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A New Book about Truth

Cezary Cieslinski has written a new book about the place of the concept of truth within epistemology, and the history of questions about that place.

Its title? THE EPISTEMIC LIGHTNESS OF TRUTH.

Obviously this touches on matter central to the concerns of this blog. And it has nothing at all to do with the horror film "Truth or Dare?" whence comes this illustration.

For now, though, all I will do is refer you, dear reader, to a discussion of this column in Notre Dame Philosophical Review. 

Here is the link:

https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/the-epistemic-lightness-of-truth-deflationism-and-its-logic/

Unfortunately, I am not sufficiently up on the argumentative context to make sense of that review, so I doubt I'd be able to make sense of the book.

Consider this claim, from the reviewer: "Cieslinski does not accept semantic conservativeness as a precondition for an axiomatic truth theory being deflationist." If your response to that sentence is "gee why doesn't he?…
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Trade Wars and Consequences

The Trump administration is forfeiting a great US asset. The US has long been at the center of world trade, and the US dollar has become the currency-of-currencies, the numeraire.  That fact has worked in our national favor in countless ways.

Now, some of my readers might say that it is "about time the US lose this privileged position." But of course the Trumpets won't say that. They're the "America First" administration after all. Yet their actions will remove American firstness in one very important respect.

How? Well, one object of Chinese policy for a long time has been to rebuild the famed "Silk Road," the trade route leading from China through the Middle East, to Ottoman lands and northeastern Africa. Marco Polo tapped into it when he wasn't too busy inventing swimming pool games.

China wants to revive that route, and wants it emphatically to include all of Europe this time, not just for an occasional traveler, and ideally it would want…

Theranos

I've recently read a book about the rise and fall of Theranos, the privately held Silicon Valley firm headed by Elizabeth Holmes.

The story that author John Carryrou tells in his book, BAD BLOOD, spans the period from the company's founding in 2003 to the lab inspection failures in 2016 that finally broke the back of investor patience with Holmes.

As the title of Carryrou's book hints, the story is about blood testing. Theranos sold itself to investors, and in time to retailers, as the manufacturer of a brilliant new machine that was small and simple enough for ordinary people to have in their own homes and use on themselves, that was capable of doing a wide range of blood tests from very small quantities of the vital liquid. It would have been a great medical breakthrough. If it had been real. It was all -- or nearly all -- a sham.

At the company's peak, two giant retail chains contracted to sell the miraculous mini-labs: Safeway and Walgreen's.

I recommend the b…

New Satoshi Text, II

So: someone created a website called "Nakamoto Family Foundation" only three days before posting there a 21 page essay that purports to be an excerpt from a forthcoming book, or series of books, to be called Duality. 

It isn't obvious why that was the chosen frame for getting the message out. There were plenty of other ways in which he/she/they could have gone about this. Contacting Wired, for example. The folks at Wired have covered the whole Who-and-where-is-Satoshi question for a long time, with some intensity. They would have published this 'excerpt' in a heartbeat.

In fact, somebody (an alleged "proxy" for the alleged Satoshi) did contact Wired around the time the publication appeared, apparently to make sure they knew about it and would spread the word. But if they had wanted Wired to publish it, then the editors might have had questions that the pseudo-Satoshi didn't want to answer.

So: what IS the message? Apparently, the message is that th…

The New Satoshi Text I

Those of us who care about the identity of the mysterious fellow, or combine, known as Satoshi Nakamoto have had something new to talk about in recent days.

For those who don't care, you may be excused.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, here are the basics in one graf: From October 2008 to December 2010 a person or persons calling himself/themselves Satoshi Nakamoto developed bitcoin, authored a paper explaining it to the world, and engaged in discussions about it with a (then small) circle of interested parties. This was the start of something big. Bitcoin gave rise to a slew of other cryptos, and the underlying tech, the blockchain, has found and is still finding uses far beyond the issue of cryptocurrency use or value. Some people believe that the creation of Bitcoin was and is as big a deal as, say, the creation of the worldwide web.

So who is he? And might he be planning a comeback in some form? Or has the comeback itself already happened and fizzled (…

A Thought on Brett Kavanaugh

I haven't done a lot of research into the particulars of his life and work. What I know, I know third hand.

But I once did a fair amount of research into the history and politics of SCOTUS confirmations in general, and on that basis I have an opinion. 

But I do hope that a majority can be found to vote against his confirmation to SCOTUS. 

Why? Well, largely because intriguing things happen when a Republican POTUS gets rejected twice running in an effort to fill a SCOTUS spot. So I hope Kavanaugh is rejected, then whoever else is nominated is also rejected, then ... we'll see who number three is. 

Intriguing things happen in that circumstance. Nixon tried Haynesworth. Didn't get confirmed. Tried Carswell, didn't get confirmed. Third try ... Harry Blackmun. Reagan tried Robert Bork. No confirmation, Then tried Doug Ginsburg, No confirmation, Third try ... Anthony Kennedy. Hey, Dems, the goal isn't to imitate the obstructionism you (rightly) criticized in 2016. The goal i…

RIP Harlan Ellison

One of science fiction's greats passed away late last month.

I refer of course to Harlan Ellison, the author of Web of the City (1958), Spider Kiss (1961), and A Boy and His Dog (1969). But Ellison worked best in forms that were not book length. Among his many published collections of short stories, Stalking the Nightmare (1982), Angry Candy (1988) and Mind Fields (1994). No, that isn't a photo of Ellison I've attached here. I'll tell you who the b-and-w photo is of in due course.

Ellison was probably best known, though, for having written the screenplay for the greatest episode of the original Star Trek, "City on the Edge of Forever."

Or, rather, he wrote the first draft of the screenplay. My understanding is that Roddenberry re-wrote it quite radically, in ways to which Ellison was never reconciled.

Well, that's show biz. The basic plot involves a time machine that sends Captain Kirk back to the year 1930, a soup kitchen in Depression-stricken America,…