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Re: [ontolog-forum] Semantics of Natural Languages

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 06 Sep 2011 01:33:23 -0400
Message-id: <4E65B0A3.8020403@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 9/5/2011 7:58 PM, Rich Cooper wrote:
> I think that trying to distinguish between awareness (Doug's word)
> or consciousness (your word) and more automatic or instinctual
> reactions, is not observable.    (01)

I very rarely talk about consciousness, and I'm sure that I did
not mention it in this thread.  A great deal (probably the most
important aspects) of behavior are not based on conscious decisions.
In fact, much of the psychological research shows that conscious
explanations of a decision tend to be rationalizations for
instinctive reactions.  Bismarck made that point more bluntly:    (02)

    "Every man has two reasons, a good one and the real one."    (03)

The point I have been emphasizing is that self interest cannot
be separated from a very large number of other psychological and
sociological issues.  One point that many people have observed
is that happiness is one of the most important aspects of
self interest -- immediately after the minimum requirements
of food, clothing, and shelter.    (04)

And many people have also noted that happiness depends critically
on social interactions.  (Note that solitary confinement is one
of the most unpleasant punishments in prisons.)    (05)

There are many other issues, but the main point is that you can't
take one aspect of psychology or sociology and develop an adequate
theory without relating it to all or nearly all other aspects.    (06)

> But as I also said to Rich, all the observations indicate that
> Herbert Hoover's approach was a total failure, and the methods
> by Roosevelt and Truman led to the unprecedented level of prosperity
> from the late 1940s through the 1960s.    (07)

> Clearly we disagree on this; that shows that there is subjectivity
> in the observation process...    (08)

I was not discussing subjective issues. I was citing historical events.    (09)

All the evidence shows that the worst possible way to handle
a recession is to cut government spending.  That is what HH did
in the period from 1929 to 1932, and it created the greatest
depression of all time.    (010)

The full recovery from the Great Depression wasn't complete until
the spending on WW II, which required a far greater amount of deficit
financing than at any period in US history.  What Roosevelt did during
that period was to PRINT MONEY.  It caused some inflation, but that
was compensated by the greatest economic boom ever.  After the war,
there was a recession in 1945, which was countered by MORE SPENDING
on the GI Bill of Rights (which sent a very large number of veterans
to college) and by the huge loans to Europe for the Marshall Plan.    (011)

Those decisions enabled the US to have the best educated work force
(in terms of percentages of college graduates) on the planet, and
they also led to the greatest period of prosperity in US history.    (012)

That is history.  The interpretation I cited is the consensus of
nearly every economist on the planet (except, perhaps, for those at
the right-wing think tanks).    (013)

If you can find any evidence to counter that interpretation, I would
love to see it.  And by evidence, I mean historical *facts*, not
slogans or editorials.    (014)

John    (015)

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