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Saturday, May 05, 2018

Bafflegab and bullshit

Keep in mind that this purports to be a DEFENSE of Jordan Peterson's self-unmasking in his interview on the subject of truth with Sam Harris. Which is amusing, as it reads a lot more like an indictment.
For Harris, ideas are propositions about what really exists, independently of one’s mind, and science is an attempt to identify facts (i.e., ideas) about reality.  However, to a pragmatist such as Peterson, reality – i.e. the world around oneself – is not the thing under consideration because one cannot  obtain any knowledge at all of what causes one’s sensations: what exists outside of one’s own mind is not knowable.  For Peterson, there are no “facts” about reality.  For Peterson an “idea” is not a proposition about reality.  Instead, for Peterson, every “idea” is a plan of action.  The meaning of an idea is the effect of acting upon the idea. Thus, for a pragmatist, the meaning of “grizzly bear” is not “man-eating beast” but something like “run away!” or “throw a stone at it!”.

On this view, the truth of an idea is determined by its efficacy in achieving some goal (different pragmatists have differing ideas about what sorts of goals should be achieved). For example, if the goal is to remain unbitten, “run away” is a plan of action that is sufficiently true to act upon if running away is an effective way to remain unbitten, but “run away” is not a sufficiently true plan of action to act upon if running away is not an effective way to remain bitten. Likewise, “throw a stone at it!” is sufficiently true to act upon if throwing a stone at the grizzly bear is effective in preventing one from being bitten, but “throw a stone at it!” is not sufficiently true to act upon if throwing a stone at the grizzly bear is ineffective in preventing one from being bitten.

It follows that, for Peterson, science is not an attempt to discover ideas about, or “facts” about, reality.  Rather, science is an attempt to discover plans of action that, given the other ideas we hold, appear to be sufficiently true to act upon in order to attain one’s ethical purpose.  Hence Peterson’s statement that:

“I think of science as a tool, rather than as a description of reality.  And, well, that’s where we differ.”

Peterson’s Pragmatist Ethics/Purpose

For pragmatism, it is not enough for an idea (i.e., a plan of action) to “work” or to be “effective”.  Pragmatism requires the idea to be effective in achieving an ethically good end.  Thus, one might invent a weapon that is extremely effective in doing one thing: turning the Earth and every living thing on it to lifeless ash in milliseconds.  However, such a weapon does not “work” – is not “efficacious” – by the pragmatic standard, because it does not achieve an ethically good purpose.  Hence Peterson’s assertion that the sufficiency of an idea’s truth depends upon the idea being ethically good.

Different pragmatists hold differing versions of what constitutes a proper ethical purpose.  Peterson’s clearly was: survival; survival of the individual or of humanity as a whole.  Thus, for Peterson, an idea (i.e., a plan of action) is good if it is efficacious in achieving survival of the individual or of humanity as a whole.  Staying with the grizzly bear example, if a given idea – e.g., “run away!” – is an effective plan of action for surviving, then the idea “grizzly bear” (meaning “run away”) is a sufficiently true idea because it is a good idea.

Contrast this with Harris’ perspective on truth.   For Harris, “grizzly bear” is not a plan of action.  It is instead a concept of a large, hairy, man-eating mammal.  For Harris, it is true that a grizzly bear is a large, hairy, man-eating mammal because a grizzly bear can be observed to be exactly that, in reality.  In other words, on the Correspondence theory of truth to which Harris subscribes, the concept of a grizzly bear being a large, hairy, man-eating mammal is true if the concept corresponds to the facts of reality.  If grizzly bears – independently of what anyone thinks of them – really are large, hairy, man-eating mammals, then the concept in one’s head (i.e., large, hairy, man-eating mammal) is true because it Corresponds to the facts of reality.  And, on the Correspondence theory of truth, the concept is true whether or not running from a grizzly bear would be effective in avoiding a grizzly bite.

What Harris Seemed to be Missing

At this point, it should be clear to the reader that Harris seemed unaware of the foundations of pragmatism, his talk about arguing with Richard Rorty in undergraduate courses notwithstanding.

Harris wrongly thought Peterson to believe that there are facts of reality that exist independently of ones senses.  Peterson rejects the very idea that one can even consider any reality other than the experiences in one’s own head.

Harris wrongly thought that Peterson views ideas and propositions as ideas and propositions about reality; about the world around one.  Peterson views ideas not as claims about what exists in reality, but as plans of action.

Harris wrongly thought that Peterson views the role of science as the endeavour to discover the facts of reality.  Peterson views the role of science as the discovery of plans of action that are effective in achieving the ethical purpose of surviving.

Harris could not understand Peterson’s refusal to admit the truth of propositions independently of moral considerations because pragmatism is founded upon a whole lot of premises that Harris apparently is unaware of, and that were not discussed explicitly during the Harris-Peterson conversation.
Translation: Sam Harris, for all his various shortcomings, generally uses words as they are commonly understood. These Corresponding Truthy Pragmatists or whatever they happen to call themselves, are utilizing the old charlatan's trick of calling a spoon a fork in order to prove that one can eat soup with a fork.

Of course, we have no idea if Jordan Peterson's specific non-truth "truth" is actually pragmatic correspondence truth or not, because this is only one of the FOUR different definitions presently on offer from members of Peterson's crazy cargo cult.

By the way, I finished 12 Rules of Life today. I'll do a Darkstream later to discuss my initial impressions, then will start writing my review of the book for Monday, but I really do have to retract my earlier statement that Jordan Peterson is the bastard spawn of Bill Kristol and Deeprak Chopra. He's actually more akin to the tragic love child of Bill Kristol and Stuart Smalley. And he is most definitely a Gamma male as well as a physical coward who quite literally ran from a fight as a sixth-grader.

He's also had a tremendous amount of tragedy in and around his life, which I expect accounts for his bizarre equation of both life and evil with suffering.

Anyhow, I'll read Maps of Meaning next, at which point I will have read more of Jordan Peterson's work than 99.9 percent of his fans currently complaining that I know nothing about him. Apparently they are also unfamiliar with the concept of "hypothesis" and "calling your shot". A sample of the cargo cult's responses.
  • Wow...never realized how incredibly insecure Vox was untill now
  • don't waste your time... this is the lunatic.  JP is awesome!!!
  • You’re arrogant, puffed up and bitterly jealous. You’re also extremely boring, rambling, and no matter how many books you stand in front of, and no matter how long you ramble on for, you’re never going to convince me that you’re intelligent enough to pass comment on other people’s intelligence. I presume that you got your IQ score from one of those ads at the bottom of a web page for a gutter tabloid. Neither are you fit to tie Jordan Peterson’s shoelaces. He’s clear, you’re muddled. He’s gripping, you’re boring. Incredibly monotonous. He’s funny and witty. You’re painfully and excruciatingly robotic and clearly have no emotional intelligence. Your droning barely conceals your desperate whimper, “Please buy my books too!” My answer to that is NO! get off the screen of my iPad, you sad, pathetic little gnome!
Jordan Peterson is "clear", while I am "muddled"? That must be more of that incoherent truth in action.

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105 Comments:

Blogger dienw May 05, 2018 11:09 AM  

For Harris, ideas are propositions about what really exists, independently of one’s mind, and science is an attempt to identify facts (i.e., ideas) about reality. However, to a pragmatist such as Peterson, reality – i.e. the world around oneself – is not the thing under consideration because one cannot obtain any knowledge at all of what causes one’s sensations: what exists outside of one’s own mind is not knowable.

This is insanity. That there are grown men who espouse this and are so-called intellectual leaders is locus of infection in the Western mind.

Blogger Servant of the Chief May 05, 2018 11:11 AM  

I had always thought of Jordanson of being overly flowery in his language and sometimes even hard to follow his logic. The only real benefit and why I gave him a listen a few times was that his rationalising of why religious people are religious, while flawed and wrong as you pointed out, proved sufficient to actually get through to youtube atheists to at least understanding the religious worldview in a different, more familiar context. Not sure if that could possibly open the door for Christ or not, but I thought it was worth mentioning even if as only a devil's advocate kind of defence. Truth be told I hadn't given the man's character and methodology much thought, much like I didn't give Stephen Molyneux's personal motives much thought. I know he's well liked here as well, but I really lost a lot of affection for the man after I learned about his Defooing nonsense. Looks like Peterson is of a kind with Molynuex in some respects.

Blogger dienw May 05, 2018 11:20 AM  

Peterson is a deconstructionist: if meaning regarding reality is "what exists outside of one’s own mind is not knowable"; then communication is impossible whether written, spoken, or painted; even the grizzly bear is unknowable as even existing let alone as a "grizzly bear! Run away!". A lemur has a better understanding of reality.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother May 05, 2018 11:24 AM  

This is unbelievable.

Blogger Nate73 May 05, 2018 11:28 AM  

I think the next thing to be explained is all these examples of "Peterson appears on X show, completely wows and stuns guests with his remarks". I suspect it's a combination of his IQ and professional expertise from interviewing so many people. Like the Cathy Newman debate that really catapulted him to the stratosphere, the only reason he won that is the fact that A) he knows basic facts about male/female psychology differences, and B) his job gives him both experience with hostile interviews and credibility in the eyes of the audience. After all, how can a feminist sit there and tell a clinical psychologist with experience in counseling women how to be better CEOs that he just wants women in the kitchen? The more I think about it, the more Cathy Newman seems like she was setup to take the fall

Blogger DonReynolds May 05, 2018 11:28 AM  

Good Grief! I am so glad I did not major in philosophy, the point of which seems to be to hijack words that already have a meaning and completely reverse them.

Common use of the term Pragmatist does not mean a person tied to ANY ethic or morality or tradition or habit. They are only interested in what works, thus they would find scientific information useful.....for survival, and a good many other things. I have never heard of a Pragmatism that was limited to survival considerations, or "ethical" Pragmatism, or a Pragmatism that needed any other justification, other than success or effectiveness.

The example given is simply awful. There is no running away from a grizzly bear. Unless the bear is sick, he can outrun and outclimb even a physically capable person. Getting into a bear cage is a good idea. Other than that, I would suggest "magnum", in one of the bigger calibers. Running away from a bear is about as effective as running away from a pit bull. They seem to like the chase.



Blogger DonReynolds May 05, 2018 11:32 AM  

Lemmie guess. The silly Pragmatist plan for dealing with a Great White shark is to "swim away"?

Blogger FUBARwest May 05, 2018 11:33 AM  

That is a DEFENSE? How does anyone think that that is a defense of the man? That seems like a troll.

Blogger dienw May 05, 2018 11:33 AM  

A man who believes "what exists outside of one’s own mind is not knowable" has no faith: he has no faith in the tacit knowledge of his primary tool his physical body; he cannot be led to believe in the reality of the material world; furthermore, such one cannot be led to faith in God: it is more likely for him to be lead to believe in the Hindu concept of Maya: all is illusion.

Blogger Solaire Of Astora May 05, 2018 11:36 AM  

Someone actually defended JBP by saying you lack emotional intelligence? Peterson himself has said that emotional intelligence doesn't exist. Hilarious how little his own defenders know about him.

Blogger Manuel May 05, 2018 11:43 AM  

I just read Rule 10 "Be precise in your speech". But the example he uses, a wife discovering her husband is cheating, would make little sense to his audience, young millennial males. I'm in my mid 30s and single and that example just makes no sense. What do these boys who've been helped by him get out of that?

Blogger VD May 05, 2018 11:53 AM  

What do these boys who've been helped by him get out of that?

Don't get cheating, presumably.

Blogger tuberman May 05, 2018 11:55 AM  

Well, He claims to be a "pragmatist," but we can guess even those goalposts will change whenever or wherever he runs into a conflict.

dienw's " A lemur has a better understanding of reality," is but one complete refutation of that Idea, although I guess JP would say the lemur is being pragmatic. Ha!

Everything is just the brain being pragmatic, but the sea slug digests it's rudimentary brain in it's adult phase, as it is no longer needed. If the brain is the ultimate reality, why the heck would any animal digest it's own brain, even a simplistic animal? Humans cull neurons heavily at certain phases of life too, as noted by brain scientists. If the reality happens inside ones head, how could this occur?

The answer might be that reality is more than the individual, and is indeed part of the Culture, and even Religion. Why would many Identify so heavily with their Culture and Religion? He would at this point contradict his pragmatism, suggesting self-sacrifice for the group is crazy. Yet the individualism and brain centered reality is exposed as "not normal" for all of humanity. Our souls are connected to these groups and always have been.

My earliest memories are of prayer, even before I could think in a literate way, which started to come about a year and a half later. With this came a caring about the past, and future generations. Remember thinking at age four that the fathers role was as a mentor for the future generations, and to do as good of job as possible. That mentoring was mainly for getting boys to grow into men, who can defend the Culture or Western Civilization. There is some individualism now involved, but not solipsism.

We are not born a blank slate brain. Reality is far more comprehensive on every level. Reality is both outside and inside, nd it is not just projection.

Blogger Uncle John's Band May 05, 2018 11:56 AM  

Harris' awareness of pragmatism would only relevant if they were debating the history of intellectualized solipsism. How much collective brainpower has been squandered trying to root trancendentals in subjective experience in a way that external reality is denied while "morality" preserved. The last thing a coward wants is someone else determining their own reality.

A lot of people probably hear "self-authoring" and think adjusting the movie in your head or self-image. But with the evo-psych morality and messiah complex, he is advocating something way more fundamental; essentially an immersive delusion. One that happens, coincidentally, to conform to the globalist talking points that get you t.v.

This whole process is very informative. It is interesting to observe Vox' approach to a problem in real time, and we are seeing widespread dysfunctional behavior in practice as well as theory. The followers are fascinating. The (relatively) more clever attempt simple word games. The dumber ones pile on ad hominems mixed with frantic reassurances that Peterson's a genius. But no one seems able to even attempt a defense beyond some variation on the theme that his toxic spew isn't a big deal because he helps people and likes real pronouns. None of them can provide a rational justification for placing him in a leadership role. Funny how purportedly authoring YOUR OWN reality is indistinguishable from mindless cultic allegiance.

Blogger Ron May 05, 2018 11:56 AM  

Tell ya what pal, I'll run away while you stand here and throw rocks at the grizzly bear.

Blogger Uncle John's Band May 05, 2018 11:57 AM  

Crazy Christ is very fitting when you consider self-authoring in light of the logos.

Blogger Peaceful Poster May 05, 2018 12:00 PM  

He call himself a Christian yet doesn't believe in the Truth.

Yikes.

Blogger FUBARwest May 05, 2018 12:02 PM  

"He call himself a Christian yet doesn't believe in the Truth."

He doesnt call himself a Christian. He doesnt have a position on the Resurection even when asked directly about it.

Blogger The Deuce May 05, 2018 12:03 PM  

what exists outside of one’s own mind is not knowable.

Do I need to be the guy who points out that this is a claim about what exists outside the mind, and is therefore unknowable by its own standard?

Blogger Bogey May 05, 2018 12:03 PM  

Peterson rejects the very idea that one can even consider any reality other than the experiences in one’s own head.

Woah, key quote there. Solipsism much?

Vox, you should wear a sweater and cry on camera.

Blogger Phelps May 05, 2018 12:05 PM  

Honestly, this defense isn't fair to Peterson, because it holds him out to essentially a Post-Modernist, which he certainly is not. The defense is worse than his actual shortcomings.

Blogger tuberman May 05, 2018 12:09 PM  

Phelps wrote:Honestly, this defense isn't fair to Peterson, because it holds him out to essentially a Post-Modernist, which he certainly is not. The defense is worse than his actual shortcomings.

That's the thing, as his defenses will change, and all the goalposts too, and even by him. He has a Cuck position is certain, and he defends the other cuck positions outside of himself far too often. Enough said!

Blogger tuberman May 05, 2018 12:11 PM  

Watch his allies in the near future, and it will tell you everything.

Blogger Cloom Glue May 05, 2018 12:15 PM  

I think an example of developing your own catalogue of "narrative structures" (Peterson's phrase), which is separate from objective reality, which was well described by others, is the story of Timothy Treadwell.

Grizzly Man 2005 Documentary
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427312/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mauling-sounds-captured-on-tape/

http://www.yellowstone-bearman.com/Tim_Treadwell.html

biologist Larry Van Daele in trying to make sense of this tragedy:

Tim’s foolish disregard for his own safety, and over confidence dealing with bears in the past, luck really, not to mention his mistake of placing anthropomorphic values on bears, and disregarding established federal guidelines when photographing and camping with brown bears contributed to both Tim and Amie’s death. Grizzly bears are wild animals and should always be treated as such, wild and unpredictable. Not a pet, or lovable cuddly bear.

Tim would often tell listeners about the time he calmly defused a dangerous encounter with a bear, by talking softly to it. When the confrontation was over, he claimed to have laid down and napped next to the sleeping bear. Likewise, in a 1994 interview when he was asked whether he was ever afraid of the bears, he responded with saying “They wouldn’t hurt me”.


What if you age and forget your own unique dozens of narratives? What if you confuse one narrative for another? It is not enough to say he died and so his narrative was wrong, per Peterson turning Darwinism into a philosophy.

The disregard for objective morality and reality described by others, who have demonstrated their success, is the flaw of variable Perspectives. We throw away biblical history and pretend it was just somebody's narrative so we can do our own desires, unrestrained. It is a mistake.

Blogger Al K. Annossow May 05, 2018 12:17 PM  

Maybe someone else has mentioned it, but it seems to me that Peterson has conveniently made his area of expertise, clinical psychology, to be the ultimate arbiter of truth. I'm a computer geek. I think I'll let AI somehow become that arbiter. (How convenient for me.) I'll get to work now on justifying that.

Blogger Al K. Annossow May 05, 2018 12:29 PM  

P.S. In a previous career, I've been around a lot of wild bears. I recommend that in the first few seconds, while sizing up the situation, de-escalate by NOT staring. Predators stare. Prey stare. While deciding your best option, give the bear the option of assuming that you are just passing thru.

Blogger Sentient Spud May 05, 2018 12:30 PM  

Someone actually defended JBP by saying you lack emotional intelligence? Peterson himself has said that emotional intelligence doesn't exist. Hilarious how little his own defenders know about him.

The pragmatism of basing your celebrity off of convenient BS is usually offset by having equally low-rent followers.

Petersonians may disagree with this, but they are mistaken.

Very simply...

Giraffes are not purple.

This statement may seem completely irrelevant read at its face. However, to the pragmatist, "giraffes are not purple" has nothing to do with color. Instead, it may mean, "Petersonians believe in purple giraffes" or "Petersonians aren't rational."

Because the efficacy of this idea in accomplishing some goal is what determines it's truth, any cultist moved to feel even mild annoyance by the statement or its implication is sufficient to demonstrate its truthfulness.

And because every pragmatist has a different plan...

My point is irrefutable.

And, as fate would have it, this idea is ethically sound to boot, as it demonstrates the folly of buying into make-it-up-as-you-go systems of philosophy.

Blogger Brick Hardslab May 05, 2018 12:31 PM  

Presumably you shouldn't feed bears marshmallows with your own teeth. If I see them as friendly guys like Yogi and Boo-Boo they should treat me well.

Blogger VD May 05, 2018 12:31 PM  

Honestly, this defense isn't fair to Peterson, because it holds him out to essentially a Post-Modernist, which he certainly is not. The defense is worse than his actual shortcomings.

That seems to be a common occurrence among defenses of Peterson. Strange, is it not, than none of his defenders seem to be able to accurately characterize his views?

Blogger Mr. Deficient May 05, 2018 12:34 PM  

This is a pretty accurate defense of Peterson . The issue being is the paragraph that deals with ethical concerns and survival . It's true that this is what Peterson might believe in the most barest of senses but one has to consider the framework in which he believes evolution gave rise to proper behavior led to it being coded in our genes and in religion / culture/ myth.

Blogger Nick Siekierski May 05, 2018 12:36 PM  

What appealed to me about Peterson was his confrontational attitude towards SJWs, I rarely if ever felt compelled to share his videos though, his ideas never captured my attention. Having followed your insightful vivisections of Peterson, I now see that what I assumed was just his esoteric and mildly cucky approach, was really the projection of a very intelligent man's internal derangement. I recently watched a video of him crying like an incontinent child over the loss of faith in individualism. This man is deeply disturbed and shouldn't be giving ANYONE advice on how to live their lives. The guy also buttons up his dress shirts to the neck without wearing a tie, that is probably proof enough that there's something off about him.

Blogger Salt May 05, 2018 12:46 PM  

emotional intelligence... what the hell is that?

Blogger Mike Hertz May 05, 2018 12:57 PM  

Hmmmmm this really made me think...........about Alt-Hero #1.

Blogger VD May 05, 2018 12:59 PM  

AH001 is being lettered right now.

Blogger Cloom Glue May 05, 2018 1:04 PM  

@30 ... ethical concerns of an individual ... selected per survival of the individual and the group ... and evolution coded that into ... a bunch of things.

We cannot call that a defense. It is a description.

Blogger Johnny May 05, 2018 1:05 PM  

I have never read Peterson's stuff, but lack of knowledge is not always a restraint for me. A couple of things.

My overall take on the debate is that both Peterson and is detractors are debating explanations that are more complex then the reality they seek to explain. Thus useless whether the conclusions are true or not.

If I got it right, Plato came up with similar thinking on the nature of reality. He said that there were horses out there that were not all identical. Some were taller, shorter, faster, slower, of different colors and so on. Next you form in your mind the idea of what a horse is and that is what you think of as "horse." Apparently Plato argued that the horse idea in your head is more real than the horses that are out there somewhere.

The best counter argument that I am aware came up in a philosophy class. The teacher suggested that we close their eyes and then open them again. Now the question is, when your eyes were closed do you think that everything you saw went away because you didn't see it, and then had to be instantly reassembled so you could see it? Or do you think that there is a real world out there that was a continuum. It is all the same when your eyes reopen because it didn't go away?

(Of course some people are willing to go along with most anything.)

Blogger Mike Hertz May 05, 2018 1:17 PM  

Thanks Vox. I......I think i can wait a bit longer. Before the rending of clothes and gnashing of teeth begins.

Blogger pyrrhus May 05, 2018 1:29 PM  

@26 Never look a predator in the eyes unless you want a fight...That applies to human predators, including cops, in spades.

Blogger pyrrhus May 05, 2018 1:33 PM  

JP is a sheep that has learned some tricks, but he still avoids confronting people or ideas that he views as having more power in society....It has worked for him, but as VD has shown (and is self evident), most of his ideas are just psycho-babble.

Blogger Y. May 05, 2018 1:43 PM  

@Mike Hertz

I'm going to disappoint you by simply observing that very, very few people care bout what the Dread Ilk and Vox believe. You maintain they'll have to care, because you guys know the truth and truth is what you can't ignore.

There'll be a reckoning, you believe.

Nevertheless, this is entertaining. I believe Vox, while being highly intelligent, has some sort of literal-mindedness that makes him incapable of believing anything that is paradoxical or accepting anything he doesn't seem to get quickly. In short, I believe he lacks intellectual humility.

Nevertheless this is all highly entertaining to watch.

@VD

I genuinely like you, and I believe your only problem is that you have an inflated opinion of your own abilities. Don' get me wrong, you're pretty fucking effective and hilarious* culture warrior, great editor and all that, but that's all middlebrow stuff.

You're not a real philosopher, and if you think you're smarter than Peterson, well... dammit someone should get you two do take some tests. That's settle the question once and for all, am I right? You can even bet money on the outcome perhaps.

*from a safe distance


Blogger Solaire Of Astora May 05, 2018 1:46 PM  

My dad was a breadman for 10 years of his life, 5 of those spent in Compton and South Central. He attributes his survival to eye contact actually. You don't want to stare but you don't want to appear unaware either. That can make you a target too. And those delivery routes were legitimately dangerous. Getting held up at knife and gunpoint wasn't uncommon. My dad was the only one who never was actually.

Blogger Dave May 05, 2018 1:47 PM  

A few years ago the phone rings in Jordan Peterson's office.

"Jordie, Wodek here, with your handlers, er, advisors. We got you on speaker, are you alone?"

"Ok, listen, we've been studying your situation and we think the perfect opportunity might have just fallen to us out of the blue, have you heard of these trans-activists assholes?"

"Good, good, we think we've devised a plan that's gonna put you on the map. It's gonna blow you up nationally, and in the US, and maybe internationally, if we play our cards right. We're already working on getting you -- ON TV -- in front of the Parliament. Next week we'll get you together with your coaches and hammer out the details."

"Alright, how's that book coming? We gotta have that book, Jordie! When everything comes together and the avalanche hits, we need the book to go on tour. I dunno, just give 'em more bafflegab and bullshit. That's your expertise not mine."

"Oh, and one more thing; your acting coach called me and told me you're only half-assing the crying on cue shit. You know how the millennials eat that shit up, Jordie. So help me, if I have to, I'll stick you and the acting coach in a hotel room for a week until you start blubbering every time somebody looks at ya."

"We gotta go, Jordie. Just remember, this will all be worth it when we make you famous and the offers for your own TV show start rollin' in. Bye now"

Blogger Mike Hertz May 05, 2018 2:01 PM  

@ Y Dafuq? I'm talking comics in my response. Vox has been a bit quiet on that front of late and things have taken longer than expected. I have been playfully hounding him on it in responses to this whole JP thing. You have made assumptions that i agree with him on JP and that i care about his various political standings or philosophical musings. Assuming to know who i am or what I'm about have come at a cost to others. Be grateful we are bantering aliases on the Interweb's.

Blogger anne May 05, 2018 2:06 PM  

Instead, for Peterson, every “idea” is a plan of action. The meaning of an idea is the effect of acting upon the idea. Thus, for a pragmatist, the meaning of “grizzly bear” is not “man-eating beast” but something like “run away!” or “throw a stone at it!”.

This explains the attitudes/behavior of so many of the people I've worked with in the office. I can't get them to objectively look at a problem and think of possible courses of action. There is only one course of action and it is almost like a moral imperative.

No wonder these people get stuck in their lives.

Blogger VD May 05, 2018 2:10 PM  

I'm going to disappoint you by simply observing that very, very few people care bout what the Dread Ilk and Vox believe. You maintain they'll have to care, because you guys know the truth and truth is what you can't ignore.

We already know that. We don't care. MPAI. But history and experience show that the truth eventually comes out. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not in ten years. But eventually.

I believe Vox, while being highly intelligent, has some sort of literal-mindedness that makes him incapable of believing anything that is paradoxical or accepting anything he doesn't seem to get quickly. In short, I believe he lacks intellectual humility.

Right, wrong, wrong. Of course I don't believe in anything paradoxical, oxymoronic, or contradicting in terms. I rely on logic. There is no shortage of evidence that I accept things I did not initially grasp. As for intellectual humility, I refuse to opine in ignorance even when people try to draw me out. I am never hesitant to admit that I don't know something, it's just that my refusal to subsequently discuss those subjects tends to make people forget that I admitted I know nothing about it.

You're not a real philosopher, and if you think you're smarter than Peterson, well... dammit someone should get you two do take some tests.

I am a political philosopher. I am not smarter than Peterson, he's got 8 or 9 IQ points on me. But I am saner and more truthful than him.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 05, 2018 2:17 PM  

The OP offers a fair summation ofphilosophical Pragmatism. Yes, it is that crazy. Its basis is a few 19th century intellectuals giving up on epistomology and saying, as Chesterton might have put it "Who cares what is? What matters is what we do!"

I think the OP is correct that that's what Peterson was incompetently trying to argue in the Harris debate. He may even have believed it at the time.

I get the sense that Peterson has no philosophical core.

Y babbled;
"You're not a real philosopher, and if you think you're smarter than Peterson, well... "
Vox has said multiple times he thinks Peterson is smarter than he is.

Blogger Dave May 05, 2018 2:20 PM  

Y. wrote:Nevertheless, this is entertaining. I believe Vox, while being highly intelligent, has some sort of literal-mindedness that makes him incapable of believing anything that is paradoxical or accepting anything he doesn't seem to get quickly. In short, I believe he lacks intellectual humility.

Nevertheless this is all highly entertaining to watch.


It's more entertaining watching as a commenter that twice in one post said "Nevertheless, this is entertaining" attempts to lecture Vox.

Blogger Beau May 05, 2018 2:28 PM  

I get the sense that Peterson has no philosophical core.

There is no there there.

Blogger Mr. Deficient May 05, 2018 2:46 PM  

Also, I'm not sure if JBP rejects the world of things in of itself, but states that it is more relevant to our lives to focus on the world as action. The unacceptance of a universal objective world that we can accurately perceive is very old and is the main objection that led to post modernism. Kant's phenomenol and noumenal have even been used by people like DeSouza as a defense of religion.

Pragmatism tries to solve this dilemma so that we can atleast do things. Like JBP and Molyneux, if it fails atleast it tried. What we need is an way to show that either we can perceive the "real world" or that we don't need to.

I do admit to being a philosophical dunce though, so if I get smacked down for a fools speculation it is well deserved

Blogger kurt9 May 05, 2018 2:50 PM  

Jordan Peterson is confusing science with technology. Jordan is really talking about technology, not science.

Blogger Getsu May 05, 2018 2:56 PM  

VD wrote:[I am not smarter than Peterson but I am saner than him.]

That's not saying much...

I think it's worth reposting a link to the Current Affairs article: The Intellectual We Deserve. If you can't be bothered reading the whole thing, just read Peterson's letter to his father when he was writing Maps of Meaning: Thank you for doing my income tax returns.

The guy is nuts. He's a walking, talking psychologist's thesaurus, sputtering self-evident truths couched in a heap of mumbo jumbo.

Blogger great_o'rety May 05, 2018 4:16 PM  

Phelps wrote:Honestly, this defense isn't fair to Peterson
Read the damn interview first. Then tell us it's not a fair defense.

Blogger single-digit May 05, 2018 4:29 PM  

John C. Wright has thrown his hat into the ring.

http://www.scifiwright.com/2018/05/john-anderson-jordan-peterson/#disqus_thread

Blogger David Olsen May 05, 2018 4:52 PM  

Getsu,

Thanks very much for posting the link to "The Intellectual We Deserve".

It was very well-written and helpful.

Blogger John May 05, 2018 5:00 PM  

I was a casual fan of Peterson, but the Sam Harris podcast ended that. A man who believes that truth is whatever leads to "ethical good" and an unfortunate truth is therefore "not sufficiently true" obviously can't be relied upon to tell you the truth.

Blogger John Deer May 05, 2018 5:04 PM  

John C. Wright on the Harris interview with JBP from above link:

Defend? There is nothing here to defend. Peterson is speaking as a psychiatrist, not as a philosopher. From the psychiatric point of view, the literal truth is meaningless unless and until it effects the person perceiving it, touches his soul, makes him more fit or less fit to deal with the issues in his life.

"It was fairly obvious that Harris subscribes to a Correspondence theory of truth, whereas Peterson subscribes to a pragmatist version of the Coherence theory of truth. "

Pshaw. Nonsense. Read what he said again. When Peterson speaks of 'higher truth' he is using religious language and making a religious point, whether he knows it or not. Peterson is using the word truth in the older, non-scientific meaning, as we would speak about an oath or a wife or a sword being 'true' if they do not betray us.

What Peterson is saying is no more and no less than what the Null-A philosophy (subjective perception is influenced both by literal reality and by the psychology of the organism) that was popularized by A.E. van Vogt, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, Alfred Korzybski.

It in nowise asserts the non-being of literal reality. It says the map is not the territory, the word is not the thing it represent.

Come, now. This is contemptible. Do you really think Dr. Peterson, as careful and thoughtful as he is in his speech, can be undermined or libeled by a mere semantic argument?

Blogger Cloom Glue May 05, 2018 5:19 PM  

@51 That last paragraph of his letter is interesting.

It could be a nonsense letter, but I speculate he got the implication of being born again in the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ and he rejected it and decided to get his comfort elsewhere. He did not say that is what happened.

I am informed speculating because plainly he does say "lack of faith is a comfort" to him, and truth breaks that false comfort. What truth breaks it? He says it is something dark and more painful to him than his "lack of faith false comfort".

The Holy Spirit mind, born again, is a different way of being in the world, and it is derived from sorrow for sin and penance. Sin is the comfortable mind, in the world and of the world. I think Jordan was/is experimenting with everything but the right path, because he discovered he could. Most people don't do that. Now he is thirty years older. He sounds the same as at twenty-four.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 05, 2018 5:19 PM  

John Deer wrote:Do you really think Dr. Peterson, as careful and thoughtful as he is in his speech,
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
He's sloppy, vague, emotive and as near as I can tell, deliberately ambivalent in virtually everything he says.

Blogger Shawn Hetherington May 05, 2018 5:43 PM  

@53, Thanks for the link single-digit. Awesome discussion!!

Cheers. :)

Blogger tublecane May 05, 2018 6:06 PM  

@21- I don't know exactly how faithful this defense is to True Petersonism, but you know postmodernism is not the only firm of reality-denial. Pragmatists, existentialist, Jung-type mystics, and existentialists do it, too .And Peterson's thought is a stew of those ingredients.

I'm not sure he's not postmodern, at least a bit, despite claiming not to be. He takes deconstruction way too seriously, for instance.

Blogger Were-Puppy May 05, 2018 6:07 PM  

If he doesn't believe things exist outside his own mind, does that mean if he sticks his head in the sand Vox will disappear?

Blogger VD May 05, 2018 6:07 PM  

Defend? There is nothing here to defend. Peterson is speaking as a psychiatrist, not as a philosopher. From the psychiatric point of view, the literal truth is meaningless unless and until it effects the person perceiving it, touches his soul, makes him more fit or less fit to deal with the issues in his life.

Mr. Wright is far from the only one to fall for this obvious little dodge. Elsewhere, he has stated that he is doing philosophy, perhaps even theology.

Blogger tublecane May 05, 2018 6:07 PM  

@60- Sorry, one of those was supposed to be proto-existentialists.

Blogger Gunnar Thalweg May 05, 2018 6:40 PM  

There are some ideas that I find really slippery.

They usually seem to be motivated by an extreme opposition to another idea, or to expand the definition of an idea to the point of absurdity. Same-sex marriage, for example, doesn't really say what marriage is ... and why it's so important to both keep the original meaning and change it at the same time. Similarly, the transgender stuff really makes no sense to me because there's no need to change categories when you're breaking the categories. If anyone can self-identify as a woman, then there's no category called "woman" because it has no essential characteristics.

This coherence theory (a new term to me) is another thing that makes no sense.

Here we have either Kant (or was it Hume) basically asking how can you know what's outside your sense organs ... how do you know that what they describe matches reality?

It's an extremely compelling set of arguments, but IMHO, once you posit sense organs, you posit the rest of the material world. It seems contradictory to say, well, my sense organs could be deceiving me about the rest of the world, when you really have no way, as a mind thinking, to grant that you are using a brain to think and sense organs to experience unless you posit a physical world.

My explanation is unclear. It seems to me that once you grant a brain and sense organs, which you only know through your brain and sense organs, you have no way to arbitrarily draw a line between "I believe I have a brain and sense organs that allow me to sense and understand a physical world" and "I have a brain and sense organs that allow me to know themselves with accuracy, but not a physical world with accuracy." Even though all of us saw the same thing when we landed men on the moon.

Which is why JP is saying nonsense like "run away from a bear." You are granting it's a danger, which means you are trying to have it both ways.

It's a slippery concept.

As a rule, I only engage in argument (or dialectic, if you prefer) with people who grant a few things ... (1) our mind and sense correspond to a reality that exists independent of what anyone things about it, (2) that language is capable of conveying meaning that's real, and (3) in my case, you also have to be pro-life. (Pro-life is a no-brainer and if you can't get that one on your own, we'll just go in circles. Pro-life also aligns the rest of the working model for your metaphysics. There are gaps in all of our models for determining the nature of reality; it's the human condition--how you fill in those gaps are at least partially what you get judged for in the end, IMHO.)

Blogger Azure Amaranthine May 05, 2018 7:06 PM  

If the quoted apologia is correct, IMO it would seem that JP has bought so much into the cultural juxtaposition of truth with facts that he has, instead of separating the two, decided that there is no truth.

Following that he immediately applied a debatably sane utilization of facts. No so coincidentally, an entirely insane utilization of truth, however.

Blogger Zeke OF Confettii May 05, 2018 7:15 PM  

I pray for his soul.

Blogger Were-Puppy May 05, 2018 7:29 PM  

@19 The Deuce
what exists outside of one’s own mind is not knowable.

Do I need to be the guy who points out that this is a claim about what exists outside the mind, and is therefore unknowable by its own standard?
---

If what is outside the mind is unknowable, then how does PBJ even know he is talking to real people, and not figments of his mind?

Blogger maniacprovost May 05, 2018 7:36 PM  

What we need is an way to show that either we can perceive the "real world" or that we don't need to.

Materialism achieved this centuries ago.

1. {Insert Descartes' discourse here}

2. Well, it looks real enough, so let's go with that

Blogger vanderleun May 05, 2018 7:48 PM  

This Vox envy is really getting highly obsessive.

Blogger tublecane May 05, 2018 7:56 PM  

@56- Wow, didn't know Wright was such a sucker.

But I guess if Peterson is speaking as a psychia-whatever instead of as a philosopher, Wright is speaking as a sci-fi author instead of an honest critic. And I must admit there is literary potential in the Peterson view of reality.

Blogger S. Misanthrope May 05, 2018 8:04 PM  

Watch his interviews from a year ago and it’s obvious he did not know how to do this before. He’s put a lot of work into getting good at this very recently.

Blogger VD May 05, 2018 8:13 PM  

This Vox envy is really getting highly obsessive.

That didn't work for Myers fans, Harris fans, or Scalzi fans. Why do you think it will work for you?

I don't envy the man in any way, shape, or form. He's had a horrible life. My childhood best friend is alive and well. His childhood best friend smelled really bad and committed suicide after moving in with him and his wife.

And no amount of money or fame would be worth what he had to experience as a father. Despite my contempt for the man and my concerns about his philosophy, I do feel pity for him as well. He believes life is suffering because his life has been full of suffering.

Blogger TypingJourneyman May 05, 2018 8:35 PM  

I hate it when people criticize Vox. Vox is never wrong. I've never seen him argue for something irrational. Everything he argues for is reasonable and cogent.

Jordan Peterson's psychology is based on laziness so of course he's going to view truth in terms of paying prices and expending effort.

Blogger Avalanche May 05, 2018 8:45 PM  

@34 "AH001 is being lettered right now."

Whoot whoot whoot whoot! I'm dancin' like a chimp right now!! Can't wait!

Blogger OGRE May 05, 2018 8:46 PM  

@68 maniacprovost

1. Descartes was not a materialist by any means. He was a dualist, a theist, and a Catholic.

2. Pretty much the whole of western philosophy since has been in response to Descartes. Most of that--with a few exceptions such as the Scottish School of Common Sense--has been attempts to escape the prison of skepticism he created in a way that doesn't include God.

Blogger Avalanche May 05, 2018 8:48 PM  

@40 "I believe he lacks intellectual humility."

It ain't braggin' if'n it's true.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 05, 2018 8:48 PM  

maniacprovost wrote:Materialism achieved this centuries ago.
No, no it didn't. Materialism declared the argument moot and walked away.

TypingJourneyman wrote:Vox is never wrong.
Vox is frequently wrong. Vox always clear in what he says, and is never irrational. When you can show Vox he is wrong, he will not only admit it, but thank you.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 05, 2018 8:51 PM  

OGRE wrote:Pretty much the whole of western philosophy since has been in response to Descartes.
Pretty much the entirely of Western Philosophy for the last 400 years has been a futile attempt to discredit Aquinas.

Blogger VD May 05, 2018 8:58 PM  

Vox is never wrong.

Oh, I most certainly am. The cost of my failures and mistakes can literally be measured in the billions.

Blogger maniacprovost May 05, 2018 9:08 PM  

What we need is an way to show that either we can perceive the "real world" or that we don't need to.

Materialism achieved this centuries ago.

No, no it didn't. Materialism declared the argument moot and walked away.


Declaring the argument moot WAS the achievement. The only way to win is not to play.

Blogger maniacprovost May 05, 2018 9:13 PM  

Descartes was not a materialist by any means.

Sigh.

Pretty much the whole of western philosophy since has been in response to Descartes.

Rightfully so... "Je pense nonce je suis" is the foundational axiom of all philosophy, or should be. Granted there are lots of philosophies like JP's that take the wrong lesson from it or studiously ignore it or oppose it from pure contrarianism.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 05, 2018 9:21 PM  

maniacprovost wrote:Rightfully so... "Je pense nonce je suis" is the foundational axiom of all philosophy, or should be.
I think therefore I am, is a dodge. I replaces one assumption for another, rather than assuming, as Aquinas did, existence itself, Descartes assumes the validity of the internal perception of thought. Neither is provable.

Blogger maniacprovost May 05, 2018 9:25 PM  

But if the internal perception of thought isn't valid, no further reasoning is possible or fruitful.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 05, 2018 9:28 PM  

If existence is not valid, no further reasoning is possible.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 05, 2018 9:29 PM  

Actually "I think therefore I am" has 3 embedded assumptions. Can you spot them?

Blogger maniacprovost May 05, 2018 9:30 PM  

Before any JP fans have to run to Google, Je pense donc je suis was the original text meaning "I think therefore I am."

You can blame the nonce on autocorrect or my lack of French.

Blogger maniacprovost May 05, 2018 9:38 PM  

The first assumption is that the linear experience of time reflects actual processes taking place.

Personally, I believe that past, present and future coexist next to each other in spacetime. It's not really controversial, but no one believes it.

The next assumption is that the observed thought process is being carried out by the observer, and not some third party. Perhaps "I" am a parasite watching the thoughts of the person I think I am, and belobel I am the one thinking because I have no other experiences.

Then there is the belief that this thought process is mutable, meaning free will exists, although I don't think that assumption is really relevant.

Even if time is frozen, and I am a parasite observing the deterministic "thoughts" of a robot, that would still prove my existence.

If I don't exist, why would that matter? It seems like I do which is, per materialism, good enough.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 05, 2018 9:51 PM  

1) Existence. The sticking point, that everybody has been trying to get around for centuries, the old Scholastic presumption of "ens". They've been trying to get around it because, as Aquinas showed quite conclusively, "Give me ens, and I will give you Christ."
2) The existence of "I". Yes, Descartes begs the question. His premise, "I think" presumes "I" exists, which is what he sets out to prove. He might as well have said "Je suis, donc je suis."
3) "I think", the perception of thought is valid. There is no way to prove, demonstrate or even argue this. It is merely assumed.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 05, 2018 9:53 PM  

maniacprovost wrote:If I don't exist, why would that matter? It seems like I do which is, per materialism, good enough.
Any sort of garbage is good enough for Materialism, the land of just so stories, puffed up idiots and disdain for actual philosophy.

Blogger maniacprovost May 05, 2018 10:07 PM  

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
An axiom is a proposition in mathematics and epistemology that is taken to be self-evident.

Axiom - Wikipedia
An axiom or postulate is a statement that is taken to be true, to serve as a premise or starting point for further reasoning and arguments.

This is quite literally the case with I think therefore I am- it is a premise or starting point for further arguments. It is taken to be self evidently true without proof.

It's not that it was chosen arbitrarily- there is plenty of valid reasoning and evidence in support of it. I don't know if you are missing the point or disagree with it, but
His premise, "I think" presumes "I" exists, which is what he sets out to prove.
Not really. It's not meant to be a logical syllogism that way. He observes thinking that appears to be his, and therefore concludes that he exists. He then examines that conclusion in various ways and decides it's a good conclusion.

If he said, "I observe thinking, therefore I exist," maybe that would be more accurate, but does it make any difference?

Blogger OGRE May 05, 2018 10:16 PM  

The biggest issue with Cogito Ergo Sum is that it transfers the determiner of truth from the divine to the personal. I don't think even Descartes realized what he had done. What is true is what I can convince myself is true, not what God has made to be true or led me to accept as true. Thus he shifted the determination of truth to human reason rather than divine revelation.

Blogger Meng Greenleaf May 05, 2018 10:44 PM  

Peterson stood up to the word police. It's a sad day when this one mad professor alone had the tenacity to do so again the barrage of SJW hate.

That aside, these snowflake's seem to be missing the point: Peterson put an idea out their. It is now appropriate to shred this idea. This is a part of the scientific process. Who, what or why is utterly inconsequential.

VOX decided it was worth his time - you should be thanking him for taking the time instead whinging and whining like little children. You didn't. I wouldn't. VOX did. Be grateful.

Blogger Meng Greenleaf May 05, 2018 10:46 PM  

Also, if you are in the least bit interested in epistemology you may even learn something. I hope to.

Blogger tz May 05, 2018 11:24 PM  

Maps of Meaning will probably not show how to get to the "truth" even with a GPS.

Truth, especially its empirical subset, Reality is what you can't get rid of and ignore or deny at your peril.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 05, 2018 11:25 PM  


This is quite literally the case with I think therefore I am- it is a premise or starting point for further arguments. It is taken to be self evidently true without proof
How is 'I think' more self-evident than 'I am'? Or more self-evident than Thomas' 'ens'?
'I observe thinking' also presupposes 'I am', 'I may be said to observe' as well as 'there is a thing we may call existence'.

Descartes was not a bad thinker, but this particular formulation is useless.

Blogger tublecane May 06, 2018 12:01 AM  

@85- "I think, therefore I am" comes from an attempt to answer the question: "is it possible to be tricked into thinking you exist when you actually do not?" The answer is no. You must exist in order to be the target of a trick.

Now, Descartes extends that bit of reasoning, through his own base experience of thinking, to the knowledge that he in fact exists. Call that an assumption if you like, but is primal awareness of consciousness an assumption, really?

Descartes only needed to trust this apperception, this primal feeling of awareness, then the rest of the Cogito follows. No further assumption required.

If you are aware of something, or in other words thinking, you exist. That's self-evident, given knowledge of the meaning of existence, thinking, "therefore," and "to be."

Blogger tublecane May 06, 2018 12:05 AM  

@91- Basically any human reasoning whatsoever, including Christian apologetics, is going inevitably to do that.

Unless your philosophical system consists of a series of statements followed by "because God said so."

Blogger tublecane May 06, 2018 12:10 AM  

@95- "I think" is not the necessary piece. It could be "I have experience" or "I feel."

You can just assume you exist, but in any case Descartes isn't doing the equivalent of assuming he exists. He's acknowledging that he possesses awareness, which he experiences as I say a sort of primal sense, then proceeds to the fact of existence from it.

"I am aware, therefore I know that I exist, because you cannot be aware of something without existing." Less catchy than Cogito Ergo Sum.

"I have an experience, therefore I am in the realm of experience which is existence. You cannot experience things without existing."

Blogger OGRE May 06, 2018 12:25 AM  

@96 tublecane

Exactly right. Cogito is not so much a deductive proof as it is the expression in language of his inability to doubt his own existence. Because even attempting to doubt his own existence proves that he exists.

Any attempt to formulate any argument will be based on numerous assumptions...the nature of truth, the fact of existence, the validity of the logic system in which the argument is made, etc. Trying to deductively prove any of those types of propositions without first assuming them is futile. Its simply a limitation of our finite ability to reason. This is one place where coherence theory of truth is useful, for we can make judgments about the truthfulness of such foundational assumptions based on the comprehensiveness and coherence of the set of assumptions within a worldview.

My point on Cogito moving the focus to human reason rather than the divine is that it marked a decided shift in the nature of philosophical inquiry from that point onward. And in quite a few ways this has not been for the better, as it has given rise to various humanocentric ideals.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine May 06, 2018 12:28 AM  

"I think therefore I am, is a dodge."

Which is also why it isn't what he actually said.

IIRC the actual quote was something more along the lines of "I can doubt anything, except that I doubt it."

So, basically the Aquinas tactic.

OpenID paulmurray May 06, 2018 12:47 AM  

Peterson's epistemology is nothing new - it think it's "instrumentalism", or "positivism". His ethics faces the question "Why ought we be good"?

Blogger Resident Moron™ May 06, 2018 1:27 AM  

“What if you age and forget your own unique dozens of narratives? What if you confuse one narrative for another? “

Yeah, that’s definitely what happened; he forgot that bears aren’t dangerous and they ate him.

Blogger tublecane May 06, 2018 4:20 AM  

@99- I would put the start of that shift from the divine to the human back a bit to the humanists. Especially considering their dissemination of ancient philosophy, which often had a "man is the measure of all things" perspective.

But the Enlightenment was a bigger deal, and Descartes is a convenient starting line for the navel-gazing philosophy to which we're accustomed.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 06, 2018 4:51 AM  

So, basically the Aquinas tactic.
Except Aquinas was explicit that he was starting with an assumed premise, and that it was unprovable.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine May 06, 2018 8:05 AM  

Agreed, Snidely.

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