Thursday, October 16, 2014

updated again, and moved to the top.
repeat. Found again by accident; I can't remember all this shit. I'll use it as a preface.
"Former friends have recounted that Loughner had a fixation for grammar and words, saying that he challenged Giffords at a previous public meeting with the impenetrable question: 'What is government if words have no meaning?' "
Follow the first link to Quine, again, and Gödel, and the flaws in the US Constitution.
See also the now previous post's discussion of economics as science.
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"There is no such thing as 'public reason'. Reason is always private. What there is is 'public form'."

An excuse for repeats. Idiots make it necessary but they make it easy. Leiter's in there too, in the links.

Quiggin on Legal Reasoning 
The discussion got me thinking about the broader problem of legal reasoning, at least in its originalist and textualist forms, and also in precedent-based applications of common law. The assumption in all of these approaches is that by examining (according to some system of rules) what was legislated or decided in the past, lawyers and judges can determine the law as it applies to the case at hand. There are all sorts of well-known difficulties here, such as how words written a century ago should apply to technologies and social structures that did not exist at the time. And it often happens that these approaches produce results that seem unacceptable to most people but for which a legislative or constitutional fix is impossible for some reason.

It’s always seemed to me, though, that there is a much bigger problem with this approach, namely the implicit assumption that “the law” actually exists. That is, it is assumed that, if the appropriate procedure is used to interpret the inherited text, and applied to the problem at hand, it will produce a determinate answer. But why should this be true? The same law might contain contradictory clauses, supported by contradictory arguments, voted in by different majorities, and understood at the time of its passage in contradictory ways. Most notably, the same constitution might grant universal freedoms in one place, while recognising slavery in another.
"It’s always seemed to me, though, that there is a much bigger problem with this approach, namely the implicit assumption that 'the law' actually exists."

Laws exist as words on the page, and we debate the meanings of those words, and debate them again each time we apply laws to actions, but there is no singular "Law". Quiggin, like philosophers, wants "truth", but law isn't truth; it's decision-making and conflict resolution through the use of common form. "The living Constitution" is not a doctrine; it's a given, because language is living; meanings are fluid, and we experience the world as a world of meanings, a world of subjective "enchantment". Form is public. Law is mediation through the state. It is not truth.

And of course those who want "truth" are opposed to art. [link to previous on Leiter, Plato, Gombrich etc. Everything's a repeat going back 30 years]

Quine
A felt need for meant entities may derive from an earlier failure to appreciate that meaning and reference are distinct. Once the theory of meaning is sharply separated from the theory of reference, it is a short step to recognizing as the business of the theory of meaning simply the synonymy of linguistic forms and the analyticity of statements; meanings themselves, as obscure intermediary entities, may well be abandoned.
Weber
Consider a discipline such as aesthetics. The fact that there are works of art is given for aesthetics. It seeks to find out under what conditions this fact exists, but it does not raise the question whether or not the realm of art is perhaps a realm of diabolical grandeur, a realm of this world, and therefore, in its core, hostile to God and, in its innermost and aristocratic spirit, hostile to the brotherhood of man. Hence, aesthetics does not ask whether there should be works of art.
Quine and Weber were reactionaries. Quiggin is only a pedant who doesn't realize the dangers of pedantry.


Quiggin, again and again and again
The claims about Art criticised in Art, an Enemy of The People, are very similar to those made by most religions, namely that there is a special category of people (prophets or artists) and a special category of activities (Religion or Art) which yield transcendent insights into the human condition, and which should be accorded special privileges over other people and other ways of finding meaning and enjoyment in life.
It's Rashomon, you idiots
see also

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