Hamilton Institute » Philosophy http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com Smart Content for Smart People Fri, 13 Jun 2014 05:23:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Trust in Freemasonry http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/trust-in-freemasonry/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/trust-in-freemasonry/#comments Mon, 06 May 2013 06:50:21 +0000 udey http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=13633 Trust in Freemasonry
By Ujjwal Dey

Trust is an essential element in each and every relationship. Whether it be a helpless dependent child trusting his parents or a student trusting his teacher or a wife trusting her husband or even a friend trusting his comrade. All relationships are built on trust. This is not limited to personal relationships but also professional ones. For the best businesses thrive on gaining trust of investors, stakeholders, employees and customers. That’s how a brand gets created, an implicit trust in an organisation’s name.

Now how effective is this subtle element of trust in Freemasonry. This is such an ancient and celebrated institution. It is now well-known in so many countries and cities across the world. But earlier when such an information-age didn’t exist, even then Freemasonry had spread far and wide.

I will not talk here about brethren of a Lodge or Constitution trusting each other or even trust between Lodges and Grand Lodges across nationalities. Let me show how glorious the tradition of trust is in Freemasonry.

A candidate is not a brother. He is an outsider looking in at the Lodge with fascination and interest. He has at most met a few or even all brethren of one Lodge where he has applied to join. He doesn’t know the extent of this powerful network of fraternal brothers. How much trust does this candidate put in Freemasonry and in Freemasons?

Let us analyze and scrutinize a candidate. He is an adult male believing in a God and wishes to join off his own freewill. What is his motive to trust strangers in a clearly “strange” institution? We Freemasons proudly say that we make good men better. Indeed this is proven with the very first step of candidate’s contact with a Masonic Lodge. If he is indeed a good man, then he can verify the good stature and generous nature of Masons he comes in contact with. He comes with an open mind. To learn and gain the trust of the new friends he meets for the very first time – when he is introduced to the brethren of the Lodge he wishes to join.

A candidate has but a limited contact with Freemasonry:
1. He has either met a Freemason who informed him about this ancient fellowship, or,
2. He saw a movie or read a book or came across an internet link which got him hunting for Freemasons in his neighbourhood.

So a candidate comes in touch with at least one brother. This brother may then propose him in an Open Lodge. But the candidate’s relationship with the entire Masonic fraternity is attached by the delicate single thread of this proposer. All his hopes and expectations from Freemasonry are tied to this brother. He may subsequently meet other brethren of the Lodge who wish to evaluate the candidate before balloting. But the only Mason the candidate meets more than once is probably the proposer. And then the candidate is given a date and time to come to the Masonic Lodge for his initiation.

What can a layman expect when joining an ancient institution? This candidate is told that he needs to remove his suit and tie and don an attire which looks so bizarre. A hole in the chest, slipshod arm and leg wear. He is told to remove all valuables such as wallet, wristwatch, rings, etc. and then is blindfolded before entering a room he has never seen before. A good man, the candidate, puts his trust in the Tyler. And this Tyler he might have met for the very first time on the day of initiation. He is then led around by the Junior Deacon, another man he doesn’t know nor can see since he is blindfolded. Then the words are spoken from the Eastern Chair by the Worshipful Master – distant and commanding voice, asking the candidate specific questions to which the Junior Deacon prompts answers. This entire setup demands so much blind faith and trust from a candidate on “members” of a Lodge. Then it doesn’t stop there. The rituals unfold. The blindfolded man is asked to kneel, he is then also led around the temple with specific way to square off to turn to walk in another direction. So much pressure and surprise at every minute of the initiation ceremony. Including a binding oath on a book he doesn’t see to verify.

Only a “good man” would have so much virtue to put his trust in a group of “strangers” at the recommendation of one or few Masons he has actually associated with freely.

Isn’t that a small miracle? We talk of faith and beliefs and how it changes people and the world at large. What could be a better example of miracles of faith, human trust and human nature?

So here I conclude this brief article, allowing you to ponder on this sacred initiation ritual with greater awe and reverence. Think about it. Discuss it. Every action of yours outside the Lodge is affecting another human being in this world. If you are a true and just and upright Freemason, you will take charge of your words and actions, so as to not only be virtuous citizen but to also attract the best men to the ancient society of Freemasons.

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The Meditative Mind http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/the-meditative-mind/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/the-meditative-mind/#comments Mon, 06 May 2013 06:26:15 +0000 udey http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=13618 The Meditative Mind
By Ujjwal Dey (Yogacharya)

The first thing my Guru told me was “No one can teach you how to meditate”. And I had travelled and sought him after intense search to seek meditative techniques. There is a lot of truth to His words. For truly, no one can train your brain. That is a task to be accomplished by you alone. If you go to the best of Yoga teachers and seek the simple yet elusive methods to calm the mind, empty thoughts and gain eternal peace – the end result is usually shopping for yet another meditation course/s. For if one man could control another man’s mind, it would be a disruptive and corrupted world. We see this in propaganda and politics. We being seekers of the Ultimate Truth, need to realize first that we can’t control anyone else and others cannot control you. The only control you have is of the Self. So you need to make the effort to discipline your own mind. Your Guru can only guide you. He can’t generate peace, contentment, joy inside your head.

The monkey mind of man (or woman) is not a curse. It is required to be in such a state of flux for a reason. And the reason is survival. For survival is the very basal instinct of man and animal alike. Everything else comes afterwards. So the mind needs to be this mixing bowl of thoughts, ideas, dreams, ambitions, worries, emotions, et al to deal with the material world that surrounds us completely from birth to death. This material world has a term – “Maya”. To survive under the influence of Maya, we need our mind to be in its materialistic state. To transcend materialistic cravings and reach eternal contentment and divine joy, we need to train the mind to be free from Maya and its cues, influences, proddings and persistence.

Yoga has three distinct forms. The Asanas (physical exercises) train the body. A healthy body thus presents a healthy mind. The Dhyana (mental exercises of Yoga) train the mind. And a healthy, disciplined body and mind in turn prepare your spiritual self to excel in spiritual pursuits.

Non-Divisiveness and Separative-Consciousness
The physical body and the subtle body which is the mind is always entangled in sense pleasure. We are conditioned to respond to various sights, smells and sounds. Our physical body reacts to this stimulus. Then even the mental body reacts and obsesses over these stimuli. We not just remain conditioned but become addicted as well. We start craving certain sensations. We derive pleasure from all things material. This sense gratification is a universal human nature. It is intrinsic to our conscious being.

When an infant is born, he is suddenly in presence of the whole wide world. This is an intense stimuli. When the unborn child is in the mother’s womb, it is not self-conscious. It is one with itself. It is a miraculous state of well being and contentment. The unborn child is not concerned with the outside world, with the materialism, the politics, religion, culture, race prejudices. It senses nothing. It is in Samadhi – Divine Consciousness. It is at one with itself. Non-duality. There is no “I”. There is no “me”. The unborn child lacks the ego, the identity and hence is satisfied and free from all Maya (external worldly seductions). Birth is painful. The newborn child cries because he is suddenly cast into separative consciousness. He is now no longer in peace, in Samadhi. He is now thrust into the nature, the Prakriti, the surrounding world with its myriad stimuli and reactions begin. So he cries in agony at this separation from his natural state.

Yes, the Samadhi is the natural state. And when we become self-aware and aware of separation from our external environment, the I, the me, the ego is firmly entrenched in our psyche. Then whatever we do, we do for the ego. For we have identified the physical body and the mental body as the actual constitution of our consciousness. But this is lower form of consciousness. The highest form is the one where there is no divisiveness. No separative consciousness. This lack of non-duality causes great amount of upheavals in our life. Life – it is the sensation of being alive among Prakriti – the surrounding – and this aliveness comes from seeing a separation between the ego (the I) and the environment. We react and respond to the external stimuli. We try to control the external stimuli – whether it be a person or an object or a tree. We are a higher form of animal, a rare breed – a human being. And so when we experience this diverse external stimuli and sense ourselves as separate from everything else – the mind takes over the physical body. The mind objectifies everything. And we demand and desire. We try to feel happy and avoid sadness. We seek pleasure and profit. This divisiveness from the universe is the root of materialistic pursuits and Maya is its name.

Advaitya – non duality – is the single most profound discovery from ancient traditional research and analysis. When we realise this non-duality with the universe, one experiences Samadhi. He reaches a higher state of consciousness. This consciousness does not objectify anyone or anything. This consciousness does not make itself aware of the self, the I, the ego. There is no separation between you and me. The world is in one single self-awareness. This higher form of consciousness is what leads to words such as Moksha, Nirvana, Enlightenment, Salvation. These words are rubbish. Because it again gives us expectations and desires. We start craving and imagining special sensations. We visualise heaven or an abode of God or Kingdom of God. Such material tendencies bring back the separative consciousness. We become seduced by sensations and then there is longing. To rid this conditioned mind entity of such illusions, desperate measures are required. Just as Joy is an existence and Pleasure is an experience, the same way Enlightenment is an existence and (Religious) Rituals are an experience.

Intense meditational techniques have been used to realise Advaitya. The non-duality that makes us whole. One with the universe. In order to know, you have to rid yourself of knowledge. When there is an observer and an object of observation, there will always be duality. If you see without the seer, then there is no objectification. There is no observer and observed. Both are unanimous in existence. This is a state of non-duality. When there is only knowing. No knowledge. Knowing!

So arise and awake and know what you are. A cosmic force just as everything else.

Best Wishes Always,
“Yogacharya” Ujjwal Dey
Join me in the Quest for Truth
http://www.facebook.com/SatyaKiranYoga

About the Author: Ujjwal Dey is a Founder Member of Satya Kiran Yoga. He offers Tantrik solutions to whosoever desires a spiritual solution to a problem. All matters are kept confidential and private. There is no minimum or maximum fee for the services. You could give him one cent or one apple or one flower as fees for Tantrik services – but you have to “give” something. Call +91 9322005050

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Chakras, Kundalini, Tantra and Mantra http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/chakras-kundalini-tantra-and-mantra/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/chakras-kundalini-tantra-and-mantra/#comments Sun, 05 May 2013 10:56:47 +0000 udey http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=13393 There have been so many messengers from the East to the West. Yet all their ancient wit and wisdom gets lost in translation.  For example, now Americans want to throw out Yoga from schools and communities claiming it promotes Hinduism and pagan behaviour. Meditation is being ostracized for taking Americans away from Jesus Christ.

Well first of all Yoga was and is always promoted as a Science. Okay it is not meeting the exact parameters of Western allopathy. But it is a Science of Indian culture. Secondly, Hinduism is not a religion. There is no single Holy Book in Hinduism. There are 4 Vedas, dozens of Upanishads and Puranas, people chant Bhagvad Gita and Ramayana also for enlightenment. And Vedas don’t say every answer is in it. Instead Vedas is the only Holy text in world’s religions which says that the text is meant for beginners only and the student needs to go beyond all these texts. There is no single God for Hindus. There are many Gods, then there are demi-gods, saints, sages, rishis, avatars, angels, god-men, etc. Hindus don’t have a single universal method of worship nor a single universal prayer. There are innumerable Mantras, chants, Bhajans, devotional songs, sayings, prayers which are different for different Gods, prayers which differ for the same God in different regions of India. Ganesha is worshiped differently in Maharashtra from Tamil Nadu state worshipers. Shiva is different for North India whereas in South India he is Dakshineshwar. Hanuman is popular with North India. Krishna popular in Western states of Guajarat and Rajasthan. Durga is worshipped in Gujarat but her different version called Kali is worshipped in East in Bengal. Vishnu is not Rama or Krishna in Tamil Nadu. Some Hindus are pure vegetarians. Some eat meat. Bramhins in Bengal and Kerala eat meat and offer it to the Gods as well. Aghori sect which eats human meat from dead bodies in cremation grounds are also Hindus.

So Hinduism is not at all a religion. It is a way of life.

There are not just 6 or 12 Chakras. There are numerous chakras because these are nerve centers which influence your body, mind and soul. The 6 Chakras from bottom of spinal cord to the medulla oblangata are more significant than the many others in between the same distance. Below the spine are the chakras that give us animal behaviour. Spinal cord onwards we have chakras that elevate us from animal to human to God consciousness.

Kundalini need not be activated by some special exercise or some Siddh Guru. Some great men and women have active Kundalini from birth itself. Some acquire it without pursuing it because of their good Karma and innate spiritual nature. An atheist may also have an active Kundalini because it is a factual property in the human body and not something esoteric attained by soliciting favours from some specific God. Yoga and Vedic practices done knowingly or un-knowingly will lead to such Kundalini Awakening in any human person of any belief or race.

Mantras need to be pronounced specifically and loudly so that they effect your surrounding atmosphere. Just as certain noises irritate us and certain noises are music for us. Similarly, Mantras are powerful words, which pronounced correctly and loudly change the person and his surroundings.

Tantra  is the very physical practice of all the above along with divine witness such as fire and/or water.

About the Author: Ujjwal Dey is a Founder Member of Satya Kiran Yoga. He offers Tantrik solutions to whosoever desires a spiritual solution to a problem. All matters are kept confidential and private. There is no minimum or maximum fee for the services. You could give him one cent or one apple or one flower as fees for Tantrik services – but you have to “give” something. Call +91 9322005050

Join me in the Quest for Truth
http://www.facebook.com/SatyaKiranYoga

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Cure or Poison? The binding precedents in the Brazilian legal system. http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/cure-or-poison-the-binding-precedents-in-the-brazilian-legal-system/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/cure-or-poison-the-binding-precedents-in-the-brazilian-legal-system/#comments Thu, 24 Nov 2011 17:25:07 +0000 admin http://hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=233 This article aims to assess the succinct manner the profound changes in the Brazilian legal culture caused by the introduction of binding precedents (stare decisis) in the Brazilian legal system.

Initially, it should be said that this work is also a relief, a lawyer who cares to study the legal system of a country is faced with a series of absurdities resulting from innovations that are not good either for law enforcement professionals nor for the people whom we serve.

The Brazilian legal system follows the Roman – Germanic tradition, different systems American or English, which follow the so-called common law. The main difference between these types of law is that the Brazilian system (traditionally followed by other Latin American countries, continental Europe and the U.S. state of Louisiana), there is prevalence of law prior written and generally, where there are very important collections laws, such as codes (Codex). But the English system has repeated decisions in similar cases tried in courts, called precedents, the main source of law. There are laws in countries in the system of common law, previous decisions as there are in Brazil (called case law), but it is important to set what is the main source where lawyers will seek out material to interpret the law properly.

Within the English system, is common and routinely called stare decisis, which in a simple explanation, means that a court is obliged to judge the way a certain type of court case, and oblige all judges are subordinate to it , to judge the same way. This way of working is acceptable in a system where the previous judicial decisions are the main sources of law, and where there are many laws that take care of many different cases.

However, that principle has not been unique in English-speaking countries and Anglo-Saxon culture, and has become more common in other countries, especially Brazil.

The Supreme Court of Brazil, called “Supremo Tribunal Federal” (STF), has adopted a kind of standard very similar to stare decisis, authorized by a recent amendment in the Constitution occurred in 2005, called “súmula vinculante” (which translates as just stare decisis) in which the court after judge like cases, publish a regulation that requires all judges and public administrators in the country to interpret a particular provision in a single direction, under penalty of accountability or at least the decision be overturned by the court. Under the eye of a reader of English origin, such a rule would not be wrong (in contrast, is totally correct). However, within the Brazilian legal culture, this decision hurts all the legal and the institutions they seek to defend the law is correctly applied.

Brazil, as noted, is a country where the law takes precedence. This can be measured both in the history of the country and in the set of laws, and only at the federal level there are almost twenty thousand laws, not counting state and local laws. The use of law in Brazil as a source of law is also necessary for reasons of legitimacy. In Brazil, as in other democratic countries, senior public administrators and legislators are directly elected by the people, and even many politicians are not the most qualified people to draw up laws, they are in the legislative houses for universal suffrage. Since the judges, unlike in Brazil are not elected. To become judges, law graduates provide a public trial, if approved and follow a career in their respective courts, with few exceptions, which did not pass by a vote of the people. In countries of English origin, by contrast, it is common for judges are elected in their localities, and in some other situations, members of high courts may be removed by the rulers – who are elected by the people.

The constitution of Brazil, by allowing judges to issue binding precedents of the Supreme Court created a solution – greater agility trials, as is common in Brazil repetitive legal cases, where thousands of claims are identical. However, it created a bigger problem than the solution, which was to diminish the independence of judges in the law. In the Brazilian system has always been present the principle of free conviction motivated judges, so that the judge was always bound to the law – created by the legitimate representatives of the people – and your conscience, which interprets the law before the case. Currently, with the binding precedent, the judges have their autonomy limited not by law but by the understanding of other judges, appearing in Brazil’s attempt to create real “judges Hercules” as saying the American jurist Ronald Dworkin, but in fact authorized the dictatorship of the robe, where judges without the approval ratings are saying in general and unrestricted what is right and wrong.

This option by linking all the previous legal decisions of the supreme court is exclusively the Brazilian certainly decrease of cases to be judged by the Brazilian courts. It is known that the active judges in Brazil are not sufficient to support all of the trials efficiently. However, rather than decrease the number of cases on the subject of judicial independence and sovereignty in legislative matters of legitimate elected representatives of the people – essential in a democratic country – other solutions could be found, such as increasing the number of judges and closer relations between the people and the judgments, as with the creation of judges responsible for smaller communities – as a specific number of judges for each district, even if the increase in the number of judges actually cause an unwanted by all members of the courts – reducing the salaries of judges, who earn on average $ 20,000.00 ($ 10,000.00) per month!

In Brazil, there is a popular saying that “the difference between medicine and poison is the amount to be applied to the patient”. In this case, the search for a cure (faster trials and decrease the work load) is killing judicial independence and the Brazilian legal system.

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David Hilbert 23 Problems Blaise Pascal Number http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/david-hilbert-23-problems-blaise-pascal-number/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/david-hilbert-23-problems-blaise-pascal-number/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2011 06:29:26 +0000 admin http://hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=9 Hilbert’s Mathematical Problems
Table of contents
(The actual text is on a separate page.)

Introduction.
(Philosophy of problems, relationship between mathematics and science, role of proofs, axioms and formalism.) Précis 1
Problem 1.
Cantor’s problem of the cardinal number of the continuum. (The continuum hypothesis.) Number 1 K. Gödel. The consistency of the axiom of choice and of the generalized continuum hypothesis.Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, 1940.
Problem 2.
The compatibility of the arithmetical axioms. Number 2
Problem 3.
The equality of two volumes of two tetrahedra of equal bases and equal altitudes. Number 3 V. G. Boltianskii.Hilbert’s Third ProblemWinston, Halsted Press, Washington, New York, 1978.
C. H. Sah. Hilbert’s Third Problem: Scissors Congruence. Pitman, London 1979.
Problem 4.
Problem of the straight line as the shortest distance between two points. (Alternative geometries.) Number 4
Problem 5.
Lie’s concept of a continuous group of transformations without the assumption of the differentiability of the functions defining the group. (Are continuous groups automatically differential groups?) Number 5 Montgomery and Zippin. Topological Transformation Groups.Wiley, New York, 1955.
Kaplansky. Lie Algebras and Locally Compact Groups. Chicago Univ. Press, Chicago, 1971.
Problem 6.
Mathematical treatment of the axioms of physics. Number A Leo Corry’s article “Hilbert and the Axiomatization of Physics (1894-1905)” in the research journalArchive for History of Exact Sciences, 51 (1997).
Problem 7.
Irrationality and transcendence of certain numbers. Number B N.I.Feldman. Hilbert’s seventh problem (in Russian), Moscow state Univ, 1982, 312pp. MR85b:11001
Problem 8.
Problems of prime numbers. (The distribution of primes and the Riemann hypothesis.) Number C
Problem 9.
Proof of the most general law of reciprocity in any number field. Number D
Problem 10.
Determination of the solvability of a diophantine equation. Number E S. Chowla. The Riemann Hypothesis and Hilbert’s Tenth Problem. Gordon and Breach, New York, 1965.
Yu. V. Matiyasevich.Hilbert’s Tenth Problem. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts,1993, available on the web.
Maxim Vsemirnov’s Hilbert’s Tenth Problem page at the Steklov Institute of Mathematics at St.Petersburg.
Problem 11.
Quadratic forms with any algebraic numerical coefficients. Number F
Problem 12.
Extension of Kroneker’s theorem on abelian fields to any algebraic realm of rationality. Number G R.-P. Holzapfel. The Ball and Some Hilbert Problems. Springer-Verlag, New York, 1995.
Problem 13.
Impossibility of the solution of the general equation of the 7-th degree by means of functions of only two arguments. (Generalizes the impossibility of solving 5-th degree equations by radicals.) Number H
Problem 14.
Proof of the finiteness of certain complete systems of functions. Number I Masayoshi Nagata.Lectures on the fourteenth problem of Hilbert. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bombay, 1965.
Problem 15.
Rigorous foundation of Schubert’s enumerative calculus. Number J
Problem 16.
Problem of the topology of algebraic curves and surfaces. Number K Yu. Ilyashenko, and S. Yakovenko, editors.Concerning the Hilbert 16th problem.American Mathematical Society, Providence, R.I., 1995.
B.L.J. Braaksma, G.K. Immink, and M. van der Put, editors. The Stokes Phenomenon and Hilbert’s 16th Problem.World Scientific, London, 1996.
Problem 17.
Expression of definite forms by squares. Number L
Problem 18.
Building up of space from congruent polyhedra. (n-dimensional crystallography groups, fundamental domains, sphere packing problem.) Number M
Comments
on the theory of analytic functions. Number N
Problem 19.
Are the solutions of regular problems in the calculus of variations always necessarily analytic? Number
Problem 20.
The general problem of boundary values. (Variational problems.) Number
Problem 21.
Proof of the existence of linear differential equations having a prescribed monodromic group. Number
Problem 22.
Uniformization of analytic relations by means of automorphic functions. Number
Problem 23.
Further development of the methods of the calculus of variations. Number
Final comments.
Précis 2

 

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The “free” Free Thinker http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/the-free-free-thinker/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/the-free-free-thinker/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2011 06:25:42 +0000 admin http://hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=6 Exposure point of view arguing that free thinking is not just innovate and counter the prevailing thoughts, but to expose the free thinker also can reasonably bind to any point of view, even the religious.

From the moment I started to develop my own views on the world, began to have my own ideas, always influenced by my experience or the empirical knowledge that I have been previously transmitted in several ways.

Because I do not stick necessarily to a current of thought, I like to consider myself a free thinker. Free thinker in the sense that I express my views freely, according to my opinion. However, after a little research on the Internet, I realized that the existing criteria I could not be a free thinker.

Looking on Wikipedia, I find the best search engine of knowledge, I found that the entry of free thinkers on the topic was related to atheism … At the same time I thought “why?”. I am openly Christian and have a tendency of conservative right, and I now realize that only can be considered free thinkers those of atheistic socialist tendencies.

However, this classification completely mischaracterizes the very concept that emerges from the term freethinker. The free thinker is just one that has their own opinions on the issues that surround it. The free thinking is one in which you issue an opinion on a particular point of view, even if you agree with him. In my case, for example, I’ma fan of the proposals of Christ from the Catholic interpretation, but I’m not in any way, but after considering this proposal I saw that this was the best, for example, regarding the proposed Protestant or Islamic. I do not adhere to my faith blindly, and do not advise anyone to do it this way because the reason does not exclude faith. Instead, they can and must go together.

The free thinker also has the right to change their views. In my case, for example, always had a political point of view of the center-left, particularly the training I had during school and university, and even through my contacts as an agent made ​​pastoral ministry of the Catholic Church was long . However, for some time now, after further studies in politics, history and philosophy, saw the proposed liberal, turned to socialism, is flawed, and defend, not glamorous, but based on political beliefs (and who read other texts see my my reasons), that the best system of government to Brazil would be the Parliamentary Monarchy.

All my opinions, positions and writings, I repeat, are the result of reflections that I have throughout life, without which nothing had been imposed on me. Instead, if I had strictly followed the tenets that I have been imposed, I would have been Kardecist, and leftist Republican, and these positions diametrically opposed to those which I freely embraced, after thinking carefully about these positions and options. So just because I chose to be Catholic, monarchist and conservative, let I be a free thinker?

I believe, for example, that the papal determinations must be obeyed by Catholics, not “because”, but for deeper reasons, among which the religious unity of the church body, which results in a reliable source of the message sent by Christ (the Magisterium), which in turn exposed the means to live fully in this world. Even though I do not agree with something, at first, I know that in certain situations my point of view will not be the best for my practical experience, for I do not relate only to me and live in society. The example is deeper than what I say here, but do not write more at the risk of distorting the focus.

Within this framework, we see that the classification of free-thinker as he turned to atheism is also a contradiction in terms, because if you link the freethinking necessarily the condition is not theistic, it would be holding another kind of dogma, which would be the negative religious dogma. Thus, free thinker would not be really free, because they would find the idea of the divine something transcendentally true, it would lose its status.

n my humble – but free and thinking – point of view, free thinker, yes, you can believe in a divine power or align with views that already exist. What characterizes him is his freedom to speak without fear of being retaliated against their positions, and that is not related to simply repeat what others have spoken before. My Formation is primary juridical, and we suffer through this with a certain complex of “ctrl + c”, “ctrl + v” in our performance. The lawyer sends a standard request, the other lawyer or prosecutor send another standard response, the judge makes an order of default, which results in a default statement, ending a sentence in default, that will create a standard feature … until the Supreme Court issued a ruling also standard, and finally create a precedent against which one can never rise up! Of course, there are exceptions, but this is a great rule. Even though the piece is not strictly legal standard, she is expected to grafting on the previous case, doctrinal quotes, overviews, parts of other previous pieces.

My question is: if I already know the law, and have experience with the legal logic (science neglected in university seats) because I can not just cite the law (without doing it ipse litteris), narrate the case of dialectics to lead the way judgmental or consultant, in the case of opinions, a conclusion logically constructed. It’s simple: thesis, antithesis and synthesis, the major premise, minor premise and conclusion (that the course receives the names of legal facts, arguments and conclusion). But this is unfortunately not used. I agree that legally can not be totally free to think, because we find ourselves tied to normative devices lawfully made​​, and we have to “play by the rules” otherwise disrupt society. But only because I cannot use rules as those that were legitimately made? Because I have to cite scholars, and even if the quote because I have to link to what they think? Because I have to link my legal expression to the ballast to the view that a court is not legitimate to innovate on the right, and just interpret the rules in force legitimate?

If I do not have this freedom, otherwise you will have an application rejected in court or administratively rejected an opinion, then I will not have a free thought. I’m not saying here that all I speak or write (including these lines) will be right, on the contrary, I often am and be wrong. But if I have a position in legally and logically structured argument from authority is valid, I need to be countered with the same reasoning. Using an argument from authority illegitimate, as “the position of the court is in another sense” or “so and so, counselor, believes otherwise” is not valid.

Leaving the legal field, I believe that free thinking does not exclude the thought arose before. Because it’s a lie, the most blatant and rugged, the free thinker always exposes something new and unconnected to previous thinking. There is totally free thought, because our value judgments are always in some way contaminated with retrograde our experiences, however they are neurotic and schizophrenic. The most we can do the thinking on the subject is to seek to know the most, but never completely happen. If we evaluate the views of previous thinkers, we find that none brought something totally new – not even Christ has brought everything from scratch, because as he said he came not to change even a comma of the law thought the alleged opening, you want to innovate everything around you – which is not so original – is a revolutionary thought, always used pro followers of socialist views, and these gentlemen when they come to power as they wish, with revolutions always end up causing more misery than good . So in addition to lying, it is impossible to say that free thinking is not associated with any point of view. Simply stating that the person links to a thought, as already expressed, socialist-communist, in particular the cultural Marxism preaches.

Therefore, we conclude, according to my opinion that no one is obliged to follow, but only to reflect, that the free thinker is one who has their own opinions, yes, but he has the freedom to adhere to one or another school of thought, since it agrees with it rationally, having knowledge of the arguments that led to this, and learn to expose their thoughts and conclusions logically empty with no arguments from authority.

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The “free” Free Thinker http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/the-free-free-thinker-2/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/the-free-free-thinker-2/#comments Mon, 29 Aug 2011 17:17:15 +0000 admin http://hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=230 Exposure point of view arguing that free thinking is not just innovate and counter the prevailing thoughts, but to expose the free thinker also can reasonably bind to any point of view, even the religious.

From the moment I started to develop my own views on the world, began to have my own ideas, always influenced by my experience or the empirical knowledge that I have been previously transmitted in several ways.

Because I do not stick necessarily to a current of thought, I like to consider myself a free thinker. Free thinker in the sense that I express my views freely, according to my opinion. However, after a little research on the Internet, I realized that the existing criteria I could not be a free thinker.

Looking on Wikipedia, I find the best search engine of knowledge, I found that the entry of free thinkers on the topic was related to atheism … At the same time I thought “why?”. I am openly Christian and have a tendency of conservative right, and I now realize that only can be considered free thinkers those of atheistic socialist tendencies.

However, this classification completely mischaracterizes the very concept that emerges from the term freethinker. The free thinker is just one that has their own opinions on the issues that surround it. The free thinking is one in which you issue an opinion on a particular point of view, even if you agree with him. In my case, for example, I’ma fan of the proposals of Christ from the Catholic interpretation, but I’m not in any way, but after considering this proposal I saw that this was the best, for example, regarding the proposed Protestant or Islamic. I do not adhere to my faith blindly, and do not advise anyone to do it this way because the reason does not exclude faith. Instead, they can and must go together.

The free thinker also has the right to change their views. In my case, for example, always had a political point of view of the center-left, particularly the training I had during school and university, and even through my contacts as an agent made ​​pastoral ministry of the Catholic Church was long . However, for some time now, after further studies in politics, history and philosophy, saw the proposed liberal, turned to socialism, is flawed, and defend, not glamorous, but based on political beliefs (and who read other texts see my my reasons), that the best system of government to Brazil would be the Parliamentary Monarchy.

All my opinions, positions and writings, I repeat, are the result of reflections that I have throughout life, without which nothing had been imposed on me. Instead, if I had strictly followed the tenets that I have been imposed, I would have been Kardecist, and leftist Republican, and these positions diametrically opposed to those which I freely embraced, after thinking carefully about these positions and options. So just because I chose to be Catholic, monarchist and conservative, let I be a free thinker?

I believe, for example, that the papal determinations must be obeyed by Catholics, not “because”, but for deeper reasons, among which the religious unity of the church body, which results in a reliable source of the message sent by Christ (the Magisterium), which in turn exposed the means to live fully in this world. Even though I do not agree with something, at first, I know that in certain situations my point of view will not be the best for my practical experience, for I do not relate only to me and live in society. The example is deeper than what I say here, but do not write more at the risk of distorting the focus.

Within this framework, we see that the classification of free-thinker as he turned to atheism is also a contradiction in terms, because if you link the freethinking necessarily the condition is not theistic, it would be holding another kind of dogma, which would be the negative religious dogma. Thus, free thinker would not be really free, because they would find the idea of the divine something transcendentally true, it would lose its status.

n my humble – but free and thinking – point of view, free thinker, yes, you can believe in a divine power or align with views that already exist. What characterizes him is his freedom to speak without fear of being retaliated against their positions, and that is not related to simply repeat what others have spoken before. My Formation is primary juridical, and we suffer through this with a certain complex of “ctrl + c”, “ctrl + v” in our performance. The lawyer sends a standard request, the other lawyer or prosecutor send another standard response, the judge makes an order of default, which results in a default statement, ending a sentence in default, that will create a standard feature … until the Supreme Court issued a ruling also standard, and finally create a precedent against which one can never rise up! Of course, there are exceptions, but this is a great rule. Even though the piece is not strictly legal standard, she is expected to grafting on the previous case, doctrinal quotes, overviews, parts of other previous pieces.

My question is: if I already know the law, and have experience with the legal logic (science neglected in university seats) because I can not just cite the law (without doing it ipse litteris), narrate the case of dialectics to lead the way judgmental or consultant, in the case of opinions, a conclusion logically constructed. It’s simple: thesis, antithesis and synthesis, the major premise, minor premise and conclusion (that the course receives the names of legal facts, arguments and conclusion). But this is unfortunately not used. I agree that legally can not be totally free to think, because we find ourselves tied to normative devices lawfully made​​, and we have to “play by the rules” otherwise disrupt society. But only because I cannot use rules as those that were legitimately made? Because I have to cite scholars, and even if the quote because I have to link to what they think? Because I have to link my legal expression to the ballast to the view that a court is not legitimate to innovate on the right, and just interpret the rules in force legitimate?

If I do not have this freedom, otherwise you will have an application rejected in court or administratively rejected an opinion, then I will not have a free thought. I’m not saying here that all I speak or write (including these lines) will be right, on the contrary, I often am and be wrong. But if I have a position in legally and logically structured argument from authority is valid, I need to be countered with the same reasoning. Using an argument from authority illegitimate, as “the position of the court is in another sense” or “so and so, counselor, believes otherwise” is not valid.

Leaving the legal field, I believe that free thinking does not exclude the thought arose before. Because it’s a lie, the most blatant and rugged, the free thinker always exposes something new and unconnected to previous thinking. There is totally free thought, because our value judgments are always in some way contaminated with retrograde our experiences, however they are neurotic and schizophrenic. The most we can do the thinking on the subject is to seek to know the most, but never completely happen. If we evaluate the views of previous thinkers, we find that none brought something totally new – not even Christ has brought everything from scratch, because as he said he came not to change even a comma of the law thought the alleged opening, you want to innovate everything around you – which is not so original – is a revolutionary thought, always used pro followers of socialist views, and these gentlemen when they come to power as they wish, with revolutions always end up causing more misery than good . So in addition to lying, it is impossible to say that free thinking is not associated with any point of view. Simply stating that the person links to a thought, as already expressed, socialist-communist, in particular the cultural Marxism preaches.

Therefore, we conclude, according to my opinion that no one is obliged to follow, but only to reflect, that the free thinker is one who has their own opinions, yes, but he has the freedom to adhere to one or another school of thought, since it agrees with it rationally, having knowledge of the arguments that led to this, and learn to expose their thoughts and conclusions logically empty with no arguments from authority.

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David Hilbert 23 Problems Blaise Pascal Number http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/david-hilbert-23-problems-blaise-pascal-number-2/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/david-hilbert-23-problems-blaise-pascal-number-2/#comments Wed, 13 Jul 2011 19:49:27 +0000 admin http://hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=477 Hilbert’s Mathematical Problems
Table of contents
(The actual text is on a separate page.)

Introduction.
(Philosophy of problems, relationship between mathematics and science, role of proofs, axioms and formalism.) Précis 1
Problem 1.
Cantor’s problem of the cardinal number of the continuum. (The continuum hypothesis.) Number 1 K. Gödel. The consistency of the axiom of choice and of the generalized continuum hypothesis. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, 1940.
Problem 2.
The compatibility of the arithmetical axioms. Number 2
Problem 3.
The equality of two volumes of two tetrahedra of equal bases and equal altitudes. Number 3 V. G. Boltianskii. Hilbert’s Third Problem Winston, Halsted Press, Washington, New York, 1978.
C. H. Sah. Hilbert’s Third Problem: Scissors Congruence. Pitman, London 1979.
Problem 4.
Problem of the straight line as the shortest distance between two points. (Alternative geometries.) Number 4
Problem 5.
Lie’s concept of a continuous group of transformations without the assumption of the differentiability of the functions defining the group. (Are continuous groups automatically differential groups?) Number 5 Montgomery and Zippin. Topological Transformation Groups. Wiley, New York, 1955.
Kaplansky. Lie Algebras and Locally Compact Groups. Chicago Univ. Press, Chicago, 1971.
Problem 6.
Mathematical treatment of the axioms of physics. Number A Leo Corry’s article “Hilbert and the Axiomatization of Physics (1894-1905)” in the research journal Archive for History of Exact Sciences, 51 (1997).
Problem 7.
Irrationality and transcendence of certain numbers. Number B N.I.Feldman. Hilbert’s seventh problem (in Russian), Moscow state Univ, 1982, 312pp. MR 85b:11001
Problem 8.
Problems of prime numbers. (The distribution of primes and the Riemann hypothesis.) Number C
Problem 9.
Proof of the most general law of reciprocity in any number field. Number D
Problem 10.
Determination of the solvability of a diophantine equation. Number E S. Chowla. The Riemann Hypothesis and Hilbert’s Tenth Problem. Gordon and Breach, New York, 1965.
Yu. V. Matiyasevich. Hilbert’s Tenth Problem. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts,1993, available on the web.
Maxim Vsemirnov’s Hilbert’s Tenth Problem page at the Steklov Institute of Mathematics at St.Petersburg.
Problem 11.
Quadratic forms with any algebraic numerical coefficients. Number F
Problem 12.
Extension of Kroneker’s theorem on abelian fields to any algebraic realm of rationality. Number G R.-P. Holzapfel. The Ball and Some Hilbert Problems. Springer-Verlag, New York, 1995.
Problem 13.
Impossibility of the solution of the general equation of the 7-th degree by means of functions of only two arguments. (Generalizes the impossibility of solving 5-th degree equations by radicals.) Number H
Problem 14.
Proof of the finiteness of certain complete systems of functions. Number I Masayoshi Nagata. Lectures on the fourteenth problem of Hilbert. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bombay, 1965.
Problem 15.
Rigorous foundation of Schubert’s enumerative calculus. Number J
Problem 16.
Problem of the topology of algebraic curves and surfaces. Number K Yu. Ilyashenko, and S. Yakovenko, editors. Concerning the Hilbert 16th problem. American Mathematical Society, Providence, R.I., 1995.
B.L.J. Braaksma, G.K. Immink, and M. van der Put, editors. The Stokes Phenomenon and Hilbert’s 16th Problem. World Scientific, London, 1996.
Problem 17.
Expression of definite forms by squares. Number L
Problem 18.
Building up of space from congruent polyhedra. (n-dimensional crystallography groups, fundamental domains, sphere packing problem.) Number M
Comments
on the theory of analytic functions. Number N
Problem 19.
Are the solutions of regular problems in the calculus of variations always necessarily analytic? Number
Problem 20.
The general problem of boundary values. (Variational problems.) Number
Problem 21.
Proof of the existence of linear differential equations having a prescribed monodromic group. Number
Problem 22.
Uniformization of analytic relations by means of automorphic functions. Number
Problem 23.
Further development of the methods of the calculus of variations. Number
Final comments.
Précis 2
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Reason for Gene Skepticism http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/reason-for-gene-skepticism/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/reason-for-gene-skepticism/#comments Thu, 15 Apr 2010 17:32:27 +0000 admin http://hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=240 1. Why be skeptical of contemporary conceptions of the gene?

The contemporary, classical-molecular understanding of “gene” involves a segment of double-stranded DNA which codes for or causes the production of a functional polypeptide chain; this process is essentially characterized by two steps: transcription and translation. During transcription DNA is converted to single-stranded RNA that retains a base sequence that is complementary to that of the original DNA. RNA may be characterized into three main groups: transfer RNA (tRNA), ribosomal RNA (rRNA), and messenger RNA (mRNA). Not only do RNA strands compliment the original DNA, but when taken as a triplet of nucleotides, or codon, they correspond to a specific amino acid, which during translation form polypeptide chains. However, though the correspondence between RNA molecules and amino acids applies to each type of RNA, of the three only the mRNA molecules are translated into polypeptides; tRNA aids in this process and rRNA becomes a part of ribosomes found in the endoplasmic reticulum of a cell. This simplistic sketch provides a quite obvious worry with the above conception; that is, it ignores instances in which RNA molecules are not translated into polypeptides. Thus it is fitting, as textbooks generally do, to modify the above definition in order to include RNA molecules along with polypeptides. However even when this is allowed, other issues still remain.

The problems that arise with properly defining “gene” are broadly concerned with, but not necessarily a criticism of, the pluralistic way biologists tend to use the term (Falk 1986; Stotz et al. 2004). It seems that “gene” may be used to denote the entire coding region, that is, the entire sequence of DNA that ultimately codes for a polypeptide; however sometimes the term is used to describe only parts of a coding region. “Gene” may also be used to describe portions of a coding region along with regulatory regions, which is a segment of DNA that isn’t translated into a polypeptide but aids in regulating the expression of the polypeptide that is coded for. “Gene” also may indicate the entire coding and regulatory regions found within a segment of DNA (Waters 2007)

Also, worries arise when considering various observations such as mRNA editing, alternate cis-splicing, trans-splicing, overlapping genes, and antisense transcription, which when considered have led some to define genes as whatever a competent biologists choose to call or need for experiment (Falk 1986, p. 169; Kitcher 1992, p. 131; Fogle 2001). This, as gene skeptics tend to argue, renders the concept hopelessly ambiguous, and should be done away with altogether (Portin 1993; Fogle 2001; Kitcher 1992; Burian 1986). However I don’t think that a pluralistic account of genes should lead to such a drastic conclusion; it seems that, at least within a given research program, researchers are entitled to a certain amount of leeway to adequately define what they are studying. Thus, I suggest that the above, classical-molecular definition of “gene” be kept but pluralistically defined from research program to research program.

Here, I will elaborate upon the above mentioned observations, claiming that there are three categories, namely issues concerning predictability, issues related to the ambiguous nature of DNA, and issues that arise over gene boundaries that lead to the gene concept being thought ambiguous. This will be followed by an explanation of various attempts to solve the issues of this observations create for the gene concept. Taking these attempts into consideration, I will then conclude that though ambiguities arise within the gene concept, these aren’t reason for concern so long as researchers are clear about what they consider a gene within their particular programs.

2. Observations conflicting with the gene concept

The conflicting observations mentioned above may be split into three types: (1) issues involving predictability, (2) those related to the ambiguous nature of DNA, and (3) those concerned with gene boundaries. (1) seems to arise primarily after transcription, during RNA editing. It concerns predictability in that if a particular DNA segment is thought of as coding for a polypeptide, it seems to follow that the DNA allows predictive power concerning the particular polypeptide that is to be translated. However with mechanisms in place such as mRNA editing, alternative cis-splicing, and trans­-splicing, it is not always possible to observe a segment of DNA and accurately predict its resulting polypeptide chain. Problems concerned with predictability seem to arise when biologists talk about “genes for” a particular polypeptide, protein, or trait in general. The worry is that if genes are segments of DNA, it seems that an observed reading sequence should be able to accurately predict a particular trait. However these mechanisms have the potential to render these predictions false. (2) involves observations such as gene overlap and antisense transcription, in which a segment of DNA is capable of coding for more than one product. I consider these ambiguities inherent in the DNA in which more than one product is capable of being produced before DNA is transcribed. This creates problems for the gene concept when a reading sequence is viewed as discrete, only coding for one polypeptide. (3) is primarily concerned with regulatory and promoter regions, in which the primary reading sequence is only able to be transcribed, and in turn translated, with the aid of these regions. Below, I will describe these conflicting observations.[i]

DNA is made up of four nucleotides: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). G forms a base pair with C; A forms a base pair with T. During transcription T is replaced by the nucleotide uracil (U). But during mRNA editing C may be converted to U; when this occurs a stop codon, that is an mRNA triplet that codes for transcription to stop, is potentially introduced (Stotz & Griffiths 2004). Thus, if the mRNA triplet is originally CAA, CAG, CGA, or CGG and this conversion takes place at any of these reading frames, the triplet will become UAA, UAG, UGA, or UGG each of which are stop codons. If a novel stop codon is introduced, what would have originally been a longer x polypeptide now becomes a shorter y. Keeping with the underlying issue, this establishes problems if an observed sequence of DNA is predicted to code for x, but since the stop has been introduced, y is the polypeptide observed. Here, there is no issue with the above definition so long as it implies that the DNA segment codes for any polypeptide; however if the DNA is expected to allow for predictability of a particular polypeptide problems arise.

Similar complications arise when considering that introns, non-coding DNA sequences, are found in a given coding sequence. Introns are initially transcribed into what is called precursor RNA (pre-RNA), but are eventually excised and the coding regions, exons, are spliced together (Stotz et al. 2004, p. 650; Stotz & Griffiths 2004). Here again it is seen that the polypeptide the original coding region appeared to code for is not that which is coded. This is further complicated when considering alternative cis-splicing, in which exons of the pre-RNA are capable of being spliced together in such a manner that gives rise to a number of different polypeptides which were coded for by one strand of DNA, i.e. several gene products may possibly be made from what is considered a single gene (Stotz et al. 2004, p 650). The above are cases that deal with splicing on a single coding sequence; however this is even further complicated by the existence of trans-splicing, in which mRNA transcripts from different DNA coding regions are spliced into a single polypeptide (Stotz et al. 2004, p. 650; Stotz & Griffiths 2004). Here the issue becomes not just that a particular coding region may not be able to predict a corresponding polypeptide; rather, the issue becomes that even if a coding region is able to accurately predict a certain polypeptide, the region of mRNA coded for may ultimately be ­trans-spliced into another mRNA strand coded for by a different DNA coding sequence, in turn yielding a different polypeptide. With issues relating to predictability summed, what of the ambiguous nature of DNA?

Overlapping genes, in which two or more DNA coding regions overlap, pose a threat to the above conception of genes in that a given strand of DNA may contain more than one reading frame coding for more than one product. Genes aren’t lined up as if they were beads on a string, one coding region may start with another (Stotz & Griffiths 2004). In these cases, the same segment of DNA may be treated as two or more different genes, even possibly, depending upon the amount of shared sequences, with very different products (Stotz et al. 2004, p. 650; Stotz & Griffiths 2004). An alternative way of thinking of this may be to consider a two-headed person standing in line among other people[ii]. The line as a whole is analogues to a given strand of DNA and the two-headed person to overlapping genes. A problem arises when attempting to count the people standing in line, is the two-headed person two people or count as one? To answer this there needs to be a definition of “person”; once defined, the people in the line seem easily countable; so if “gene” is defined, they too are countable. With this however, genes seem to necessarily be defined in terms of gene products, or at least in terms of what they do, and if there are ambiguities pertaining to the classical-molecular conception, which defines gene in this way, there is still a problem. Antisense transcription similarly results in two, possibly very different products, but in a very different way. DNA is read from its 3’ end to its 5’ end, but since DNA is double stranded, there are two 3’ and 5’ ends. So it is possible for one strand to code for one product and the other code for a very different one (Stotz & Griffiths 2004). These cases differ from the above in that even if a coding region in a DNA strand has predicative power over its products, it still potentially codes for more than one product.

So far instances in which DNA is capable of being transcribed and eventually translated have been considered. But consider a segment of DNA that is unable to be transcribed without the aid of some promoter or regulatory region found upstream of the primary reading sequence. Such instances are akin to the lac operon in E. coli, in which the regulatory and promoters regions are found immediately upstream from the primary reading sequence. However this is not the case when considering many eukaryotes, in which these regions may be found at much greater distances (Stotz et al. 2004, p. 650). Seemingly, it is easy to discount such regions as transcriptions factor of promoter regions; however, without them the primary reading sequence will not be transcribed. Thus they are necessary if DNA is to eventually express the polypeptide it codes for; so with the above definition of “gene” they necessarily are considered part of the gene. However, if the above definition only suggests that a particular DNA coding sequence is a gene, thus regulatory regions that are not found in such a sequence are not part of a gene. With this, a paradox contingent upon what counts as a gene, or at least concerning gene boundaries, seems to arise.[iii]

3. Dealing with conflicting observations

The complications that arise due to the above observations have been dealt with a number of ways, here I describe two extremes. As mentioned above, some advocate for notions of “gene” to be discarded to allow for focus to instead turn toward the underlying biochemical processes that result in what has to this point been know as the gene. Others tend to embrace these conflicting accounts, suggesting that biologists retain the gene concept, while also incorporating the conflicts. I tend to take a different approach in that so long as a biologist within her research program adequately defines the unit in which she is working with, issues concerning the gene aren’t as detrimental as may originally appear. Below I will describe various ways philosophers have dealt with conflicts arising within the gene concept, concluding that these issues may be incorporated into the concept with minimal harm resulting so long as genes are defined adequately with a given research program retaining focus on what has been classically and molecularly defined as a gene. I will begin with a suggestion to discard the notion.

Thomas Fogle suggests that what biologists consider a gene is really a social construct of what a gene is supposed to be, which is formed through observation of parts that have been stereotypically specified to belong to a gene, which he terms the “consensus gene” (2001). In this a gene is a DNA sequence that contains enough features, e.g. TATA box, RNA transcript, open reading frame, etc., to conform to what has historically counted as such (Fogle 2001; Stotz & Griffiths 2004). Fogle argues that issues relating to the gene are a product of combining functional and structural features, which ultimately hinders biologists from realizing the diversity of function capable of being performed by one structure and the diversity of structures capable of performing one function (Fogle 2001; Stotz & Griffiths 2004). Thus it seems the gene is unwarrantedly stereotyped as a segment of DNA that ultimately causes the production of polypeptides; in turn, when conflicting observations are made the gene stereotype is said to be in peril. Fogle seems to suggest that if such a stereotype were never formed, there would be no issues related to the gene concept; in this he argues that if individual biochemical processes were all that were observed and described, conflict with the standard gene concept could not arise because there would be no gene concept (2001). However, it seems that there is basis in forming such a stereotype in that genes generally do code for an RNA transcript which eventually is transcribed into a polypeptide chain, they generally contain a promoter region, or TATA box, that signals various enzymes to induce transcription, they are subject to various forms of RNA editing, and the like. So it doesn’t seem particularly unfair to suggest that most genes do fit a stereotype. Thus it may be initially argued that the standard gene concept should remain. However, if the stereotypical gene is described as above, a segment of DNA coding for a polypeptide, it may easily be shown the trouble that this leads. Consider the process of cis-splicing which, as described above, a single segment of DNA may possibly code for multiple polypeptides; this case leads to trouble with the stereotypical gene which has been characterized as a segment of DNA coding for a polypeptide, which is not so with this and the cases described above. Seemingly it could be argued that the stereotype may be changed to accommodate for instances like those described, but the stereotype then becomes something akin to an infinite regress. So it would more easily do to discard the gene concept altogether in order for focus to be paid to the underlying processes occurring (Fogle 2001).

Instead of doing away with the gene concept outright, Kenneth Waters recommends that “gene” be redefined as “a linear sequence in a product at some stage of genetic expression” (1994, p. 178). With genes characterized in this manner, seemingly conflicting events are simply incorporated into the concept. Questions concerning conflicting observations are dealt with by asking whether the observation is “a linear sequence in a product at some stage of genetic expression”, and it seems that most if not all conflicting issues related to the gene concept may be considered such (178). Though I admire Waters’ re-definition in that it is able to accommodate conflicting observations found in genetics, it seems strange in that it treats genes as if they are events. His use of the word “stage” seems unfitting to observable instances pertaining to genes; it sees that he suggests genes to be all that occur within a timeframe from DNA replication to translation[P2] .

Ralph Falk’s conclusion that biologist define genes according to their particular research needs, though he suggests that present debates concerning this matter aren’t as helpful as those between early geneticists and cytologists, hints to my previous claims (1986, p. 169; Stotz et al. 2004, p. 651). As suggested, I contend that “gene” be defined in such a manner that corresponds to a particular research program, and I do not think this is too far from what biologists actually do. I side with Fogle in that underlying biochemical processes should be the focal point of biologists’ definitions; however unlike Fogle, I think the classical-molecular conception should also be retained. It seems that genes are ultimately viewed as difference makers or causes;[P3] in the above definition, genes are defined as segments of DNA causing RNA strands or polypeptide chains. Thus, without any attention paid to the underlying mechanisms, what biologists ultimately seem to be concerned with is the differences genes make, and segments of DNA ultimately make a difference in either polypeptides or RNA. So a gene may still be considered a segment of DNA which codes for a polypeptide chain or RNA segment, but in a given research program, attention must be given to all of the underlying processes that occur or possibly occur in the production of the RNA or polypeptide in question. I stipulate a focus on underlying biochemical processes to avoid confusions that potentially arise when conflicting observations are made. This treatment of genes looks something like this: a biologist is studying DNA coding sequence x, and x is known to usually cause the production of RNA segment y which goes on to produce z polypeptide, within the definition of x she must include all that x may possibly produce. Say that x is sometimes subject to cis-splicing, and when this occurs x eventually produces polypeptide a rather than z. With this being the case, the biologist must include the production of a as a possible exception to z in her definition; this also holds if x is subject to trans-splicing, mRNA editing and the like. This treatment of “gene”, since it retains the classical-molecular definition, also accounts for issues that result from gene overlap. As hinted above, if segment x overlaps with another coding region, defining “gene” in terms of products allows for genes to be counted. Also, if x has a regulatory region found upstream, it seems necessary to include it in the biologist’s definition as well. As suggested above, without the presence of such a regulatory region what is coded for will not be produced, and if x is considered to ultimately produce z, it seems that this region should also be described in the definition of x. So this treatment of genes ultimately accounts for the conflicting observations mentioned above.

However, a criticism of treating genes in this manner is that if biologists define genes in terms of their research programs, “gene” remains ultimately ambiguous. This is analogous to uses of the ambiguous words like “bank” or “jerk” in that there is more than one meaning for each. “Jerk” may be a rude person, or a sudden stopping motion; likewise if biologists use “gene” to include instances of gene overlap (or other conflicting observations) and in other research programs such cases are excluded, the treatment is still ambiguous. However, such a criticism ignores the stipulation that biologists concern themselves with DNA as well as its products, which establishes commonality among all possible, individual research program conceptions of genes. As suggested above, this stipulation is necessary in order for “gene” to ultimately have roughly the same meaning among varying research programs. This however still seems a rather convoluted way of dealing with problems with the gene concept.

[i] For a full list of observations that conflict with the standard gene concept, see Peter Portin (1993).

[ii] This example, I think, is most suiting, and is accredited solely to David Harker.

[iii] This may be thought of in terms of classical genetics in which a mutation was induced on a strand of DNA, resulting in lack of a particular trait’s production. However, the mutation occurred at the regulatory region for this trait’s coding region rather than the coding region itself. The researcher in turn ascribes the regulatory region, opposed to the coding region, as the gene for this trait.

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An Explanation and Critique of Platonic Arguments from Opposites and Recollection found in the Phaed http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/an-explanation-and-critique-of-platonic-arguments-from-opposites-and-recollection-found-in-the-phaed/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/an-explanation-and-critique-of-platonic-arguments-from-opposites-and-recollection-found-in-the-phaed/#comments Tue, 16 Feb 2010 17:35:12 +0000 admin http://hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=242 In the Phaedo Plato argues for the immortal soul by invoking arguments from opposites, recollection, and scattering. Considering only Plato’s arguments from opposites and recollection, an explanation and critique are given. I suggest that the argument from opposites adequately establishes the necessity in opposing adjectives generating one from another, but reject this notion for nouns. This is a problem for Plato in that he is dealing with the nouns “death” and “life”. I suggest that this may be accounted for by a first-person account of life, which may be established by Plato’s argument from recollection. However, this argument, relying on the existence of the forms, does not establish this. In order to grasp the concept of absolute such and such, a person merely needs their imagination, opinion, or definition.

Introduction

The Phaedo surrounds the moments leading to Socrates’ death; considering this, it is not too surprising to find that much of the conversation that ensues concerns the nature of one’s soul. Seemingly in a hopeful[1] manner, Socrates insists that the life of a philosopher is merely a preparation for death (61c-e; 64a; 67e). He justifies this claim by suggesting that death is “simply the release of the soul from the body”, which allows him to expect to enter into the presence of “other wise and good gods” and “of men now dead who are better than those who are in this world now” after his own death (64c; 63c). Socrates further justifies his claim suggesting the philosopher should not concern her- or himself with bodily pleasures, e.g. “smart clothes and shoes”, “food and drink”, sex, etc., in order to free her or “his soul from association with the body, so far as possible” (64d-65). These pleasures, along with the body in general, hinder the soul in its quest for the “acquisition of knowledge” since truth is obtained in reflection, i.e. truth is not found in food, drink, fancy apparel, sex, etc., it is found in reflecting upon oneself (65a-c). Socrates holds that reflection can best be achieved when bodily hindrances are ignored; therefore the philosopher attempts to disregard the body in order to focus completely upon the soul, which relays truth (65c-d). Thus, “in despising the body and avoiding it, and endeavoring to become independent—the philosopher’s soul is above the rest”, and such a practice seems to essentially be a practice of separating the soul from the body, which is here defined as death (65d; 64c). Though this may seem sound, there is one major underlying assumption that seems unfounded, the existence of an immortal soul[2]. If the immortal soul cannot be accounted for, it seems that Socrates has carelessly established a worldview in which he will remain alive after his death[3]. But even if the above is accounted for, it seems that Socrates’ notion of a dualistic life, i.e. a distinct non-material soul within a material body, may still be unfounded. Below, I aim to delve into following passages in the Phaedo in order to explain how Plato establishes the existence of an immortal soul. I will focus on the argument from opposites and recollection, ignoring the argument from scattering[4]. I will describe these arguments, following each with a critique.

Plato’s Arguments for the Immortal Soul

Opposites: Socrates wishes to establish “whether it is a necessary law that everything which has an opposite is generated from that opposite”, i.e. whether everything in existence is or has been generated by an opposite (70e). Socrates asks if a thing becomes bigger, must it have not been smaller first; if a thing becomes smaller, must it not have been bigger first; a faster thing must have been slower first; etc. (71a). He then establishes all opposites have “two processes of generation”, e.g. increase and decrease accompany bigger and smaller, heating and cooling accompany hot and cold, etc. (71b). Following this Socrates asks “is there an opposite to living, as sleeping is opposite to waking?”, in which Cebes, a member of Socrates’ audience, replies “[b]eing dead” (71b). Socrates then establishes that “waking comes from sleeping and sleeping comes from waking” and “the processes between them are going to sleep and waking up” (71c). He then suggests that death comes from life, in that the dead come from the living; Socrates finally asks “what…comes from the dead?”, in which Cebes replies, “it is the living” (71d). Therefore, since everything is generated via its opposite, life must also be generated by its opposite, which is death.

Plato seems correct in establishing necessary existence of opposites when considering adjectives, e.g. slow and fast, hot and cold, living and dying etc. Here, it is true that opposing adjectives usually require one to occur before the other. For an object to be moving faster at a particular time, it must have been moving slower first; an object must have been smaller before it became bigger; been sleeping before it became awake, etc. Thus, it is possible to ascribe a contradictory term to most, if not all, adjectives; it is also usually possible to deem one adjective necessarily occurring before another. By definition adjectives qualify nouns[5], e.g. x is fast, y is cold, z is dead, etc, which is to say adjectives describe properties of nouns. Therefore, when considering adjectives in a sentence, if x is moving fast, y feels cold, z is dead, it is safe to conclude that x must have been moving slowly at a time before x was moving fast, etc. This is a product of the nature of adjectives; they are capable of describing the states nouns find themselves. However, nouns do not share such a property with adjectives. When stating a particular noun, e.g. velocity, thermodynamics, death, etc., it is rarely possible to attribute a contradictory term to it. Nouns describe only the object itself, but seem incapable of being generated from any contradictory term, they are merely the object being described at a particular instance in time, e.g. if velocity is being discussed; only a particular object’s slowness or fastness at a particular time is being conferred; in discussing thermodynamics, only an object’s energy state at a particular time is being described, etc. Thus it seems nouns are the state an object finds itself in a particular point in space and time. Therefore, with the above considered, Plato has only established that there is usually a necessity in opposite adjectives generating one another, but this cannot be concluded with nouns. Nouns are simply the state of existence an object is at a particular time and place.

However, as mentioned above, nouns rarely can be assigned a contradictory term, and an adjective rarely cannot be deemed necessary to occur after its opposite; in considering the nouns life and death and the adjectives dead and alive, Plato seems to be dealing with one such instance. While both death and life adhere to his qualification of being opposite to one another, there is only evidence that establishes death coming after life, not life coming after death. Above, it is shown that Plato’s argument stems from the analogy: sleeping is to waking as death is to life (71c-d). Also, as suggested above, Plato is correct in establishing sleeping and waking as opposites that must come from one or the other, i.e. a person must be asleep in order to become awake and vice versa. However, this analogy fails to hold in that sleeping and waking are adjectives describing properties of life, while death and life are nouns merely stating a person’s state of being. It seems that evidence for the existence of a person’s life depends upon the properties that are found within their life itself, i.e. sleeping and waking, running and walking, dancing and sitting etc., which may only be described from a first-person viewpoint; evidence that a person’s death has came from his or her life seems to be the once prevalent properties that were capable of describing life, which have become nonexistent, i.e. death seems to result in a lack of properties a person is able to describe. But properties like those able to describe life do not seem accessible in death, i.e. a person who is dead can’t describe death. It seems that death can only be described by those that are still alive, through a first-person view; the person who is dead cannot describe death through their first-person view. So, if no adequate, first person description can be given of death, it seems that there is little or no sufficient evidence that one still exists in death. Though death is the result of life and death is the opposite of life, Plato doesn’t seem to show life is the result of death in that the person has no means of relaying information about their own death. However, such correspondence may seem a little unfair, considering that a dead person has no means of corresponding to the living, in order to relay a first-person description. But Plato still fails in establishing that all opposites, namely nouns, are necessarily generated from one another, and since he is dealing with the nouns “life” and “death”, at most he has described that the noun life happen before the noun death because there is no manner in which a person can in death relay that they were once alive. This is due to nouns only being able to establish the state an object exists in time and space.

However, Plato may have an answer for the above rejection. His defense may rest in his argument from recollection discussed in the following. It seems that in order for this above argument to hold, Plato must successfully establish his following argument.

Recollection: In order to add evidence for Socrates’ above claim that the living come from the dead, Cebes mentions an argument in which Socrates has previously suggested, “what we call learning is really just recollection” (72e). This argument suggests that “what we recollect now we must have learned at some time before, which is impossible unless our souls existed somewhere before they entered human shape” (72e-73a). Cebes suggests that one good argument for this notion is when asking a person a question, “if the question is put the right way they can give a perfectly correct answer”, which he states is impossible without “some knowledge proper and a proper grasp of the subject” (73a).[6] Following, Socrates suggests that there exists a thing such as absolute equality, which is beyond what we typically think of as equality (74b). Socrates claims “that equal stones and sticks sometimes…appear equal to one person and unequal to another”, i.e. they are not absolutely equal (74b). Everything physical falls short of absolute equality in some manner, but a person is able to recognize this short coming, thus has knowledge of absolute equality without ever physically experiencing it (74d-e). This holds also for beauty, goodness, uprightness, holiness, and everything else “which we designate in our discussion by the term ‘absolute’” (75c). Socrates therefore concludes that the knowledge of these absolutes are acquired before a person’s birth, and lost at the moment of birth, and later regained “by the exercise of our senses upon sensible objects”, i.e. a person merely recalls his or her knowledge rather than learns (75e).

Here, Plato appeals to the soul’s existence in some nonphysical realm outside of the body previous to a person’s present life. This claim seems to be based on imagination, i.e. does not offer any physical evidence, since a person loses knowledge gained before birth at the moment of birth, only later to recollect it[7] (75e). Plato describes the existence of “absolutes”, e.g. beauty, piety, equality, etc., that the soul observes in this nonphysical world, which are later recalled when the soul reaches the physical world. Plato argues that this offers evidence for the existence of a nonmaterial soul because, though there are no absolutes prevalent in the physical world, a person has knowledge of them in the physical world. However, since Plato imagines the soul’s separation from the body and the soul’s existence in a nonmaterial realm, why is it not also possible also to imagine the existence of absolutes, i.e. why must the soul leave the body to gain knowledge of the like, discarding the whole notion of “recollection”?

Seemingly, when two relatively equal objects are placed side by side, although they are not absolutely equal, it is possible to determine what they would look like if they were absolutely equal; that is, they would just be exactly the same. Another way of suggesting this is that “equality” is taken to mean “the same in every way”; by definition it seems that, though absolute equals do not exist physically, the idea may be constructed within a person’s mind, therefore they may exist mentally. Say two pens are placed side by side, one pen is purple and the other is yellow, the yellow is seven centimeters long and the purple is six and seven-tenths centimeters long. It seems that it is rather simple to imagine the yellow pen being purple and six and seven-tenths centimeters or vice versa, i.e. one becomes an exact replica of the other, which would establish each as being absolutely equal (of course in simplistic terms) . So, by definition it is possible to establish knowledge of absolute equality, seemingly via imagination. However definitional absolutes seem to be easy to imagine, does this work the same with things like absolute beauty, holiness, justice, etc., i.e. does this work with knowledge that is gathered or acquired as well? In the cases requiring gathering of knowledge, the same seems to hold true. When a person discusses something like absolute beauty, she or he seems as if they are simply stating their opinion of what they think is beautiful, thus taking their opinion to be the definition of beautiful. The same seems to hold for the rest, when considering non-definitional absolutes, it seems as if a person is merely taking their relative, personal definition of their ideal form of justice, beauty, etc. and suggesting that it is the absolute form. Thus imagining their ideal standard of beauty, justice, temperance, etc. and establishing somewhat of a personal definition of the like, using this standard as an “absolute”. Or simply taking a standard definition and using it for their understanding of “absolute” such and such. So, Plato seems to fail in showing that the soul must leave the body to acquire knowledge of absolutes; the like seem to be either based on definition or based on personal preference, which is established by a gathering of knowledge that becomes a person’s definition of the supposed absolute.

Thus, it seems that Plato does not adequately establish evidence for the necessity of an afterlife. If evidence had successfully been established, it would seem that one could sensibly relay an account of death while alive, which would establish evidence for the preceding argument.[8] However, this not being the case, it seems that Plato is wrong.

Conclusion

In the above, I have described both Plato’s argument from opposites and recollection, disregarding his argument from scattering. Following each argument I have attempted to refute Plato’s claims. For his argument form opposites, I suggested that he fails to account for the necessary that all things are a result of their opposite. However, Plato weakly established that most adjective adhere to this necessity, but he fails to show that nouns ever successfully follow such necessity. Also, I suggested that Plato fails to establish evidence for the possibility of death generating life due to the lack of description, namely in the first-person, someone who is dead may give to death. I suggested the like may be asking too much; however, if death generates life, it seems that in life a person could give such a first-person description. Plato’s reply to this may be found in his argument from recollection; he however suggests that a person forgets death during the trauma of childbirth. But I find it hard to believe that a person would not recollect such an event. For Plato’s argument from recollection, I suggested that the existence of “absolutes” do not depend upon the soul’s exit from the body, rather they may be formed in the imagination. Since a person’s memory of pre-life events is forgotten during child birth, Plato seems to base his knowledge of such an existence on imagination; since such imagination is possible, I suggest that this imagination also may exist for the notion of absolutes. However, certain absolutes seem to merely rest upon definition, which I eventually established that all hold to such. Since a person has some idea as to what they consider perfect beauty, holiness, justice, etc., it seems overwhelmingly possible for these ideas, formed in the imagination, to be transposed upon their definition of absolute such and such, thus merely establishing their opinion to be their absolute.

References

Plato. “Phaedo” (in The Collected Dialogues of Plato). Princeton University Press (1989).

[1] To be fair, I assume if I knew that my death was approaching, I would also make an attempt to justify my life; likewise, if a friend’s life had ended, I would attempt to justify their life as well. Thus, here I cannot claim Plato is completely out of line in his writings.

[2] Also, not to mention there is a place for this immortal soul to go after one’s death.

[3] As suggested above, considering that Socrates is doomed to die later that day, it seems reasonable for him to determine he will live on after his death. However, the hope thereof does not suggest that he actually will live continue life.

[4] This strategy is due to the seeming reliance the argument from opposites and recollection have upon one another, and the seeming “last-ditch effort” tone the argument from scattering conveys.

[5] This is also true for pronouns.

[6] In order for this to be used as evidence for an immortal soul, the questions asked need to be examined. If the questions fall under empirical questions, i.e. “What the molecular weight of carbon?” this may be impressive evidence for the like. However I suspect these questions lean more toward the analytic side, in which truths exist by definition. Such a distinction came later than Plato’s writings; therefore it is not fair for me to object in this manner.

[7] The loss of such knowledge seems to also destroy any type of first-person account a person may be able to give of death, unless this knowledge is able to be recollected. However, the latter doesn’t seem to be the case Plato makes here. Also, there is no evidence that this recollection isn’t merely imagination.

[8] However, such evidence would be subject to immense skepticism due to its lack of falsifiability.

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