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Welcome to Yofiel: Named for the archangel of beauty, Yofiel provides knowledge and tools for you to be beautiful yourself.
Research ruminations, and other creative writing over the years. While I've written far more than this, these are the pieces other people asked me to share.
When I started at Oxford University in 1979, I was told I'd have to take statistics as a minor for a major in philosophy and psychology. So I nervously went to meet the professor, worrying how I hadn't studied calculus in a long time. But he had been sitting in front of an Apple 2, on a table in the Psychology Dept. lounge, for a solid week. He had read the manuals and written a couple of programs, then he had just sat there looking at it. For a week.
Some time ago I stated rather sardonically that the same arguments used to demote Pluto from planethood would remove Washington DC from the USA, which is actually a scathing condemnation of the quality of philosophical thought even in the scientific communities of this nation. There was a great deal of naive complaint about that statement, so this post explains the problem in detail.
A box-and-arrow overview of a learning software intelligence, with unconsciousness and emotions, capable of defending itself when under threat. The architecture combines recent and prominent models from cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, logic, linguistics, social psychology, and psychoanalysis.
After exploring how to link the conscious and unconscious abstractions with basic feelings, this article postulates a new model for dreams, summarizes the possibilities for computer simulation, and provides a high-level description of the initial cognition process. It is intended as a framework for systematic discussion of each component and process in the hypercognition system, sufficient to define a learning Artificial Intelligence (AI) with emotions and dreams.
The great ornithologist Richard Attenborough was once asked why birds sing. After a long explanation, ending in a detailed examination of what happens during a morning chorus, he concluded, "So, if there are no predators, and it is not time to mate, why is there still a morning chorus? Well. It's too late to sleep. It's too early to catch worms. So there isn't anything else to do."
Has anyone ever wondered why Intel and Sun Microsystems, the two largest microprocessor design companies in silicon valley, fought pretty well everyone else, but not each other, for over 20 years? Here is a beautiful and fantastic story explaining decades of peace and prosperity, based on a secret alliance for which I was the architect. Almost no one noticed it, and absolutely no one could destroy it. Not even Microsoft.
Non-Aristotelianism is the primary premise for a specialized field of study called General Semantics: a difficult subject to understand as it is totally different from almost everything else we ever learn. Aristotle wrote that a true definition gives the essence of the thing defined (in Greek, literally "the what it was to be"). This is such a core concept in almost all our understanding of the world, including science, mathematics and logic, that we have trouble recognizing how it hobbles our ability to perceive reality more accurately.
An academic essay on the limits of Empirical Materialiism with respect to explaining the nature of human experience, especially with respect to the supernatural.
An exploration of the foundation of Cartesian Dualism, resulting in a rationalization for mysticism.
Tracing ideas from 2800 years ago to the 1st Century BCE, this is the first of six topics on natural law, natural rights, and the social contract. After a preface on the necessity for philosophical understanding of natural law, this topic describes pertinent ideas from Egypt, Homer, Hesiod, the Upanishads, Guan'Zhong, Gautama Buddha, Confucius, Lao'Tzu, Solon, Thales, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the Huang-Lao.
Tracing the three threads of development in ideas of natural law worldwide. In the West, it starts with the Stoic secularism of Cicero. Augustine's theocracy replaces it, spreading to the Middle East and back, via Averroes to Aquinas. Neoplatonism disappears, perhaps merging into the Christian church as divine awe for paternally guided afterlife. But no ideas of afterlife merge into the East or Far East. Instead Buddhist ideas spread Eastwards and transform, with their ultimate realization by Tsongkhapa; but in the Far East, later Han Lo eschews Buddhism, and Taoist ideas merge into Neoconfucianism.
Considering the significance of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" to all Americans, the social contract from which they are derived is the most important yet least understood topic in the United States. This article explains why Jefferson chose the particular words that he did for theDeclaration of Independence:
Because Franklin relabeled Jefferson's natural rights as 'self evident' in the Declaration of Independence, many believe they understand them perfectly. However, Jefferson derived his natural rights from empirical philosophy, not intuition. A proper understanding of Jeffersonian positive law provides definitive and immutable answers to fundamental issues on the extent of Federal and State authority, including solutions to many problematic conflicts that have since been politicized, including abortion and the death penalty. Moreover, the prevalent universal belief is now that rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness are purely to support hedonistic or otherwise self-oriented objectives. That was not the founding father's intent, explaining the declines in acceptable fiscal inequity, social peace, and the nation's moral authority over the last century.
To answer questions of politics properly, one must understand the theories which produced the questions. Otherwise it is no more than blind stabs into an unknown dark. Most people alive today think that requires no more than some relatively trivial Google searches on political science. But POLITICAL SCIENCE, ultimately, can only describe that which IS or IS NOT, because it is a science rather than art. POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY takes a step beyond, to describe that which MIGHT BE.
This article is not an endorsement of 'either side.' It simply summarizes how radical Islamic terrorism picks up on Augustinian ideas of divine law's precedence over human law (as restated in the Qu'ran), with results exactly the same as from Augustinian doctrine in early Christian history. Then after summarizing how the division between church and state came about in the West, it discusses what's best to do about it. By way of preface, there is a very good explanation why you never heard this before, and it is not because the facts are unsound. A truly neutral analysis is beset not merely by criticism, but rather outright condemnation, from all sides. Immediately after sharing this on Facebook, I was banned from three groups, without even an attempt to open the link. Most others said I was wrong for reasons countermanded in the next paragraph. Also I am obligated to state first, I am an American citizen, a Satipatṭhāna Buddhist, a retired Oxford scholar, and have no affiliations with any religious or political organization.
three centuries ago, Bentham and Mill invented the idea of 'utilitarianism:' the maximization of happiness. The results of their ideas persist throughout modern culture on more ways than most know. This article will explore the idea of 'legalitarianism:" the maximization of natural rights. According to Locke, the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness enable people to act for the greater good, which a benign government implements to cause a better society for all. This article will explore how a maximization of natural rights therefore results in the best society for all.
Various essays and translations from over the years.
A suite of essays on natural law, natural rights, and the social contract, with special emphasis on the worldwide origins of the ideas, and their development in the West, particularly in the United States.