities and sheer amount of work required to execute them.

The easiest and most seductive escape from the project plateau is the moster dangerous one: a new idea.

Page 73

Taking action helps expose whether we are on the right or wrong path more quickly and more definitively than pure contemplation ever could.

Page 75/78

Kill Ideas Liberally

... You need to say "no" more than you say "yes," and you need to build a team and culture that help kills ideas when necessary


Mettings are extremely expensive in terms of our time and energy. When a meeting begins, the work flow of every team member stops.

... Using the Action Method lens on life, we can argue that meetings have little value without any actionable outcome.

Page 78/79/80

* Don't meet just because it's Monday
* End [meetings] with a review of Actions captured
* Call out nonactionable meetings.
* Conduct standing meetings
* Don't call meetings out of your own insecurity
* Don't stick to round numbers [a meeting should last only as long as it needs to]
* Always measure with Action Steps ... or something else

Page 82

"Shipping" is when you release something -- when you put a new product on sale, when you debut your latest piece of artwork in a gallery, or when you send your manuscript to the publisher. Shipping is the final act of execution that so rarely happens.

... If your mind-set is 'I ship,' that's not just a convenient shortcut, it's in fact an obligation. And you build your work around that obligation. Instead of becoming someone who's a wandering generality -- and someone who has lots of great ideas and "if only, if only, if only,' you are someone who always ends up shipping."

Page 84

Sometimes, to keep moving our ideas forward, we need to relentlessly follow up with others.

Page 88

Despite your natural tendency to thrive on untethered creativity, you must recognize and harness constraints. And it is ultimately your responsibility to seek constraints when they are not given to you.

Page 92/93

... If you find yourself in a long line of people waiting to get into a concert, you will notice that everyone keeps inching forward every few minutes as the line makes its slow advance. But if the person immediately in front of you fails to move with the rest of the line, you will get frustrated. Even if you know that the person ahead of you will move to catch up with the line later on, you still get frustrated as you see the gap of space ahead growing Standing still and feeling no progress is difficult. You want to keep moving with the line in order to feel productive. The incremental movements with the line don't get you there any faster, bu they fell great and keep you will to wait.

Page 93/97

Design is helps maintain a sense of order amidst create chaos. It is a valuable tool for managing (and controlling) our own attention spans.


When you have a project that is tracked with a beautiful chart or an elegant sketchbook, you are more likely to focus on it. Use your work space to induce attention where you need it most.

Page 98/99

You can only stay loyal to your creative pursuits through the awareness and control of your impulses. Along the journey to making ideas happen, you must reduce the amount of energy you spend on stuff related to your insecurities. You must also learn to withstand external pressures that can deter you from your path.

Page 99/102

Despite the many best practices of organizations with bias toward action, execution ultimately boils down to sheer perspiration.


Sheer perspiration will come only from organizing your energy and holding yourself accountable with some sort of routine.

Page 104/105/106

I call these daily (and in some cases hourly) habits "Insecurity Work." It's the stuff you do that has no intended outcome, does not move the ball forward in any way, and is quick enough that you can do it multiple times a day without realizing how much time is being wasted.


Insecurity Work is a trap that plagues many creative leaders.


Allow yourself a thirty-minute period at the end of every day( or, if you dare, every week) during which you can go through the list of things you're curious about.


Insecurity Work threatens to weigh you down and prevents you from escaping the never-ending ticker of what the world thinks.

Page 111

The creative process can feel tainted once you introduce the opinions and influence of others.

Page 113/114/115

... The three broad categories of creatives we've consistently found in our research: the Dreamers, the Doers, and ... the Incrementalists.

As entrepreneurs, Dreamers often jump from one new business idea to another.

... Dream artists are always starting new projects, often considering massive undertakings with a long-term grandiose vision.

... [Dreamers] In their idea frenzy, they are liable to forget to return phone calls, complete current projects, even pay rent.

... An idea can only become reality once it is broken down into organized, actionable elements.

... the Incrementalist -- those with the ability to play the role of both Dreamer and Doer

... the Incrementalists finds him- or herself leading multiple projects (and, in many cases, multiple businesses) simultaneously

... Incrementalists have the tendency to conceive and execute too many ideas simply because they can. This rare capability can lead to an overwhelming set of responsibilities to maintain multiple projects at the expense of ever making one particular project an extraordinary success.

Page 120/121

[Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Isaac McPherson, August 13, 1813]

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature.

Page 123

Certaintly, the thinking behind patents and idea protection in general holds some merit. [I beg to differ good sir, this is just completely wrong.]

Page 124

... You should share ideas liberally -- if not for the sake of your own success, then for the sake of society. From the greater perspective, you should hope that your great ideas happen for the benefit of all -- even if you choose not to execute them.

Page 125/126

... send a an e-mail to each person on their team - as well as to key clients - requesting a few feedback points for each participant under the headings START, STOP, CONTINUE.

Each recipient is asked to share a few things that each of their colleagues and clients should START, STOP, and CONTINUE doing. People then return their lists to the team's leader (except for the feedback about the leader, which is redirected to someone else on the team). The points under each heading are aggregated to identify the larger trends: what are most pople suggesting that Scott START, doing, STOP doing, and CONTINUE doing? Isolated points mentioned by only one person are discarded and the common themes are then shared in a personal meeting with each member of the team.

Page 133/134

Limit circles to fifteen members or less When groups get much bigger than that, people feel accountable to a collective rather than to each other as individuals, which is less effective.

* Establish a clear and consistent schedule for meeting.
* Meet frequently and stay accountable
* Assign a leader

Page 137

The prospect of someone else completing and receiving fanfare for an idea that you had first is outright painful.


For this reason, competition -- regardless of whether it stems form friendly camaraderie or outright envy -- is an extremely powerful motivating force.

Page 139

When you publicly commit yourself and take on a risk to make an idea happen, you garner what I have come to call "Committal Benefits." Committal Benefits represent the increased likelihood of others to take a risk of their own -- financially or with their reputations -- to support your projects.

Page 145/146

* Work amidst other fields of expertise.
* Take advantage of mistakes.

Page 154

* Identify your differentiating attributes.
* Develop a communications strategy.
* Execute your communication strategy.

Page 157

Interaction, whether it is with an individual or an audience, can be maximized by understanding who you are talking to What excites them? What are they worried about? Just as synthesizing this information will help you further engage those around you.

Page 158

The root of the problem is the visionary's tendency to focus on what fellow open-minded early-adopting visionaries value. All too often, creative people make stuff for creative people.


When you conceive new ideas and execute them, you must assume a pragmatic lens that grounds your expectations, tastes, and perceptions.

Page 169/170

* Unplug from the traditional reward system.
* Stay engaged by setting up a system of incremental rewards.
* Happiness is its own reward.

Page 176

Recognition is a powerful reward that, whether or not money is tight, can help further engage those who play a role in making your ideas happen.

Page 178/179

People who jump into whatever interests them, even if sometimes prematurely, power productive teams. A tremendous amount of energy and endurance is required to make ideas happen. As we now know, simply being interested in new ideas is not sufficient. Those who consistently take initiative possess tenacity and a healthy degree of impatience with idleness.


As you assemble teams around creative projects, probe candidates for their true interests -- whatever they may be -- and then measure the extent to which the candidate has pursued those interests.


Nothing will assist your ideas more than a team of people who possess real initiative.

Page 181

The pressure of being required to sit at your desk until a certain time creates a factory-like culture that ignores a few basic laws of idea generation and human nature: (1) When the brain is tired, it doesn't work well, (2) Idea generation happens on it's own terms, and (3) When you feel forced to execute beyond your capacity, you being to hate what you are doing.

Page 182

When leaders lack confidence in their team's preparedness and commitment, they compensate through increased control.

Page 184

One approach is to have a bias toward considering ideas during brainstorming sessions and killing ideas when they come up randomly during execution. Your resident skeptics can be helpful on this front. Of course, great ideas may still crop up unexpectedly, but when they do your bias should be to stay focused on the project at hand. With this approach, only the mightiest of ideas -- those worthy of deep consideration -- will risk getting you off track.

Page 186/188

The ultimate challenge in collaborative project is understanding how to draw on the best input of all without settling on the lowest common denominator. Consensus can often lead to a lackluster outcome

Teams should not strive for complete consensus at the outset of a project. After all, consensus-driven tams run the risks of settling on what offends no one and satisfies no one.

Page 191

The more people who lie awake in bed thinking about your idea, the better. But people only obsess about ideas when they feel a sense of ownership.

Page 192

Trusting someone's judgement does not mean that everything is being done the way you would do it. Different people will make different decisions. The question, as Rojas points out, is: Did their alternate approach make a material difference? As long as the desired outcome is achieved, controlling how it is achieved shouldn't be that important to you.

Page 194

The creative process is also a process of engagement. Enabling new or less-experience members of your team to share their ideas is how you can develop their reasoning and bring them onboard. Instead of overshadowing their ideas with your brilliant insights, silence yourself and welcome fresh, though sometimes naive, insights. Challenge yourself to ask questions before making statements.

Page 197

Appreciations is a technique that O'Callahan and other storytellers use to improve students' skills without any demoralizing consequences. It's a unique form of feedback that helps creative professionals focus on developing their strengths. Here's the concept behind appreciations: having just shared a story (or, in other contexts, a presentation or idea), you go around and ask people to comment on the elements they most appreciated.


The exchange of appreciations is meant to help you build upon you strengths, with the underlying assumption that creative craft is made extraordinary through developing your strengths rather obsessing over your weaknesses.

Page 204/205/206

With greater self-awareness comes great tolerance for uncertainty. Patience in the face of ambiguity helps us avoid brash decisions driven by our emotions instead of our intellects. We must use time to our advantage and temper our tendency to act too quickly.


The best practice here is to develop tolerance for momentary injustice and periods of ambiguity. Stay strong and stay calm as a situation settles itself over time and the clouds around any period of change start to dissipate. Your fortitude will yield greater respect and opportunity that will reward you over time.

Page 206/207

When something goes wrong, there are three questions we should seek to answer:
* What external conditions may explain the failure?
* What internal factors may have compromised your judgement?
* Are there any gems in the unintended outcome?

Page 208

Nevertheless, despite history, the tendency to think that a given opportunity or challenge is a one-off persists. I have come to call this propensity "visionary's narcissism" -- it is a leader's default thinking that he or she is the exception to the rule.

Page 213/214/216

Deviants are maverick-like, willing to be unpopular, misunderstood, and even shunned during creative pursuits. The vision of extraordinary achievement is, by definition, a few steps beyond consensus and conventional logic. As such, we should become emboldened by society's doubts rather than deterred.


You must learn to gain confidence when doubted by others. The uncharted path is the only road to something new. As pressures mount, you need to stay the course and consider the doubts of others as an indication of your progress.

You cannot rely on conventional knowledge, rewards, and procedures as you lead creative pursuits. As you have learned, the ways that you manage your energy and engage employees and partners must all be questions. Nothing extraordinary is ever achieved through ordinary means. With a deviant mind-set, the pressures from others become a source of confidence. By shedding the obligations and expectations bestowed upon you by the status quo, you can organize and lead extraordinary ideas to fruition.


The fact that time is ticking should motivate you to take action on your ideas. When little opportunities present themselves, you might decide to seize them. An eye on the backward clock helps you stomach the risk because, after all, time is running out. Get on it.

Page 220/221/222

1. Make incremental tweaks, not drastic changes.

Optimization isn't about making drastic changes. The key to optimization is making incremental tweaks in a controlled and measurable way...

2. Tinker with what works
Don't neglect your strengths and focus only on your weaknesses. On the contrary, efforts to optimize should be spent on your strengths. Small tweaks are the difference between 95 percent and 100 percent. If you can find your 95 percent and really bring it home, that's where you are most likely to change the world.

Ron Paul's Farewell Speech

Posted: November 15th, 2012 | Author: danny | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

Ron Paul's Faerwell Speech (House Session, Nov 14, 2012) [48 minutes, 58 seconds]

Ron Paul delivers an excellent speech promoting voluntaryism and the non-aggression principle. If you can't watch the entire thing, I pulled a few of the most memorable lines. A remarkable career and a champion of liberty.

A nice transcript is on the Campaign for Liberty Site Farewell Address

Selected Excerpts (from the transcript/cspan & CFL)

00:24:58 No Government Monopoly over Initiating Violence IS WHAT WE NEED

00:25:03 legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society. Permitting such authority and expecting saintly behavior from the bureaucrats and the politicians is a pipe dream.

00:25:39 Government in a free society should have no authority to meddle in social activities or the economic transactions of individuals. Nor should government meddle in the affairs of other nations. All things peaceful, even when controversial, should be permitted.

00:25:57 We must reject the notion of prior restraint in economic activity just we do in the area of free speech and religious liberty.

00:27:37 Liberty can only be achieved when government is denied the aggressive use of force.

00:27:42 If one seeks liberty, a precise type of government is needed. To achieve it, more than lip service is required.

Two choices are available.

  1. A government designed to protect liberty—a natural right—as its sole objective. The people are expected to care for themselves and reject the use of any force for interfering with another person’s liberty. Government is given a strictly limited authority to enforce contracts, property ownership, settle disputes, and defend against foreign aggression.
  2. A government that pretends to protect liberty but is granted power to arbitrarily use force over the people and foreign nations. Though the grant of power many times is meant to be small and limited, it inevitably metastasizes into an omnipotent political cancer.

00:29:01 Once government gets a limited concession for the use of force to mold people habits and plan the economy, it causes a steady move toward tyrannical government. Only a revolutionary spirit can reverse the process and deny to the government this arbitrary use of aggression.

00:29:33 Today’s mess is a result of Americans accepting option #2, even though the Founders attempted to give us Option #1.

00:31:15 American now suffers from a culture of violence. It’s easy to reject the initiation of violence against one’s neighbor but it’s ironic that the people arbitrarily and freely anoint government officials with monopoly power to initiate violence against the American people—practically at will.

Because it’s the government that initiates force, most people accept it as being legitimate. Those who exert the force have no sense of guilt. It is believed by too many that governments are morally justified in initiating force supposedly to “do good.” They incorrectly believe that this authority has come from the “consent of the people.” The minority, or victims of government violence never consented to suffer the abuse of government mandates, even when dictated by the majority.

00:34:23 When government officials wield power over others to bail out the special interests, even with disastrous results to the average citizen, they feel no guilt for the harm they do. Those who take us into undeclared wars with many casualties resulting, never lose sleep over the death and destruction their bad decisions caused. They are convinced that what they do is morally justified, and the fact that many suffer just can’t be helped.

When the street criminals do the same thing, they too have no remorse, believing they are only taking what is rightfully theirs. All moral standards become relative. Whether it’s bailouts, privileges, government subsidies or benefits for some from inflating a currency, it’s all part of a process justified by a philosophy of forced redistribution of wealth. Violence, or a threat of such, is the instrument required and unfortunately is of little concern of most members of Congress.

00:35:54 Sadly, we have become accustomed to living with the illegitimate use of force by government. It is the tool for telling the people how to live, what to eat and drink, what to read and how to spend their money.

To develop a truly free society, the issue of initiating force must be understood and rejected. Granting to government even a small amount of force is a dangerous concession.

00:39:05 The internet will provide the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda. This is why it’s essential that the internet remains free of government regulation.

[summary of 5 points]
5 Greatest Dangers to American people fact today that impede goal of a free society
1. Continuous attacks on civil liberties, and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.
2. Violent anti-americansim that has engulfed the world (blowback)
3. The ease of which we go to war
4. Financial crises - debt, unfunded liabilities, debt, bailouts, wealth distribution etc
5. World government - war, currency taxes, property, banking, gun ownership, ...

00:43:06 What a wonderful world it would be if everyone accepted the simple moral premise of rejecting all acts of aggression. The retort to such a suggestion is always: it’s too simplistic, too idealistic, impractical, naïve, utopian, dangerous, and unrealistic to strive for such an ideal.

The answer to that is that for thousands of years the acceptance of government force, to rule over the people, at the sacrifice of liberty, was considered moral and the only available option for achieving peace and prosperity.

What could be more utopian than that myth—considering the results especially looking at the state sponsored killing, by nearly every government during the 20th Century, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions. It’s time to reconsider this grant of authority to the state.

No good has ever come from granting monopoly power to the state to use aggression against the people to arbitrarily mold human behavior. Such power, when left unchecked, becomes the seed of an ugly tyranny. This method of governance has been adequately tested, and the results are in: reality dictates we try liberty.

00:45:03 What I’m talking about is a system of government guided by the moral principles of peace and tolerance.

00:46:11 The #1 responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow.

00:47:22 To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome. Number one is “envy” which leads to hate and class warfare. Number two is “intolerance” which leads to bigoted and judgmental policies. These emotions must be replaced with a much better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance and free market economics. Freedom, when understood, brings people together. When tried, freedom is popular.

00:48:25 I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out “the plain truth of things.” The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of LIBERTY.

If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land. AND I YIELD BACK THE BALANCE OF MY TIME.

Notes on Albert Speer's Spandau: The Secret Diaries

Posted: May 30th, 2012 | Author: danny | Filed under: Book Notes | Comments Off

Spandau The Secret Diaries

This is pretty challenging book, in a lot of ways.

One interesting observation is that the length of chapters get's shorter as time goes on. Each chapter is a year, and they start out long and end up quite short.

Page 50 - The Great Game Continues

The passage on loyalty I think is especially important (page: 211/212)

Both of them had said to her that they had no doubts I was the typical loyal man, but that loyalty was a lesser virtue; strictly speaking, in fact, it was really a bad thing, for loyalty always presupposed a certain ethical blindness on the part of the loyal person. If someone really knew what was good and what evil, loyalty would go by the board, they said.

I think this is an important book to read since it provides insight into 3 distinct perspectives:
1. The war criminal dealing with regret and the fallout of his actions
2. The prisoner
3. The high ranking official (stories of the past) & the response to 20 years of world events.

I have more to say on this book, this is just a stub.

Page 11/12 (October 19, 1946)


This afternoon the prison rules were read out. In addressing a guard or an officer we must come to attention. When the commandant, Colonel Andrus, or a prominent visitor approaches, we are expected to stand stiffly and at the same time fold our arms across our chests, as in the Orient. The American lieutenant on duty commented that we need not bother about any of "this nonsense."

Page 15 (November 1, 1946)


After a while he began to talk about the impressive personality of the abbot. "There we have it again, another example of the Catholic Church's clever choice of its dignitaries, " he [[HITLER]] remarked. "The only other institution in which a man from the lowest classes has the chance to rise so high is among us, in the Movement. Peasant boys used to become popes; long before the French Revolution the Church had no social prejudices. And how worthwhile that has proved to be! Believe me, there's a reason the Church has been able to survive for two thousand years. We must learn from its methods, its internal freedom, its knowledge of psychology."

Page 24 (November 30, 1946)

Nevertheless, I am fairly certain that I myself in all those years never made a single anti-Jewish remark to him.

Sometimes it even seems to me that my own "purity," my indolence, make me guiltier. Passion, whether springing from hatred or resentment, is still a motivation. Lukewarmness is nothing.

Page 29/30 (December 21, 1946)

And then this beastly way of talking! How was it I never really felt revolted by it, never flared up when Hitler - as he did almost all the time in the last few years - spoke of "annihilation" or "extermination." Certainly those who would charge me with opportunism or cowardice are being too simplistic. The terrible thing, the thing that disturbs me much more, is that I did not really notice this vocabulary, is that I did not really notice vocabulary, that it never upset me.

Page 32 (December 24, 1946)

My improvised sleeping bag has kept me warm all night. Only now, in prison, am I coming to appreciate the inadequacies of the army's winter clothing. Our winter jacket des not keep me arm even here in the cell; it absorbs too much moisture and dries poorly.


Page 41/42 (January 28, 1947)

[The following are about Otto Saur]
Obedience and dynamism - a fearsome combination.
Unconfirmed reports on the building of superheavy Russian tanks whipped them up further, until the two, throwing all technical inhibitions to the wind, arrived at the overpowering battle strength of a tank weighing 1,500 tons, which would be transported in sections on railroad cars and put together just before being committed to battle.


Always brash and tough with the captains of industry, he himself lacked even a modicum of courage. Consequently I had an invented text placed in his mail: "Report from the British Broadcasting Corporation: We have learned that Saur, the well-known associate of Speer, has fled from our bombs to Blankenburgin the Harz Mountains. Our airmen will find him out there too." Gripped with panic, he promptly set up his headquarters in a nearby cave.

Page 50 (March 26, 1947) *

... Hitler began. "For a long time I have had everything prepared. As the next step we are going to advance south of the Caucasus and then help the rebels in Iran and Iraq against the English. Another thrust will be directed along the Caspian Sea toward Afghanistan and India. Then the English will run out of oil. In two years we'll be on the borders of India. Twenty to thirty elite German divisions will do. Then the British Empire will collapse. They've already lost Singapore to the Japanese. The English will have to look on impotently as their colonial empire falls to pieces."

Page 81 (October 14, 1947)

I can hardly believe it. A prison employee has offered o smuggle letters out for me. Anton Vlaer, a young Dutchman, was conscripted for forced labor during the war and worked in a Berlin armaments factory. There he fell ill and was taken to a special hospital I had established for construction workers shortly before the war. While in one corner of the yard an American and a British guard eagerly discuss a boxing match, in the other corner this Dutchman whispers to me that he was well treated in our hospital. he remained in the hospital until the end of the war, serving as an orderly in the operating room, and Dr. Heinz, the head of the hospital, took him into his family like a son.

Our toilet paper has since acquired unimaginable importance to me and my family. What luck that no one thought of dying it black. I keep the sheets I have written on in my shoes; such padding has its points in the present cold snap. As yet no one has noticed that I am somewhat clumsy in walking. Luckily, the personal searches are very sketchy.

My life, or at least my sense of it, has assumed a totally new quality. For the first time in two and a half years I have an uncensored connection with the outside world. Often I cannot sleep, anticipating the next mail; but often, too, I tremble at being found out. Vlaer has made me promise to say nothing to my fellow prisoners. He is afraid of their loose tongues. To keep down the risks, I have been making only rare use of this opportunity. I want to see how well this thing works for a few months, and not imperil it by too many letters, which after all can contain only trivialities. But I do have one exciting idea. [writing books] ...

Page 83 (October 15, 1947)

... My satisfaction shows me to what extent I have been humbled: all day I have been feeling uplifted because I was addressed as "Herr Speer."

Page 87/88 (December 5, 1947)

A few weeks ago I put a piece of folded paper under my bed and tricked a little dust on it to see whether it would be found and then replaced in the same spot. But the dust grew thicker and thicker; no one paid any attention to the paper. Such lack of distrust is really almost insulting.

(December 7, 1947)

At eight o'clock this morning, during the change of shifts, I held my fountain pen visibly in my hand. That is how I tell the Dutch medical aide that I need more thin writing paper or would like to "mail" letters; that is, pass them to him for sending on.

Page 99 (February 15, 1948)

One reason the expander was important to him [HITLER], he went on to say, was that during march-pasts of the SA and tSS he often had to hold his arm outstretched for hours at a time, without letting it quiver, let alone resting it. Thanks to his years of training, he said, none of his subordinates could match him in such endurance. ...

Page 105 (February 26, 1948)

.... Incidentally, money was found for the project by putting a moratorium on all housing. Wahl justified this course in a long article in which he argued that, after all, housing could always be built, but that monuments of such historic grandeur could only be constructed during the lifetime of the greatest German of the ages.

Page 111 (May 5, 1948)


"Come over here all of you; I have something important to say, "Funk calls to us. "The world is evil. Everything is a fraud. Even here!" Expectantly, we approach. "There are supposed to be two hundred sheets. But who ever counted them? I have! I went to the trouble. And there are only one hundred and ninety-three." Into our perplexed faces he tosses the words: "The toilet paper, of course." The Russian director, a small energetic man whose name we do not know, appears. We separate. "Why speaking? You that is verbotoem." He departs, but shortly afterwards puts in a surprise appearance in the garden. This time Funk and Schirach are caught talking and warned. Schirach comments scornfully, "That is the dictatorship of the proletariat."

Page 113/114 (May 13, 1948)

Today - again in the hotbed - Schirach asked me where hitler got those extraordinary sums for his private purse. Could the income from Mein Kampf have covered the multitude of expenditures? he wanted to know. After all, Hitler had not only financed productions and new theaters, but had also supported young artists, built up large collections of paintings, and finally paid for luxurious Berghof with the teahouse and the Eagle's Nest on the to pof the mountain. Together, we reckoned up his income and arrived at a some that came nowhere near covering such expenditures. Then I remembered the story of the stamp. One day his photographer, Hoffmann, had called Hitler's attention to the fact that he could demand a royalty for the use of his portrait on every stamp, and Hitler had unhesitatingly taken up the suggestion. A third source of income was the Adolf hitler Endowment Fund of German Industry, which Bormann invented. This put additional millions at his disposal. Once a year Hitler invited those businessmen who had shown themselves unusually generous to an evening party in the Chancellery. After an impressive baquet the best singers from the Berlin opera house offered a gala program. In 1939 I was present when several leading industrialists presented Hitler, for his fiftieth birthday, with a coffer containing some of richard Wagner's original scores. It included the bound four-volume Rienzi manuscript and the scores of Das Rheingold and Die Walkure. Hitler was particularly excited by the orchestral sketch for Die Gotterdammerung; he showed sheet after sheet to the assembled guests, making knowledgeable comments. Bormann did not miss the chance to point out to Hitler that the collection had cost nearly a million marks.

Page 116 (May 16, 1948)

... Hitler made it quite plain he would lay siege to her if it were not for his accursed official position.

Page 125 (January 3, 1949)

From hints we know that the alliance between West and East has broken down. The conflict has led to disputes over access routes into Berlin. Now Berlin is said to be blockaded. And in fact day and nigh transport planes roar over our building. Im the garden we puzzle over the consequences of all this for us. We gradually come round to the idea that if there should be a final break between West and East, prisoners would be returned to the nations that captured them. Consequently I would go to the British. A reassuring prospect....

Page 127 (January 28, 1949)

... One might assume that we convicted war criminals would have no moral relationship with the past, that we would try to regard what has happened primarily as a historical process, independent of ethical categories. But actually all of us here moralize incessantly: on that profligate Goring, that fornicator Goebbels, that drunkard Ley, that vain fool Ribbentrop. Funk takes the lead in this. Today he began to Streicher - whom, it must be granted, everyone avoided, and who even under the Third Reich was considered disgusting. ...

Page 129 (January 31, 1949)

... Which reminds me of an episode: once at dinner Hitler told his listeners that he had personally selected all the varieties of marble in order to coordinate colors. Hadn't he noticed that I was sitting at an adjoining table? What so took me aback was and is the fact that he was still clutching at glory in such ridiculously trivial questions, when he had long since been astounding the world. ..

Page 131 (Februrary 4, 1949)

... Another obstacle is Funk's tendency to wallow in self-pity. But sometimes he gives even his laments an ironic twist. He also likes to mourn the loss of his onetime corpulence and recollect vanished sybaritic pleasures....

Page 145 (June 18, 1949)

I nearly made myself sick to my stomach breaking in my pipe.

Page 147 (September 11, 1949)

Another six weeks have passed. Once month after another. Somewhere I have read that boredom is the one torment of hell that Dante forgot.

Page 165/166 (April 7, 1950)

By now I have read nearly all the books on the Italian Renaissance in the Spandau library. The designs of Delorme and the noblesse of, say, the palace of Ancy le Franc make me realize for the first time that something can be great without being massive, and that the impact of precisely this kind of classicism lies in its avoidance of effects. Fundamentally, this restrain of the French early Renaissance makes the fortress like Florentine palaces seem vulgar. The latter were my ideal during the years in which I designed the Fuhrer's Palace. The development of German art in that era is disappointing. Someone like Wendel Dietterlin, for example, simply does not stand up in comparison with Delorme. In Dietterlin a few elements of classical antiquity are imposed upon a mannered late Gothic. Everything seems picturesque rather than clear; there is no inner freedom. Now, too, I realize where the over-ornate Renaissance facades of the Heidelberg Schloss, which stands only a few hundred meters from my parents' house, had their origin.

Fundamentally, the Renaissance skirted Germany when it spread from Italy to France and England. Perhaps one of the roots of Hitler's successes may be traced to this failure on Germany's part to participate in humanistic culture.


April 14, 1950

An American psychiatrist has paid a call. hess did his best to show that his mind was failing. We others tried to escape as quickly as possible from the obtrusive questions. The Doctor spent a half-hour on me. I would be interested in reading his report.

Page185/186 (January 1, 1951)


Finally, lured by our gaiety, Hess drops by: Long forgot to lock his cell door. Eyes glittering, Hess unfolds an idea for illuminating highways. He has read that highway lighting has been introduced in America, he says. But of course it is much too wasteful, like everything in America. In Germany, he thinks, the expenses can be paid for in a much simpler manner, for all cars would then not use their headlights. This would save current, he maintains, and the erection and maintenance of the floodlights could easily be financed out of the money thus saved. I object that the cars' generators would be running anyhow, to supply current to the spark plugs. He dismisses that; the generator could shut off automatically as soon as the battery was charged. Thus energy would be stored, fuel saved, and this saving could be spent on financing the illumination of highways. Reckoned out for the cars people would soon have in Germany, that would easily amount to more than the highway lights could cost.

We listen speechless, until at last Funk says ambiguously, "At any rate, Herr Hess, I am glad that you have recovered your health." Hess ponders for a moment, then looks sternly at me and orders me to work out the idea in detail. Whereupon he returns to his cell, pleased with himself.


January 12, 1951

Have I the right to laugh at Hess's fantastic idea? What is funny about it is not only the absurdity of the conception hatched out by his poor cracked brain, but also his firm belief in its practicability, the serious way he instructed me to pursue the matter. And in that, I think, there lies a genuine relic of the past: the conviction that everything is feasible, that reality can be ascribed to even the most crackpot of notions. I still remember vividly the way a swarm of reformers and inventors of projects came crawling out of the woodwork after 1933 and crowded all the anterooms of government. All of them had something to offer on which salvation depended, or at any rate progress. And every so often one of them would manage to win backing from an influential functionary, thus obtaining funds and authorization for his project. Dilettantism flourished, and harmless though many of these crackpots were, a few of them proved to be deadly -- those, for instance, who conceived the skull measurement theories, the scientifically worthless experiments on human beings, and a host of other experiments. Himmler was one of the matadors in this arena. But sometimes I wonder whether the building projects for Berlin and other such things don't belong in the same category.

Page 192 (January 16, 1951)


when we left the big steel plant, Hitler expressed appreciation of modern steel and glass architecture. "Do you see this facade more than three hundred meters long? How fine the proportions are. What you have here are different requirements from those governing a Party forum. There our Doric style is the expression of the New Order; here, the technical solution is the appropriate thing. But if one of these so-called modern architects comes along and wants to build housing projects or town halls in the factory style, then I say: He doesn't understand a thing . That isn't modern, it's tasteless, and violates the eternal laws of architecture besides. Light, air, and efficiency belong to a place of work; in a town hall I require dignity, and in a residence a sense of shelter that arms me for the harshness of life's struggle. Just imagine, Speer a Christmas tree in front of a wall of glass. Impossible! Here, as elsewhere, we must consider the variety of life."


Page 194 (April 4, 1951)

Friendly as many of the guards are, I really enjoy not being "Number Five" for once.

Page 195 (April 8, 1951)

Today Funk entertainingly relates the story of Hitler's household steward, Kannenberg. In the winter of 1939 Hitler, along with us, thought up the joke of having this butterball of a man sent a draft order to report to the "Fog Troops." Kannenberg was panic-stricken and began anxiously hanging about Hitler - who repeatedly called our attention to this behavior with surreptitious grins. After some days of this, Kannenberg at last gathered up his courage and approached Hitler with the question: Wasn't there anything that could be done about the order? But Hitler pushed the joke somewhat further. No, he said, he could not make an exception; in this government there was no such thing as favoritism, no privileges; this was National Socialism, not longer the corrupt Republic. Kannenberg's eyes came close to overflowing, but Hitler gloated over the man's despair. Finally Kannenberg offered the argument that his dedication to the Fuhrer's well-being might possibly be more important than one man more or less to operate a smoke-generator at the front. Then Hitler began to laugh, and before his relieved and amazed steward's eyes he tore up the official draft notice.


Page 198 (June 18, 1951)

Yesterday Pease obtained a lipstick for me so that I could color several green strawberries red. Every morning a new American guard has been eating with obvious pleasure and before our very eyes, the strawberries that have ripened overnight. Now he stands there spitting and cursing; but when he sees everybody, including his own fellow guards, laughing, he finally joins in.

Page 206/207/216/219 (February 15, 1952)

Out of nine hundred applicants, Hilde has been chosen by the American Field Service to go to America as a guest pupil for a year. She will live with a family. Should I have her come for a fifteen minute visit - the first of the children to visit me here? Schirach sees one o f his sons every two months, but after every visit they leave crying. I renounce the idea.

March 9, 1952

With what sort of feelings will Hilde go to America? How ill people behave toward her? Will they make it plain to here that she is a convicted war criminal's daughter? Of course she will defend me, with a child's loyalty. What does she really think about me? In general, what do I mean to my children? In their most secret thoughts, which perhaps they do not admit even to themselves?

What will she find harder to take: that I was Hitler's architect who not only built his palaces and halls of fame, but also provided the Party Rally decorations that gave him the backdrop for his acts of mass hypnosis; or that I was his minister of armaments, director of his war machinery, and employer of an army of slaves? ....

But what still troubles me most to this day is my participation in so much overall injustice. I have said that publicly, and I have also said it in letters to the family; and I am really certain that the children feel the same way. For a long time to come it will e their life's problem that their father belonged to the inner circle of despots. Perhaps I ought to write Hilde a few lines on that subject, so that she will be armed to face America. At least I shall be able to help her, out of my own wrestlings, with her problem.


March 12, 1952

Yesterday I tore everything up. There will be no letter to Hilde. For the more deeply I dug into the problem, scribbling note after not, the more clearly I realized that for the children I am probably the cause less of guilt complexes than of feelings of shame. My involvement in so many wrongs has probably become history to them. For them it must be much more incriminating that I as Hitlers favorite and familiar, who with adjutants and secretaries shared his boring evenings, laughed at his stupid jokes, and listened to his dreary theories of historical philosophy. And heaven knows I cannot write a ltter about all that. Not even to myself.


June 10, 1952

The guard Wagg, who ordinarily never transmits any news, has spitefully shown me a press item to the effect that the State Department has refused to grant Hilde an entry Visa.


June 17, 1952


Late that evening Pease comes into my cell. "Here, Stars and Stripes reports that your daughter will be allowed to go to America. Congratulations. " The newspaper item states that McCloy approached Secretary of State Acheson. In addition, the article says that prestigious Jewish family has invited Hilde to stay with them. The news stirs me so deeply that I can scarcely restrain my tears. After the door closed behind Pease, I drop on the bed and turn my head to the wall.

Page 208 (March 14, 1952)


These, he argued, would be the prime defense against invasion. Judging by experiences in the First World War, nothing was more terrifying to a soldier than a jet of flame aimed at him. The prospect of being burned to death spread panic, whereas death from a bullet always came unexpectedly and was honorable.

Page 209 (march 27, 1952)


The answer probably is that the products of industry are not susceptible to monumentalization. In order to achieve real impressiveness and not just the outward effect sought by Hitler (or the Russians), a monument has to have a mythic quality. Technology is always opposed to mythology. Goethe's pen can be exhibited in a museum, but not Zuckmayer's or Hemingway's typewriters. Achilles' sword is not a rifle and Hagen's spear not a flamethrower. Hitler's victory boulevard would have been an embarrassment.

Page 211/212 (April 15, 1952) ***


I had to admit that I often confused right and wrong, but I felt that I had never acted disloyally. Loyalty was, so to speak, the last firm ground to which my self-respect could retreat.


She, Mrs. Fremantle, was considering undertaking something in my behalf, and had recently spoken of her intention to her friends Bertrand Russell and Jacques Maritain. Both of them had said to her that they had no doubts I was the typical loyal man, but that loyalty was a lesser virtue; strictly speaking, in fact, it was really a bad thing, for loyalty always presupposed a certain ethical blindness on the part of the loyal person. If someone really knew what was good and what evil, loyalty would go by the board, they said.


April 17, 1952

Still on the question of loyalty. It isn't as simple as I thought day before yesterday. Now that I am preoccupied with the matter, it suddenly seems to me that in the Third Reich I heard no word more frequently than "loyalty." It fell from everyone's lips - not only the Keitels and Kesselrings, but the Blombergs, Mansteins, and Gauleiters, insofar as they were capable of any judgment. Even Goring, debased and addicted as he was toward the end, told me in a long conversation at Karinhall that I would have an easier time braking with Hitler than he; that he had to be loyal.

But now I ask myself whether loyalty was no more than the rag we used to cover our moral nakedness; our lack of resolution, fear of responsibility, cowardice, all the vapidities that we bombastically called our "duty."


Much too late I am beginning to grasp that there is only one valid kind of loyalty: toward morality.

Page 237 (November 26, 1952)


A new American, who shall be called Frederik, thinks that in view of my large family the official number of letters is far from sufficient. Through him I can now write as many as I want. I would not have thought him capable of so much active sympathy; he has a rather insensitive face, and is scared to boot; he breaks into a sweat when he merely considers the risks he is taking.

For that reason I would have been glad to decline his offer, because my opportunities are already sufficient. But Frederik might suspect that I already had a liaison with outside. That must not be. But id on't know what is going to happen if a third and a fourth offer their assistance. I would have to write letter upon letter every night, until my right hand as well becomes totally numb.

Page 247 (March 9, 1953)


In the evening came the news of Stalin's death. he has been dead for several days. Now the second man who cast a pall over this century is gone. It means nothing to me.

Page 248 (March 21, 1953)

News that Malenkov will be Stalin's successor. The example of Bormann showed how advantageously situated a secretary is to become a dictator's successor. After Lenin, his secretary, Stalin; after Stalin now, his secretary, Malenkov. Malenkov is said to have made a speech stressing peace. Hess comments laconically, "I know, I know. That's when the danger of war is the greatest."

Page 251 (April 24, 1953)


Shortly after the two disappeared into Funk's cell I heard a noisy excitement in the corridor. The medical aide, Vlaer, shouted, "Then go ahead and try it!" Guryev's deep voice replied, "I declare all bottles confiscated. " Then Vlaer, indignantly, "What, you want to search me? Don't you dare touch me!" Doors slammed; other guards came and went.

A few hours later Funk filled me in. "Yes, it's a wild story. What luck I had. The medical aide pulled a bottle out of his pocket in a flash and poured the contents into my cup. Cognac! The Russian was standing outside the door, but caught a glimpse of something. he snatched at the cup, smelled first with one nostril, then with the other, and ran after the medical aide. But due to habit he naturally locked me in first. So I was alone with my cognac! The cup almost full, a tremendous drink. I raised it to my lips and drank it in one draft. Down the hatch! It wasn't easy. But it had to be drunk up. My legs began to shake. But I immediately poured coffee from the other cup into the cognac cup. The whole thing took just seconds. Then the Russian was back at the door and in the room. Again he smelled the cup. Imagine his face! Coffee. He just sagged. A transmutation. He couldn't figure it out. Then off he rushed with the full cup."

Laughing, Vlaer joined us. "What luck I had. First he smelled all the bottles, then searched my pockets."

Where had the cognac bottle been?

"I always carry that in the rear pocket of my trousers," the aide replied slyly. "Nobody's ever found it there. I guess the Russians don't know anything about that."

April 26, 1953

The subject of the confiscated drink was presented at the directors' meeting. It was determined that the beverage in question was cold coffee.

Page 260 (December 8, 1953)

... Looking into his swollen face, i realize for the first time that perhaps Hitler wore his mustache in order to divert attention from his excessively large, ill-proportioned nose. Now I am afraid that I will be arrested any moment because I have perceived the secret of his nose. Heart pounding, I wake up.

Page 265 (February 25, 1954)

Frederik is bringing in genuine Hennessy and Canadian Club in unlimited quantities. Temporary change of mood. The children will wonder about my exuberant official letter. Donitz has written his Sunday letter in verse. This jollity should make an attentive censor suspicious.

Page 277 (August 26, 1954)

For three months now we have been receiving newspapers. Reading them has proved to be a strenuous and confusing occupation.


The quick sift from one subject to the next comes surprisingly hard to me. Should newspapers be delayed by no more than a day, their contents become peculiar, uninteresting even here in Spandau.


Jefferson writes somewhere that in the years after his presidency he read newspapers only at considerable intervals, as a matter of principle. By so doing, he said, he saw political relationships emerging more distinctly.

Page 286 (November 12, 1954)

Two days after my walk I am lying in bed. My right knee is swollen, my leg in splints. How the sense of time is distorted by the mists of memory! I tell the medical aide that I last had trouble with my knee about two years ago; according to the medical record it is actually five. Unarticulated time is not measurable; strictly speaking, where there are no events, there is no time.

Page 284/285

"It says in the paper that Neurath is going to b released."


Hess displayed wild agitation. "You must explain to Neurath at once," he called out to me across the corridor, "that it is just a propaganda lie. I know Communists' tactics!"


At evelen o'clock ... Felner entered Neurath's cell. I saw the old man in his armchair slowly raise his head. "Come along to the storeroom," the American said. I went to my cell, and saw Neurath in his slipper shuffling unsteadily along behind Felner. At the end of the corridor the iron door closed behind the two . For the a moment there was a silence. Suddenly Chalres Pease was standing beside me. "He's gone," he said dryly. That was all. No farewell, no ceremony, not even a handshake. Just this disappearance through the iron door. One of us was in freedom.

For hours afterward we all felt dazed. Donitz's eyes were wet. In my case, too, my old trick of biting my tongue failed me. Hess, shaking his head, admitted, "I really never would have thought that possible."

Page 288/289 (November 26, 1954)

I stiffened, for Thorak was more or less "my" sculptor, who frequently designed statues and reliefs for my buildings and in the pat year had just created the group of figures for the German pavilion at the Paris World's Fair. Wagner went on to say that such a man could not be allowed to decorate the great buildings for the Nuremberg Party Rally, which for centuries to come would be an object of admiration and veneration. I was convinced that now Thorak would be lost to me. Had he occupied a Party office, Hitler would in fact have immediately ordered his dismissal. But in this case Hitler replied disdainfully, "Oh, you know I don't take any of that seriously. We should never judge artists by their political views. The imagination they need for their work deprives them of the ability to think in realistic terms. Let's keep Thorak on. Artists are simple-hearted souls. Today they sign this, tomorrow that; they don't even look to see what it is, so long as it seems to them well-meaning."

Page 302 (May 7, 1955)

Now I see that something has evolved out of the extravagant experimental architecture of those years. If I can believe the magazine, something like a universal style is arising for the first time, a style extending from London to Tokyo, from New York to Rio. But what is altogether astonishing to me is that it comes from Berlin, virtually from the same floor of the Academy of Art. In the United States Mies and Gropius in particular seem to have had the kind of broad influence that they failed to win in Germany.


I agreed with Hitler that Mies van der Rohe's glass-and-steel constructions belonged rather to the world of technology than to the world of government, and were more suitable for a factory than for an opera house. Was I then thinking to narrowly, along far too traditionalistic lines?

Page 316 (February 20, 1956)

Another five weeks without an entry. After all, what happens? Is it worth mentioning that Donitz has his favorite broom and is furious if someone else uses it? Is it worth recording that for years we have been sweeping the hall in precisely the same order? ...

***Page 320/321 (June 21, 1956)***

This afternoon I happened to be standing in the corridor when Hess came out of his cell, relaxed and cheerful. When he caught sight of me, his expression changed in the fraction of a second. I was startled. suddenly a tormented, suffering man confronted me. Even his gait changed abruptly. His springy step became stiff and faltering, like an invalid with an amputated leg.

I shall not say a word about it, neither to Hess nor to others, but I am profoundly disturbed. He has been keeping up this sham for fifteen years. What an expenditure of energy! What consistency in doing violence to his own body! But also what confusion of mind!

Page 332 (October 1, 1956)

This morning I stood for a long while in front of the poplar Neurath planted, with the help of Donitz, nine years ago. It has grown to fifteen meters, and for me is probably the most terrifying symbol of all the times that is running out for me here. Pease was probably trying to banish my black thoughts when he told me, "After the delivery of his possessions, the Russian director said to Donitz, 'sign here, Number Two.' Then he went straight on to say, 'So that ends that, Admiral Donitz."

Page 333 (November 9, 1956)

In Hungary the uprising against the Soviet occupation has been finally crushed. For two weeks there was scarcely any other subject of conversation here. It divided Spandau into three camps. During this period the battered front of the Four Power prison authority collapsed completely. The Russians were embarrassed until the British and French undertook the land in Egypt. And suddenly we, for the first time, were in a more solid position. Today Schirach said to the American guard Rostlam, "By the way, since when are aggressive wars permitted? Didn't I hear they had been banned? There American did not know what to say.

Page 335 (December 24, 1956)

I gave the Rottmann to Hitler not because Rottmann was one of his favorite painters but because it suited my taste. And only now, as I leaf through the drawings in this cell, do I fully realize that everything I did turned romantic in my hands, and that a revolution in art passed me by without leaving a trace on my work.

Page 338 (January 13, 1957)

Today, sitting on his garden bench, he said to me in his imperious tone, "Tell me, Funk has just mentioned a Herr Leitgen. Who was that again?"

For a moment I was really dumbfounded. "But that was your adjutant, of course!"

Hess seemed to think hard. Then he dropped into his whining tone. "But that's dreadful! I know longer know that? For heaven's sake, how is such a thing possible? Can you explain it to me? My adjutant. Really? Then I must have lost my memory." His eyes held a cunning expression.

"Don't worry about it, Herr Hess. In nuremberg, during the trial, you also lost your memory. After the trial it came back." Hess pretended astonishment. "What's that you say? It will come back?"

I nodded. "Yes, and then it also goes away again. The same thing happens to me."

Hess was irritated. "What, to you too? What don't you know?

I looked at him thoughtfully, as if I were trying to figure something out. Then I shrugged resignedly. "At the moment I simply cannot remember who you are and what you are doing here."

For a moment Hess was perplexed. Then we both began to laugh.

Page 343 (May 17, 1957)

Now there are only three of us. I am really alone. Shirach and Hess do not count.

What I dreaded has now come about.

*** Page 351 (October 5, 1957) ***

huge headline in today's newspaper that the first satellite is circling the earth. For a minute I lay on the bed with pounding heart. Some events really hit me hard. During the first forty years of my life I admired technology. when Wernher von Braun told me about his future projects, such as a flight to the moon, I was fascinated. But Hitler, with his technologically based dictatorship and his assembly-line extermination of the Jews, shocked me so deeply that I can never again be naive about technology. every advance nowadays only frightens me. News like this account of the first satellite makes me think o new potentialities for annihilation, and arouses fear. If they fly to the moon tomorrow, my fear will be all the greater.

Page 354/355 (December 26, 1957)

Yesterday Toni Vlaer drove into the East Sector to visit his mother-in-law. Two of our Russians asked him to take them with him to Karlshorst. At the house where he left them off he was bluntly asked to come along. Then for several hours he was interrogated by officers of the NKVD. Finally they came out with what they wanted: they were looking for an agent to work for them, and since he had always got on well with the Russians in Spandau, they had decided to recruit him. When he tried to back off, they spoke more forcefully and presented him with a prepared letter in which he agreed to collaboration and silence. Out of fear, Vlaer finally signed it. Now, so he informed me, on the fifteenth of January he is supposed to carry out his first assignment. He is bewildered and desperate.

December 29, 1957

Yesterday, I advised Toni Vlaer to inform the Allied authorities, in spite of his fears for his mother-in-law. He accordingly made a report to the British military police and the Dutch consulate. They advised him to leave Berlin and return to Holland. They said there had been too many kidnappings of late. Now he has given notice and will leave in a few days. He has helped me keep going these past ten years.

Page 362/364 (September 14, 1958)

Hardie told me today that a macabre scene occurred in the course of Bruce's visit. As the high point of the inspection, the ambassador was led into the prison office, where a gray machine stood on a table. Then Letham took one of Hess's notebooks, which had just been brought in, and inserted it into the machine. He pressed a button, and it began to chatter. Triumphantly, he displayed the shredded bits of paper to the astonished ambassador. This, I now hear for the first time, is the road that all our official notes have taken for the pat then years. No better symbol can be found for the uncanny, E.T.A Hoffman-like absurdity of this huge, almost empty building.


(November 28, 1958)

A speech and note of Khrushchev on Berlin. He demands that the Western Powers withdraw their troops from Berlin within six months. The one firm Four Power agreement on Berlin concerns, so I read today, Spandau Prison; on everything else the arrangements are vaguely formulated. Thus Spandau has become a kind of juridical Rock of Gilbralter for the Western allies. They cannot give it up under any circumstances. Schirach remarked bitterly, "Maybe the city of Berlin will actually make the three of us honorary citizens." Hess offered, "We'll be that in any case someday."

Page 368 (March 21, 1959)

Now we have a one-man parish in Spandau. For weeks Schirach has sent his excuses to the chaplain, though he gives no reason for his absence. And so I sit opposite the chaplain alone. it is equally embarrassing to us both that he, standing two paces away, preaches down at me. he was therefore relieved when I proposed today that he deliver his sermon sitting. not that this helps very much. in this situation the solemnity of divine worship simply will not come.


Page 372 (June 9, 1959)

Basically, of course, the directory is right. But when prisoners and guards live together for a decade, it is impossible to maintain the strictness of regulations.

*** Page 375/276 (August 12, 1959) ***

Recently a book was smuggled into my cell. The Army Air Forces in World War II, a semi-official history by Craven and Gate, on which George Ball collaborated. In spite of the amplitude of the material, it seems to me the book misses the decisive point. Like all other accounts of the bombing that I have so far seen, it places its emphasis on the destruction the air raids inflicted on German industrial potential and thus upon armaments production. In reality the losses were not quite so serious, although in 1943 I estimated that the air war was costing us - in terms of production for the Eastern Front - the equivalent of more than 10,000 heavy guns of more than 7.5 centimeters caliber, and approximately 6000 medium -heavy and heavy tanks.

The real importance of the air war consisted in the fact that it opened a second front long before the invasion of Europe. That front was the skies over Germany. The fleets of bombers might appear at any time over any large German city or important factory.. The unpredictability of the attacks made this front gigantic; every square meter of the territory we controlled was a kind of front line. Defense against air attacks required the production of thousands of antiaircraft guns, the stockpiling of tremendous quantities of ammunition all over the country, and holding in readiness hundreds of thousands of soldiers, who in addition had to stay in position by their guns, often totally inactive, for months at a time.

As far as I can judge from the accounts I have read, no one has yet seen that this was the greatest lost battle on the German side. The losses from the retreats in Russia or from the surrender of Stalingrad were considerably less. Moreover, the nearly 20,000 antiaircraft guns stationed in the homeland could almost have doubled the antitank defenses on the Eastern Front. In the territory of the Reich those guns were virtually useless. Over the attacked cities they did little more than provide a kind of reassuring fireworks display for the population. By that time bombers were operating from such high altitudes that the shells of the 8.8-centimeter flak guns reached the plans at too slow a speed.

Page 377 (September 14, 1959)

Today Sadot spoke enthusiastically about the triumph of the Russians, who have just landed a rocket on the moon. "It's all the more amazing," I said, "because we happen to have only a half-moon now."

Sadot, without thinking replied, "Of course, that makes it even harder. Good heavens, at the moment that didn't even occur to me. These Russians!" Only after he was already a few steps away did he give a start and pause thoughtfully; then abruptly stalked off.

Page 379 (November 12, 1959)

The censorship continues to suppress every newspaper item on Spandau, but the man well-meaning guards keep us informed on everything. four times in the last few days I have been told about an article in the Sunday Times. This morning, under seal of absolute silence, a fifth guard actually let me read the newspaper myself. After lunch it was brought to me again, and in order not to betray the fact I had to study it once more, with all the signs of joyful surprise, including loud "ahs" and "ohs". The article is headlined: LAST NAZIS MAY QUIT SPANDAU

Page 381 (December 11, 1959)

In just two weeks Hess has gained fourteen kilos. Only a man with an iron stomach could endure such a fattening diet after several weeks of fast. Hess is in fact a bit embarrassed: "Everything is crazy here including the scales."

Although some of the Russians call the suicide attempt sabotage, most of the guards have been treating Hess with great civility. Everything revolves around his health. Obviously a good many of the guards have been thoroughly scared. They seem to be telling themselves: Two millimeters deeper and we'd have been out of a lifetime job. So Hes has unexpectedly become a precious object. He rather likes that.

*** Page 391/392 (August 24, 1960) ***

Yet hatred of the Jews was Hitler's central conviction; sometimes it even seems to me that everything else was merely camouflage for this real motivating factor. That perception came to me in Nuremberg when I saw the films of the death camps and became acquainted with the documents; when I learned that Hitler was even prepared to risk his plans of conquest for the sake of that mania for extermination.

Going over it all in Spandau, I have gradually understood completely that the man I served was not a well meaning tribune of the masses, not the rebuilder of German grandeur, and also not the failed conqueror of a vast European empire, but a pathological hater. The people who loved him, the German greatness he always talked about, the Reich he conjured up as a vision - all that ultimately meant nothing to him. I can still recall the astonishment with which I read the final sentence of his testament. In the midst of an apocalyptic doom it attempted to commit us all to a miserable hatred of the Jews.


But I have absolutely nothing to say for myself with a name like Eichmann's is mentioned. I shall never be able to get over having served in a leading position a regime whose true energies were devoted to an extermination program.

Page 393 (September 15, 1960)

As soon as he left, Pease went back to his mowing, I took off my jacket, Schirach and Hess resumed their conversation under the tree. I recalled the remark the American commandant of the city made recently after an inspection, although he intended it rather differently: "Spandau, what a great farce!"

Page 407 (October 28, 1961)

Since the English and French are also ignoring the new schedule, we remain unmolested in our cells during the prescribed cleaning periods. Cleaning is done only when an American is on duty.

Page 408 (November 2, 1961)

We recognized our Soviet director Andrysev in a photograph in which he is shown conducting negotiations at Checkpoint Charley with American officers; the tanks drawn up on both sides show how tense the situation is. From the caption it is evident that he is really chief of the military police in East Berlin. According to the declarations of all sides involved, we are almost on the brink of war; but in the prison mess the antagonists meet every few days and toast one another.

November 4, 1961

Our Russian guards are anxious. Kargin interrupted me today: "If war, everything kaputt! Wife kaputt, houses kaputt, Kargin kaputt!" Spitefuly, he added, " Kennedy kaputt too, Khrushchev kaputt. Ha, ha, ha!" I laughed along with him. Turning suddenly serious, he asked, "Why you laugh?"

I said: "Prison kaputt too."

Page 412 (March 2, 1962)

I stared at him uncomprehendingly. "But I did stand up."

He shook his head. "You know what I think about that. But let me give you a piece of good advice: Next time stand up like a soldier."

In a tone of despair i replied, "But I never have been a soldier."

He looked at me with a touch of concern. "You must understand that this is a military prison."

Page 415/416 (March 25, 1962)

A few days ago my friend Jack brought me a pocket transistor radio. In the cell I keep it in my back pocket, concealing the earphone under my ski cap. Only a few centimeters of white wire can be seen, but since I lie on the bed and spread out the newspaper, I am quite covered.

The pocket set, a Japanese Sony, is technically splendid. I can easily hear Stuttgart, my "home station," only an hour's drive from our house. For the first time in seventeen year I participated in a musical event today, listened to the murmur of the audience, the voices of the instruments, to that wonderful sense of solemnity and expectation which precedes a musical offering. I thought it was the Berlin station, but i turned out to be Salzburg.

Loud conversations in the corridor. Quickly, I packed away the apparatus. The American director had the guard open the cell door. "The directors have decided that you must return the shoes you received for your birthday. They are unsuitable with the uniform. We will provide you with another pair." This is the reality.

Page 421/422 (October 26, 1962)

Kennedy has ordered the total blockade of Cuba. An army of 100,000 men is being massed in American ports.

This crisis, too, interests us only in its application to Spandau - my conversation with Schirach and Hess this morning made that plain. World history, which we once upon a time wanted to move, has been reduced for us to the fate of a prison. What we worry about is this: In a few days it will be the Russians' turn to take charge of Spandau. Today Schirach elaborated on what might happen. One night they break open the garden door leading to the cellblock. A small squad of commandos under the leadership of a lieutenant overpowers the Western guards. Within minutes we are loaded into a Russian bus; the bus drives through a forested area to the crossing to the Russian zone at Staaken, only two kilometers away. It would all be done in a twinkling, and the Western governments, concerned as they are about Cuba and Berlin, would scarcely do more than send a feeble protest note to Moscow.

Subsequently we discussed this anxiety with some of the Western guards. Long, the first to whom we described our fears, turned pale. When I tried to soothe him by reminding him of the telephone and the alarm system, he gave a distraught laugh. "Alarm?" he said. "The bell rings in the sentries rooms. That would only bring some more Russians."

Sadot had meanwhile joined us. I asked him, "What would you do if two Russian soldiers enter the hall and aim their submachine guns at you?"

Sadot grinned. "I've thought of that before. You know what, I'd act like de Gaulle at his meeting in Algeria: raise both hands in the air and cry out: 'Je vous ai compris!

One of the well-meaning Russians had obviously seen that something was preying on our minds, for he said, "Politics not good, hey?"

Page 424 (November 20, 1962)

I felt no sense of infringement when authors and books were banned in the Third Reich: Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, Stefan Zweig, and many others. Quite the contrary, accepting such proscriptions actually gave many Germans a feeling of elitist specialness. An element of that attitude of renunciation that underlies all morality is certainly operative. One major secret of dictatorships, from Stalin to Hitler, lies in their ability to provide moralistic dressing for coercion and so transform it into a satisfying experience.

Page 426 (December 2, 1962)

... "I find it strange,' I went on, "that you of all people should be surprised. After all, plenty of acting without authorization went on in the Party, too."

Hess pondered. "Yes, yes," he admitted after a while, "but still I kept things under control."

This time I did not want to let him off so easily. "You may have, " I said. "But not Hitler." Hess looked at me questioningly. "Or did you by any chance ask him before you flew to Scotland?" I asked pointedly.

*** Page 431/432 (February 24, 1963) ***

I reminded him how years ago he had advised me to count the rounds I walked by transferring a bean from one pocket to the other. At that time, I recalled to him, we had talked about organizing the daily walk as a kind of hike, round after round. "Right now," I went on, "we are in the middle of the seventy-eight-thousand-five-hundred-and-fourteenth round, and there in the mist we can already see Bering Strait."

Hess abruptly stopped. His face now took on a really concerned expression. "You mean to say you've kept that up all this time?" he asked.

"Including leap years, up to today exactly eight years, five months and ten days," I replied. "Up to this point I have covered twenty-one thousand two hundred and one kilometers."

Hess seemed visibly relieved to have across blatant madness in someone else, but also slightly irritated at seeing his own obstinacy outdown. "my respects, my respects!" he said thoughtfully.


"And you have already been doing this for eight years! Tell me, how do you feel?"

I laughed and spontaneously shook hands with him.

"We've just reached the coast of Bering Strait. now the crossing begins."

Hess gave a rather worried look around, as if afraid someone might have overheard our conversation . Then he said wryly, "Congratulations, You Majesty."

Back in my cell now and checking my calculations i have discovered that I made a mistake of one kilometer. So while I was innocently chatting with Hess I was already out on the ice of the Bering Sea. One really has to be damn careful!

Page 437 (June 18, 1963)

At the end of the sixteenth century a dour observer of the fashion of pipe smoking sir Walter Raleigh had introduced, wrote: "A repulsive, stinking smoke, repugnant to the nose, injurious to the brain, harmful to the lungs; it produces effeminacy, leads to flabbiness and weakness, destroys courage." I wonder whether ladies have a special liking for smokers because smoking has taken from the men some of their toughness.

Page 438/439 (August 3, 1963)

"That's nonsense," I burst out excitedly. "'Then I'd rather do without it altogether."

Bray gave me a good-natured and simultaneously amused look through his horn-rimmed glasses. "Whatever you do, don't strike! Make some positive proposal. Request earphones. You have to show goodwill." He is after all an old prison hand.

August 16, 1963

At my request the administration has placed a mark on the volume control to indicate how high I may turn it up without violating the new ordinance. The volume is exactly what it has always been. Shirach's action has failed.

***Page 444 (November 25, 1963)***

I feel that Kennedy's assassination is not just an American tragedy, but a tragedy for the world. And I could not help thinking that here only one confused loner was at work, so it seems; he conceived the plan and the assassination was successful. But the attempts on Hitler's life - how many undertakings there were, planned with the precision of a General Staff operation by circumspect, coolheaded people, year after year, and never did they succeed -- that is the real tragedy.

Page 454/455 (March 26, 1964)


Nine o'clock. Hess had received several books from his wife, but wants to send one of them back. "Of course it was on my list, but it turns out to be a novel and I don't read novels on principle," he declared. Then he instructed the Russian chief guard: "The book is being returned to my wife. I'll bring it right away." he seemed oddly excited as he spoke, and his agitation increased when he knocked at my open door, book in hand. "Has this book been read or not? he asked hurriedly. "Just look at it: has it been read or not? I ask you: I've read it up to this point. And the pages show it. But from here on it's unread. Yet my wife wrote me - do listen to me, Herr Speer! - that she and my son had read the book. In addition the censor must have read it - all together three persons. And do you know what conclusion follows from that?" he asked nervously, his eyes darting about uncertainly. "Now we have definite proof at last! Ha, ha!" He rapped his knuckles on the cell wall. "ha, ha! It isn't even the book my wife sent me. It's simply been exchanged. Ha, ha!" i looked at him speechlessly as he cavorted before me. "Don't you understand?" he cried out. "The Directorate bought another copy of the book. What do you say to that?"

I shook my head, mute and irritated. Hess, who will be seventy next month, froze, then straightened up proudly and said over my head, "I understand, you prefer to keep silent." Then he turned abruptly and stalked stiffly out of the cell.

Page 456 (June 22, 1964)

Today one of the guards smuggled in a Minox camera with which I took three rolls of color film, mostly of the garden. I was able to shield the little camera with my hand, except for the lens. At home these pictures will give thema notion of what my world looks like outside of the visiting room. Most of my pictures are of my flower beds; they will see from that how proudl I am of them. After all, those flowers, along with these notes, are the only things that have steadily engaged my attention all these twenty years.

If the shots turn out well, my wife and the children will see lovely pictures of iris, pinks, stock, and lupines -- all things, of course, that they can find in the nursery garden around the corner.

Page 464/465 (November, 18, 1964)

Today Hess was visited by his lawyer, Dr. Alfred Seidl, for the first time since Nuremberg. Since he has refused all family visits, this is the first outside person he has seen in nearly twenty years in Spandau. Afterwards, Hess seemed very much worked up. For hours he was lively and accessible. " Seidl was pleased that I looked so well," he said, beaming. "But he hit on the wrong man. First thing I did was to run through a list of all my ailments." Airily, Hess went on: "And then, you see, my son would like to have a look at me. Does that make sense to you?" And when I nodded, he continued: "Yes, as a reward. As a reward if he passes the civil service examination for government architect with a mark of 'good,' he'll be allowed to see his father."

I was stunned. "As a reward?" I repeated. "But he's no longer a small child who has to be rewarded."

Hess smiled proudly to himself, as is his way. "Schirach has the same opinion. But that's the way it's going to be. I've already counted one, two three."

I did not understand. "One, two, three - what's that all about?" I asked.

"When the number 'three' is spoken," Hess said, "a decision is irrevocable, you see. Then there's nothing more to be done about it."

I said that if I were in his son's place I'd try to fool him. If necessary I would report a false mark in order to have the visit.

"I've already thought of that danger," Hess answered. "I wrote my son some time ago and told him that if there was any trickery he could be certain of not seeing his father. h'ed just have wasted the expense of coming to Berlin."

"Was that also true in the old days?" I asked. "Once you'd made a 'one-two-three decision,' you couldn't revise it if a new situation arose?"

Hess shook his head bleakly. "No, never. That wouldn't do."

Afterwards I recalled hearing Hitler mention that even when they were in jail together in Landsberg Fortress, in the course of a discussion Hess would sometimes exclude all concessions by using this formula.

Page 466 (November24, 1964)

Today I read a story in Die Welt that Attorney General Bauer of the state of Hesse has offered a reward of 100,000 marks for the capture of Bormann. There are said to be indications that he is in South America. As I was considering what would happen if I ahd to confront Bormann, my former bitter enemy, in a trial, short, round-faced, stocky Sadot opened my cell and with an obviously sly note in his voice asked: "By the way, how long do you still have to serve?" Sadot knows perfectly well, of course. When I did not react, he continued, "It says in the papers that your friend Bormann is still alive and that new crimes have been discovered. What did he actually look like?

Trying to put together a picture of Bormann in my mind, I looked thoughtfully at Sadot. Abruptly, I had an inspiration. As though struck by sudden illumination, I said with pretended excitement: "No, really, is such a thing possible? Why - why it's absolutely unbelievable! You call yourself Sadot?

He looked blankly at me. Then he regained his composure. "Certainly, Sadot is my name, Number Five. What's this all about?

I put on a knowing, somewhat demented smile. "But of course. The very face, the stocky figure, the same size. Fits perfectly. Only the hair, that's been dyed." After a short pause during which he looked expectantly at me, already a bit intimidated, I gave hiim a jovial poke in the chest. "Man, what a brilliant idea! How did you hit on it?"

Sadot gave me a stunned look. "Hit on what, for God's sake?"

"You're Boreman! There was always something familiar about you. I can't help telling you it's a stroke of genius. Really, nobody would ever suspect you'd be here. In Spandau!"

For seconds it seemed as though Sadot was panic-stricken. Then he flushed furiously and slammed the cell door. I imagine I'll be spared his jokes for awhile.

*** Page 474 (May 4, 1965) ***

Years ago I came across a sentence of Oscar Wilde's which might apply here. I copied it out: "There is no error more common than that of thinking that those who are the causes or occasions of great tragedies share in the feeling suitable to the tragic mood."

Page 476/477 (July 9, 1965)

Today I finished August Khehler's book on lighting technology; he cites me as one of the fathers of light architecture. If my own view is correct, I took the first step in that direction on the occasion of the Paris World's Fair by bathing the German pavilion in dazzling brightness at night by means of skillfully arranged spotlights. The result was to make the architecture of the building emerge sharply outlined against the night and at the same time to make it unreal. Nevertheless, it was still a combination of architecture and light. Somewhat later I did without constructed architecture altogether. At the Party Rally I experimented with antiaircraft searchlights; I had 150 of them pointed vertically into the night sky, forming a rectangle of light. Inside the the ritual of the Party Rally took place - a fabulous setting, like one of the imaginary crystal palaces of the Middle Ages. British Ambassador Sir Neville Henderson was carried away by the unearthly effect and described it as a "cathedral of ice."

I feel strangely stirred by the idea that the most successful architectural creation of my life is a chimera, an immaterial phenomenon.

July 25, 1965

Used the Sunday to copy out a batch of notes on the cultural history of the window. Ever since a former associate now employed in the Berlin Central Library has discovered which books might be useful for this work of mine,, she has been showering material on me. At the moment I am principally concerned with the comparative costs of glass and other building materials during the period from the Middle Ages to the High Renaissance. Along with this, I want to find out, by comparing wages, what value a square meter of light had at different periods, measured in hours of labor. From home I have recently received word that already more than 600 pages of documentation have piled up.

Page 481 (October 4, 1965)

Today George Reiner tried to make me feel better by telling me about psychoses that break out toward the end of long prison terms, sometimes even in the last hours before release. He has heard that prisoners frequently fall prey to a peculiar agitation. Some have severe circulatory disturbances with outbreaks of cold seat so violent that their clothes become soaked through. Others' legs fail them so that they can walk only with support. Others fight desperately against having to leave their cells. Again I involuntarily thought of Donitz. Hess listened, pale and keenly attentive. Then he said, "Not exactly a consolation for me that I will be spared such difficulties." He turned on his heel and went to his cell. I felt very sorry for him.

Page 497 Footnote

Holzwege is the title of a book by Martin Heidegger, which Speer read and then used as his pseudonym in his clandestine correspondence. The word means both "wood roads" and "wrong ways" -- Translator's note.

Crash Course on Modern Hardware by Cliff Click

Posted: January 15th, 2012 | Author: danny | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

This is a great presentation that goes over modern hardware.  It's primarily about cache misses and their impact on performance.  Below are some notes on the presentation (time - note).

Presentation: http://www.infoq.com/presentations/click-crash-course-modern-hardware

Presenter: Cliff Click

14:30 - cache hit take 2/3 clocks - miss to memory take 200/300 clocks - 100X cost

15:20 - in multicore you hit l3 because of bandwidth & 1 ft of wire is 1 ghz clock

18 minutes - shadow processing; kind of how the cray does ii

25:30 - out of order execution & cache miss

30 - results - 7 ops out of 300 due to cache miss

33 - miss rates are low; but a tiny (5%) missrate dominates performance

52:20 - cahce misses are hard to detect; they just look like busy cpu top doesn't help...

Notes on Paul Feyerabend’s Conquest of Abundance, A Tale of Abstraction versus the Richness of Being

Posted: January 2nd, 2012 | Author: danny | Filed under: Book Notes | Comments Off

Notes on Paul Feyerabend’s Conquest of Abundance, A Tale of Abstraction versus the Richness of Being

This is a challenging book, it spans a wide variety of issues and takes some challenging positions.  Unfortunately, Paul Feyerabend passed away while writing the book and thus it is incomplete and is a compilation of various drafts and papers; there exists some duplication of material.  Below are passages I found especially though provoking:

Some quick highlights:

Page 28
According to Michael Baxandall, ”[A]ny language, not only humanist Latin, [the language Baxandall is concentrating on] is a conspiracy against experience in the sense of being a collective attempt to simplify and arrange experience into manageable parcels.

Page 75 has a great example of redefintion -up/down arguments

Page 77/77/78 - ..(clarity, as early anatomists knew, is a property of corpses, not of living things);
The last few pages are also quite excellent.

Page xviii/xviii

In Conquest of Abundance Paul Feyerabend recounts some stages in the development of Western culture.  He focuses, in particular, on the trend toward an increased us of abstractions and stereotypes, and a consequent disregard for particular and peculiar details.  I recognized the following as underlying ideas and elements of Feyerabend’s story about this trend.

Crude dichotomies are unsuited to express subtle ontologies. The dichotomy reality/illusion is too crude to classify the range of phenomena that are important in our lives.  Each person and culture experiences various degrees of reality, but the ontologies differ among persons and cultures.  Similarly the dichotomies knowledge/opinion, righteous/sinful, etc., are too crude compared to human experience.

Our perception is shaped by language and stereotypes. The concepts and stereotypes in our minds mold our perceptions by isolating and amplifying those aspects that fit them and other aspects to oblivion. Our experienced reality is shaped by our minds. Stereotypes are limited sets of standardized interpretations of natural phenomena, human traits, art forms, etc. Perception uses stereotypes to make recognition possible., i.e., to create order out of chaos.

Ambiguity assures the potential for change. No concept or stereotype can ever be fully nailed down. New situations arise and reveal the ambiguities in them, new interpretations become possible, new definitions are made, new phenomena are subsumed under an existing concept, and so on. It is this very ambiguity that makes possible both personal and cultural change. We speak of cultural change when stereotype shifts exhibit and overall pattern, like the trend toward abstraction in ancient Greece (the “rise of rationality”).

Abstract theory cannot possibly express ultimate reality. Theories or models compare projections (i.e. stereotypical perceptions stripped of many peculiar aspects) to projections (i.e., streamlined inferences of consequences from the theories or models). The match between them is an artificial construction, often made to fit using ad hoc interpretations. The belief that high theory represents ultimate reality is not justified. At most, high theory is a summary of some aspects of the response of Being to one specific and artificial approach.

Logic is a special form of storytelling. Logic is valid when the meanings of the terms that enter deductions are stabilized. But concepts shift in meaning from person to person and from generation to generation. It is an inherent result of the preference for mathematically and logically formulated questions and theories that scientists obtained the story of a material, “frozen” universe, uninhabited by Gods. Parmenides tells this story very concisely.

Being responds to some approaches, but not to all. Being is a partly yielding, partly resisting entity of unknown properties. People “create” a particular reality by developing a practice of interaction with Being (actions and perceptions_ and the associated language and concepts (mental operations between actions and perceptions). Not all practices of interaction are successful, but certainly more than one exist and give meaning to the lives of the people who develop them.

While I was reading this volume, the ingredients of Feyeraebend’s story that I just mentioned coalesced for me into a sort of “worldview.” In place of a “frozen,” material universe, I could perceive and open and changeable reality, and I become able to see, and I was liberated from, all sorts of fixed ideas about “the way things are.”


Bert Terpstra, April 1999

Page 3

They were breathless with interest. he stood with his hand on his holster and watched the brown intent patient eyes: it was for these he was fighting. He would eliminate from their childhood everything which had made them miserable, all that was poor, superstitious and corrupt. They deserved nothing less than the truth - a vacant universe and a cooling world, the right to be happy in  a way they choose. He was quite prepared to make a massacre for their sakes - first the church and then the foreigner and then the politician - even his own chief would have to go. He wanted to begin the world again with them, in a desert.

Graham Green, The Power and the Glory

Page 5

Abstractions remove the particulars that distinguish an object from another, together with some general properties such as color and smell. Experiments further remove or try to remove the links that tie every process to its surroundings - the create an artificial and somewhat impoverished environment and explore its peculiarities.  In both cases, things are being taken away or “blocked off” from the totality that surrounds us.  Interesting enough, the remains are called “real” ….

Page 7/8

The defenders objectivity, on the other hand, could quote neither facts, nor products, nor a “prodigious power of performance” in their favor; they had to find support elsewhere and they did find it - in theology.  It is fascinating to see how many modern ideas emerged from detailed and rather sophisticated theological debates.  What made their debate so influential?

Monod realized that empiricism cannot explain the origin of modern science. In this he was ahead of many of his contemporaries. Value-free knowledge, he says is the result not of evidence, but of a choice which precedes the collection of evidence and the arrival of performance.

The scientific ethic of knowledge, says Monod, “does not obtrude itself upon man; on the contrary, it is he who prescribes it to himself.” But where in the scientific enterprise of today are the agents who freely choose one form of knowledge over another, or to use Monod’s terminology, who freely make the ethics of objectivism “the axiomatic condition of authenticity for all discourse and all action “(orig. italics)? What we find, with few exceptions, are intellectual leaders repeating slogans which they cannot explain and which they often violate, anxious slaves following in their footsteps and institutions offering or withdrawing money in accordance with the fashions of the day. Besides, who would have thought that a mere decision, a committee report of sorts, can destroy worldviews, create anxiety, and yet prevail? And who were the agents that made the decision, what prompted them to take such an extradoridanary step and what powers did they use to make it stick? Monod gives no answer.

Page 11

Western scientists and philosophers not only made this assumption more specific, they also formulated different versions of it. The version I would like to discuss is contained in the following three statemetns:

1.   important ingredients of the world are concealed;

2a. the concealed ingredients for a coherent universe whose elements and motions    underlie some phenomena, while other phenomena are our products entirely

2b. because of 2a, a truthful account of this universe and of reality must be coherent and uniform;

3. human beings play an ephemeral role; they are not directly linked to reality and they cannot change it.

Page 12

There is no escape: understanding a subject means transforming it, lifting it out of a natural habitat and inserting it into a model or a theory or a poetic account of it.

Page 14/15

This was a most amazing assertion. We may grant that the new ways, being adapted to new and rather abstract procedures, had considerable merit: money increased trade, international collaboration encouraged the transfer of material and intellectual discoveries, democracy brought new strata into the political process. however, the details did not therefore cease to exist, just as people don’t cease to have a nose when being weighed. Yet this was exactly what some philosophers asserted: the details, they said (or implied) were not just irrelevant for this or that purpose, they were unreal (or “subjective,” to use a later term) - period - and should be disregarded. Like the rulers of Orwell’s 1984 they declared less to be more, and more to be nonexistent. This was the most brazed denial of abundance yet proposed.

Page 19/20/26/35/38

In book 9 of the Illiad, Aias, Odysseus, and Phoenix, acting as messengers, ask Achilles to return to the Achaens and to aid Agamemnon, the leader of the Greeks; he had withdrawn and the situation had deteriorated. now Agamemnon offers an enormous present and the hand of his daughter in marriage (114 ff.) For the messengers this is suitable compensation; they urge Achilles to relent. Achilles whines and splutters - and refuses. In a long speech he explains the reasons for his attitude. “Equal fate,” he says “befalls the negligent and the valiant fighter; equal honor got to the worthless and the virtuous.” Striving after honor no longer makes any sense.

At this the messengers “f[a]ll silint, dismayed at his word, for he had resisted in a stunning way”(430f.) - but they soon start arguing again. Phoenix points out that the God’s, whose power far exceed those of humans, can be reconciled by gifts and sacrifice. (497ff.); Aias adds that even the murder of a brother or of a son has its blood price (632f.). This is how conflicts were resolved in the past and this is how Achilles should act now. Aias ascribes Achilles’ resistance to his cruelty (632). Achilles remains adamant.

Returning to the camp, Odysseus reports what has happened. Again the Greeks “f[a]ll silent, for he had spoken in a stunning way” (639f.). They explain Achilles’ attitude by his anger (679) and his pride (700). Then Diomedes suggests forgetting about Achilles and fighting without him 697ff.).

What we have here is a rather familiar clash of attitudes - contrariness and persistent anger on one side, surprise and a plea to be reasonable on the other. The parties try to justify their attitudes. The messengers seem to be close to commonsense while Achilles sounds a little strange.

The episode is problematic in a familiar and annoying but manageable way. The episode becomes profound and paradoxical when lifted out of its natural habitat and inserted into a model or a theory. One theory that has become rather popular assumes that languages, cultures, stages in the development of a profession, a tribe, or a nation are closed in the sense that certain events transcend their capacities. Languages, for example, are restrained by rules.  Those who violate the rules of a language do not enter new territory; they leave the domain of meaningful discourse. Even facts in these circumstances dissolve, because they are shaped by the language and subjected to its limitations. Looking at the exchange in Iliad 9 with such ideas in mind, some scholars have turned it into a rather sinister affair.


“words … become impoverished in content, they .. become one-sided and empty formulae.” New discipline, epistemology especially, tried to connect, in theory and with insufficient means, what had become separated in practice: the “Discovery of Mind,” the rise of Western science and philosophy, the associated reflections on the nature of knowledge, the impoverishment of thought and language -- all these processes were part of one and the same overall development. The development announces itself in Achilles’ response to his visitors and underlies the later separation of appearance and reality.

Achilles is not reassured. Extending the conflict beyond its suggested resolution he perceives a lasting clash between honor and its rewards: honor and the actions that establish and/or acknowledge its presence always diverge.

Nowwhere in this process do we find the breaks, the lacunae, the unbridgeable chasms suggested by the idea of closed domains of discourse.

Page 27

Divine appearances once were real - they are mere fantasies today.  Where shall we, who examine the phenomenon, set the boundary? Note that I am inquiring about and old episode, not about a modern belief.  Many “educated citizens” take it for granted that reality is what scientists say it is and that other opinions may be recorded, but need not be taken seriously.  But science offers not one story, it offers many;  the stories clash and their relation to a story-independent “reality” is as problematic as the relation of the Homeric epics to an alleged “Homeric world.”

Page 27/28

According to Benjamin Lee Whorf languages shape ideas,  their grammar contains worldviews and linguistic change is accompanied by a change of facts. More recent authors concur.  According to Michael Baxandall, ”[A]ny language, not only humanist Latin, [the language Baxandall is concentrating on] is a conspiracy against experience in the sense of being a collective attempt to simplify and arrange experience into manageable parcels. To exercise a language regularly on some area of experience or activity, however odd one’s motives may be, [therefore] overlays the field after a time with a certain structure; the structure is that implied by the categories, the lexical and grammatical components of the language.

Page 30/31

The task is difficult, but not impossible.  The agencies that shape a form of life leave their traces not only in  language but also in artworks, buildings, customs, learned treatises. Thus, if the features (additively, lack of coherent whole, etc. )  I described in the previous section can also be found in statuary and in painting; if the Gods, nature, and humans had analogous properties in popular sayings as well as in common law; if powerful ideas such as the ideas of courage, wisdom, justice, piety (which occurred no only in Homer but turned up in public speeches and were analyzed in philosophical writings, mocked in comedy, referred to on funeral stones and other inscriptions) had Homeric and not, say,  Platonic characteristics; if religion was opportunistic rather than exclusive, permitting alien Gods to enter at the drop of a hat; if the Gods were not merely revered and talked about but perceived, and perceived not just by unbalanced outsiders but by the most levelheaded representatives of the culture; if different explanations of startling were used side by side without any feeling of discomfort; if a narrator (e.g. Herodotus) assembled but did not unify, told stories but did not use a single style; if some thinkers called the resulting information polymathi’e, i.e. plentiful but scattered pieces of knowledge, and tried to replace those scattered pieces by a single coherent story; if people were in the habit of answering what-is questions with lists, not with definitions, and if philosophers tried to correct that habit - then we can assume that we are dealing with an influential and relatively uniform way of life and we may expect that people involved n it temporarily lived in a world of the kind expressed in their poems, tales, sayings, and pictures.

But now the problem alluded to by A. Parry arises with renewed force: given this world - how did people ever get out of it? How did they manage to forget or overcome the order that constituted their lives and gave it meaning? Was the Homeric-geometric world simply destroyed so that chaos temporarily raised its head or was it gradually transformed? And, if the latter, was it transformed by arbitrary and senseless (in the sense of this world) processes such as boredom or forgetfulness or by entering existing but as yet unused paths? Was the transformation unconscious, rising to consciousness only after major steps had been taken, or was it  carried out in the full awareness of the changes implied? Can we agree with Nietzsche, who wrote, in his usual bombastic style: “No fashion helped them [the philosophers - according to Nietzsche it was they who effected the transition] and paved their way.  Thus they formed what Schopenhauer, in opposition to a republic of scholars called a republic of men of genius: one giant calls out to another across the desolate intervals of time and the lofty exchange between minds continues undisturbed by the noisy doings of the midgets [Gezwerge] that crawl beneath them.”  Or with Plato who spoke more calmly of “the ancient battle between philosophy and poetry” (Republic 607b6f.), implying an overt fight between two professions, not a gradual and perhaps subterranean development? Should we accept the claim of early philosophers such as Xenophanes, Parmenides, and Heraclitus and of their modern admirers that they single-handedly overcame the errors of tradition, just using the power of their amazing minds?

It is clear tha these questions and paradoxes depend on the assumption, stated in section I, that languages and, with them, worlds and worldviews are closed in the sense that they admit, even constitute, some actions, thoughts, perceptions, while others are not merely excluded but rendered nonexistent. Given this assumptions the change of worldviews will indeed cause major upheavals.

Page 48/55/56

… “If God had not crated yellow honey, they would believe that figs are much sweeter.”

According to this fragment, properties “they” assign to an object depend on circumstances (availability of other objects, their effect on our sense organs, our judgment, etc.) that have nothing to do with the object, and so the properties that we ascribe to it are therefore not intrinsic properties of the object. In other words, the argument suggests that we distinguish between what an object is, independently of our contact with it, and what we ascribe to it on the basis of the usual ways of gaining information.

There are some interesting similarities between a proof and a tragedy as interpreted by Aristotle, Corneille, and Lessing.  The end of a tradegy, says Aristotle (De poetica 7.5) “is that which is inevitably, or as a rule the natural result of something else” which implies (8.4) that “the incidents [of the plot] must be so arranged that if one of them be transposed or removed, the unity of the whole is dislocated and destroyed. “ Omit “or as a rule” in the first quotation, and you have the relation of the things proved to what goes on before.

Now consider the following story, which is found in in the essay On Melissus, Xenophanes, and Gorgias 977aI4 ff., which is a product of the Aristotelian school (my paraphrase):

Assume God came into being.
Then either from like, or from unlike.
If from like, then he was already there.
If from unlike, then either from the stronger or from the weaker.

If from the weaker, then the extra strength comes from nothing - but

nothing comes from nothing.

If from the stronger, then it is not God.


God did not come into being.

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Having made Being his basic substance, Parmenides considered the consequences. They are that Being is (estin) and that not-Being is not.  What happens on the basic level?  Nothing.  The only possible change of Being is into not-Being, not-Being does not exist, hence there is no change. What is the structure of Being? It is full continuous, without subdivisions. Any subdivision would be between Being and something else, the only something else on the basic level is not-Being, not Being does not exist, hence there are nos subdivisions. But is it not true that we traditionally assume and personally experience change and difference? Yes, we do. Which shows, according to Parmenides, that neither tradition nor experience provides reliable knowledge. This was the so far clearest and most radical seperation of the domains which later on were called “reality” and “appearance.” It was also the first and the most concise theory of knowledge.  Theories of knowledge try to explain how familiarity with one domain (perception, for example) leads to knowledge about another that is independent of it (reality). Parmenides answers that this never happens, that Being must be approached directly, that the one agency that can approach it directly is reason, that revelation taught him, Parmenides, how to use reason, and that he is  now capable of explaining this to others.

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Max Planc recognized the problem but did not solve it.  His essay “Positvismus und reale Aussenwelt,” which he first read in 1930 contains the following passage:

The two statements, “There exists a real external world which is independent of us” and “This world cannot be known immediately” together form the basis of all physics. However, they are in conflict to a certain extent and thereby reveal the irrational element inherent in physics and in every other science, which is responsible for the fact that a science can never solve its task completely.  …

Moreover, the “immediate sense impressions” which Plank, Einstein, and other empiricists regard as a fountain of knowledge are not part of our experience (which is an experience of objects in space) but theoretical constructs that have to be unearthed by special methods (reduction screen, etc.). thus we have here a view in which a hidden reality thoroughly independent of human events is said to be based on hidden processes extremely dependent on them.  One cannot say that thing shave improved since Parmenides.  And it is perhaps not entirely useless to return to him and to examine the reasons he gives for his positions.

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Plat uses the word antilogike in various places. Its meaning “tend to be whatever Plato thinks of as bad method at the moment.”

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A point of view, Socrates implies, must be permitted to transform beliefs and linguistic habits and should be criticised only after the needed changes have been carried out. how does Socrates argue with such a principle before him?

To start with, he introduces an interesting ambiguity.  Knowledge and perception seemed to be clear and definite entities and so seemed the thesis that identified the two. But the identification led to conflict. If we still want to maintain the thesis as Socrates advises us to do then we must change either one entity, or the other, or both. We must change them - but without ceasing to examine the thesis, i.e. without ceasing to look for obstacles. What obstacles? The obstacles that arise after the key terms have received a new content. Socrates provides a new sense for “perception” - the quantum mechanics analogon mentioned above - but not for “knowledge.” Does he stop arguing? he does not - he only changes direction. For example he points out (I8bI8 ff.) that Protagoras leaves no stability and makes knowledge impossible. The remark assumes that knowledge does not participate in the processes Socrates introduced when explicating perception (153d3 ff.) The assumption makes definite what seemed to have become vague, but as part of the criticism, not independently of it: the criticism determines what is being criticized.

We see here very clearly the relation between a (Platonic) argument and the things it proves. As setup by Socrates the argument (against the thesis that knowledge is perception) lacks an important ingredient; the content of one of its key terms is still undetermined. Yet Socrates argues as if the term had already been defined and comes to a clear and unambiguous conclusion. Thus it was not the argument that produced the conclusion (i.e., the rejection of Theaetetus;s thesis that knowledge is perception) but the conclusion (the rejection) produced the argument.

Danny - Great exampe:

A trivial example which I have chosen because of its transparency is the reply to Lactantius’s argument against the spherical shape of the earth.  The earth, says Lactantius, cannot be spherical because the antipodes would fall down.  Her the background is a cylindrical universe.  “Up” means a direction parallel to its axis, “down” the opposite direction.  Socrates’ advice prompts us to replace the cylindrical universe by a central symmetrical one and only now to look for trouble: examining a new idea we first change the world so that it can accomodate the idea.  The question if the new orld is a possible one comes afterwards. We want to save the spherical shape of the earth.  The spherical shape is given - what modifications are needed to reatin it in the face of Lactantius’ observations?  The answer is well-known. We define “up” as “away from the earth,” “down” as “toward the center” and get what we want. Rejecting the criticism we redefine its premises.

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But worldview discussion is not different from other kinds of discussion, which means that we can no longer assume discussion-independent and in that sense “objective” arbiters of a debate.  This applies even to such apparently trivial cases as “all ravens are black” - the favorite example of naive falsificationists.

The statement, our logic books explain, is “refuted” by the discovery of a single “objectively” white raven.

Now a raven that has been painted white is white, and even “objectively” and “reproducibly” so - but nobody would regard it as a refuting instance. What we want is “intrinsic” whiteness.

A raven that lost its color in the course of a prolonged sickness is “intrinsically” white - the whiteness came from the inside, not form the outside - but still somehwat problematic. What we want is “normal” color, not exceptions.

Note that the comments made so far have an empirical and a normative component: we assume (empirical component) that there are properties that “belong” to an object and are not “imported”; we also assume (second empirical component) that among them some are “normal,” i.e., agree with a criterion that plays an important part in our everyday lives while others do not.  We then decide (explicitly, or simply following tradition) to use only ravens which exhibit such properties as counterexamples (this is the normative component). Note also that the statement is not refuted (or confirmed) after these matter shave been settled but that settling the matters is part of the process of refutation. This becomes especially clear when we analyze less familiar cases.

Thus consider ravens that became white as a result of evolutionary pressures, or as a result of externally induced genetic changes.  The “fundamental dogma” of molecular biology excludes second case, but how would we deal with it if it occurred? And how shall we deal with the first case? Perhaps by letting color take a backseat compared with criteria and distinctions that are more closely connected with some easily identifiable molecular-biological structures? Again there is an empirical component (close connection) and a nomrative component (use as  counterexamples). At any rate it is now clear (a) that the term “black” in “all ravens are black,” though intuitively clear, is ambiguous in the sense that its future use is largely unknown; (b) that it loses some of its ambiguity in the presence of “ absurd” counterexamples: as in the case of Achilles a contested view becomes clear only after it has been left behind (clarity, as early anatomists knew, is a property of corpses, not of living things); (c) that what is a counterexample and what not depends on (often unconscious) decisions or rearrangements of thought which are caused by unforeseen developments (defining the content of a statement in advance means separating it from the processes which guarantee its continued importance); (d) that the relevant impulses often come from areas outside language (increasing authority of molecular biology and thus decreasing importance of colors as species identifies); and (e) that for all these reasons “refutation” is a complex process whose result may determine its ingredients rather than the other way around. Again it is not possible to draw a clear and lasting line between the “objective” and the allegedly “subjective” ingredients of the process of knowledge acquisition and of knowledge itself.

This result leads at once to the assertions made toward the end of the first chapter. Thinking and speaking a language we, continuously adapt to the situations we encounter and we change our ideas accordingly.  The idea of love we had as children differs from the adolescent idea, which in turn differs from the idea of a great-great-grandmother looking back on a rich rewarding life w with  variety of husbands, lovers, children, and grand-children, and dogs.  The changes may be abrupt - most of the time they are continuous and hardly noticeable. They are also unforeseen, for nobody can know what events s/he will encounter an dhow s/he will react to them. Moreover, they grow from the ideas of the moment, which will appear precise and well define only as long as life is stable and fairly routine: as in the case of anatomy, clarity is a property of corpses.

I Conclude (1) that completely closed cultures (conceptual systems) do not exist; (2) that the openness of cultures is connected with an inherent ambiguity of thought, perception, and action: concepts, for example, are not well-defined entities but much more like forebodings; (3) that the ambiguity can be mobilized by feelings, visions, social pressures, and other nonlinguistic agencies; (4) that these agencies have structure, they can “pressure us to conform with them”(chapter 1 note 18 and text), just as language does and in this way keep linguistic changes meaningful; (5) that argument has power only insofar as it conforms to nonargumentative pressures; (6) that a reality that is accessible to humans is as open and as ambiguous as the surrounding culture and becomes well defined only when the culture fossilizes; also it is only partly determined by research; the basic moves that establish it consist in asserting a certain form of life. I add (7) that the points just made are misleading because they are expressed in terms of dichotomies which suggest a much harder and much more easily manageable subject matter. I shall therefore make them again, this time using a different medium for my arguments.

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The case changes character when it is lifted out of its natural habitat and judged by ideas from a different background. Being confronted with the (occasionally paradoxical) results of such a judgment we, i.e., the distant commentators, can do a variety of things, the following three among them. (1) We accept the judgment; in the special case discussed above we would then agree that Achilles was indeed talking nonsense and we would have to explain how nonsense can anticipate later, and historically identifiable, sense. (2) We change the ideas that lead to the judgment so that Achilles’ utterances become meaningful. (3) We draw a distinction between judgments which can be easily incorporated into the practice they comment upon and outside judgements (which seem irrelevant and incomprehensible to those engaged in the practice) and reject the latter.

Thus accepting a certain view concerning the nature of factual knowledge or an epistemology, some writers discovered that information produced by their contemporaries did not fit the view and either called it unscientific (Descartes on Galileo), or declared it to be a matter of faith (Whitehead on Newtonian science). This corresponds to the first approach. Others felt (second approach) that the sciences were essentially sound but wondered “how scientific knowledge was possible” (Kant).  To obtain an answer they adapted their philosophy to scientific practice and “rationally reconstructed” the latter. Still other denounced all philosophical interpretations whether critical or supportive and suggested (third approach) “to see science on its own terms” (Arthur Fine).

Confronted with such a variety most philosophers try to establish one approach to the exclusion of all others. As far as they are concerned there can only be on true way - and they want to find it. Thus normative philosophers argue that knowledge is a result of the application of certain rules, they propose rules which in their opinion constitute knowledge and reject what clashes with them. Pragmatists and the later Wittgenstein, on the other hand, point to the complexity of scientific or, more generally, epistemic practice and invite us to “look, not to think.”  The remaining Kantians, finally, try to get beyond appearances as a machinery that is simple and explains the nature of even the most idiosyncratic event. Who is right? The case of Achilles shows that this is a rather simpleminded question. Thus Wittgenstein’s invitation assumes that events, which can be identified by inspection, will be missed or misrepresented by abstract thought.  But thought changes looks - which undercuts the advice.  Besides, looking is not a simple matter. The conditions under which Achilles delivers his report (the tension between his situation and social requirements; his disappointment) make familiar divisions operate in unexpected places; they have implications a Wittgensteinian might ascribe to thought.  The remark that Achilles should have looked without passion to another - that is all we can say when we try to “look, not to think.”

Normative rules, on the other hand, may not only fial to find a pint of attack in the practice they try to regulation (how do you falsify when there are never any unambiguous falsifying instances?), they may destroy the practice (and perhaps all practices instead of reforming it.  The problem, therefore, is not how to establish a particular approach, the problem is how to use manifest or incipient tendencies to one’s own advantage. And even where the choice is not as simple as is suggested by what I have just said. Even an excessively reflective agent is never fully in control.  She is already sailing along with one of the tendencies, which means that her choice will appear to her not as a choice but simply as a step on the road to truth. Achilles saw what he saw because he was angry. His anger was not an instrument for exploration which eh could apply or drop, according to his inclinations. It was part of his life, therefor part of the tradition to which he belonged, it resonated with potentially divergent strand of this tradition, recognized it, gave it shape, and thus, it gave it “reality”.

Danny: quick summary of approach:

In dealing with Achilles I chose the second approach.  I tried to retrace the way in which Achilles supported his assertions, thus making it clear that and why Achilles made sense. And I used “outside” notions such as “language” (in the modern sense), “culture”, “worldview”, “structure”, “ambiguity” to present my findings. The entire essay, from the examples to the final summing up, is written in this manner. One must keep this in mind when reading assertions such as the following: cultures contain ingredients which may seem well defined but have much in common with chimeras; they contain open pathways, unknown to anyone; the domains joined by these pathways are often connected like the parts of an Escher landscape; a cultural change that is not the result of plagues, wars, disintegration is started by an impulse, mediated by one of the many conflicting (or Escher-connected) structures the culture contains and comprehended via analogies inherent in the starting point; and so on. ...

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According to Riegl the actions and perceptions of artists are “internally connected” with the block of ideas, institutions, habits that constitute the ideology and with it the worldview of a culture. An artist expresses visually what is generally thought to be the nature of things; real is what is assumed, thought, and therefore seen to be real at a certain time.

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Note 8. The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci … Leonardo knew what the “correct” projection of a sphere is in most cases an ellipse.

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Th objects were projected, the resulting aspects compared and found to be identical.  If we want to say that Brunelleschi imitated reality then we have to add that this reality was manufactured, not given.  It was “objective” in the sense that, like a statue, its material ingredients existed independently of observations (though not independently of human interference).  It was also “subjective”, for human experience was an essential part of the arrangement. The best way to describe the situation is by saying that Brunelleschi built an enormous stage, containing a preexisting structure (the Baptisterium), a man-made object (the painting), and special arrangements for viewing or projecting both.  The reality he tried to represent was produced by the stage set, the process of representation itself was part of the stage action, it did not reach beyond it.  Brunelleschi’s expertise in the building of stage machinery and in the handling of phenomena such as the phenomenon of personal identity (for details see note 9, above) makes this an adequate description also form his own point of view.

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Finally, the model of the stage can be readily transferred to the sciences. Like Brunelleschi’s setup every scientific experiment involves two series of transformations and a comparison.  Nature is transformed to obtain special events, these events are further transformed by data processing devices, scanners, etc. to turn them into evidence which is then compared with outcome of a transformation of high theory through calculations, computer approximations, phenomenology, etc.

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The task of the artist now is this: to create a physical structure which, when approached, or “projected” in the customary manner, produces an aspect similar to one of the familiar aspects of the things represented.  I shall call projects which are part of a tradition natural projections, the aspects they create natural aspects, and the structures the artist puts on canvas to produce them stereotypes. Again “reality” is part of a stage set, not a set-independent  entity, and again the stage set includes nonmental elements.  The difference betwene Brunelleschi and tradition is that while Brunelleschi controlled the set, traditional artists are largely controlled by it.

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To sum up: artistic imitation (and artistic production in general) occurs in a sometimes well-defined, but often very loose context, it takes place on a “stage.” The stage contains the artwork, the methods of imitation, projective devices for creating the aspects to be imitiated, as well as these aspects themselves.

The elements of the stage are physical bodies, institutions, customs, powerful beliefs, economic relations, physical processes such as light and sound, physiological processes such as color vision, the mechanisms creating the perception of sound and musical harmony and many other events.

Stages are either newly built, or they are part of a tradition.

It is this (unavoidable and very powerful) impression of immediacy and easy access that underlies naive realism (cf. my comments on the “inside view” made in connection with Achilles’ complaint). The impression dissolves once alternative ways of creating order gain the upper hand.  They make manifest what has been hidden before, activate its inherent ambiguity, and use it to effect change: comprehensive stages that were built into customs and beliefs and were therefore removed from awareness become explicit frameworks within other stages which now lack definition.  The history of perspective contains many examples of this development.

Again I have to point out that in speaking of “stages,” “projections,” aspects” I made things far more definite than they are.  The terminology seems appropriate when applied to Brunelleschi’s procedure, for here we have indeed something that is best described as the “setting up of a stage.” It imposes rather than reveals a pattern when extended to traditions whose development is largely unplanned. It is quite correct to observe that these traditions may have had their own ideas of the function of art and that even where imitation reigned supreme the aim may not have been to imitate the surfaces of relaxed individuals but to show their social position. Given certain turning points, the observation may be exact. But we go too far when inferring a “system” and, after that, a general relativity of artistic efforts.  For the exactness we may on occasion encounter is part of a process that overcomes it and replaces it with an entirely different arrangement.  It was not there before the process started, it does not survive its termination. This means, of course, that the real situation that existed when the process started was open, indefinite, and capable of modification. Trying to catch it by a “system” and then inferring a general relativism would be as sensible as trying to define the shape of a body of water by the shape it assumes when frozen and inferring a radical difference between water, ice, and steam.

Achilles: the “inside view” indeed confronted him with a new and as yet unrealized reality. Scientific realists do the same. Starting on their journey of exploration they “project.” Finding coherence in their projections they combine them into a world. Disregarding the projecting mechanism which by now have become second nature, they assert the objective existence of this world.  This is naive realism all over again - only tied to special and relatively unfamiliar stage sets.  How can such a procedure deny the reality of the forces emanating from figure 2?

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LET Me REPEAT THE CONTEXT of the question. I am not yet asking which of the many things we know are real and which are not. I assume that the world is being approached, or “projected,” in a special way, that its representations (stories, diagrams, pictures, perceptions, theories) receive an analogous treatment, and that aspects arise in this manner.  The notion of an aspect is ontologically neutral -- it simply means that the result of a procedure without any implications as to its (degree of) reality.  I add that projections may become a habit, may even be built into our constitution and thus remain unnoticed. For example, we “project” when looking at the world in a wide-awake state, with our senses in good order, and in “normal” lighting conditions -but we are not aware of this fact.  Special aspects such as perspective, or the images seen in a microscope, which initially crate difficulties can be learned and stabilized. All this is a triviality for evolutionary epistemologists, neurophysiologists, linguists, artists, even for some physicists (complementarity).  Having stated my assumption I point out that aspects which emerge from different stages occasionally clash and thus cannot be simultaneous pats of one and the same stage independent reality. It is still possible to say, and many realists, both in the arts and in the sciences, do say, that the aspects that emerge from some stages are “real” while the aspects of others are not.  for example, scientifically inclined realists will say that stars conceived as complicated material systems with a long history are real while Gods, though important ingredients of historically identifiable states, are not.  They are not “out there” - they are nothing but productions of our projecting mechanisms. And asked for their rationale they give the two kinds of reasons already mentioned: results and ideology. Do these reasons decide the matter?

They decide the matter for people who value the results and accept the ideology. But now the problem returns. Every tradition that survived major difficulties and affects large groups of people has “results” which are important to its members and a worldview (ideology) that unites the details, explains and “justifies” them. Realism as just describe cannot reduce this variety except in an arbitrary dogmatic and, let us admit rather naive way. Relativisim takes it at its face value.  Which view shall we adopt?

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THE QUESTION ASSUMES THAT relativism and realism are clear alternatives; on of them is correct, the other is not. But relativism and realism share an important assumption: the traditions (stages, means of projection) which relativists regard as equally truthful messengers of reality which realists devalue to enthrone their favorite stereotypes are conceived as being well defined and clearly separated. They are different worlds (or sham worlds, for the realist), they develop according to their own inner dynamics, judge the matters according to their own well-defined standards, and do not get entangled with each other. If this assumption fails, then both (naive) realism and relativism cease to be acceptable.

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Concepts such as justice, or beauty, even the concept of number are constantly being changed in this way.

One scientist who was aware of the complex nature of explanatory talk and who used its elements with superb skill was Galileo. Like Achilles, Galileo gave new meanings to old familiar words; like Achilles he presented his results as parts of a framework that was shared and understood by all ( I am now speaking of his change of basic kinematic and dynamic notions); unlike Achilles he knew what he was doing and he tried to conceal the lacunae that remained and the nonsemantic elements he needed to carry out the change.  he succeeded beyond expectation; by creating the impression that his moves occurred on a well-defined stage with stable projecting mechanisms and well-defined concepts, he deceived everybody, and perhaps even himself.

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But  the epistemic power ascribed to areas of research does not conform to this principle. Artisans at all times possessed detailed information about the properties of materials and of their behavior under the most varied of circumstances, whereas theories of matter from Democritus to Dalton were considerably less specific and their connections with the evidence much more tenuous. Yet questions of reality and of suitable methods of discovery were often formulated in their terms, not in artisan terms.

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If one still insists that the bits and pieces of science that are flying around today are superior by far to the analogous collections of a past age - a live nature, whimsical Gods, etc. - then I must refer back to what I said earlier: the superiority is the result of having followed a path of least resistance. Gods cannot be captured by experiment, matter can. This point, incidentally, plays a role also within the sciences. “The great success of Cartesian method and the Cartesian view of nature, “ write R. Levins and R. C. Lewontin commenting on the significance of the recent advances in molecular biology,

is in part a result of a historical path of least resistance. Those problems that yield to the attack are pursued most vigorously, precisely because the method works there. Other problems and other phenomena are left behind, walled off from understanding by the commitment to Cartesianism. The hard problems are not tackled, if for no other reason than that brilliant scientific careers are not built on persistent failure. So the problems of understanding embryonic and psychic development and the structure and function of the central nervous system remain in much the same unsatisfactory state they were fifty years ago, while molecular biologist go from triumph to triumph in describing and manipulating genes.

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These and similar examples show that science contains different trends with different research philosophies. One trend requires that scientists stick closely to the facts, design experiments that clearly establish the one or the other of two conflicting alternatives, and avoid far reaching speculations. One might call it the Aristotelian trend. Another trend encourages speculation and is ready to accept theories that are related to the facts in an indirect and highly complex way. Let us call this the Platonic trend.

Aristotelian assume that humans are in harmony with the Universe; observation and truth are closely related. For Platonists humans are deceived in many ways. It needs abstract thought to get in touch with reality. Adding empirical success to these and other trends we arrive at the results that science contains many different and yet empirically acceptable worldviews, each one containing its own metaphysical background.

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Expressing it differently we may say that the assumption of a single coherent worldview that underlies all of science is either a metaphysical hypothesis trying to anticipate a future unity, or a pedagogical fake; or it is an attempt to show, by judicious up- and downgrading of disciplines, that a synthesis has already been achieved. This is how fans of uniformity proceeded in the past. (cf. Plato’s list of subjects in chapter seven of his Republic), these are the ways that are still being used today. A more realistic account, however, would point out that

[t]here is no simple “scientific” map of reality - or if there were it would be much too  complicated and unwieldy to be grasped or used by anyone. But there are many different maps of reality, from a variety of scientific viewpoints.

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Parmenides then pointed out that Being was still more fundamental (water is, fire is, apeiron is - they are all forms of Being). What can be said about Being? That it is and that not-Being is not. Note that the statement BEING IS (estin in the Greek o Parmenides) was the first explicit conservation principle of the West: it asserted the conservation of Being.  Accepting this argument we can infer that there is no change: the only possible change is into not-Being, not-Being does not exist, hence there is no change. What about difference?The only possible difference is between Being and not-Being, not-Being does not exist, hence Being is everywhere the same.  But don’t we perceive change and difference? Yes, we do, which shows that change and difference are appearances, chimeras. Reality does not change. This was the first and most radical (Western) theory of knowledge. It is not entirely ridiculous: nineteenth century science up to and including Einstein also devalued change. Herman Weyl writes:

The relativistic world simply is, it does not happen. Only to the gaze of my consciousness, crawling upward along the lifeline of my body, does a section of this world  come to life as a fleeting image in space which continuously changes in time.

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The question of truth, finally remains unresolved. Love of Truth is one of the strongest motives for replacing what really happens by a streamlined account or, to express it in a less polite manner - love of truth is one of the strongest motives for deceiving oneself and others.

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It shows fear, indecision, a yearning for authority, and a disregard for the new opportunities that now exist: we can build worldviews on the basis of a personal choice and thus unite, for ourselves and our friends, what was separated by the chauvinism of special groups.

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In 1854 Commander Perry, using force, opened the ports of Hakodate and Shimoda to American ships for supply and trade. This event demonstrated the military inferiority of Japan. The members of the Japanese enlightenment of the early 1870s, Fukuzawa among them, no reasoned as follows: Japan can keep its independence only if it becomes stronger. It can become stronger only with the help of science. It will use science effectively only if it does not just practice science but also believes in the underlying ideology.  To many traditional Japanese this ideology - “the” scientific worldview - was barbaric. But, so the followers of Fukuzawa argued, it was necessary to adopt barbaric ways, to regard them as advanced, to introduce a whole of Western civilization in order to survive. Having been thus prepared, Japanese scientists soon branched out as their Western colleagues had done before and falsified the uniform ideology that hard started the development. The lesson I draw from this sequence of events is that a uniform “scientific view of the world” may be useful for people doing science - it gives them motivation without tying them down. It is like a flag. Though presenting a single pattern it makes people do many different things. However, it is a disaster for outsiders (philosophers, fly-by-night mystics, prophets of a New Age, the “educated public”), who, being undisturbed by the complexities of research, are liable to fall for the most simpleminded and most vapid tale.

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BEING CONSTITUTED IN THIS MANNER worldviews have tremendous strength. They prevail despite the most obvious contrary evidence and they increase in vigor when meeting obstacles.  Cruel wars, deadly epidemics that killed people indiscriminately, natural catastrophes, floods, earthquakes, widespread famines could not overcome the belief in an all-powerful, just, and even benign creator god. Altogether it seems that peole who are guided by worldviews are incapable of learning from experience.

For enlightened people this apparent irrationality is one o fthe strongest arguments against all forms of religion. Wat they fail to realize is that the rise of the sciences depend on a blindness, or obstinacy, of exactly the same kind. Surrounded by comets, new stars, plagues, strange geological shapes, unknown illnesses, irrational wars, biological malformations, meteors, oddities of weather, the leaders of Western science asserted the universal, “inexorable and immutable” character of the basic laws of Nature. Early Chinese thinkers had taken the empirical variety at face value. They had favored diversification and had collected anomalies instead of trying to explain them away.  Aristotelians had emphasized the local character of regularities and insisted on a classification by multiple substances and corresponding accidents. Natural is what happens always, or almost always, said Aristotle.

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THERE IS A WIDESPREAD RUMOR that realism - the idea that the world as laid out in space and time is independent of human perception, thought, and action - has been refuted by delicate but conceptually robust experiments.

Now if what I have said about worldviews (remember my definition at the end of section 1!) is correct, then the “realism” of the rumor cannot possibly be a worldview. There is no fact, no series of facts, no highly confirmed theory that can dislocate the assumption, made by Einstein, that the events of our lives, experiments included, are nothing but illusions. And even this statement is not adequate. Being tied to individuals and groups a worldview cannot be “Platonized” - it cannot be presented as a person-independent entity that enters into relations with other person-independent entities such as facts and/ or theories; it has to be related to the individuals and the communities that are affected by it. And a community holding realism as a worldview simply cannot be shaken by contrary facts. If it is shaken then this means that it is already breaking up or that the facts presented are part of a powerful rival worldview.

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In a way he even wrote for fighters like Frantz Fanon who was an intellectual and a psychiatrist and who objected to a purely mechanical revival of traditions.

Such a revival can only give us mummified fragments which because they are static are in fact symbols of negation and outworn contrivances. Culture [a worldview] has never the translucidity of custom [established ideology]; it abhors all simplification. In its essence it is opposed to custom because custom is always the deterioration of culture. The desire to attach oneself to tradition or to bring abandoned traditions to life again does not only mean going against the current of history but also opposing one’s own people.

Fanon criticized African intellectuals who were fascinated by Western ways (forms of poetry, for example), who felt guilty, thought they had to do something for their own culture, and started wearing traditional clothes and reviving old customs.

Such actions, says Fanon, do not give us a culture or, as we might say, they do not give us a worldview, something we can live with. They “not only go against the current of history, they also oppose the people one wants to inform.”

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But they adumbrate them, which means that Achilles’ speech also contains an element of invention. it is still discovery, for it reveals the outlines of a slowly rising structure. It deals with “objective” facts because it is substantiated by a process that is nourished from many sources; it is “subjective” because it is part of the process, not independent confirmation of it.

Rather, we have to say that the structures that preceded the “rise of rationalism” were “open” in the sense that they could be modified without being destroyed. They contained the paths Achilles was about to enter, though in a vague and unfinished way. They were also “closed,” for it needed a stimulus to reveal ambiguities and alternative structures to reset them. Without the stimulus, words, phrases, rules, patterns of behavior would have seemed clear and unproblematic (clarity is the result of routine, not of special insight); without an (existing, or slowly developing) alternative structure, the possibilities implicit in Achilles’ language would have lacked in definition. Thus entities such as “geometric perception” or “the archaic form of life” are to a certain extent chimeras; they seem clear when indulged in without much thought; they dissolve when approached from a new direction. The expression “dissolves,” too, is somewhat fictitious - the transition often remains unnoticed and amazes and annoys only a thinker who looks at the process from the safe distance of a library, or a book-studded office. As always we must be careful not to interpret fault lines in our theories (recent example from physics: the “fault line” that separates classical terms and quantum terms) as fault lines in the world (molecules do not consist of classical parts, and, separated from them, quantum parts). Ambiguity, however, turns out to be an essential companion of change.

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But is it not true that we traditionally assume and personally experience change and difference? Yes, we do. Which shows, accoriding to Parmenides, that neither tradition ( … “habit, born of much experience”...) nor experience (“the aimless eye, the echoing ear …) is a reliable guide to knowledge. This was the first, the clearest and most radical separation of domains which later were called reality and appearance and, with it, the first and most radical defense of a realist position. It was also the first theory of knowledge.

The more philosophically inclined practitioners of nineteenth-century physics posited a “real” world without colors, smells, etc., and with a minimum of change; all that happens is that certain configurations move reversibly from one moment to another. In a relativistic world even these vents are laid out in advance. Here the world

simply is, does not happen. Only to the gaze of my consciousness, crawling upward along the lifeline of my body, does a section of this world come to life as a fleeting image in space which continuously changes in time ..

“For us, who are convinced physicists, “ wrote Einstein

the distinction between past, present, and future has no other meaning than that of an illusion, though a tenacious one. …

Irreversibility, accordingly, was ascribed to the observer, not to nature herself. And so on. None of the scientists who supported the dichotomy could offer arguments that were as simple, clear, and compelling as those of Parmenides.

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Thus we can say that at the time in question (fifth to fourth century B.C) there existed at least three different ways of establishing what is real: one could “follow the argument”; one could “follow experience”; and one could choose what played an important role in the kind of life one wanted to lead. Correspondingly there existed three notions of reality which differed not so much because there were different ideas as to what constituted research.

Following his arguments Parmenides established a reality that was “objective” in the sense that it as untouched by human idiosyncrasy. Following his different approach, Aristotle introduced a reality that depended on the nature , on the achievements, and , especially, on the interests of humans. Leucippus, Democritus, and others had an intermediate position; they moved toward common sense but stopped early on the way. Still, their results clashed with established subject such as medicine.

I am at a loss to understand how those who maintain the other [more theoretical] view and abandon the old method [of direct inspection] in order to rest the techne on a postulate [i.e., who introduce abstract principles such as the elements of Empedocles] treat their patients on the lines of this postulate. For they have not discovered,I think, an absolute cold and hot, dry and moist that particiipates in other form. On the contrary, they have at their disposal the same foods and the same drinks we all use, and to the one they add the attribute of being hot, to another, cold, to another, dry, to another, moist, since it would be futile to order patients to take something hot, as he would at once ask “what hot thing?” So they must either talk nonsense [i.e. speak in terms of their theories], or have recourse to one of the known substances [i.e. add their descriptions in an ad hoc manner to common practice].

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“THAT IS QUITE UNDERSTANDABLE,” the modern reader will reply. “What you are describing is a period before the rise of modern science. But modern science is (1) based on a uniform approach, has (2) led to a coherent body of results which (3) force us to make science not just a measure, but the of reality.” Neither (1) nor (2) nor (3) is correct.

As I have argued elsewhere, scientists form different areas use different procedures and construct their theories in different ways; in other words - they, too, have different conceptions of reality. However, they not only speculate, they also test their conceptions and they often succeed: the different conceptions of reality that occur in the sciences have empirical backing. This is a historical fact, not a philosophical position and it can be supported by a closer look at scientific practice. here we find scientists (Luria in molecular-biology, Heber Curtis, Victor Ambarzumian, Halton Arp, and Margaret Geller in astrophysics and cosmology, L. Prandtl in hydrodynamics, etc. ) who want to tie research to events permitting “strong inferences,” “predictions that will be strongly supported and sharply rejected by clear- cut experimental step” (S.E. Luria, A slot Machine, a Broken Test Tube [New York: Harper and Row, 1985, 115]) and who show a considerable “lack of enthusiasm in the ‘big problems’ of the Universe or of the early earth or in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the upper atmosphere,” all subjects that are “loaded with weak inferences” (Luria, 119). In a way these scientists are continuing the Aristotelian approach, which demands close contact with experience and objects rather than following a plausible idea to the bitter end.

However, this was precisely the procedure adopted by Einstein (Browning motion, general relativity); by the researches in celestial mechanics between Newton and Poincare (stability of the planetary system); by the proponents of the atomic theory in antiquity and later, down to the nineteenth century; by Heisenberg during the initial stages of matrix mechanics (when it seemed to clash with the existence of well defined particle tracks); and by almost all cosmologists. “Is it not strange,” asks Einstein (letter to Max Born, in The Born-Einstein Letters [London:Macmillan, 1971], 192) ,

that human beings are normally deaf to the strongest argument while they are inclined to overestimate measuring activities?

- but just such an “overestimating of measuring accuracies” is the rule in epidemiology, demography, genetics, spectroscopy, and other subjects.

I repeat that all the subjects I just mentioned have been successful, thus confirming the notions of reality implicit in their theories. Even outlandish conjectures that ran counter to physical common sense were confirmed. An early example is Maxwell’s calculation of the viscosity of gases. For Maxwell this was an excercise in theoretical mechanics, an extension of his work on the rings of Saturn. Neither he nor his contemporaries believed the result - that viscosity remains constant over a wide range of density - and there was contrary evidence. Yet more precise measurements turned the apparent failure into a striking success. It pays  to “follow the argument.”

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The separation of subject and object or, more generally of appearance and reality arose (in the West), between 900 and 600 B.C. as part of a general movement toward abstractness and monotony.  Money replaced gift giving and an exchange of goods, local gods merged, gained in power but lost in concreteness and humanity, abstract laws, not family relations, defined the role of citizens in a democracy, wars were increasingly fought by professional soldiers - and so on. Language changed accordingly. The rich vocabularies that had described the relation between humans and their surroundings shrunk, some terms disappeared, others converged in meaning. All this just occurred, without any explicit and clearly planned contribution form individuals and special groups. The new habits, the older and more idiosyncratic ways of doing things, and the features implied by both were all equally real - they were not dreams or apparitions. However, they were not equally important. Special groups, soon to be called philosophers, turned importance and universality into measures of existence -...

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A first and rather immediate consequence is that the boundary between reality and appearance cannot be established by scientific research; it contains a normative or, if you will, an “existential” component.

This explains, second, why so many different processes (visions, immediate experience, dreams, and religious fantasies) have been declared to be real and why discussions about reality produce so much heat. After all, they are debates about the right way to live or, in more narrow domains, about the right way to live or, in more narrow domains, about the right way of doing research. They deal with the weight to be given to reason, experience, emotion, faith, fascination, and further entities which in some views are strictly separated while they merge in others.

Third, different ways of life entail different interpretations of expert knowledge or, more recently, of scientific knowledge. Theologians like like Saint Thomas and philosophers like Descartes and Leibnitz regarded natural laws as the work of a stable and reliable divine being, of a genuine rationalist. Statements expressing such laws were therefore objective and necessarily true.  Duns Scotus and William of Ockham, both critics of Saint Thomas, emphasized the immense power and the unfathomable will of God, which manifest themselves in individual events. One can observe these events, one can summarize the observations in general statements, but one cannot go further.  Natural laws, accordingly, are about observations and about nothing else.  Which view is correct? That depends.  If the world, whether divine or material, is a described by Ockham, then there are no objective laws and instrumentalism is correct. But is it not the task of science to decide the question and to establish one interpretation to the exclusion of all others?

It is not, because, fourth, science contains different traditions (atomism and more phenomonological approaches are examples form the past) and, besides, it is not the only source of knowledge.  People arranging their existence around nonscientific phenomenal and declaring them to be real did not end in disaster - at least not all of them did.  They developed detailed and effective cultures. Appplying Aristotle’s principle to each and every one of these cultures, we arrive at a form of relativism: there is more than one way of living and, therefore, more than one type of reality.  However, while traditional relativists infer truth and reality from the mere existence of criteria, perceptions, procedures beliefs, Aristotle’s principle invites us to add success and to explain it by assuming a deeper lying stratum that responds positively to many different endeavors.

It follows, fifth, that the sciences are incomplete and fragmentary.  One see this in a more direct way when considering the large areas of experience and human action that constitute the lives of past and present generations but are regarded as unscientific, subjective, and irrational. In these circumstances it makes no sense to look for “the” correct interpretation of, say, quantum mechanics.  And, indeed there exists a great variety of interpretations, corresponding to different worldviews.

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Inhabitants of a particular manifest world often identify it with Being.  They thereby turn local problems into cosmic disasters. But the manifest worlds themselves demonstrate their fragmentary character; they harbor events which should not be there and which are classified away with some embarrassment (example: the separation of the arts and the sciences).  The transition from one manifest world to another cannot be described in either except by excising large regions originally thought to be real - a good case for applying the notion of complementarity.  Bell’s request that a fundamental theory should not contain any reference to observation is satisfied, but trivially so. Being as it is, independently of any kind of approach, can never be known, which means that really fundamental theories don’t exist.

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For Jason and Medea have two different and subtly articulated worldviews, the worldviews clash, and disaster is the result. Or, describing realities rather than views about it (cf. Aristotle, De poetica, chap. 9) we have two ways of living, acting, perceiving, and understanding - the heroic way of life and a woman’s view (objectivized by the chorus) - and they clash.  Conflicts of this kind had been described before, for example in Aeschylus’s Oresteia. Here the clash between traditional laws and the new law of Zeus and Apollo leads to a paradox: there exist actions which imply impossible results whether or not they are carried out - an early and rather interesting application of reductio ad absurdum.  The paradox is removed by the divinely supervised vote of an assembly of Athenian citizens, i.e., by consulting opinions. But after that the power of Athena enforces the New Order, lifting it from the domain of opinions into the domain of objective social constraints or, as one might say, of reality.

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In his Anayse de Empfindungen (Jena: Fisher, 1904, 3 n. 1) Earnst Mach desribes the following phenomenon:

As a young man I once saw in the street a face in profile which I found highly disturbing and repulsive. I was shocked when I discovered that it was my own face which I had perceived by way of two mutually inclined mirror.  On a later occasion I was rather tired after a strenuous nocturnal journey on a train. Entering a bus I saw another person entering from the opposite side. “What a dilapidated schoolmaster!” I thought. Again it was I, for I had faced a large mirror.

How shall wee interpret this phenomenon? Shall we say that, being unprejudiced, the first impression gives us the real character of Ernst Mach? Or shall we prefer the second impression, which is the result of a lifetime of observations?

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I conclude that there are large areas where the question of what is real and what is not (and, therefore, of what is true and what is not) not only lacks an answer but cannot be answered from the nature of the case.  Those who believe in a uniform world and who do not want to break the connection with experience must therefore regard the phenomena I described as confused appearances of reality that can be never known.

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This solution can be connected with and supported by a variety of points of view. One is the point of view that emerged from quantum mechanics: properties once believed to be “in the world” depend on the approach chosen, and instrument connecting the results of the various approaches, the wave function has only a “symbolic” function (Bhor in his Como lecture). Physical objects are symbolic in an even stronger sense. They appear as ingredients of a coherent, objective world. For classical physics and the parts of common sense associated with it this was also their nature. Now, however, they only indicate what happens under particular and precisely restricted circumstances.  Combining these two features Wolfgang Pauli envisaged a reality that cannot be directly described but can only be conveyed in an oblique and picturesque way. “Quantum theory,” writes Heisenberg on this matter …

is … a wonderful example of this situation that one can clearly understand a state of affairs and yet know that one can describe it only in images and similes.


… the cathedral of Sain Denis, which anticipated the Gothic style, was built with his ideas in mind. According to Pseudo-Dionysius, God (or, using the terms of this paper, Iltimate Reality, or Being) is ineffable.  Concentrating our entire strength on UIltimate Reality we face nothingness, a void, no positive response (Ultimate Being, says Hegel, “ist in der Tat Nichts, und nicht mehr noch weniger als Nichts). But we an describe and explain our interaction with certain emanations of God or, to express it in a less theological manner, we have access to the ways in which Ultimate Reality reacts to our approach.  Ultimate Reality, if such an entity can be postulated, is ineffable. What we do know are the various forms of manifest reality, i.e., the complex ways in which Ultimate Reality acts in the domain (the “onotological niche”) of human life.

I just spoke of an “ontological pluralism”; like most people I, too, am liable to summarize complex stories by using simple, though learned-looking, terms. I therefore have no right to complain when other import the term “relativism” and call me a relativist. But I can still correct them, in the following manner.

To start with, not all approaches to “reality” are successful. Like unfit mutations, some approaches linger for a while - their agents suffer, many die - and then disappear. Thus the mere existence of a society with certain ways of behaving and certain criteria of judging what has been achieved is not sufficient for establishing  a manifest reality; what is also needed is that God, or Being, or Basic Reality reacts in a positive way.  Whatever relaivism seems to occur in this paper is therefore not philosophical position; it is an empirical fact supported by the multiplicity of approaches and results within and outside the sciences.

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This is a most interesting procedure. Aristotle neither examines the arguments of the theoreticians (he did that, too, but in a different context) nor does he confront it with some theorizing of his own. He rejects the whole approach. The task of thought, he seems to say, is to comprehend and perhaps to improve what we perceive and do when engaged in our ordinary everyday affairs; it is not to wander off into a no-man’s-land of abstract and empirically inaccessible concepts.

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… However we approach the matter we find that we can learn a lot from Aristotle about knowledge, research, and the social implications of both. Today, when more than 30 percent of all scientists work on war-related projects, when it is taken for granted that research on recondite matters should be financed by the public, and when human existence and human nature are degraded to make them fit the most recent scientific fashions, his view that the interpretation an the use of science are a political matter is more topical than ever.

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Intellectual generalizations around “art,” “nature,” or “science” are simplifying devices that can help us order the abundance that surrounds us. They should be understood as such -- opportunistic tools, not final statements on the objective reality of the world.

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A second exmaple makes the situation even clearer. Simon Stevin, a Dutch scientist of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, wanted to prove that a chain put around a wedge will be in equilibrium if and only if the weights of the sections lying over the sides of the wedge are related to each other as are the lengths of these sides. Assuming the chain is closed and that its weights of the sections lying over the sides of the wedge are related to each other as are the lengths of these sides. Assuming that the chain is closed and that its weight is equally distributed over all its sections, he argued as follows: if the chain moves, then it must move forever, for every position is equivalent to every other position; if on the other hand, it is without motion, then it will also remain without motion, i.e., it will be in equilibrium. The first possibility can be excluded - there are no perpetual motions. In the second case we can remove the lower part of the chain, because of its symmetry - and the result becomes obvious.

how did Stevin know that the chain would remain at rest and that perpetual motion was impossible? Was he creative? did he creatively suggest a bold hypothesis? Earnst Mach, who analyzed the case, denies this. Stevin, he says, had adaptd to his surroundings and moved in his imagination as the surroundings moved in reality. It would have been most surprising to see a chain that suddenly starts moving. Why? Because a plethora of data had turned into an instinct, which from then on guided the thinker. It is the nature of this instinct or, in other words, it is nature as it manifests itself in a particular person that shows the way, not a mysterious “creativity.” Mach applied the lesson to our knowledge of numbers. “It is often the cas,” he wrote in Erkenntnis und Irrtum …

that numbers are called “free creations of the human mind. “ The admiration for the human mind which is expressed by these words is quite natural when we look at the finished, imposing edifice of arithmetic. Our understannding of these crations is, hoever, furthered much more when we try to trace their instinctive beginnings and consider the circumstances which produce the need for such crations. Perhaps we shall then realize that the first structures that belong to this domain were unconscious biological structures which were wrested from us by material circumstances and that their value could be recognized only after they had appeared.

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then painters rejected what had given them substance, art critics started emphasizing the uniqueness of individual works of art, and some artists pretended to live by creativity and/or accident alone. That changed not only the philosophical evaluation of the arts, but also their content: there is hardly an y connection between Raphael and Jackson Pollock.  General distinctions between the arts and the sciences existed since antiquity, but the reasons differed and so did the distribution of subjects among the two categories. Thus some seventeenth-century writers asserted that, while ancient science had been overcome by the science of Galileo and Descartes, the ancient arts, poetry especially, still reigned supreme and were therefore different in nature from scientific products.

What is true of the arts is true of the sciences. Twentieth-century philosophy of science for a long time identified science with physics and physics with relativity and elementary particle physics; space, time, and matter, after all, are the basic ingredients of everything. A uniform conception of knowledge separated SCIENCE from other enterprises and gave it substance.  A look at scientific practice tells a different story.

For here we have scientists such as S. Luria who tie research to events permitting “strong inferences” and favor “predictions that will be strongly supported and sharply rejecteed by a clear-cut experimental step.”  According to Luria, decisive experiments in a phage research had precisely this character. Scientists of Lurias bent show a considerable “lack of enthusiasm in the ‘big problems’ of the Universe or of the early Earth, or in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the upper atmosphere,” all subjects :loaded with weak inferences.” In a way they are continuing the Aristotelian approach, which demands to remain in close contact with experience and objects rather than following plausible ideas to the bitter end.

However, this was precisely the procedure adopted by Einstein, by students of the stability of the planetary system between Newton and Poincare, by the early proponents of the kinetic theory, and by almost all cosmologists. Einstein’s first cosmological paper was a purely theoretical exercise containing not a single astronomical constant. The subject of cosmology itself for a long time found little respect among physicists. Hubble, the empiricist, was praised - the rest had a hard time..

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We can go further and assert that both scientists and artists (artisans) learn by creating artifacts. ...

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Yet some leading Western theoreticians, Descartes, Galileo, and Leibnitz among them, disregarded phenomena and postulated “universal and inexorable laws.”

Simplifying matters, we may say that they changed existing knowledge in two ways. They emphasized experiment over observation and they considerably extended the use of mathematical formalisms. In both cases they replaced natural processes by artifacts.

Besides, experiments do not just interfere, they interfere in a special way. They eliminate disturbances, create strong effects and enable us to watch the underlying machinery of nature undistorted and enlarged.

science is not one thing, it is many; and its plurality is not coherent, it is full of conflict. Even special subjects are divided into schools. I added that most of the conflicting approaches with their widely different methods, myths, models, expectations, dogmas have results. They find facts that conform to their categories (and are therefore incommensurable with the facts that emerge from different approaches) and laws that bring order to assemblies of facts of this kind.  But this means that being approached in a different ways Nature gives different responses and that projecting one response onto it as describing its true shape is wishful thinking, not science.

… First way: the procedures (experiments, ideas, models, etc. ) that are part of the program and that strongly interfere with Nature reveal how Nature is independently of the interference.  Second way: they reveal how Nature responds to the interference.

… Taking all this into consideration, I conclude that the second thesis makes lots of sense: nature as described by our scientists is indeed an artifact built in collaboration with a Being sufficiently complex to mock and, perhaps, punish materialists by responding to them in a crudely materialistic way.

The point is that there is not only one successful culture, there are many, and that their success is a master of empirical record, not of philosophical definitions: an enormous amount of concrete findings accompanies the slow and painful transition from intrusion to collaboration in the fied of development. Relativism, on the other hand, believes that it can deal with cultures on the basis of philosophical fiat: define a suitable context (form of life) with criteria etc. of its own and anything that happens in this context can be made to confirm it. As opposed to this, real cultures change when attempting to solve major problems and not all of them survive attempts at stabilization.  The “principles: of real cultures are therefore ambiguous and there is a good sense in saying that every culture can in principle be any culture.

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… Objectivism certainly is not the only problem.  There are the rising nationalisms, the greed, stupidity, and uncaring attitude of many so-called world leaders, in politics, religion, philosophy, the sciences, all this accompanied by a general thoughtlessness that seems satisfied and even pleased with the repetition of tepid generalities.

It is true that allowing abundance to take over would be the end of life and existence as we know it - abundance and chaos are different aspects of one and the same world.  We need simplifications (e.g., we need bodies with restricted motions and brains with restricted modes of perception). But there are many such simplifications, not just one, and they can be changed to remove the elitism which so far has dominated Western civilization.

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Ideas of humanity change. Is it inhumane to save the life of an enemy? Yes, if it means that he will soon be able to do what he does best - rape women and kill children. right now all these matters do not concern me. What concerns  me is a point of view that is shared by Fang, by some of his followers, and by many Western admirers of the monster “science.” This point of view contains a totalitarian element.  It is good to know this, even if one should decide, for tactical reasons, to retain it for a few more years.

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Metaphysics also affects the matter of universality. We can assume that for Fang the universality of a principle means that it corresponds to universal features of an observer- and history-independent world. But such a correspondence is not obvious. What the evidence tells us is that having approached the world or, to use a more general term, Being, with concepts, instruments, interpretations which were the often highly accidental outcome of complex, idiosyncratic, and rather opaque historical developments, Western scientists and their philosophical, political, and financial supporters got a finely structured response containing quarks, leptons, space-time frames, and so on. The evidence leaves it open if the response is the way in which Being reacted to the approach, so that it reflects both Being and the approach, or if it belongs to Being independently of any approach. Realism assumes the latter; it assumes that a particular phenomenon - the modern scientific universe and the evidence for it - can be cut from the development that led up to it and can be presented as the true and history-independent nature of Being. The assumption is very implausible, to say the least.

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… Realists can be tough customers indeed - but there is no reason to be afraid of them.

For what gives them credence is not the power of phenomena but the power of norms evaluating phenomena. We mus not be misled by the fact that some phenomena seem to form a coherent whole; if reality were required to produce coherent effects, then shy birds, people who are easily bored, and entities defined by statistical laws would be very unreal indeed.  The predicate “real,” on the other hand, i s only apparently descriptive. Reflecting a preference for forms of coherence that can be managed without too much effort, it contains evaluations, though implicit ones.  Now wherever there is a preference there can be, and perhaps should be, a counterpreference.  For example, we may emphasize human freedom over easy manageability.  This means, of course, that ethics (in the general sense of a discipline that guides our choices between forms of life) affects ontology. It already affected it, in connection with the sciences, but surreptitiously, and without debate.  To start the debate we must insert our preferences at precisely those points that seem to support a scientific worldview; we must insert them at the division between what is real and what does not count. And as this division constitutes what is true in science and what is not; we can say that ethics, having once been a secrete measure of scientific truth, can now become its overt judge.

… In other words: “real” is what plays an important role in the kind of life one wants to live.

As you many now, Parmenides held that Being does not change and has no parts. this was the first conservation principle of Western science  - it asserted the conservation of Being. Parmenides also provided some arguments for his view. they were powerful arguments and quite convincing. Parmenides was, of course, aware of change - but he regarded it as secondary and subjective. Aristotle criticized Parmenides in two ways. He analyzed the arguments and tried to show that they were invalid. We may call this logical criticism.  But he also pointed out that Parmenides’ result would inhibit practical life and political action. This is the kind of criticism that I am talking about: a way of life is made the measure of reality.  

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The members of the European Community, those standard bearers of Civilization and the Free World, want to bring “backward” regions like Portugal, Greece, and the south of Italy up to their own high level of existence.  How do they determine backwardness? By notions such as “gross national product,” “life expectancy,” “literacy rate,” and son.  This is their “reality.” “Raising the level of existence” means raising the gross national product and the other indicators.  Action follows, as in Fang: monocultures replace local production (example: eucalyptus trees in Portugal), dams are built where people lived before (Greece), and so on.  Entire communities are displaced, their ways of life destroyed just as they were in Ceausescu’s Romania, they are unhappy, they protest, even revolt - but this does not count. It is not “real” as are the facts projected by an “objective” economic science.  Is it no wise to be afraid of such a civilization? And is it not advisable to reverse a way of arguing that encourages the trends I have just described? According to Fang we argue from scientific reality to ethics and human rights.  This is a dangerous movement. It does use norms, but hides them behind factual statements; it blunts our choices and imposes laws in stead of letting them grow from the lives of those who are supposed to benefit from them.  I suggest that we argue the other way around, from the “subjective,” “irrational,” idiosyncratic kind of life we are in sympathy with, to what is to be regarded as real.  The inversion has many advantages. It is in agreement with human rights. It sensitizes us to the fact that Fang’s “reality” is the result of a choice and can be modified: we are not stuck with “progress” and “universality.”

The inversion is not motivated by a contempt for science but by the wish to subject it, this product of relatively free agents, to the judgement of other free agents instead of being frightened by a petrified version of it.  Finally, we learn that even a great and committed humanitarian may be inspired by a dangerous philosophy.  Good and Evil are close neighbors. Ww better watch out!

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… Thus Peter Medawar writes:

As science advances, particular facts are comprehended within, and therefore in a sense annihilated by, general statements of steadily increasing explanatory power and compass whereupon the facts need no longer be known explicitly. In all sciences we are being progressively relieved of the burden of singular instances, the tyranny of the particular. (The Art of the Soluble [London: Methuen and Co., 1967, 114)

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… An agent effecting change reveals the ambiguity of the status quo. He uses the ambiguity to introduce new elements which he then clarifies by confronting them with a well-defined past. Having been constrained in this manner a way of life may indeed start looking like a “system of thought.” It is such a “system,” such an artifact, and not its unreflected source which I am going to compare with the ways of the philosophers.

And justifying something does not mean relating it to an abstract entity such as “experience,” “experiment,” a principle of reason or an ingredient of Husserl’s “Lebenswelt”; it means telling a story that includes a personal guarantee. (It seems that Protagora’s “man is the measure of all things” was meant precisely in this way.)

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Similar developments occurred in the domains of law and economics, and here especially after coins, which were in themselves worthless, had replaced barter and the exchange of gifts. Like the method of Theaetetus, such coins assemble objects with different individual properties under a single abstract concept, their “monetary value.”  Question (a) now becomes very important.  For the abstract monetary “value” of an object was not something that had existed at the time of barter but had been discovered only recently; it was part of a process that had destroyed old social ties and replaced them with different and more abstract connections.

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… Old ways of living are being destroyed and replaced by factories, highways, and monocultures which turn the science-based principles of experts (economists, agronomists, engineers, etc.) into tyrants without paying attention to local wishes and values.

… The intention is to bring these countries “up to the level” of the rest of the Europe. But “coming up to the level of the rest of Europe” (Italy, for example, or Germany) does not mean that individuals are now going to be happier and are going to lead a more fulfilling life - it means an increase of abstract entities such as the “gross national product,” the “growth rate,” and so on.

… Relativism, too, insofar as it is not simply a call to tolerance opposes objectivism within philosophy; it has lost its connection with the worldviews it tries to defend.)

But can we live without universals? Is it possible to increase our knowledge and yet to preserve its looseness?And does the suppresio of what is genuinely subjective not already start in personal relations and then even more so in the realm of politics, which cannot exist without something that is shared by all? “Speaking with understanding they must hold fast to what is shared by all, as a city holds to its laws, and even more firmly,” writes Heraclitus (fragment 114, trans Charles H. Kahn).  Agreed.  But all depends on how “what is shared” is reached and how it rules once accepted.


Today a rather concrete idea of freedom and humanity influences actions in Western and Eastern Europe, and, though as yet unsuccessfully, in the Far East; it guides revolutionaries, business enterprises, and to some extent even the actions of more conservative bodies. This is very much to be welcomed.  What is not so welcome is the attempt to again tie a process that is in flux to transhistorical agencies or to freeze the principles that push it along; what is not to be welcomed is the attempt to turn words and concepts that mediate between people into Platonic monsters that rebuild them in their image.  (Paradoxically, intellectual fighters for freedom and enlightenment at all ages - with very few exceptions -tried to do just that.) What is not to be welcomed is a universality that is enforced, either by education, or by power play, or by “development,” this most subtle form of conquest. But is not science universally true in the sense I am trying to criticize and does it not show that Platonic universality has come to stay? My answer is the same as before: assume that science is universally accepted (which it is not, and cannot be, for “science” as a single uniform entity is a metaphysical monster, not a historical fact) - then this would be a historical accident, not proof of the adequacy of Platonic universals - and one might try to change it.

Page 269/270/272/273

The appeal calls philosophy “an eternally effective elixir of life.” It the very opposite. Philosophy is not a single Good Thing that is bound to enrich human existence; it is a witches’ brew, containing some rather deadly ingredients. Numerous assaults on life, liberty, and happiness have had a strong philosophical backing. The rise of philosophy in the West or “the long-lasting battle between philosophy and poetry” (Plato, Republic 607b) is the oldest and most influential assault of this kind.

According to Parmenides, human beings, or “the many” as he calls them somewhat contemptuously, “drift along, deaf as well as blind, disturbed and undecided,” guided by the “habit based on much experience” (Diels-Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker [Zurich: Weidmann, 1985], fragments B6.7, B7.3, and B6.6 ff.). Their fears and joys, their political actions, the affection they have for their friends and children, the attempts they make to improve their own lives and the lives of others, and their views about the nature of such improvements are chimeras. According to Plato, most traditional instruments for the presentation and examination of knowledge - the epic, tragedy, lyrical poetry, the anecdote, the scientific treatise (including the many data collected in the Hippocratic writings) - are either deficient or deceptive: they must be changed. medical practice for example, must be guided by theory, which can overrule the obtained knowledge of practicing physicians.  The arts have no place in an orderly society (Republic ,bk. 10). …

The recent appeal to “all parliaments and governments of the world” (etc.) has similar drawbacks. It envisages “the creation of new categories to overcome existing contradictions and to be able to direct humanity on the path of goodness.” This may sound reasonable to the ears of intellectuals accustomed to replacing real-world relations by relations between conceptual artifacts. But note what is implied. The categories are not being offered to “humanity”; “humanity” is not invited to consider, perhaps to change or even reject them; the categories are to “direct” humanity as a policeman directs traffic.

Now it is clear that “categories,” taken by themselves, cannot “direct” anything unless they have power, i.e., unless they are imposed by an influential worldly agency.  To obtain the power, Plato consorted with tyrants.  The appeal asks “all parliaments and governments of the world to introduce, support, and underwrite with full force the study of philosophy” - i.e., education or, considering the nature of government-directed education, brainwashing is supposed to do the trick. What will be the effect of an education based on the “new categories”?

The categories are supposed to “overcome existing contradictions” - the many ways in which people have arranged their lives wil be trimmed to fit the categories.  Not case-by-case negotiations between the members of various societies, which might preserve some of the richness of world culture, but an overall system, concocted by academic specialists and supported “wit full force” by parliaments and governments, is supposed to eliminate the conflict. That is the colonial spirit again, but concealed, as some earlier forms of colonialism were, by treacly humanitarian phrases.

My second criticism is that the appeal is self-serving (philosophers and scientists want their subjects to have greater power) and abounds in big words and empty generalities. The real problems of our time are not even touched upon. What are these problems? They are war, violence, hunger, disease, and environmental disasters. the warring parties have found a wonderful instrument for “overcoming existing contradictions” -ethnic cleansing.  The appeal has nothing to say about these atrocities; in a way it even supports them by its proposed method of conceptual and/or cultural cleansing. The philosophers and scientists who signed it would have done better to issue a strongly worded condemnation of the crimes and the murders that occur in our midst, together with an appeal to all governments to interfere and stop the killing, by military force, if necessary. Such a condemnation and such an appeal would have been understood, it would have shown that philosophers care for their fellow human beings; it would have shown that philosophy is more than an autistic concern with empty generalities, that it is a moral and politicla force that must be taken into account; and it would have taught the younger generation, better than any government-supported philosophy program, that devoting some time to its study is worthwhile.

Alan Kay SRII 2011 KEYNOTE

Posted: August 26th, 2011 | Author: danny | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

Excellent talk by Alan Kay on the idea of negotiation and communication with aliens.

SRII 2011 - Keynote Talk by Alan Kay - President, Viewpoints Research Institute from SRii GLOBAL CONFERENCE 2011 on Vimeo.

SRII 2011 - Keynote Talk by Alan Kay - Q&A Session from SRii GLOBAL CONFERENCE 2011 on Vimeo.

Notes on Killing Time by Paul Feyerabend

Posted: July 18th, 2011 | Author: danny | Filed under: Book Notes | Comments Off

Killing Time: The Autobiography of Paul Feyerabend

I was surprised by the amount of detail spent on reviewing films, theatres, musicians, and restaurants in contrast to the brevity given seemingly more important matters. A great book overall.

I especially liked the story on pages 18/19/20.

Notes below:

Page 4

We [Paul & his father] were friends, sort of, but not very close; I was much too self-centered and much too involved in my own affairs. I had already moved to California when I heard of his final illness; I did not return and I did not attend his funeral.

Page 5/6

Aunt Pepi was married to Konrad Hampapa, a railwayman and a heavy drinker himself. They had two children - Konrad junior, who was retarded, and Josephine. The family visited us on Sundays, and Junior played he accordion. He was an excellent musician and could improvise on any melody he heard. When is father remarried, he tried to make love to his stepmother, Maria. This, he thought, was was the normal function of a mother, for Aunt Pepi, apparently, had made love to him. Maria was a kind but determined woman. She stopped her husband's drinking; but she failed with Konrad junior. He left home, roamed the streets, hid in garbage containers (which at the time were large enough to hold ten people), played his instrument, and raped the women who came to listen. He died in an insane asylum at the age of thirty-six -- at least this is what I heard later, after my return from London. For me (at age ten), Cousin Konrad was just another relative with a great gift for music. I noticed that he was a little peculiar - but so were many people. My attitude changed when the peculiarity received a name, "retardation," and when casual and unintended hints informed me of its social implications. Fear and revulsion were the result.

Page 12/13

Between the ages of three and six I spent most of my time in the kitchen and in the bedroom. Mama moved a bench up to the window and tied me to the window frame. The I hung like a spider and watched the world: major street repairs, colorful steamrollers, the green electric buses that transported the mail, the street performers, and now and then a private car. Once a week a bunch of pigs was delivered to the butcher's shop in the house opposite. On Friday the workers received their paychecks, went to the local pub, and got drunk. Between two and three in the morning - I was in bed at the time, but the noise woke us all up -- their wives went looking for them and brought them home. It was an impressive sight: huge women lifting tiny men up by their collars and shouting with thunderous voices: "You heap of shit! You bum! You asshole! Where's the money? ... " Even the mailman ended up in the gutter with letters, checks, bills scattered all around him.

Inside, wives beat their husbands (and vice versa), parents beat their children (and vice versa), neighbors beat each other. Every morning the ladies of the house assembled at the bassena, the only water outlet on each floor. They exchanged gossip, commiserated, complained about their men, pets, relatives. Most of the time that was that. Once in a while the gossip increased in volume, changed character, and turned into a row. Endearments such as "You whore! You bitch!" filled the corridors. Weapons (brooms and so forth) might be added, but dragging the opponent around by her hair seemed to suffice. Turds on the stairway meant that the janitor had managed to make an enemy or two. It would be wrong to infer that our house was an extreme case, however. The nuns at a well-known Catholic hospital where I had my appendix removed used the same language and treated each other in almost the same way.

Page 16/17

I started school when I was six. It was a strange experience. Having been kept off the streets, I had no idea how other people lived or what to do with them. Papa gave me his military knapsack instead of the customary briefcase. "People will envy you," he explained. I was laughed at. "Defend yourself!" said mama. Next day I did just that. School was over and I started for home. I saw mama at the window, remembered her advice, turned to the main offender, and broke his arm. Gradually things settled down and instruction began. Now I could not understand why I should sit still while the teacher was wandering around; so I wandered around with him. He ordered me back to my place. There I remained, but I began to throw up as soon as the first letters appeared on the blackboard. ...

Page 18/19/20

Once a year, on December 10, my father dressed up (at a neighbor's) in a bishop's outfit, put on a mask, and entered our place as Saint Nicholas. Mama and I waited in the kitchen. There was a knock. "It must be Saint Nicholas," said mama. I trembled with fear and excitement. Mama opened the door and Saint Nicholas came in. I knelt down. Papa asked in a deep voice: "Have you been a good boy? Have you done your homework? Did you obey your parents?" And I had to admit, alas, that I had sinned here and been negligent there and that my behavior had been far from exemplary. Saint Nick came closer, looked at me with a penetrating glance, hit me (gently, of course), and said: "Next time you won't get away that easily"; and then he departed. Outside the door he left a basket with fruit, chocolate, and various sweets. When my father returned, he looked exhausted; he had a leather strap in his hand and explained how he had caught, tied, and gagged the devil while Saint Nick was giving me the third degree. "You know," he said, "you were lucky; this time the devil almost got away and he surely would have beaten you up. He might even have taken you with him!" I believed the story, especially as the neighbors were moving around in the corridor in demonic costumes. "Poor papa," I said. I gave him some of my presents and was proud of the strength that had enabled him to restrain the Evil One himself.


The door opened. Here was the old familiar figure: the long white dress, the golden embroider, the staff, the pointed hat, the deep voice. But I also saw my father's shoes, which I had not noticed before, I saw the eyes behind the mask, which I had never separated from the mask, and I heard him, not Saint Nicholas. It was my father; clearly it was my father, yet equally clearly it was not my father but the Saint.


I was sad, not for myself but for my father, who, having been a mighty Saint, was now a vulnerable human being.

Page 37

He [Hitler] would begin slowly, hesitantly, in a low but resonant voice: "Volksgenossen und Voksgenossinnen!" -- "Fellow nationals, men and women!" Many people, young and old, male and female, my mother among them, were hypnotized by his voice. Listening to the mere sound they became transfixed. "I loved Hitler, " Ingmar Bergman writes in his autobiography, reporting his impressions as an adolescent exchange student. "The only face among faceless men," was Heidegger's reaction. "He is a phenomenon - too bad I am a Jew and he is an anti-Semite," said Joseph von Sternberg, inventor of Marlene Dietrich, director of The Blue Angel and many Hollywood movies afterward. Hitler mentioned local problems and achievements; he made jokes, some of them rather good. Gradually his delivery changed; in approaching obstacles and setbacks, Hitler increased both his speed and his volume. The outbursts, which are the only parts of his speeches known the world over, were carefully prepared, well staged, and exploited in a calmer vein once they had passed. They were the result of control, not of anger, hatred, or despair, at least while Hitler was still in good physical shape and in command of events. "Here is a man who knows how to speak," said papa, who had been looking forward to the takeover, "not like Schuschnigg" (the Austrian chancellor, an intellectual without temperament or popular appeal.)

Page 42

Later on I met soldiers who wore the Gefrierfleischorden, the frozen meat medal, which they received for having survived without winter clothes.

Page 51/52

Our destination was Poland, the area near Czestochowa. There I was put in command of a bicycle company. I was hardly thrilled - I had never ridden a bicycle, and I fell of when I tried. The soldiers stood around looking puzzled: this is supposed to be our leader? The problem was solved the Russians; in one day the bicycles were already in their hands. And then came two weeks of absolute chaos. Run, rest, build a bridge, cross the bridge, blow up the bridge, remove mines, lay mines, rest, run again. I remember sitting in a house, reading a book, with anxious peasants around me; soaking my feet in warm water when the Russians entered by the back door - I still don't know how I escaped; sleeping in a barn and seeing the Russians through a small crack when I opened my eyes in the morning; running across a field to escape gunfire, with people dropping like flies around me.


Then, one evening, in the midst of shooting from right, left, front, back, the horizon aflame with burning houses, my carelessness finally caught up with me. Playing the operatic hero once again, I placed myself at a crossroad and started directing traffic. Suddenly my face was burning. I touched my cheek. Blood. Next, an impact on my right hand. I looked at it. There was a large hole in my glove. I didn't like that at all. The gloves were made of excellent leather and lined with fur; I would have liked them to remain intact. I turned slightly to the left - things were getting dangerous. I slipped and fell. I tried to get up but I couldn't. I felt no pain, but I was convinced that my legs had been shattered. For a moment I saw myself in a wheelchair, moving along endless shelves of books - I was almost happy. Soldiers eager to get out of trouble gathered around me, lifted me onto a sledge, and dragged me away. The war was over as far as I was concerned.

Page 54

I soon recovered but remained paralyzed form the waste down. I was not unduly concerned. I even got alarmed when one of my toes started moving; "Not now, please," I said; "can't you wait until the war's over?" I didn't mind being a cripple - I was content; talked to my neighbors; read novels, poems, crime stories, essays of all kinds.

Page 63

I had not joined the party and I had not been involved in any criminal activities. I can't take credit for that - the occasion simply didn't arise. I don't know what I would have done had I been asked to become a Parteigenosse or ordered to kill civilians.

Page 68

All of us, men and women, were "scientists" and thus superior by far to students of history, sociology, literature, and similar trash.

Page 89/90

Falsificationism now seemed a real option, and I fell for it.


Today I regard this episode as an excellent illustration of the dangers of abstract reasoning. There are lots of dangerous philosophies around. Why are they dangerous? Because they contain elements that paralyze our judgement. Rationalism, whether dogmatic or critical, is no exception. Even worse - the inner coherence of its products, the apparent reasonableness of its principles, the promise of a method that enables individuals to free themselves from prejudice, and the success of the sciences, which seem to be rationalism's main achievements, provide it with an almost superhuman authority. Popper not only used these elements, he added paralyzing ingredient of his own - simplicity.

Page 117/118

Paul Meehl was interested in the mind-body problem and in the relation between theory and experiment. The positivists favored an "upward seepage" of meaning, as Meehl called it: observation statements (which we put at the bottom of our diagrams) are meaningful; theoretical statements, taken by themselves, are not but receive meaning via the logical links that tie them to observation statements. Continuing the drift of my 1958 paper I argued then that meaning travels in the opposite direction. Sense-data in and for themselves have no meaning; they just are. A person who is given sense-data and nothing else is completely disoriented. Meaning comes from ideas. Meaning, therefore, "trickles down" from the theoretical level toward the level of observation. Today I would say that both positions are rather naive. Meaning is not located anywhere. It does not guide our actions (thoughts, observations) but aries in their course. Meaning may stabilize to such an extent that the assumption of a location starts making sense. This, however, is a disease and not a foundation.

Page 119

Later, at a monster debate epistemology, I compared Aristotle's philosophy with that of the Vienna Circle. Aristotle's philosophy, I said, was fruitful - it had helped him to found some sciences and to enrich others. Ernst Mach was still making contributions to the sciences themselves, not only to the rhetoric about them. TheVienna Circle, however, merely commented on work already done. It was barren, from a scientific point of view. Or, as Ernst Bloch had colorfully put it, "Die Philosophie ist aus einer Fackeltragerin der Wissenschaft zu ihrer Schleppentragerin geworden" ("Having been the torchbearer of science, philosophy is now carrying its train"). Carnap did not object, but he emphasized the advantages of clarity. ...

Page 124/125

My friend Joan McKenna, a bigmouth with a heart of gold and a certified witch, tied an experiment. Having been introduced as a guest lecturer she talked for about twenty minutes; then she stopped and invited questions. Her answers were unfair, sarcastic, authoritarian. Nobody intervened. On the contrary, people next to her victims moved away a little - we don't want to have anything to do with a loser like you, they seemed to say. Now Joan explained the setup and its purpose. "Loo at what you are doing!" she exclaimed. "I give ridiculous, authoritarian answers. You not only swallow them but treat the only students brave enough to resist like outcasts. No wonder a professor can et away with anything!" After that we discussed how to deal with the bastards of the profession. Assume one such superior being says thins that sound silly or incomprehensible. What do you do? You get up and ask for clarification. Assume you are silenced by an authoritarian gesture. Well, somebody else gets up and repeats the question: "I didn't understand either." More anger, more sarcasm. A third student gets up: "You are supposed to teach, not to make fun of us; so please explain." "Don't be insolent!" "He wasn't being insolent," a fourth student says. "He was asking for information, and you wouldn't give it." -- and so on. Sooner or later, I said, there will be a more accommodating response. "We can't do that," some students replied; "we'll get bad grades." "We won't do it " was the reaction of others. "It's not worth the effort."

Page 126

I didn't always accept the advice of the student leaders. For example, I didn't participate in the strike they declared. On the contrary, I cut fewer lectures during the strike than either before or after. "Didn't you feel any solidarity?" Grazia asked when I told her. "With the students, yes; with the organizers of the strike, no. They presumed to speak for all students just as Johnson presumed to act for all Americans - the old authoritarianism again." Besides, I thought a student strike was rather silly. Industrial strikes cause a shortage of goods. Student strikes are a nuisance, nothing more. (I have changed my mind since then. Professors without students are as useless as screwdrivers without screws - and they feel it.) I would have stopped lecturing if my students had demanded it, but when I asked them, some said yes, some said no - and we spent the rest of the time debating the issue. Eventually I moved off campus, first into students' quarters, then into a church. Now the administration got on m back: teachers were supposed to remain in assigned lecture halls. Consulting the regulations I found no such rule, and continued as before. For some of my colleagues,John Searle especially, this was the last straw; they wanted to have me fired. When they realized how much paperwork was involved, they gave up. Red tape does have its advantages.

Page 128

"Science has many holes," I said in passing. "A Popperian triviality," shouted Imre Lakatos, who came to every lecture. That shut me up; but I soon smiled at the incident. Lakatos had used a familiar trick: assuming that your audience does not know too much history, you can increase the stature of a modern midget by burdening him with age-old discoveries. In the present case the ancestors were clear - they were the ancient skeptics. Unfortunately this only occurred to me hours after the lecture.

Page 134

"It's your own fault," said my friends. "First you denigrate reason, then you expect people to say something interesting." I saw things differently. I never "denigrated reason," whatever that is, only some petrified and tyrannical versions of it. Nor did I assume that my critique was the end of the matter. It was the beginning, a very difficult beginning - of what? Of a better understanding of the sciences, better societal arrangements, better relations between individuals, a better theater, better movies, and so on.

Page 142/2143

Today I am convinced that there is more to this "anarchism" than rhetoric. The world, including the world of science, is complex and scattered entity that cannot be captured by theories and simple rules. Even as a student I had mocked the intellectual tumors grown by philosophers. I had lost patience when a debate about scientific achievements was interrupted by an attempt to "clarify," where clarification meant translation into some form of pidgin logic. "You are like medieval scholars," I had objected; "they didn't understand anything unless it was translated into Latin." My doubts increased when a reference to logic was used not just to clarify but to evade scientific problems. "We are making a logical point," the philosophers would say when the distance between their principles and the real world became rather obvious. Compared with such doubletalk, Quine's "Two Dogma's of Empiricism" was like a breadth of fresh air. J.L. Austin, whom I heard invited Berkeley, dissolved "philosophy" in a different way. His lectures (later published as Sense and Sensibilia) were simple, but quite effective. Using Ayer's Foundations of Empirical Knowledge, Austin invited us to read the test literally, to really pay attention t o the printed words. This we did. And statements that had seemed obvious and even profound suddenly ceased to make sense. We also realized that ordinary ways of talking were more flexible and more subtle than their philosophical replacements. So there were now two types of tumors to be removed - philosophy of science and general philosophy (ethics, epistemology, etc.) - and two areas of human activity that could survive without them - science and common sense.


Nor is there one way of knowing, science; there are many such ways, and before they were ruined by Western civilization they were effective in the sense that they kept people alive and make their existence comprehensible. Science itself has conflicting parts with different strategies, results, metaphysical embroideries. It is a collage, not a system. Moreover, both historical experience and democratic principles suggest that science be kept under public control. Scientific institutions are not "objective"; neither they nor their products confront people like a rock, or a star. They often merge with other traditions, are affected by them, affect them in turn. Decisive scientific movements were inspired by philosophical and religious (or theological) sentiments. The material benefits of science are not at all obvious. There are great benefits, true. But there are also great disadvantages. And the role of the abstract entity "science" in the production of the benefits is anything but clear.

Page 145

Most critics accused me of inconsistency: I am an anarchist, they said, but I still argue. I was astonished by this objection. A person addressing rationalists certainly can argue with them. It doesn't mean he believes that arguments settle a matter, they do. So if the arguments are valid (in their terms), they must accept the result. It was almost as if rationalists regarded argument as a sacred ritual that loses its power when used by a nonbeliever. "He says A," the critics exclaimed when I formulated a premise they accepted to produce a result they did not, "but he obviously opposes A; therefore he is inconsistent." Were philosophers really that unaware of the function of reductio ad absurdum? ...

Page 151/152

What do I think of AM today? Well, scientists have always acted in a loose and rather opportunist way when doing research, though they have often spoken differently when pontificating about it. By now this has become a commonplace among historians of science. In analyzing Galileo's telescopic observations, I indicated how Galileo, without much theorizing, achieved authoritative reports. More recently, historians have suggested that observational levels form entire cultures, whose criteria and rules differ considerably from those of the theoreticians. And in analyzing Galileo's theoretical achievements (in connection with defense of Copernicus - the Two New Sciences are a different matter), I suggested that they involved a deceptive restructuring of the fundamental ideas and relations. Today such processes are being examined in considerable detail. I am far from claiming that the historians engaged in these new types of research have necessarily read AM and were educated by it - nothing would be further from the truth. But it is pleasant to see that some armchair view of mine are being held by scholars working in close contact with scientific practice.

Other armchair views did not fare so well. I am referring to my "relativism," to the idea that cultures are more or less closed entities with their own criteria and procedures, that they are intrinsically valuable and should not be interfered with. To a certain extent this view coincided with the views of anthropologists who, trying to understand the confusing complexity of human existence, divided it into (mostly) non-overlapping, self-contained and self-maintaining domains. But cultures interact, they change, they have resources that go beyond their stable and objective ingredients or, rather, beyond those ingredients which at least some anthropologists have condensed into inexorable cultural rules and laws. Considering how much cultures have learned from each other and how ingeniously they have transformed the material thus assembled, I have come to the conclusion that every culture is potentially all cultures and that special cultural features are changeable manifestations of a single human nature.

Page 164

People, intellectuals especially, seem unable to be content with a little more freedom, a little more happiness, a little more light. Perceiving a small advantage, they seize it, circumscribe it, nail it down, and in this way prepare a New Age of ignorance, darkness, and slavery. It is rather surprising that there are still people who want to help others for personal reasons, because they are kindhearted and not because they have been intimidated by principles. It is even more surprising that some of these people can work in institutions despite the greed, the incompetence, the power struggles that seem to surround the noblest cause. But there are such people, and my wife, Grazia, is one of them.

Page 172/173

I felt that writing papers and giving lectures was on thing, and living was another, and I advised students to seek their center of gravity outside whatever proession they might choose. It was in this connection that I ridiculed the notion of intellectual poperty and the standards that force a writer to refer the most insignificant intellectual fart to its proper source. I knew that refusing to define my life in terms of a profession or a specific actions did not yet give it content, but at least I was aware that there was such a content apart form this or that particular activity. I was aware, but I was not particularly concerned. At any rate, I felt no urge to pursue the matter.

Today it seems to me that love and friendship play a central role and that without them even the noblest of achievements and the most fundamental principles remain pale, empty, and dangerous. And when speaking of love, I don't mean an abstract commitment such as a "love of truth" or a "love of humanity," which taken by themselves, have often encouraged narrow-mindedness and cruelty. Nor do I mean emotional fireworks that soon exhaust themselves. I can't really say what I mean, for that would delimit a phenomenon that is a constantly changing mixture of concern and illumination. Loe lures people out of their limited "individuality," it expands horizons, and it changes every object in their way. Yet there is no merit in this kind of love. It is subjected neither to the intellect no to the will; it is the result of a fortunate constellation of circumstances. It is a gift, not an achievement.

Page 174/175

Looking back at this episode, I conclude that a moral character cannot be created by argument, "education," or an act of will. It cannot be created by any kind of planned action, whether scientific, political, moral, or religious. Like a true love, it is a gift, not an achievement. It depends on accidents such as parental affection, some kind of stability, friendship , and - following therefrom - on a delicate balance between self-confidence and a concern for others. We can create conditions that favor the balance; we cannot create the balance itself. Guilt, responsibility, obligation - these ideas make sense when the balance is given. They are empty words, even obstacles, when it is lacking.

But what can we do in an age like ours that has not yet achieved that balance? What can we do while our criminals, their judges, and henchmen, while the philosophers, poets, prophets who try to force us into their patterns, and while we, who are collaborators or victims or simply bystanders, are still in a barbaric state? The answer is obvious: with a few exceptions we shall act in a barbaric way. We shall punish, kill, meet violence with violence, pit teachers against students, set "intellectual leaders" against the public and against each other; we shall speak about transgressions in resounding moral terms and demand that violations of the law be prevented by force. But while continuing our own lives in this manner, we should at least try to give our children a chance. We should offer them love and security, not principles, and under no circumstances should we burden them with the crimes of the past. They may have to deal for generations with the physical, juridical, and financial consequences of our actions and with the chaos we leave behind; but they are free of any moral, historical, national guilt. As for myself - I certainly cannot undo my wavering and unconcern during the Nazi period. Nor do I think that I can be blamed or held responsible for my behavior. Responsibility assumes that we know the alternatives, that we know how to choose from among them, and that we use this knowledge to push them aside through cowardice, opportunism, or ideological fervor. But I can report what I thought and did, what I think about these and did, what I think about these thoughts and actions today, and why I changed.

Page 180

I urge all writers to who want to inform their fellow citizens to stay away from philosophy, or at least to stop being intimidated and influenced by obfuscators such as Derrida and, instead, to read Schopenhauer or Kant's popular essays.

Notes on Against Method (3rd Ed) by Paul Feyerabend

Posted: July 16th, 2011 | Author: danny | Filed under: Book Notes | Comments Off

Against Method (Fourth Edition)

This is one of the most interesting books that I've ever read.

My favorite quotation:

An Anarchist is like an undercover agent who plays the game of Reason in order to undercut the authority of Reason (Truth, Honesty, Justice, and so on). Against Method, 23

Some quick references:
PAGE 124 American Medical Association!
PAGE 156 Good Diagram
PAGE 205, 211 -> Incommensurable
Page 218 -> Quite Excellent

On page 25, I drew a connection between consistency theory and the network science concept of preferential attachment.

"Consistency theory is path dependent; exhibits scale free behavior we economize by choosing it."

Here are the passages I found most interesting, challenging, or enlightening:

Page 7

The results obtained so far suggest abolishing the distinction between a context of discovery and a context of justification, norms and facts, observational terms and theoretical terms. None of these distinctions plays a role in scientific practice. Attempts to enforce them would have disastrous consequences. Popper's critical rationalism fails for the same reason.

Page 9

Science is an essentially anarchic enterprise: theoretical anarchism is more humanitarian and more likely to encourage progress than its law-and-order alternatives.

Page 10

'The external conditions', writes Einstein, 'which are set for [the scientist] by the facts of experience do not permit him to let himself be too much restricted, in the constriction of his conceptual world, by the adherence to an epistemological system. He, therefore, must appear to the systematic epistemologist as a type of unscrupulous opportunist...'

Page 12

The attempt to increase liberty, to lead a full and rewarding life, and the corresponding attempt to discover the secrets of nature and of man, entails, therefore, the rejection of all universal standards and of all rigid traditions.

Page 15, Footnote 1

One of the few thinkers to understand this feature of the development of knowledge was Niels Bohr: '... he would never try to outline any finished picture, but would patiently go through all the phases of the development of a problem, starting from some apparent paradox, and gradually leading to its elucidation. In fact, he regarded achieved results in any other light than as starting points for further exploration. In speculating about the prospects of some line of investigation, he would dismiss the usual consideration of simplicity, elegance, or even consistency with the remark that such qualities can only be properly judged after the event...' Now science is never a completed process, therefor it is always 'before' the event. Hence simplicity, elegance or consistency are never necessary conditions of (scientific) practice.

Page 22/23 *

Now - how can we possibly examine something we are using all the time? How can we analyse the terms in which we habitually express our most simple and straightforward observations, and reveal their presuppositions? How can we discover the kind of world we presuppose when proceeding as we do?

The answer is clear: we cannot discover it from the inside. We need an external standard of criticism, we need an external standard of criticism, we need a set of alternative assumptions or, as these assumptions will be quite general, constituting, as it were, an entire alternative world, we need to a dreamworld in order to discover the features of the real world we think we inhabit (and which may actually be just another dream-world). The first step in our criticism of familiar concepts and procedures, the first step in our of 'facts', must therefore be an attempt to break the circle. We must invent a new conceptual system that suspends, or clashes with, the most carefully established observational results, confounds the most plausible theoretical principles, and introduces perceptions that cannot form part of the existing perceptual world. This step is again counterinductive. Counterinduction is, therefore, always reasonable and it has always a chance of success.


One might therefore get the impression that I recommend a new methodology which replaces induction by counterinduction instead of the customary pair theory/observation. This impression would certainly be mistaken. My intention is , rather, to convince the reader that all methodologies, even the most obvious ones, have their limits.


An Anarchist is like an undercover agent who plays the game of Reason in order to undercut the authority of Reason (Truth, Honesty, Justice, and so on).

Footnote 3:

'Dada', says Hans Richter in Dada: Art and Anti-Art, 'not only had no programme, it was against all programmes.' This doe s not execlude the skilful defence of programmes to show the chimerical character of any defence, however 'rational'. (In the same way an actor or a playwright could produce all the outer manifestations of 'deep love' in order to debunk the idea of 'deep love' itself. Example: Pirandello.)

Page 24

They will start with a criticism of the demand that new hypotheses must be consistent with such theories. This demand will be called the consistency condition.


To speak more abstractly:consider a theory T' that successfully describes the situation inside domain D'. T' agrees with a finite number of observations (let their class be F) and it agrees with these observations inside a margin M of error. Any alternative that contradicts T' outside F and inside M is supported by exactly the same observations and is therefore acceptable if T' was acceptable (I shall assume that F are the only observations made). The consistency condition is much less tolerant. It eliminates a theory or a hypothesis not because it disagrees with the facts; it eliminates it because it disagrees with another theory, with a theory, moreover, whose confirming instances it shares. It thereby makes the as yet untested part of that theory a measure of validity. The only difference between such a measure and a more recent theory is age and familiarity. Had the younger theory been there first, then consistency condition would have worked in its favour. 'The first adequate theory has the right of priority over equally adequate aftercomers.' (emphasis added - danny) In this respect the effect of the consistency condition is rather similar to the effect of the more traditional methods of transcendental deduction, analysis of essences, phenomenological analysis, linguistic analysis. It contributes to the preservation of the old and familiar not because of any inherent advantage in it but because it is old and familiar. (emphasis added - danny) This is not the only instance where on closer inspection a rather surprising similarity emerges between modern empiricism and some of the school philosophies it attacks.

Page 25/29 *

... Hence the invention of alternatives to the view at the centre of discussion constitutes an essential part of the empirical method. Conversely the fact that the consistency condition eliminates alternatives now shows it to be in disagreement not only with scientific practice but with empiricism as well. By excluding valuable tests it decreases the empirical content of the theories that are permitted to remain (and these, as I have indicated above, will usually be the theories which were there first) ...

Page 29/30

John Stuart Mill has given a fascinating account of the gradual transformation of revolutionary ideas into obstacles to thought. When a new view proposed it faces a hostile audience and excellent reasons are needed to gain for it an even moderately fair hearing. The reasons are produced, but they are often disregarded or laughed out of court, and unhappiness is the fate of the bold inventors. But new generations, being interested in new things, become curious; they consider the reasons, pursue them further and groups of researchers initiate detailed studies. The studies may lead to surprising successes (they also raise lots of difficulties). Now nothing succeeds like success, even if it is success surrounded by difficulties. The theory becomes acceptable as a topic for discussion; it is presented at meetings and large conferences. The diehards of the status quo feel an obligation to study one paper or another, to make a few grumbling comments, and perhaps to join in its exploration. There comes then a moment when the theory is no longer an esoteric discussion topic for advanced seminars and conferences, but enters the public domain. There are introductory texts, popularizations; examination questions start dealing with problems to be solved in its terms. Scientists from distant fields and philosophers, trying to show off, drop a hint here and there, and this often quite uninformed desire to be on the right side is taken as a further sign of the importance of the theory.

Unfortunately, this increase in importance is not accompanied by better understanding; the very opposite is the case. Problematic aspects which were originally introduced with the help of carefully constructed arguments now become basic principles; doubtful points turn into slogans; debates with opponents become standardized and also quite unrealistic, for the opponents, having to express themselves in terms which presuppose what they contest, seem to raise quibbles, or to misuse words. Alternatives are still employed but they no longer contain realistic counter-proposals; they only serve as a background for the splendour of the new theory. Thus we do have success - but it is the success of a manoeuvre carried out in a void, overcoming difficulties that were set up in advance for easy solution. An empirical theory such as quantum mechanics or a pseudo-empirical practice such as modern scientific medicine with its materialistic background can of course point to numerous achievements but any view and any practice that has been around for some time has achievements. The question is whose achievements are better or more important and this question cannot be answered for there are no realistic alternatives to provide a point of comparison. A wonderful invention has turned into a fossil.

Page 31/32

Unanimity of opinion may be fitting for a rigid church, for the frightened or greedy victims of some (ancient, or modern) myth, or for the weak and willing followers of some tyrant. Variety of opinion is necessary for objective knowledge. And a mehtod that encourages variety is also the only method that is compatible with a humanitarian outlook.

Page 49

Ad hoc approximations abound in modern mathematical physics. They play a very important part in the quantum theory of fields and they are an essential ingredient of the correspondence principle. At the moment we are not concerned with the reasons for this fact, we are only concerned with its consequences: ad hoc approximations conceal, and even eliminate, qualitative difficulties. They create a false impression of the excellence of our science. It follows that a philosopher who wants to study the adequacy of science as a picture of the world, or who wants to build up a realistic scientific methodology, must look at modern science with special care. In most cases modern science is more opaque, and more deceptive, than its 16th- and 17th-century ancestors have ever been.

To sum up this brief and very incomplete list: wherever we look, whenever we have a little patience and select our evidence in an unprejudiced manner, we find that theories fail adequately to reproduce certain quantitative results, and that they are qualitatively incompetent to a surprising degree. Science gives us theories of great beauty and sophistication. Modern science has developed mathematical structures which exceed anything that has existed so far in coherence generality and empirical success. But in order to achieve this miracle all the existing troubles had to be pushed into the relation between theory and fact, and had to be concealed, by ad hoc hypotheses, ad hoc approximations and other procedures.

Page 51/52

... Not only are facts and theories in constant disharmony, they are never as neatly separated as everyone makes them out to be. Methodological rules speak of 'theories', 'observations' and experimental results' as if these were well--defined objects who's properties are easy to evaluate and which are understood in the same way by all scientists.

However, the material which a scientist actually has at his disposal, his laws, his experimental results, his mathematical techniques, his epistemological prejudices, his attitude towards the absurd consequences of the theories which he accepts, is indeterminate in many ways, ambiguous, and never fully separated from the historical background. It is contaminated by principles which he does not know and which, if known, would be extremely hard to test. Questionable views on cognition, such as the view that our senses, used in normal circumstances, give reliable information about the world, may invade the observation language itself, constituting the observational terms as well as the distinction between veridical and illusory appearance. As a result, observation language itself, constituting the observational terms as well as the distinction between veridical and illusory appearance. As a result, observation language itself, constituting the observational terms as well as the distinction between veridical and illusory appearance. As a result, observation languages may become tied to older layers of speculation which affect, in this roundabout fashion, even the most progressive methodology. (Example: the absolute space-time frame of classical physics which was codified and consecrated by Kant.) The sensory impression, however simple, contains a component that expresses the physiological reaction of the perceiving organism and has no objective correlate. This 'subjective' component often merges with the rest, and forms an unstructured whole which must be subdivided from the outside with the help of counterinductive procedures. (An example is the appearance of a fixed star to the naked eye, which contains the effects of irradiation diffraction, diffusion, restricted by the lateral inhibition of adjacent elements of the retina and is further modified in the brain.)


Consideration of all these circumstances, of observation terms, sensory core, auxiliary science, background speculation, suggest that a theory may be inconsistent with the evidence, not because it is incorrect, but because the evidence is contaminated. The theory is threatened because the evidence either contains unanalysed sensations which only partly correspond to external processes, or because it is presented in terms of antiquated views, or because it is evaluated with the help of backward auxiliary subjects. The Copernican theory was in trouble for all these reasons.


(Note that the experimental results are supposed to have been obtained with the greatest possible care. Hence 'taking observations, etc. for granted' means 'taking them for granted after the most careful examination of their reliability': for even the most careful examination of an observation statement does not interfere with the concepts in which it is expressed, or with the structure of the sensory image.)

Page 58

In the history of thought, natural interpretations have been regarded either as a priori presuppositions of science, or else as prejudices which must be removed before any serious examination can begin. The first view is that of Kant, and, in a very different manner and on the basis of very different talents, that of some contemporary linguistic philosophers. The second view is due to Bacon (who had predecessors, however, such as the Greek sceptics).

Galileo is one of those rare thinkers who wants neither forever to retain natural interpretations nor altogether to eliminate them.


The senses alone, without the help of reason, cannot give us a true account of nature. What is needed for arrive at such a true account are 'the ... senses, accompanied by reasoning.'

Page 61/62/63

Perceptions must be identified, and the identifying mechanism will contain some of the very same elements which govern the use of the concept to be investigated. We never penetrate this concept completely, for we always use part of it in the attempt to find its constituents. There is only one way to get out of this circle, and it consists in using an external measure of comparison, including new ways of relating concepts and percepts.


Theories are tested, and possibly refuted, by facts. Facts contain ideological components, older views which have vanished from sight or were perhaps never formulated in an explicit manner. Such components are highly suspicious. First, because of their age and obscure origin: we do not know why and how they were introduced; secondly, because their very nature protects them, and always has protected them, from critical examination. In the event of a contradiction between a new and interesting theory and a collection of firmly established facts, the best procedure, therefore, is not abandon the theory but to use it to discover the hidden principles responsible for the contradiction. Counterinduction is an essential part of such a process of discovery. (Excellent historical example: the arguments against motion and atomicity of Parmenides and Zeno. Diogenes of Sinope, the Cynic, took the simple course that would be taken by many contemporary scientists and all contemporary philosophers: he refuted the arguments by rising and walking up and down. The opposite course, recommended here, has led to much more interesting results, as is witnessed by the history of the case. One should not be too hard on Diogenes, however, for it is also reported that he beat up a pupil who was content with his refutation, exclaiming that he had given reasons which the pupil should not accept without additional reasons of his own.)

Having discovered a particular natural interpretation, how can we examine it and test it? Obviously, we cannot proceed in the usual way, i.e. derive predictions and compare them with 'results of observation'. These results are no longer available. The idea that the senses, employed under normal circumstances, produce correct reports of real events, for example reports of the real motion of physical bodies, has been removed from all observational statements. (Remember that this notion was found to be an essential part of the anti-Copernican argument.) But without it our sensory reactions cease to be relevant for tests. This conclusion was generalized by some older rationalists, who decided to build their science on reason only and ascribed to observation a quite insignificant auxiliary function. Galileo does not adopt this procedure.

If one natural interpretation causes trouble for an attractive view, and if its elimination removes the view from the domain of observation, then the only acceptable procedure is to use other interpretations and to see what happens. The interpretation which Galileo uses restores the senses to their position as instruments of exploration, but only with respect to the reality of relative motion. Motion 'among things which share it in common' is 'non-operative', that is, 'it remains insensible, imperceptible, and without any effect whatever'. Galileo's first step, in his joint examination of the Copernican doctrine and of a familiar but hidden natural interpretation, consists therefore in replacing the latter by a different interpretation. In other words, he introduces a new observation language.


Extraordinary cases which might create difficulties are defused with the help of 'adjustor words', such as 'like' or 'analogous', which diver them so that the basic ontology remains unchallenged.

Page 88/89

... I tested the instrument of Galileo's in a thousand ways, both on things here below and on those above. Below it works wonderfully; in the heavens it deceives one, as some fixed stars [Spica Virginis, for example, is mentioned, as well as a terrestrial flame] are seen double. I have as witnesses most excellent men and noble doctors ... and all have admitted the instrument to deceive ... This silenced Galileo and on the 26th he sadly left quite early in the morning .. not even thanking Magini for his splendid meal ... ' Magini wrote to Kepler on 26 May: 'He has achieved nothing, for more than twenty learned men were present; yet nobody has seen the new planets distinctly (new perfecte vidit); he will hardly be able to keep them.' A few months later (in a letter signed by Ruffini) he repeats: 'Only some with sharp vision were convinced to some extent.' After these and other negative reports had reached Kepler from all sides, like a paper avalanche, he asked Galileo for witnesses: 'I do not want to hide it from you that quite a few Italians have sent letters to Prague asserting that they could not see those stars [the moons of Jupiter] with your own telescope. I ask myself how it can e that so many deny the phenomenon, including those who use a telescope. Now, if I consider what occasionally happens to me then I do not at all regard it as impossible that a single person may see what thousands are unable to see ...Yet I regret that the confirmation by others should take so long in turning up ... Therefore, I beseech you, Galileo, give me witnesses as soon as possible ... ' Galileo, in his reply of 19 August, refers to himself, to the Duke of Toscana, and Giuliano de Medici 'as well as many others in Pisa, Florence, Bologna, Venice and Padua, who, however, remain silent and hesitate. Most of them are entirely unable to distinguish Jupiter, or Mars, or even the Moon as a planet ...' - not a very reassuring state of affairs, to say the least.

Page 99/101

Galileo was only slightly acquainted with contemporary optical theory. His telescope gave surprising results on the earth, and these results were duly praised. Trouble was to be expected in the sky, as we know now. Trouble promptly arose: the telescope produced spurious and contradictory phenomena and some its results could be refuted by a simple look with the unaided eye. Only a new theory of telescopic vision could bring order into the chaos (which may have been sill larger, due to the different phenomena seen at the time even with the naked eye) and could separate appearance from reality. Such a theory was developed by Kepler, first in 1604 and then again in 1611.


This, then, was the actual situation in 1610 when Galileo published his telescoping findings. How did Galileo react to it? The answer has already been given: he raised the telescope to the state of a 'superior and better sense'.

Page 106

... almost everyone takes it for granted that precise observations, clear principles and well-confirmed theories are already decisive, that they can and must be used here and now to either eliminate the suggested hypothesis, or to make it acceptable, or perhaps even to prove it.

Such a procedure makes sense only if we an assume that the elements of our knowledge - the theories , the observations, the principles of our arguments - are timeless entities which share the same degree of perfection, are al equally accessible, and are related to each other in a way that is independent of the events that produced them. This is, of course, an extremely common assumption. It is taken for granted by most logicians; it underlies the familiar distinction between a context of discovery and a context of justification; and it is often expressed by saying that science deals with propositions and not with statements or sentences.

Page 110/112/113/114/116/117

In the case of Copernicus we need a new meteorology (in the good old sense of the word, as dealing with things below the moon), a new science of physiological optics that deals with the subjective (mind) and the objective (light, medium, lenses, structure of the eye) aspects of vision as well as a new dynamics stating the manner in which the motion of the earth might influence the physical processes at its surface. Obesrvations become relevant only after the processes described by these new subjects have been inserted between the world and the eye. The language in which we express our observations may have to be revised as well so that the new cosmpology receives a fair chance and is not endangered by an unnoticed collaboration of sensations and olde rideas. In sum : what is needed for a test of Copernicus is an entirely new world-view containing a new view of man and of his capacities of knowing.


This need to wait, and to ignore large masses of critical observations and measurements, is hardly ever discussed in our methodologies. Disregarding the possibility that a new physics or a new astronomy might have to be judged by a new theory of knowledge and might require entirely new tests, empirically inclined scientists at once confront it with the status quo and announce triumphantly that 'it is not in agreement with facts and received principles'. They are of course right, and even trivially so, but not in the sense intended by them. For at an early stage of development the contradiction only indicates that the old and the new are different and out of phase. It does not show which view is the better one. A judgement of this kind presupposes that the competitors confront each other on equal terms.


Thus the new view is arbitrarily separated from data that supported its predecessor and is made more 'metaphysical': a new period in the history of science commences with a backward movement that returns us to an earlier stage where theories were more vague and had smaller empirical content. This backward movement is not just an accident; it has a definite function; it is essential if we want to overtake the status quo, for it gives us the time and the freedom that are needed for developing the main view in detail, and for finding the necessary auxiliary sciences.


How can we convince them that the success of the status quo is only apparent and is bound to be shown as such in 500 years or more, when there is not a single argument on our side (and remember that the illustrations I used to paragraphs earlier derive their force from the successes of classical physics and were not available to Copernicans). It is clear that the allegiance to the new ideas will have to be brought about by means other than arguments. It will have to brought about by irrational means such as propaganda, emotion, ad hoc hypotheses, and appeal to prejudices of all kinds. We need these 'irrational means' such as propaganda, emotion, ad hoc hypotheses, and appeal to prejudices of all kinds. We need these 'irrational means' in order to uphold what is nothing but a blind faith until we have found the auxiliary sciences, the facts, the arguments that turn the faith into sound 'knowledge'.


The ideas survived and they now are said to be in agreement with reason. They survived because prejudice, passion, conceit, errors, sheer pigheadedness, in short because all the elements that characterize the context of discovery, opposed the dictates of reason and because these irrational elements were permitted to have their way. To express it differently: Copernicanism and other 'rational' views exist today only because reason was overruled at some time in their past. (The opposite is also true: witchcraft and other 'irrational' views have ceased to be influential only because reason was overruled at some time in their past.)


The first step on the way to a new cosmology, I have said, is a step back: apparently relevant evidence is pushed aside, new data are brought in by ad hoc connections, the empirical content of science is drastically reduced.

Page 119

'There is no independent interpretation, ' says Carnap and yet an idea such as the idea of the motion of the earth, which was inconsistent with the contemporary evidence to be irrelevant and which was therefore cut from the most important facts of contemporary astronomy managed to become a nucleus, a crystallization point for the aggregation of other inadequate views which gradually increased in articulation and finally fused into a new cosmology including new kinds of evidence. There is no better account of this process than the description which John Stuart Mill has left us of the vicissitudes of his education. Referring to the explanations which his father gave him on logical maters he writes: 'The explanations did not make the matter at all clear to me at the time; but they were not therefore useless; they remained as a nucleus for my observations and reflections to crystallize upon; the import of his general remarks being interpreted to me, by the particular instances which came under my notice afterwards. In exactly the same manner the Copernican view, though devoid of cognitive content from the point of view of a strict empiricism or else refuted, was needed in the construction of the supplementary sciences even before it became testable with their help and even before it, in turn, provided them with supporting evidence of the most forceful kind.

Page 120/121/122

When the 'Pythagorean idea' of the motion of the earth was revived by Copernicus it met with difficulties which exceeded the difficulties encountered by contemporary Ptolemaic astronomy. Strictly speaking, one had to regard it as refuted. Galileo, who was convinced of the truth of the Copernican view and who did not share the quite common, though by no means universal, belief in a stable experience, looked for new kinds of fact which might support Copernicus and still be acceptable to all. Such facts he obtained in two different ways. First, by the invention of his telescope, which changed the sensory core of everyday experience and replaced it by puzzling and unexplained phenomena; and by his principle of relativity and his dynamics, which changed its conceptual components. Neither the telescopic phenomena nor the new ideas of motion were acceptable to common sense (or to the Aristotelians). Besides, the associated theories could be easily shown to be false. Yet these false theories, these unacceptable phenomena, were transformed by Galileo and converted into strong support of Copernicus. The whole rich reservoir of the everyday experience and of the intuition of his readers is utilized in the argument, but the facts which they are invited to recall are arranged in a new way, approximations are made, known effects are omitted, different conceptual lines are drawn, so that a new kind of experience arises, manufactured almost out of thin air. This new experience is then solidified by insinuating that the reader has been familiar with it all the time. It is solidified and soon accepted as gospel truth, despite the fact that its conceptual components are vastly more speculative than are the conceptual components of common sense. Following positivistic usage we may therefore say that Galileo's science rests on an illustrated metaphysics. The distortion permits Galileo to advance but it prevents almost everyone else from making his effort the basis of a critical philosophy (for a long time emphasis was put either on his mathematics, or on his alleged experiments, or on his frequent appeal to the 'truth', and his propagandistic moves were altogether neglected). I suggest that what Galileo did was to let refuted theories support each other, that he built in this way a new world-view which was only loosely (if at all!) connected with the preceding cosmology (everyday experience included), that he established fake connections with the perceptual elements of this cosmology which are only now being replaced by genuine theories (physiological optics, theory of continua), and that whenever possible he replaced old facts by a new type of experience which he simply invented for the purpose of supporting Copernicus. Remember, incidentally, that Galileo's procedure drastically reduces the content of dynamics: Aristotelian dynamics was a general theory of change comprising locomotion, qualitative change, generation and corruption. Galileo's dynamics and its successors deal with locomotion only, other kinds of motion being pushed aside with the promissory note (due to Democritos) that locomotion will eventually be capable of comprehending all motion. Thus, a comprehensive empirical theory of motion is replaced by a much narrower theory plus a metaphysics of motion, just as an 'empirical' experience is replaced by an experience that contains speculative elements. This, I suggest, was the actual procedure followed by Galileo. Proceeding in this way he exhibited a style, a sense of humour, an elasticity and elegance, and an awareness of the valuable weaknesses of human thinking, which has never been equalled in the history of science. Here is an almost inexhaustible source of material for methodological speculation and, much more importantly, for the recovery of those features of knowledge which not only inform, but which also delight us.

Page 124

So far the argument was purely intellectual. I tried to show that neither logic nor experience can limit speculation and that outstanding researchers often transgressed widely accepted limits. But concepts have not only a logical content; they also have associations, they give rise to emotions, they are connected with images. These associations, emotions and images are essential for the way in which we relate to our fellow human beings. Removing them or changing them in a fundamental way may perhaps make our concepts more 'objective', but it often violates important social constraints.

Page 130

The attitude of the American Medical Association towards lay practitioners is as rigid as the attitude of the Church was toward lay interpreters - and it has the blessing of the law. Experts, or ignoramuses having acquired the formal insignia of expertise, always tried and often succeeded in securing for themselves exclusive rights in special domains. Any criticism of the rigidity of the Roman Church applies also to its modern scientific and science-connected successors.

Page 148/149

The activities which according to Feigl belong to the context of discovery are, therefore, not just different from what philosophers say about justification, they are in conflict with it. Scientific practice does not contain two contexts moving side by side, it is complicated mixture of procedures and we are faced by the question if this mixture should be left as it is, or if it should be replaced by a more 'orderly' arrangement. This is part one of the argument. Now we have seen that science as we know it today could not exist without a frequent overruling of the context of justification. This is part two of the argument. The conclusion is clear. Part one shows that we do not have a difference, but a mixture. Part two shows that replacing the mixture by an order that contains discovery on one side and justification on the other would have ruined science ...

Page 149/150

Finally, we have discovered that learning does not go from observation to theory but always involves both elements. Experience arises together with theoretical assumptions not before them, and an experience without theory is just as incomprehensible as is (allegedly) a theory without experience: eliminate part of the theoretical knowledge of a sensing subject and you have a person who is completely disoriented and incapable of carrying out the simplest action. Eliminate further knowledge and his sensory world (his 'observation language') will start disintegrating, colours and other simple sensations will disappear until he is in a stage even more primitive than a small child. ...

Page 157/158

To sum up: wherever we look, whatever examples we consider, we see that the principles of critical rationalism (take falsifications seriously, increase content; avoid ad hoc hypotheses; 'be honest' - whatever that means; and so on) and, a fortiori, the principles of logical empiricism (be precise; base your theories on measurements; avoid vague and untestable ideas; and so on), though practiced in special areas, give an inadequate account of the past development of science as a whole and are liable to hinder it in the future. They give an inadequate account of science because science is much more 'sloppy' and 'irrational' than its methodological image. And they are liable to hinder it because the attempt to make science more 'rational' and more precise is bound to wipe it out, as we have seen. The difference between science and methodology which is such an obvious fact of history, therefore, indicates a weakness of the latter, and perhaps of the 'laws of reason' as well. For what appears as 'sloppiness', 'chaos', or 'opportunism' when compared with such laws has a most important function in the development of those very theories which we today regard as essential parts of our knowledge of nature. These 'deviations', these 'errors', are preconditions of progress. They permit knowledge to survive in the complex and difficult world which we inhabit, they permit us to remain free and happy agents. Without 'chaos', no knowledge. Without a frequent dismissal of reason, no progress. Ideas which today form the very basis of science exist only because there were such things as prejudice, conceit, passion; because these things opposed reason; and because they were permitted to have their way. We have to conclude, then, that even within science reason cannot and should not be allowed to be comprehensive and that it must often be overruled, or eliminated, in favour of other agencies. There is not a single rule that remains valid under all circumstances and not a single agency to which appeal can always be made.

Page 159

Science needs people who are adaptable and inventive, not rigid imitators of 'established' behavioral patterns.

Page 160/161/162

In this case one class of standards is set against another such class - and this is quite legitimate: each organization, each party, each religious group has a right to defend its particular form of life and all the standards it contains. But scientists go much further. Like the defenders of The One True Religion before them they insinuate that their standards are essential for arriving at the Truth, or for getting Results and they deny such authority to the demands of the politician. They oppose all political interference, and they fall over each other trying to remind the listener, or the reader, of the disastrous outcome of the Lysenko affair.


Science is only one of the many instruments people invented to cope with their surroundings. It is not the only one, it is not infallible and it has become too powerful, to practical aim rationalists want to realize with the help of their methodology.


Rationalists are concerned about intellectual pollution. I share this concern. Illiterate and incompetent books flood the market, empty verbiage full of strange and esoteric terms claims to express profound insights, 'experts' without brains, character, and without even a modicum of intellectual, stylistic, emotional temperament tell us about our 'condition' and the means for improving it, and they do not only preach to us who might be able to look through them, they are let loose on our children and permitted to drag them down into their own intellectual squalor. 'Teachers' using grades and the fear of failure mould the brains of the young until they have lost every ounce of imagination they might once have possessed. This is a disastrous situation, and one not easily mended. But I do not see how a rationalistic methodology can help. As far as I am concerned the first and the most pressing problem is to get education out of the hands of the 'professional educators'. The constraints of grades, competition, regular examination must be removed and we must also separate the process of learning from the preparation for a particular trade. (Emphasis Added - Danny)
I grant that business, religions, special professions such as science or prostitution, have a right to demand that their participants and/or practitioners conform to standards they regard as important, and that they should be able to ascertain their competence. I also admit that this implies the need for special types of education that prepare a man or a woman for the corresponding 'examinations'. The standards taught need to be 'rational' or 'reasonable' in any sense, though they will be usually presented as such; it suffices that they are accepted by the groups one wants to join, be it now Science, or Big Business, or The One True Religion. After all, in a democracy 'reason' has just as much right to be heard and to be expressed as 'unreason' especially in view of the fact that one man's 'reason' is the other man's insanity. But one thing must be avoided at all costs: the special standards which define special subjects and special professions must not be allowed to permeate general education and they must not be made the defining property of a 'well-educated person'. General education should prepare citizens to choose between the standards, or to find their way in a society that contains groups committed to various standards, but it must under no condition bend their minds so that they conform to the standards of one particular group. The standards will be considered, they will be discussed, children will be encouraged to get proficiency in the more important subjects, but only as one gets proficiency in a game, that is, without serious commitment and without robbing the mind of its ability to play other games as well. Having been prepared in this way a young person may decide to devote the rest of his life to a particular profession and he may start taking it seriously forthwith. This 'commitment' should be the result of a conscious decision, on the basis of a fairly complete knowledge of alternatives, and not a foregone conclusion.


It seems to me that such a change in education and, as a result, in perspective will remove a great deal of the intellectual pollution rationalists deplore. The change of perspective makes it clear that there are many ways of ordering the world that surrounds us, that the hated constraints of one set of standards may be broken by freely accepting standards of a different kind, and that there is no need to reject all order and to allow oneself to be reduced to a whining stream of consciousness. A society that is based on a set of well-defined and restrictive rules, so that being human becomes synonymous with obeying these rules, forces the dissenter into a no-man's-land of no rules at all and thus robs him of his reason and his humanity. It is the paradox of modern irrationalism that its proponents silently identify rationalism with order and articulate speech and thus see themselves forced to promote stammering and absurdity - many forms of 'mysticism' and 'existentialism' are impossible without a firm but unrealized commitment to some principles of the despised ideology (just remember the 'theory' that poetry is nothing but emotions colourfully expressed). Remove the principles, admit the possibility of many different forms of life, and such phenomena will disappear like a bad dream.

Page 163

Charlatans have existed at all times and in the most tightly-knit professions. Some of the examples which Lakatos mentions seem to indicate that the problem is created by too much control and not by too little. This is especially true of the new 'revolutionaries' and their 'reform' of the universities. Their fault is that they are Puritans and not that they are libertines. Besides, who would expect that cowards will improve the intellectual climate more readily than will libertines? (Einstein saw this problem and he therefore advised people not to connect their research with their profession: research has to be free from the pressures which professions are likely to impose.) We must also remember that those rare cases where liberal methodologies do encourage empty verbiage and loose thinking ('loose' from one point of view, though perhaps not from another) may be inevitable in the sense that the guilty liberalism is also a precondition of a free and human life.

Page 164

I have much sympathy with the view, formulated clearly and elegantly by Whorf (and anticipated by Bacon), that languages and the reaction patterns they involve are not merely instruments for describing events (facts, states of affair), but that they are also shapers of events (facts, states of affairs), that their 'grammar' contains a cosmology, a comprehensive view of the world, of society, of the situation of man which influences thought, behaviour, perception.

Footnote 1:

According to Whorf 'the background linguistic system (in other words, the grammar) of each language is not merely a reproducing system for voicing ideas, but rather is itself a shaper of ideas, the programme and guide for the individual's mental activity, for his analysis of impressions, for his analysis of impressions, for his synthesis of his mental stock in trade.'

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We also find that realism often precedes more schematic forms of presentation. This is true of the Old Stone Age, of Egyptian Art, of Attic Geometric Art. In all these cases the 'archaic style' is the result of a conscious effort (which may of course be aided, or hindered, by unconscious tendencies and physiological laws) rather than a natural reaction to internal deposits of external stimuli. Instead of looking for the psychological causes of a 'style' we should therefore rather try to discover its elements, analyse their function, compare them with other phenomena of the same culture (literary style, sentence construction, grammar, ideology) and thus arrive at an outline of the underlying world-view including an account of the way in which this world-view influences perception, thought, argument, and of the limits it imposes on the roaming about of the imagination. We shall see that such an analysis of outlines provides a better understanding of the process of conceptual change than either a naturalistic account which recognizes only one 'reality' and orders artworks by their closeness to it, or trite slogans such as 'a critical discussion and and a comparison of ... various frameworks is always possible.' Of course, some kind of comparison is always possible (for example, one physical theory may sound more melodious when read aloud to the accompaniment of a guitar than another physical theory). But lay down specific rules for the process of comparison, such as the rules of logic as applied to the relation of content classes, or some simple rules of perspective and you will find exceptions, undue restrictions, and you will be forced to talk your way out of trouble at every turn. It is much more interesting and instructive to examine what kinds of things can be said (represented) and what kinds of things cannot be said (represented) if the comparison has to take place within a certain specified and historically well-entrenched framework. For such an examination we must go beyond generalities and study frameworks in detail. I start with an account of some examples of the archaic style.

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... (We have what is called a paratactic aggregate: the elements of such an aggregate are all given equal importance, the only relation between them is sequential, there is no hierarchy, no part is presented as being subordinate to and determined by others.) The picture reads: ferocious lion, peaceful kid, swallowing of kid by lion.

The need to show every essential part of a situation often leads to a separation of parts which are actually in contact. The picture becomes a list. Thus a charioteer standing in a carriage is shown as standing above the floor (which is presented in its fullest view) and unencumbered by the rails so that his feet, the floor, the rails can all be clearly seen. No trouble arises if we regard the painting as a visual catalogue of the parts of an event rather than as an illusory rendering of the event itself (no trouble arises when we say: his feet touched the floor which is rectangular, and he was surrounded by a railing...) But such an interpretation must be learned, it cannot be simply read off the picture.


(Being able to 'read' a certain style also includes knowledge of what features are irrelevant Not every feature of an archaic list has representational value just as not every feature of a written sentence plays a role in articulating its content. This was overlooked by the Greeks who started inquiring into the reasons for the 'dignified postures' of Egyptian statues (already Plato commented on this). Such a question 'might have struck an Egyptian artist as it would strike us if someone inquired about the age or the mood of the king on the chessboard'.)


Archaic pictures are paratactic aggregates, not hypotactic systems. The elements of the aggregate may be physical parts such as heads, arms, wheels, they may be states of affair such as the fact that a body is dead, they may be actions, such as the action of swallowing.

Page 176

Such a realistic interpretation of styles would be in line with Whorf's thesis that in addition to being instruments for describing events (which may have other features, not covered by any description) languages are also shapers of events (so that there is a linguistic limit to what can be said in a given language, and this limit coincides with the limits of the thing itself) but it would go beyond it by including non-linguistic means of representation.

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Similar remarks apply to the 'theory of knowledge' that is implicit in this early world view. The Muses in Iliad, 2.284ff, have knowledge because they are close to things - they do not have to rely on rumours - and because they know all the many things that are of interest to the writer, one after the other. 'Quantity, not intensity is Homer's standard of judgement' and of knowledge as becomes clear from such words as ... 'much pondering' and 'much thinking', as well as from later criticisms such as 'Learning of many things does not teach intelligence'. An interest in, and a wish to understand, many amazing things (such as earthquakes, eclipses of the sun and the moon, the paradoxical rising and falling of the Nile), each of them explained in its own particular way and without the use of universal principles, persists in the coastal descriptions of the 8th and 7th (and later) centuries (which simply enumerate the tribes, tribal habits, and coastal formations that are successively met during the journey), and even a thinker such as Thales is satisfied with making many interesting observations and providing many explanations without trying to tie them together in a system. (The first thinker to construct a 'system' was Anaximander, who followed Hesiod.) Knowledge so conceived is not obtained by trying to grasp an essence behind the reports of the senses, but by (1) putting the observer in the right position relative to the object (process, aggregate), by inserting him into the appropriate place in the complex pattern that constitutes the world, and (2) by adding up the elements which are noted under these circumstances. It is the result of a complex survey carried out from suitable vantage points. One may doubt a vague report, or a fifth-hand account, but it is not possible to doubt what one can clearly see with one's own eyes. The object depicted or described is the proper arrangements of the elements which may include foreshortenings and other perspectoid phenomena. The fact that an oar looks broken in water lacks here the skeptical force it assumes in another ideology. Just as Achilles sitting does not make us doubt that he is swift-footed - as a matter of fact, we would start doubting his swiftness if it turned out that he is in principle incapable of sitting - in the very same way the bent oar does not make us doubt that it is perfectly straight in air - as a matter of fact, we would start doubting its straightness if it did not look bent in water. The bent oar is not an aspect that denies what another aspect says about the nature of the oar, it is a particular part (situation) of the real oar that is not only compatible with its straightness, but that demands it: the objects of knowledge are as additive as the visible lists of the archaic artist and the situations described by the archaic poet.

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8. Logicians and philosophers of science do not see the situation in this way. Being both unwilling and unable to carry out an informal discussion, they demand that the main terms of the discussion be 'clarified'. And to 'clarify' the terms of a discussion does not mean to study the additional and as yet unknown properties of the domain in question which one needs to make them fully understood, it means to fill them with existing notions from the entirely different domain of logic and common sense, preferably observational ideas, until they sound common themselves, and to take care that the process of filling obeys the accepted laws of logic. The discussion is permitted to proceed only after its initial steps have been modified in this manner. So the course of an investigation is deflected into the narrow channels of things already understood and the possibility of fundamental conceptual discovery (or of fundamental conceptual change) is considerably reduced. Fundamental conceptual change, on the other hand, presupposes new world-views and new languages capable of expressing them Now, building a new world-view, and a corresponding new language, is a process that takes time, in science as well as in meta-science. The terms of the new language become clear only when the process is fairly advanced, so that each single word is the centre of numerous lines connecting it with other words, sentences, bits of reasoning, gestures which sound absurd at first but which become perfectly reasonable once the connections are made. Arguments, theories, terms, points of view and debates can therefore be clarified in at least two different ways: (a) in the manner already described, which leads back to the familiar ideas and treats the new as a special case of things already understood, and (b) by incorporation into a language of the future, which means that one must learn to argue with unexplained terms and to use sentences for which no clear rules of usage are yet available. Just as a child who starts using words without yet understanding them, who adds more and more uncomprehended linguistic fragments to his playful activity, discovers the sense-giving linguistic fragments to his playful activity, discovers the sense-giving principle only after he has been active in this way for a long time - activity being a necessary presupposition of the final blossoming forth of sense - in the very same way the inventor of a new world-view (and the philosopher of science who tries to understand his procedure) must be able to talk nonsense until the amount of nonsense crated by him and his friends is big enough to give sense to all its parts. There is again to better account of this process than the description which John Stuart Mill has left us of the vicissitudes of his education. Referring to the explanations which his father gave him on logical matters, he wrote: 'The explanations did not make the matter at all clear to me at the time, but they were not therefor useless; they remained as a nucleus for my observations and reflections to crystallise upon; the import of his general remarks being interpreted to me, by the particular instances which came under my notice afterwards.' Building a new language (for understanding the world, or knowledge) is a process of exactly the same kind except that the initial 'nuclei' are not given, but must be invented. We see here how essential it is to learn talking in riddles, and how disastrous an effect the drive for instant clarity must have on our understanding. (In addition, such a drive betrays a rather narrow and barbaric mentality: 'To use words and phrases in an easy going way without scrutinizing them too curiously is not, in general, a mark of ill breading; on the contrary, there is something low bred in being too precise...')

Page 198

The archaic cosmology (which from no on I shall call cosmology A) contains things, events, their parts; it does not contain appearances. Complete knowledge of an object is complete enumeration of its parts and peculiarities. Humans cannot have complete knowledge. There are too many things, too many events, too many situations (Iliad, 2.488), and they can be close to only a few of them (Iliad, 2.485) But although humans cannot have complete knowledge, they can have a sizable amount of it. The wider their experience, the great the number of adventures, of things seen, heard, read, the greater their knowledge.

The new cosmology (cosmology B) that arises in the 7th to 5th centuries BC distinguishes between much-knowing and true knowledge, and it warns against trusting 'custom born of manifold experience'. Such a distinction and such a warning makes sense only in a world whose structure differs from the structure of A. In one version which played a large role in the development of Western civilization and which underlies such problems as the problem of the existence of theoretical entities and the problem of alienation other new events form what one might call a True World, while the events of everyday life are no appearances that are but its dim and misleading reflection. The True World is simple and coherent, and it can be described in a uniform way. So can every act by which its elements are comprehended: a few abstract notions replace the numerous concepts that were used in cosmology A for describing how humans might be 'inserted' into their surroundings and for expressing the equally numerous types of information thus gained. From now on there is only one important type of information, and that is: knowledge.

Page 199

In painting this leads to the development of what one can only call systematic methods for deceiving the eye: the archaic artist treats the surface on which he paints as a writer might treat a piece of papyrus; it is> a real surface, it is supposed to be seen as a real surface (though attention is not always directed to it) and the marks he draws on it are comparable to the lines of a blueprint or the letters of a word. They are symbols that inform the reader of the structure of the object, of its parts, of the way in which the parts are related to each other. The simple drawing overleaf, for example, may represent thee paths meeting at a point. The artist using perspective on the other hand, regards the surface and the marks he puts on it as stimuli that trigger the illusion of an arrangement of three-dimensional objects. The illusion occurs because the human mind is capable of producing illusory experiences when properly stimulated.

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Just as a trraveller explores all parts of a strange country and describes them in a 'periegesis' that enumerates its peculaiarities, one by one, in the same way the student of simple objects such as oars, boats, horses, people inserts himself into the 'major oar-situaitons', apprehends them in the appropriate way, and reports them in a list of properties, events, relations. And just as detailed periegesis exhausts what can be said about a country, in the same way a detailed list exhausts what can be said about an object. 'Broken in water' belongs to the oar as does 'straight to the hand'; it is 'equally real'. In cosmology B, however, 'broken in water' is a 'semblance' that contradicts what is suggested by the 'semblance' of straightness and thus shows the basic untrustworthiness of all semblances. The concept of an object has changed from the concept of an aggregate of equi-important perceptible parts to the concept of an imperceptible essence underlying a multitude of deceptive phenomena. (We may guess that the appearance of an object has changed in a similar way, that objects now look less 'flat' than before.)


The elements of A are relatively independent parts of objects which enter into external relations. They participate in aggregates without changing their intrinsic properties. The 'nature' of a particular aggregate is determined by its parts and by the way in which the parts are related to each other. Enumerate the parts in the proper order, and you have the object. This applies to physical aggregates, to humans (minds and bodies), to animals, but it also applies to social aggregates such as the honour of a warrior.

The elements of B fall into two classes: essences (objects) and appearances (of objects - what follows is true only of some rather streamlined versions of B). Objects (events, etc.) may again combine. They may form harmonious totalities where each part gives meaning to the whole and receives meaning from it (an extreme case is Parmenides where isolated parts are not only unrecognizable, but altogether unthinkable). Aspects properly combined do not produce objects, but psychological conditions for the apprehension of phantoms which are but other aspects, and particularly misleading ones at that (they look so convincing). No enumeration of aspects is identical with the object (problem of induction). (Emphasis Added - Danny)

Page 202 *

Now one might be inclined to explain the transition as follows: archaic man has a limited cosmology; he discovered some things, he missed others. His universe lacks important objects, his language lacks important concept, his perception lacks important structures. Add the missing elements to cosmos A, the missing terms to language A, the missing structures to the perceptual world of A, and you obtain cosmos B, language B, perception B.

Some time ago I called the theory underlying such an explanation the 'hole theory' or the 'Swiss cheese theory' of language (and other means of representation). According to the whole theory every cosmology (every language, every mode of perception) has sizable lacunae which can be filled, leaving everything else unchanged. The hole theory is beset by numerous difficulties. In the present case there is the difficulty that cosmos B does not contain a single element of cosmos A. Neither common-sense terms, nor philosophical theories; neither painting and statuary, nor artistic conceptions; neither religion, nor theological speculation contain a single element of A once the transition to B has been completed. This is a historical fact.

Footnote 111:

This fact is not easy to establish. May presentations of A, including some very detailed and sophisticated ones, are infected by B-concepts. An example is quoted in footnote 97 to the present chapter. Here as elsewhere only the anthropological method can lean to knowledge that is more than a reflection of wishful thinking. ...

Footnote 97 (198):
... (referring to Homer), speaks of a 'knowledge that proceeds from appearances and draws their multitude together in a unit which is then posited as their true essence'. This may apply to the Presocratics, it does not apply to Homer. In the case of Homer 'the world is comprehended ass the sum of things, visible in space, and not as reason acting intensively'

Page 203/204

Precisely the same remarks apply to the 'discovery' of an individual I that is different from faces, behavior, objective 'mental states' of the type that occur in A, to the 'discovery' of a substance behind 'appearances' (formerly elements of A), or to the 'discovery' that honour may be lacking despite the presence of all its outer manifestations. A statement such as Heraclitus' 'you could not find the limits of the soul though you are travelling every way, so deep is its logos (Diels, B 45) does not just add to cosmos A, it undercuts the principles which are needed in the construction of A-type 'mental states' while Heraclitus' rejection of ... and Parmenides' rejection of an ... undercuts rules that govern the construction of every single fact of A. An entire world-view, an entire universe of thought, speech, perception was dissolved.

It is interesting to see how this process of dissolving manifests itself in particular cases. In his long speech in Iliad, 9.308ff, Achilles wants to say that honour may be absent even though all its outer manifestations are present. The terms of the language he uses are so intimately tied to definite social situations that he 'has no language to express his disillusionment. Yet he expresses it, and in a remarkable way. He does it by misusing the language he disposes of. He asks questions that cannot be answered and makes demands that cannot be met. He acts in a most 'irrational' way.

Page 205 *

Remember the circumstancews which are responsible for this situation. EWe have a point of view (theory, framework, cosmos mode of representaiton) whose elements (concepts, 'facts', pictures) are built up in accordance with certain principles of construction. The principles involve something like a 'clsoure': there are things that cannot be said, or 'discovered', without violating the principles (which does not> mean contradicting them). Say the things, make the discovery, and the principles are suspended. Now take those constructive principles that underlie every element of the cosmos (of the theory), every fact (every concept). Let us call such principles universal principles of the theory in question. Suspending universal principles means suspending all facts and all concepts. Finally, let us call a discovery, or a statement, or an attitude incommensurable with the cosmos (the theory, the framework) if it suspends some of its universal principles. Heraclitus B 45 is incommensurable with psychological part of A: it suspends the rules that are needed for constituting individuals and puts an end to all A-facts about individuals (phenomena corresponding to such facts may of course persist for a considerable time as not all conceptual changes lead to changes in perception and as there exist conceptual changes that never leave a trace in the appearances; however, such phenomena can no longer be described in the customary way and cannot therefore count as observations of the customary 'objective facts')

Page 206

How is the 'irrationality' of the transition period overcome? It is overcome in the usual way (cf. item 8 above), i.e. by the determined production of nonsense until the material produced is rich enough to permit the rebels to reveal, and everyone else to recognize, new universal principles. (Such revealing need not consist in writing the principles down in the form of clear and precise statements.) Madness turns into sanity provided it is sufficiently rich and sufficiently regular to function as the basis of a new world-view. And when that happens, then we have a new problem: how can the old view be compared with the new view?

Page 207

Now it seems to me that the relation between, say, classical mechanics (interpreted realistically) and quantum mechanics (interpreted in a ccordance with the views of Niels Bohr), or between Newtonian mechanics (interpreted realistically) and the general theory of relativity (also interpreted realistically) is in many respects similar to the relation between cosmology A and cosmology B. Thus every fact of Newton's mechanics presumes that shapes, masses, periods are changed only by physical interactions and this presumption is suspended by the theory of relativity. Similarly the quantum theory constitutes facts in accordance with the uncertainty relations which are suspended by the classical approach.

Page 209

Whorf ... says that 'time, velocity, and matter are not essential to the construction of a consistent picture of the universe, and he asserts that 'we cut up nature, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are partial to an agreement to organize it in this way', which would seem to imply widely different languages posit not just different ideas for the ordering of the same facts, but that they posit also different facts.

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Page 216/217/218 *

I think that incommensurability turns up when we sharpen our concepts in the manner demanded by the logical positivists and their offspring and that it undermines their ideas on explanation, reduction and progress. Incommensurability disappears when we use concepts as scientists use them, in an open, ambiguous and often counter intuitive manner. Incommensurability is a problem for philosophers not for scientists, though the latter may become psychologically. confused by unusual things. I arrived at the phenomenon while studying the early literature on the basic statements and by considering the possibility of perceptions radically different from our own. In my thesis I examined the meaning of observational statements. I considered the idea that such statements describe 'what is given' and tried to identify this 'given' Phenomenologically this did not seem to be possible; we notice objects, their properties, their relations, not 'the given'. It is of course true that we can give quick reports on the properties of everyday objects but this does not change them into non-objects but only shows that we have a special relation to them. Phenomenologically what is given consists of the same things which can also exist unobserved - it is not a new kind of object. Special arrangements such as the reduction screen introduce new conditions, they do not reveal ingredients in objects we already know. ResultL the given cannot be isolated by observation.

The second possibility was to isolate it by logical means: what is given can be ascertained with certainty, hence I obtain the the given contained in the table before me by removing from the statement 'there is a table' all the consequence that make future corrections possible. This shows that the given is the result of an unreasonable decision: untestable statements cannot serve as a basis for science.

Following this argument I introduced the assumption that the meaning of observation statements depends on the nature of the objects described and, as this nature depends on the most advanced theories, on the content of these theories. Or as I formulated in my first English paper on the topic: the interpretation of an observation language is determined by the theories which we use to explain what we observe, and it changes as soon as these theories change. In a word: observation statements are not just theory-laden (the views of Toulmin, Hanson and apparently also Khun) but fully theoretical and the distinction between observation statements ('protocol statements' in the terminology of the Vienna Circle) and theoretical statements is a pragmatic distinction, not a semantic distinction' there are no special 'observational meanings'. Thus in the same year as Hanson (Hanson's Patterns of Discovery appeared in 1958) and four years before Khun I formulated a thesis a weaker form of which became very popular later on. Moreover, my thesis not only was stronger than the thesis of theory-ladenness, it also came from a different source. For while Toulmin and Hanson were inspired by Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations I I started from and returned to ideas that had been developed in the Vienna Circle - and I said so. Quine, whose philosophy shows close connections to the philosophy of the Vienna Circle, also used a criterion of observability that is rather similar to mine.


Now considering any interaction of traditions we may ask tow kinds of questions which I shall call observer questions and participant questions respectively.

Observer questions are concerned with the details of an interaction. They want to give a historical account of the interaction and, perhaps, formulate laws, or rules of thumb, that apply to all interactions. Hegel's triad: position, negation, synthesis (negation of the negation) is such a rule.

Participant questions deal with the attitude the members of a practice or a tradition are supposed to take towards the (possible) intrusion of another. The observer asks: what happens and what is going to happen? the participant asks: what shall I doShall I support the interaction? Shall I oppose it? Or shall I simply forget about it?

In the case of the Copernican Revolution, for example, the observer asks: what impact did Copernicus have on Wittenberg astronomers at about 1560? how did they react to his work? Did they change some of their beliefs and if so, why? Did their change of opinion have an effect on other astronomers, or were they an isolated group, not taken seriously by the rest of the profession?

The question of a participant are: this is a strange book indeed - should I take it seriously? Should I study it in detail or only superficially or should I simply continue as before? The main theses seem absurd at first sight - but, maybe, there is something in them? How shall I find out? And so on.

It is clear that observer questions must take the questions of the participants into account and participants will also listen most carefully (if they are inclined that way, that is) to what observers have to say on the matter - but the intention is different in both cases. Observers want to know what is going on, participants what to do. An observer describes a life he does not lead (except accidentally), a participant wants to arrange his own life and asks himself what attitude to take towards the things that may influence it.

Participants can be opportunists and act in a straightforward and practical way. In the late 16th century many princes became Protestants because this furthered their interests and some of their subjects became Protestants in order to be left in peace. When British colonial official replaced the laws and habits of foreign tribes and cultures by their own 'civilized' laws the latter were often accepted because they were the laws of the king, or because one had no way to oppose them, and not because of any intrinsic excellence. The source of their power and 'validity' was clearly understood, both by the officials and by the more astute of their unfortunate subjects. In the sciences and especially in pure mathematics one often pursues a particular line of research not because it is regard as intrinsically perfect, but because one wants to see where it leads. I shall call the philosophy underlying such an attitude of a participant a pragmatic philosophy.

A pragmatic philosophy can flourish only if the traditions to be judged and the developments to be influenced are seen as temporary makeshifts and not as lasting constituents of thoughts and action. A participant with a pragmatic philosophy views practices and traditions much as traveller views foreign countries. Each country has features he likes and things he abhors. In deciding to settle down a traveller will have to compare climate, landscape, language, temperament of the inhabitants, possibilities of change, privacy, looks of male and female population, theatre, opportunities for advancement, quality of vices and so on. He will also remember that his initial demands and expectations may not be very sensible and so permit the process of choice to affect and change his 'nature' as well which, after all is just another (and minor) practice or tradition entering the process (Emphasis Added -Danny) So a pragmatist must be both a participant and an observer even in those extreme cases where he decides to live in accordance with his momentary whims entirely.

Few individuals and groups are pragmatists in the sense just described band one can see why: it is very difficult to see one's own most cherished ideas in perspective, as parts of a changing and, perhaps, absurd tradition. Moreover this inability not only exists, it is also encouraged as an attitude proper to those engaged in the study and the improvement of man, society, knowledge. Hardly any religion has ever presented itself just as something worth trying. The claim is much stronger: the religion is the truth, everything else is error and those who know it, understand it but still reject it are rotten to the core (or hopeless idiots).(Emphasis Added - Danny)

Page 222/223/230/231 *

After this preparation let us now look at what has been called 'the relation between reason and practice'.

Simplifying matters somewhat we can say that there exists three views on the matter.

A. Reason guides practice its authority is independent of the authority of practices and traditions and it shapes the practice in accordance with its demands. This we may call the idealistic version of the relation.

B. Reason receives both its content and its authority from practice. It describes the way in which practice works and formulates its underlying principles. This version has been called naturalism and it has occasionally been attributed to Hegel (though erroneously so)..

Both idealism and naturalism have difficulties.

The difficulties of idealism are that the idealist does not only want to 'act rationally' he also wants his rational actions to have results. And he wants these results to occur not only among the idealizations he uses but in the real world he inhabits.


The difficulties of naturalism and idealism have certain elements in common. The inadequacy of standards often becomes clear from the barrenness of the practice the engender, the shortcomings of practices often are very obvious when practices based on different standards flourish. This suggest that reason and practice are not two different kinds of entities but parts of a single dialectical process.

The suggestion can be illustrated by the relation between a map and the adventures of a person using it or by the relation between an artisan and his instruments. Originally maps were constructed as images of and guides to reality and so, presumably, was reason. But maps like reason contain idealizations (Hecataeus of Miletus, for example, imposed the general outlines of Anaximander's cosmology on his account of the occupied world and represented continents by geometrical figures). The wanderer uses the map to find his way but he also corrects it as he proceeds, removing old idealizations and introducing new ones. Using the map no matter what will soon get him into trouble. But it is better to have maps than to proceed without them. In the same way, the example says, reason without the guidance of a practice will lead us astray while practice is vastly improved by the addition of reason.


I shall discuss the answers given by idealism, naturalism and by a third position, not yet mentioned, which I shall call naive anarchism.

According to idealismit is rational (proper, in accordance with the will of the gods - or whatever other encouraging words are being used to befuddle the natives) to do certain things - come what may. It is rational (proper, etc) to kill the enemies of the faith, to avoid ad hoc hypotheses, to despise the desires of the body, to remove inconsistencies, to support progressive research programmes and so on. Rationality (justice, the Divine Law) are universal, independent of mood, context, historical circumstances and give rise to equally universal rules and standards.

There is a version of idealism that seems to be somewhat more sophisticated but actually is not. Rationality (the law, etc) is no longer said to be universal, but there are universally valid conditional statements asserting what is rational in what context and there are corresponding conditional rules.

jSome reviewers have classified me as an idealist in the sense just described with the proviso that I try to replace familiar rules and standards by more 'revolutionary' rules such as proliferation and counterinduction and almost everyone ha ascribed to me a 'methodology' with 'anything goes' as its one 'basic principle'. But in Chapter 2 I say quite explicitly that 'my intention is not to replace one set of general rules by another such set: my intention is, rather, to convince the reader that, all methodologies, event the most obvious ones have their limits' or, to express it in terms just explained, my intention is to show that idealism, whether of the simple or of the context-dependent kind is the wrong solution for the problems of scientific rationality. These problems are not solved by a change of standards but by taking a different view of standards altogether.


The limitation of all rules and standards is recognized by naive anarchism. A naive anarchist says (a) that both absolute rules and context-dependent rules have their limits and infers (b) that all rules and standards are worthless and should be given up. Most reviewers regard me as a naive anarchist in this sense, overlooking the many passages where I show how certain procedures aided scientists in their research. For i my studies of Galileo, of Brownian motion, of the Presocratics I not only demonstrate the failures of familiar standards, I also try to show what not so familiar procedures did actually succeed . thus while I agree with (a) I do not agree with (b). I argue that all rules have their limits and that there is no comprehensive 'rationality', I do not argue that we should proceed without rules and standards. I also argue for a contextual account but again the contextual rules are not to replace the absolute rules, they are to supplement them. Moreover, I suggest a new relation between rules and practices. It is this relation and not any particular rule-content that characterizes the position I wish to defend.
(Emphasis Added - Danny)

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i. Traditions are neither good nor bad, they simply are. ...

ii. A tradition assumes desirable or undesirable properties only when compared with some tradition ...

iii. i. and ii. imply a relativism of precisely the kind that seems to have been defended by Protagoras...

iv. Every tradition has special ways of gaining followers...

v. ... judging a historical process one may use an as yet unspecified and unspecifiable practice....

vi. There are therefore at least two different ways of collectively deciding an issue which I shall call a guided exchange and an open exchange respectively. ... An open exchange, on the other hand, is guided by a pragmatic philosophy. The tradition adopted by the parties is unspecified in the beginning and develops as the exchange proceeds. The participants get immersed into each other's way of thiking, feeling, perceiving to such an extent that their ideas, perceptions, world-views may be entirely changed - they become different people partipating in a new and different tradition . An open exchange respects the partner whether he is an individual or an entire culture, hwile a rational exchange promises respect only within the framework of a rational debate. An open exchange establishes connections between different traditions and transcends the relativism of points ii and iv. However, it transcends it in a way that cannot be made objective but depends in an unforeseeable manner on the (historical, psychological, material) conditions in which it occurs (Cf. also the last paragraph of Chapter 16).

vii. A free society is a society in which all traditions are given equal rights, equal access to education and other positions of power. ... A free society thus cannot be based on any particular creed; for example, it cannot be based on rationalism or on humanitarian considerations. The basic structure of a free society is a protective structure, not an ideology, it functionslike an iron railing not like a conviction. But how is this structure to be conceived? Is it not necessary to debate the matter or should the structure be simplyimposed? And if it is necessary to debate the matter then should this debate not be kept free from subjective influences and based on 'objective' considerations only? This is how intellectuals try to convience their fellow citizens that the money paid to them is well spent and that their ideology should continue to assume the central position it now has. I have already exposed the errors-cum-deceptions behind the phrase of the 'objectivity of a rational debate': the standards of such a debate are not 'objective' they only appear to be 'objective' because reference to the group that profits from their use has been omitted. They are like the invitations of a clever tyrant who instead of saying 'I want you to do ...' or 'I and my wife want you to to do ...' says 'What all of us want is ...' or 'what the gods want of us is ... ' or, even better, 'it is rational to do ...' and so seems to leave out his own person entirely. It is somewhat depressing to see how many intelligent people have fallen for such a shallow trick. (Emphasis Added - Danny) We remove it by observing:

vii. that a free society will not be imposed but will emerge only where people engaging in an open exchange (cf. vi above) introduce protecteive structures of the kind alluded to...

ix. The debates settling the structure of a free society are open debates not guided debates ..

x. A free society insists on the separation of science and society ... (Emphasis Added - Danny)

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The idea of a world machine and the related idea that nature is material to be shaped by man should not be blamed on modern, i.e. post-Cartesian, science. It is older and stronger than a purely philosophical doctrine could ever be. The expression 'world machine' is found Pseudo Dionysius Areopagita, a mystic of unknown identity who wrote about 500 AD and had tremendous influence.

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The playwright (and his colleague, the teacher) must try not to anticipate the decision of the audience (of the pupils) or replace it by a decision of his own should they turn out to be incapable of making up their own minds. Under no circumstances must he try to be a 'moral force'. A moral force, whether for good or for evil, turns people into slaves and slavery, even slavery in the service of The Good, or of God Himself, is the most abject condition of all. This is how I see the situation today. However, it took me a long time before I arrived at this view.(Emphasis Added - Danny)

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Two events made me realize the futility of such attempts. One was a discussion with Professor C.F. von Weizsacker in Hamburg (1965) on the foundations of the quantum theory. Von Weizsacker showed how quantum mechanics arose from concrete research while I complained, on general methodological grounds, that important alternatives had been omitted. The arguments supporting my complain were quite good - they are the arguments summarized in Chapter 3 - but it was suddenly clear to me that imposed without regard to circumstances they were a hindrance rather than a help: a person trying to solve a problem whether in science or elsewhere must be given complete freedom and cannot be restricted by any demands, norms, however plausible they may seem to the logician or the philosopher who has thought them out in the privacy of his study. Norms and demands must be checked by research, not by appeal to theories of rationality. In a lengthy article I explained how Bohr had used his philosophy and how it differs from more abstract procedures. Thus Professor von Weizsacker has prime responsibility fro my change to 'anarchism' - though he was not all pleased when I told him so in 1977.

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I envisaged a new kind of education that would live from a rich reservoir of different points of view permitting the choice of traditions most advantageous to the individual. The teacher's task would consist in facilitating the choice, not in replacing it by some 'truth' of his own. Such a reservoir, I thought, would have been much in common with a theatre of ideas as imagined by Piscator and Brecht and it would be lead to the development of a great variety of means of presentation. The 'objective' scientific account would be one way of presenting a case, a play another way (remember that for Aristotle tragedy is 'more philosophical' than history because it reveals the structure of historical process and not only its accidental details), a novel still another way. Why should knowledge be shown in the garment of academic prose and reasoning? Had no Plato observed that written sentences in a book are but transitory stages of a complex process of growth that contains gestures, jokes, asides, emotions and had he not tried to catch this process by means of the dialogue? And were there not different forms of knowledge, some much more detailed and realistic than what arose as 'rationalism' in the 7th and 6th century in Greece? Then there was Dadism. I had studied Dadaism after the Second World War. What attracted me to this movement was the style its inventors used when not engaged in Dadaistic activities. It was clear, luminous, simple without being banal, precise without being narrow; it was a style adapted to the expression of thought as well as of emotion. I connected this style with the Dadaistic exercises themselves. Assume you tear language apart, you live for days and weeks in a world of cacophonic sounds, jumbled words, nonsensical events. Then, after this preparation, you sit down and write: 'the cat is on the ma'. This simple sentence which we usually utter without thought, like talking machines (and much of our talk is indeed routine)j, no seems like the creation of an entire world: God said let there be light and there was light. Nobody in modern times has understood the miracle of language and thought as well as the Dadaists for nobody has been able to imagine, let alone create, a world in which they play no role.Having discovered the nature of a living order, of a reason that is not merely mechanical, the Dadaists soon noticed the deterioration of such an order into routine. They diagnosed the deterioration of language that preceded the First World War and created the mentality that made it possible. AFter the diagnosis their exercises assumed another, more sinister meaning. The revealed the frightening similarity between the language of the foremost commercial travelers in 'importance', the language of philosophers, politicians, theologians, and brute inarticulation. The praise of honour, patriotism, truth, rationality, honesty that fills our schools, pulpits, political meetings imperceptibly merges into inarticulation no matter how much it has been wrapped into literary language and no matter how hard its authors try to copy the style of the classics and the authors themselves are in the end hardly distinguishable from a pack of grunting pigs. Is there a way to prevent such deterioration? I thought there was. I thought that regarding all achievements as transitory, restricted and personal and every truth as created by our love for it and not as 'found' would prevent the deterioration of once promising fairy-tales and I also thought that it was necessary to develop a new philosophy or a new religion to give substance to this unsystematic conjecture.

I now realize that these considerations were just another example of intellectualistic conceit and folly. It is conceited to assume that one has solutions for people whose lives one does not share and whose problems one does not know. It is foolish to assume that such an exercise in distant humanitarianism will have effects pleasing to the people concerned. From the very beginning of Western Rationalism intellectuals have regarded themselves as teachers, the world as a school and 'people' as obedient pupils. In Plato this is very clear. The same phenomenon occurs among Christians, Rationalists, Fascists, Marxists. Marxists did not try to learn from those they wanted to liberate; they attacked each other about interpretations, viewpoints, evidence and took it for granted that the resulting intellectual hash would make fine food for the natives (Bakunin was aware of the doctrinarian tendencies of contemporary Marxism and he intended to return all power - power over ideas included - to the people immediately concerned). My own view differed from those just mentioned but it was still a view, an abstract fancy I had invented and now tried to sell without having shared even an ounce of the lives of the receivers. This I now regard as insufferable conceit. So - what remains?

Two things remain. I could follow my own advice to address and try to influence only those people whom I think I understand on a personal basis. This includes some of my friends,; it may include philosophers I have not met but who seem to be interested in similar problems and who are not too upset by my style and my general approach. It may also include people from different cultures who are attracted, even fascinated by Wester science and Western intellectual life, who have started participating in it but who still remember, in thought as well as in feeling the life of the culture they left behind. My account might lessen the emotional tension they liable to feel and make them see a way of uniting, rather than opposing to each other, the various stages of their lives.

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A guided exchange adopts 'a well-specified tradition and accept[s] only those responses that correspond to its standards. If one party has not yet become a participant ... he will be badgered, persuaded, 'educated' until he does - and then the exchange begins.' 'A rational debate', I continue, 'is a special case of a guided exchange.' In the case of open exchange 'the participants get immersed into each other's ways of thinking, feeling, perceiving to such an extent that their ideas, perceptions, world-views may be entirely changed - they become different people participating in a new and different tradition. An open exchange respects the partner whether he is an individual or an entire culture, while a rational exchange promises respect only within the framework of a rational debate. An open exchange has no organon though it may invent one; there is no logic though new forms of logic may emerge in its course.' In sum, an open exchange is part of an as yet unspecified and unspecifiable practice.