Re: virus: Snipping and Sniping

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 12 Mar 1999 07:45:31 -0800 (PST)

On Fri, 12 Mar 1999, carlw wrote:

> People having fun with words maybe :-) I'd bet that even those who did not
> know this was 'tongue-in-cheek' could hazard a pretty accurate guess. So
> much easier than fashioning out gems like craniorectalinversion.

Very nice, I'll remember that one and think of you when I repeat it!

(Looking back on this sentence it seems to imply an insult I never intended, hopefully it won't come across that way with this disclaimer attached to it.)

> Tim wrote:
> > Exactly. But I know you're not implying that reason is
> > either vulnerable to
> > attack using its own tools or held in principle beyond
> > rational criticism or
> > scrutiny, so we are in agrement here.
> >
> My hackles twitch at either/or choices offered by an "opponent" (even in
> non-zero sum games), usually, I find, with reason. So I looked very
> carefully at this one. The poison concealed on the blade is subtle.
> Feyd-Rautha would be proud of you.

(blush) You flatter me.

> Reason is vulnerable to attack, not using
> its own tools which can be used to detect such attacks, but rather through
> insidious suggestions that reason is not necessary for comfort or
> philosophy, and followed up by the suggestion that people will be more
> comfortable without reason. When people adept at reasoning are the ones
> advancing such arguments I become curious as to their possible motivations.

Perhaps I can shed a bit more light on my own shadowy motivations by making this statement:

"I believe that reason is as necessary to happiness as air is to life, but will draw my sword unforgivingly against any and all Breatheairians."

> Reason may not be beyond rational criticism in principle, and should always
> be subjected to multiple scrutiny as wish fullfillment and reason go so
> frequently together. Yet how can reason by in practice subjected to rational
> criticism? The primary tool for rational anything is reason. Which makes
> reason as axiomatic as any other proposition. And of course axioms are not
> subject, cannot be subject, to criticism from within the system where they
> are foundational. That would need a meta system.

In this we are in (actual) agreement. And my first instinct was to claim that the following lines below were nevertheless completely misguided, if not outright false. That is, until I realized you were talking not about universals, but about yourself when you said:

> To the best of my
> knowledge, no such system exists. Either because it could not be implemented
> satisfactorilly, or because it was not needed.

(to be continued... )

-Prof. Tim