Re: Zeciousness Re: Taking the billion? Re: Gedankenexperiments

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From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Thu Aug 17 2000 - 20:15:00 PDT

Zeciousity Alert! Read no further if zeciousity offends you.

> our essential and eternal disagreement.

Hmmm... didn't we decide a while back that we agree a whole lot more than we disagree? <ZECIOUS> I
disagree with your assertion that there's an essential and eternal disagreement. Argument: it can't be
essential, because you can't adequately define essential, and it can't be eternal, because you can't even
prove to me (or yourself!) that you exist transiently, much less eternally. Further, you can't even,
apparently, based on previous discussion, decide whether there *is* a disagreement or not. Talk about
positions bending in the wind; refinement is a perfectly valid intradebate transition, but quantum leaping
from one firm position to its complement is either concession, confusion, or just weird form. </ZECIOUS>


> Let us make that word "zecious".

I like it.

> With these two examples, of what you suggest money could buy, I am
> outdone. No further words from me could make your position appear
> any more zecious than it already is.

Are you really sure about that? I'm pretty sure we could up the zeciousity level a bit.

Actually, though, at some brief instant in this whole mess there was a point, however transient. We were
well on the way --- admittedly a bit of a convoluted path, but that's the way these things evolve --- to an
inductive proof of both prop and metaprop which, if achieved, would've basically rendered the whole thing
both obviously true and essentially meaningless at the same time. (As are most logical assertions about
existential or qualitative issues which are epistemologically questionable.)

Speaking of which, here's an epistemological question: how can you satisfactorily prove to participants
and observers alike which side of "zecious" a particular person is on in any given discussion?


PS - if there is any disagreement, Gordon, it's just in our attitudes towards argument. I really don't
think debates are something one always needs to win; I think they're tools for refining your own attitudes
and opinions about things. As such, I disagree with some of the tactics you use which, while certainly
good ways to score points, don't really contribute much to either party's clarity of understanding of
either position. For example, invent a new word that paints the opposition and opposing argument as
worthless, absurd, and basically contemptible and apply the label without taking the time to deconstruct
the argument itself and explain *why* the position is absurd. All you've done there is made a very
elaborate value judgement and statement of opinion that doesn't, in fact, speak to the argument at all.

While those kinds of tactics (maybe) win high school debates and, indeed, perhaps even board room or
similar battles, they aren't particularly constructive if the goal is to discover "the truth" rather than
win an argument. I guess that's fine, if one is certain of having the right answer in every debate and
one's only goal is to beat everyone into submission and acknowledgement. Me, I've found that the only
thing I'm certain of in life is that I'm pretty uncertain about most things. So our goals in pursuing
debates are fairly different, I guess. I argue to lose and learn.

My goal in this argument was to try and explore the epistemological limits of the whole "money / life"
question. My conclusion was that there's a logical argument to be had which leads one to the inevitable
conclusion that it's really a meaningless question; there's no such thing as infinite money, so anything
anyone with finite funds might try and fail to buy might be purchasable if you just had $1 more.

Your goal was what exactly? To defend art and truth and beauty from such crass, basic philosophical
cretinism that would lead one to assert "there's nothing in life that money can't buy?"


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