Catholic vs. Other - 2017-07-28 - Diabolically Informative

Author Recorded Friday July 28th, 2017

There are 41 episodes in the Versus:Other series.

Recorded September 21st, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-21 - Tino

Recorded September 10th, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-10 - Judah

Recorded September 2nd, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-02 - William

Recorded October 21st, 2016

Catholic vs. Other - 2016-10-21 - Ben

Diabolically Informative put out a video on his YouTube channel defending some aspects of Morgue's Hyperianism, which has some Pythagorean roots. He is the first idealist I have interviewed, but not the last, I hope. I enjoyed hearing his perspective.


Catholic vs. Other - 2017-07-28 - Diabolically Informative

Author Recorded September 24th, 2016

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hi everybody this is diabolically informative and you are listening to Catholic verses other so if you could just talk a little bit about who you are what you believe and how you came to believe it absolutely my beliefs about the world are effectively what you might call pythagoreanism or mathematical idealism there are many other names for these views nowadays on the internet but that's essentially what it comes down to as a child I was actually given a significant amount of religious liberty even though that my parents were say my mum would for instance was Catholic my father was Serbian Orthodox nobody really pushed anything on me I had grown up in a in an age of a lot of religious tolerance and also a lot of religious indifference however I was able to pursue my own beliefs on my own explore things you know believe in this believe in that and just discover myself so even though my general theological upbringing might be said to be Catholic I had already at an early age taken exception to this and came to develop my own ideas would say what God might be what souls might be and that sort of stuff you might say that as a child I had a very spin of istic outlook on life although I didn't know it but to be a philosopher you must first be a stimulus right that's right now later on I began to question a number of these things of course I had come to say atheism and materialism for very simple reasons though as I had actually developed my philosophical outlook I decided that this position was untenable not for religious reasons or reasons of personal belief or need but for metaphysical reasons for reasons of consistency you see even as a teenager I had valued the consistency of what we believed in over say you know any one particular position I was motivated primarily by logic and later on primarily by mathematics there are two series of truth there's the coherence theory and the correspondence theory right so you want your truths to cohere among themselves and to correspond with objective reality if you believe in an objective reality do you believe in an objective reality oh I must yes of course however I actually think that the epistemological account of coherence and correspondence are primarily linguistic accounts if you suppose that the universe's say mathematical then you're going to have to rework a lot of what we mean in language and what what say the mathematics refers to but I would say it is still squarely within the correspondence end but coherence for instance doesn't necessarily dictate logical consistency just that beliefs meshed together I take a more we might say almost chromatic approach to logical consistency things must be consistent on a very fundamental metaphysical and ontological level things must be consistent at a measurable empirical level and so on and so forth I just want to say for the record that I do believe that the only reality or the most fundamental reality is relation so I don't think that's far from your worldview really when you get down to it because mathematics is primarily about relation greater than less than equal to these sorts of relations if you look at the mathematical proof of 1 plus 1 equals 2 for example is about 300 pages long and it boils down to relation so I don't think your worldview in my worldview differ that much fundamentally yes and no so for instance liveness a certain quasi pythagorean we might say actually took a view that is similar to yours but say for space and time and all these sorts of things and I I do respect a mathematical Platonism however I actually wants to make a cut between Platonism and pythagoreanism relation ISM implies abstract entities or abstract relations conceptual relations pythagoreanism doesn't necessarily imply that I actually believe that mathematics a certain kind of mathematics is self-sufficient in and of itself self-existing in and of itself and concrete rather than abstract you know in effect that there are ways to make mathematics concrete and not just abstract and avoid some of the simple objections to platonism by doing this I am sort of by nature a plate inist I'm a top-down thinker I tend towards principle reasoning deduction things I entirely respect yes here the Catholic Church has embraced both Platonism and Aristotelian isms or that bottom-up approach as well yes I'm a bit cautious of all empiricism and all inductive thought but can you talk a little bit because it's not clear I haven't quite understood that cut that you wanted to make between Pythagoras and Plato who's the good guy who's the bad guy and why strictly speaking I don't believe either are bad guys both are good guys I almost totally endorsed both their views but with a few caveats of course Pythagoras believed that mathematics is ontological he thought that you know harmonies and all these sorts of things we're not just abstract things they were not just relation they were very real I recall as a teenager I had this discussion with people you know a friend of mine and a few other friends we had asked each other okay so what do you think ultimately exists I said waves and the reason why I said waves was because waves are in today's language scale-invariant you have waves everywhere they're one of the most ubiquitous phenomena in the universe so of course I didn't know how to express this mathematically now my other friend he said that he believed the numbers are are the real thing and he said that well you know there's two of things there's three of something there's always a number of something this is the most common thing therefore numbers are real so how would you square these two views that say waves are real and that numbers are real I take a very modern approach to pythagoreanism waves are real but waves are actually responsible for a number in a sense wave the numbers are one and the same but there is a difference between having say a wave that interferes with itself and forms great and interesting patterns across many scales and say just mere abstract relations this wave for instance is a concrete thing that I have presupposed it may be continuous like a sinusoidal wave there may be certain aspects of it discretized aspects of it that result in solidity and other things like that and and so we get a concreteness from it by the way this is a sort of pan psychism as well so is why I say it mathematical idealism whereas with Plato he just assumed that that forms exist forms are static forms are in many cases relations in fact I believe there was a proof of this by edward zalta you know showing how you can resolve the third man problem and everything like that by cutting out some of plato's axioms but Plato at face value did embrace a certain relation as a myth biological consequence at least and the third man problem is that we can always introduce that third term can you summarize that briefly well I ensured it so that you can introduce a form for a bunch of other forms you could have forms of forms etc you never really have can stop multiplying these entities this is not an impossible view I should say but it's certainly an implausible one getting back to grammar you brought to mind nietzsche he famously said we can't have completely killed god until we've also killed grammar the grammar of language I thoroughly agree I think he was prophetic in a lot that he said and he was very playful also so it's hard to unravel some of his jokes from profound prophetic truth but I thoroughly believe that grammar is another set of relations you sort of hinted at that can you talk a little bit about language and grammar and how it relates to mathematics yes so many of the common popular positions in mathematics today about the philosophy of Malthus foundations of math are oftentimes formalistic intuitionistic and all this sort of stuff what that means is that math can essentially be reduced to something else I believe that if math is ontological and that a certain type of math is invariant then you can't reduce math to anything else but whatever is ontological and invariant and the reason for this is because any time that you try to make some sort of cymatics system to capture all of this mathematics you will always only cover a portion of it and never the entirety of it so you have to sort of demand a sui generis mathematics that means in mathematics that generates itself or there self-existent is that we mean yes that is correct I do actually think that this mathematics exists today it is called complex analysis it is a very rich field complex analysis involves the complex plane and mathematics that's real and imaginary numbers this plane is algebraically complete that means that no matter what sort of transformations that you perform on the plane and you can make certain special extensions that are completely legal you'll never change this plane it'll always remain itself it's a very beautiful property algebraic completeness but the proof of the axioms can't be done within that realm as gertle famously said what good ol' is saying is that there are certain truths that are inaccessible from the axiomatic system and so don't often take the form of formally undecidable propositions that is you'll never know whether it's a yes or a no as to whether the statement is true however if you're actually saying look I'm not going to take the formal axiomatic system I'm going to take a roundabout but ontological justification for math consistency then the theorems don't necessarily apply to that most of the equations that you'll encounter in physics and in big mathematics and stuff they'll involve certain operations which will be undecidable there are a number of things with it within mathematics which completely imply that mathematics is independent of formal systems formal systems are great for computers but not great for everything else for instance most of the real number plane is actually inaccessible you can't name all of the real numbers because there are uncountably many real numbers and there can only ever be countably many names so they're there but there are even more reasons for it - for instance I found informal systems in second order logic that there are truth conditions in second order logic and how many truth conditions are there what if we were to maximize these truth conditions that's the Hance number a special number it actually turns out the number so large we don't even know whether these numbers even exist yet or whether they're even valid within set theory this is really interesting because we actually reason about mathematics and we reason about it beautifully and yet there are numbers that are so big that just boggles the mind how we could possibly skip over something like that if math is only grounded in formal systems you're not going to be able to capture the entirety of deductions with formal systems you need to have a much bigger view of it for instance in analysis you don't just write out every single solution to some sort of curve on a plane or something like that you you first specify what are the conditions for the solution you specify you know you narrow it down through constraints until you have something where you can tease out an answer that's actually what I'm saying we should be applying to mathematics not formal systems fisken Stein said very correctly that mathematics is nothing but tautology so if mathematics is nothing but tautology how is it that it could be inconsistent if it's nothing but tautologies but of course if you have so many tautologies uncountably many tautologies and and ones which are inaccessible from some set of axioms then of course the axioms aren't going to capture all of it because the axioms aren't actually strictly speaking always mathematical yeah there's a certain amount of groping in the dirt that takes place I'm just wondering if because in my worldview there is no such thing as a genuine contradiction there's only the sort of the specter or the rumor of genuine contradiction and sort of the theater that would portray genuine contradiction but if you look closely the laws of nature are never being violated the laws of mathematics are never being violated the laws of relation are never being violated yes that's correct it's all smoking it's all smoke and mirrors yes yeah because of complexity we live in a complex world I watched your video when you were defending Hyperion ISM or whatever it's called morgue I follow him because I find his movement interesting because it's philosophical because it's rational and because atheism today is so vapid and so lame yes with all the scientists and just this sort of complacency is so rampant and they're so smug and ill-informed there's just it just boggles the mind so I'd like to see a bit of philosophical rigor coming back into eight-years-old yeah well you know to be honest I actually believe that atheism only has a few consistent positions and none of them today would be endorsed by many popular atheists if at all are you an atheist well strictly speaking sure but there are obvious technicalities where I just wouldn't want to identify myself as one today you mentioned the principles that they can stand on can you flesh those out for us well actually one is Schopenhauer's philosophy and the other is eduard von Hartman's philosophy they're big complex systems but in a sense both philosophies have no God strictly speaking though there is you know a single unity a totality that you know transforms itself over time they have the pessimism of atheists today too but there's also a little bit more to it there's metaphysics and stuff like that but how would that manifest in a modern day run-of-the-mill atheist how could I identify those elements in the Joe Blow atheist that I speak with I actually don't think you can because those elements aren't there a theistic materialism if you ask me it's actually an entirely bankrupt view there are so many things that are intellectually wrong with it on the foundational level but which are utterly ignored solely on the basis of evidence so for instance I heard one of your videos with Matt Dillahunty and you guys had an argument about the weather whether it can be predicted and all that so this argument about the weather is very telling because they're always going to be formal limits to prediction for weather even though that you know there will be some state of weather which is completely determined in the future it's just that with computers and with all these sorts of things even the best computers today you will still not be able to predict the weather accurately any more than a week from now you know you can push it to two weeks even then it's a great computational effort but he he thought that yes you can predict the weather in the future anyways but if he knew anything about the theory of say integrals he would know that you you really can't do it there are very big limits on this so there's a certain amount of trust this inductive trust you know he he denies that the world can be absolutely determinist assume determinism within the inductive scope of what can be observed these are entirely contradictory positions if you want to remain consistent you will have to ditch you know either atheism or materialism you can't have the two together I'm an amateur for us for I have no background in philosophy and my guests certainly don't claim to be professional philosophers but when I talk about having infinite time behind us they always say well that's no problem there you know the number line is infinite therefore we can have infinite time behind us but my problem with that is that we are bound up with space and time so it's one thing to point to the number line and say that it's infinite it's another thing to say that I'm going to do infinite tasks this morning before I settle into doing my workday right yeah there are so many things wrong with this statement that I don't know where to begin really people are blurring the line between mathematics and our state as finite beings in a spatio-temporal world can you address that a little bit briefly yeah so I actually do believe that the universe is indeed infinite I suspect very strongly that the universe is exploded and reformed over and over again ad infinitum of course the idea of spatio-temporal experience insofar as it is within a universe is always going to be finite it's always going to be relational with regards the universe that contains us you can't for instance use the number line to very naively justify that there are very immense formal problems there if you wanted to do that do you remember the paradox where the ancient Greeks talked about someone shooting an arrow at a target so before it gets there it has to go half the way but then it has to go half the way of that half the way what Zeno's paradox yes with that formally resolved is that an easy philosophical thing to debunk well yes and no Zeno's paradox is today the way that they're debunked in in philosophy is to simply show how you do an infinite series and how the infinite series converges to a number that is very trivial but the main problem of Zeno's paradoxes with regards to motion you have to discretize motion in an diabolically informative later on I will actually show you how you do that but the answer is that motion must be discretized in a moment that motion is discretized then you overcome the paradox because if you're trying to move continuously right from some point a to some infinitesimal a plus C or whatever you want to call it you will never reach your destination so long as you're moving from one infinitesimal to another to another to another right but as long as you're moving at some discrete interval you can actually traverse space even continuous space a lot of people like to think that there's no God and there's no supernatural and yet somehow we have freewill and they like to use quantum indeterminacy so-called so-called randomness which I don't believe in I reject the Copenhagen interpretation and all those interpretation I believe that everything has a reasonable cause and a sufficient reason but they like to point to quantum stuff because it's so magical to somehow give them freedom of their will it's completely absurd do you believe in the freedom of the will and if so on what basis I can only believe in freedom of the will on an absolute metaphysical and compatibilist basis I cannot believe in say the libertarian conception of free will but insofar as say you're a self-contained being then you will necessarily have free will however quantum indeterminacy and quantum indeterminacy inton indeterminacy have to do with fundamental fuzziness whereas quantum indeterminism has to do with why we cannot specify causal variables for why something has to be absolutely determined in order for quantum mechanics to remain consistent and not non-local so the Copenhagen interpretation is a bit of a cop-out where you say I'm just going to ignore the stuff that I can't observe and so long as I ignore this and make no attempt to mathematically resolve this then my theory will remain consistent it is actually a deeply problematic and subjectivist interpretation of quantum mechanics but it's a simple one because it's easy to teach to students because you ignore all of them immensely difficult problems of that and you just carry on with the calculations what do you think of Occam's razor is it being abused by scientism and the New Atheism when you try to multiply entities into super positions and you'd say that you're following all cams razor by doing this you're really not Schrodinger himself created his thought experiment so as to mock the new quantum theory not to affirm it it's just that people who later misunderstood Schrodinger took it seriously which is very ironic again I take a deterministic interpretation of it because it does satisfy all Cam's razor I don't have an unreal wavefunction collapsing into reality I don't have things that I don't observe that take infinitely many super positions until I observe them this sort of stuff is is indeed a violation of Occam's razor what is your background in terms of math science philosophy or anything else academically or in terms of your passions maybe you're self-taught I don't know the second part to that question is where is society headed because it seems to me that there is sort of a renaissance of philosophical discourse on the Internet I don't know if I'm imagining that or if it's something that's real kidding answerable for those questions for me well yes I'll answer the second one first because I do think that there is a renaissance the philosophical discourse we could all see it but I'm actually deeply suspicious of intellectual progress that goes unguided by grapevines were in many ways losing reverence for the big systems of old and I think that's actually a bad thing many of these big systems need to be reinvented for today in a wealth of knowledge and information we need more cohesion we need more streamlining we don't need a multiplication of lots of disparate half-baked views but unfortunately I believe that they will tend in that direction until some future time and there's another quasi intellectual revolution and people take on systematizing yet again now for the first question I'm actually right now finishing my honours BA in philosophy and I'm actually going to pursue a second degree in mathematics the reason being is that I have learned enough of it on my own that I might as well just finish everything up and indeed yes I have been largely self-taught from an early age I was fortunate enough to have people give me books and give me the right books by whatever accident and I absorbed as much as I could and learned as much as I could I don't need much in life the only thing that I need is knowledge and lots of it and that's quite literally all that I do I read I amassed knowledge I collect and streamline it and for many years I've been studying math and philosophy independently before deciding to take it up in school do you adhere to hyperion ism or are you sympathetic to the movement I would say that I am sympathetic they happen to have adopted a group of philosophical views which I broadly agree with and so that is why I felt I needed to defend them in the public space here because I feel a personal responsibility towards being a steward over these views did some of the more eccentric philosophers and classical Greek philosophy in that world were some of them charismatic leaders sort of the way morg is putting on the theatrical presentation of a larger-than-life gothic personality absolutely in fact the most infamous is Pythagoras who had his Pythagorean Brotherhood or however you might want to call it my tigress was born around 570 BCE in the Pythagorean Brotherhood I believe closed up shop at around 495 BCE in metapontum however the Brotherhood actually continued into Plato's day this was a group of people who were exclusively focused on studying mathematics and philosophy and in and their moral education and they believed that they could perfect themselves by doing that there were other philosophers which had very interesting following so for instance Aerys Parmenides who had a very committed and small group of students as well you had empedocles he had a very interesting way of doing things and pedak Lee as you might say was the multimedia philosopher so he loves to put on a good show he always loved to present himself as larger than life and to present view that way and boy did people ever pay attention to him the same was true for many philosophers throughout time even Plato had a certain charisma to him and he was not shy from using it I don't believe that there is anything intrinsically wrong with using your charisma or showmanship and other things like that in order to get views that would otherwise be unpopular in order to get them to be more loved and and more accepted I think that that is actually how humanity conducts its affairs and that it would really be unnatural or counterproductive to try and make an already difficult view more difficult to accept by presenting it the wrong way one of my heroes is Socrates do you think that we understand Socrates point of view more accurately than we do the seemingly shifting point of view of Plato himself well from what I can understand there is actually a lot of historical records of Socrates is a existence from outside of displayed oh the most famous of which is Xenophon's he was a he was a famous writer of the Anna Baucis and Xenophon actually wrote of running into Socrates in in an alley you know there is a you know you also have Aristophanes as well with his play the clouds and all that how much do we understand of Socrates is viewpoint I'm just not sure there are there are many interesting views mixed into into Socrates the earlier texts of Plato's seem to have a more independent Socrates while the later texts of Plato he seems more like a sock puppet so I would actually say that from the you know just from from textual analysis and historical stuff that maybe maybe the earlier sock the Socrates from Plato's earlier works is much more indicative of what Socrates actually believed now I'll move on to other topics we just briefed very briefly want to touch on Aristotle I have a sort of prejudice against him as a dry and boring man is that typical or do you feel the same way I think that you are actually sorely mistaken but I believe that you are sorely mistaken just like everyone else's because we've been deprived of most of Aristotle's works let me tell you something one of one of the ancient thinkers I believe it might have been Cicero she said that Plato's works were like lakes of silver while Aristotle's works were like rivers of gold it's actually known that two-thirds of Aristotle's works are missing and those two-thirds happen to be his public works so we just have his lecture notes he captivated people for hundreds of years after his death and I believe that both the burning of the library at Alexandria and the Dark Ages had resulted in Aristotle's works being lost I'll definitely look into it and I do feel bad about my pressures and I'm aware of it it's okay we you know to be honest I have a hard time staying awake reading reading Aristotle as well my favorite texts of his are are on poetry on politics and on his Nicomachean ethics and those are the ones where I can stay awake all night reading them but others they're a mixed bag right I just wanted to touch ever so briefly on st. Augustine and st. Thomas Aquinas just to name two sort of geniuses within my Catholic tradition mm-hmm well st. Augustine just like pseudo-dionysius synthesized neoplatonism and so the brilliant move that Augustine and pseudo-dionysius had done was to include Greek philosophy within the Christian faith and the result of this actually was Thomas Aquinas his Summa Theologica is a masterwork it's one of humanity's the greatest accomplishments actually I greatly respect all three thinkers though of course they are not without contradictions to me though the one with the least contradictions or the one whose thought about it the most is obviously Thomas Aquinas so I want to get more into you as a person where do you go when you die and what happens you what's the best-case scenario for you I don't actually believe that you die ever your body dies but you don't the memories that are tied with your brain and there's other things like that they also don't die they are lost you could say in a jumble of things you as a mathematical being necessarily cannot die and the subjective experiences the qualia that are associated with this map cannot die either but you continue on and and I would say that it is simultaneously a both frightening and very beautiful process the eternal return seems to be something that you have in common with stoicism stoicism is actually a very static philosophy so while I while I agree with certain things about stoicism such as really becoming a strong person I don't really believe that things are as static as the Stoics make it out to be I think the universe is a dynamic Hegelian place and the universal law goes while ruled by eternal laws mathematical laws even even in its Gestalt is a dynamical entity do you think there's any reason to believe that one instance of that material universe the physical universe in that cycle is any better than the infinite other cycles do you understand is there progress is there an evolution no actually the evolution happens within the universe the progress happens within the universe and we we play this out again and again and ad infinitum and every single time I believe it is infinitely interesting if it were not it would eventually become infinitely boring you know the principle of identity a is a are these different universes that are coming into being and then disappearing are they all a or are they a b c d e etcetera well no i believe it's actually just the same the same universe the same collective totality of basic things transforming itself over time I don't believe in a multiverse or anything like that is it like a beach where you have people building their sandcastles and then the sand gets wiped away by the waves and then someone else comes along and builds their little sandcastle which is different but there's certain limitation on the parameters of how big and how wild you can go with the architecture that's right we leave our mark on it yes it's very much like that in fact it's appropriate that we do play on beaches and build sandcastles very metaphysically appropriate yes and so the best thing that we can do like I'm trying to get that morality here what is the point of doing anything and why do we not indulge in what everyone agrees is evil selfishness hurting people for pleasure and stuff like that well because there's more to the universe than just that many people who do this have a very limited perspective on things the universe evolves for you might say for eventually at least for the sake of altruism and reason I don't believe that you can act immorally if you're a truly rational person why would you hurt someone else who is actually in many ways incomplete identity with you both at the very beginning at the very end I believe that we should certainly be improving ourselves and perfecting ourselves becoming beautiful Souls and that we should be concerning ourselves with that because if we do we actually get to enjoy more why would you simply indulge in destruction and these sorts of things and hurting other people when you can actually spend your time being a much more constructive person developing lasting meaningful relationships developing wondrous works of art architecture and civilization you have only more to gain by doing that and otherwise if you indulge in these sorts of things these violent monkey-like instincts you have only more to lose and you will also lose out on the time that you could have spent becoming better so I want to get your opinion on slave morality versus master morality yeah Christianity famously is characterized as sort of the pinnacle of slave morality I don't know if that's true or not but what is your perspective on that so here's the thing David Catholicism is probably the only faith that I know of which can really be synthesized with higher philosophy in science it has embraced Greek philosophy as its theological center point the reason why Christiana the scene as by Nietzsche as the pinnacle slave morality is because you've posited a master that is infinitely high above you and you infinitely below and so there is nothing that you could do ever to make yourself equal to that however there was a Catholic theologian and thinker who proposed a scheme that does not contradict Catholicism and yet embraces rationalism and evolution and change and even becoming one with God equal to God through oneness this man is pierre teilhard de chardin and he's actually a very inspiring thinker who I like quite a bit I believe that that over time even in a godless universe you become better and better you can become so to speak godlike by focusing on your self development and your your altruism as I said perfecting yourself and yes indeed you require a sort of master morality for that as well because you have to look eternity into the eye so to speak and you have to say I know that everything that I do will one day maybe billions of years from now be completely wiped out and replaced but damn it out of the creative spirit in my heart out of the desire to become better out of the desire to explore I will gladly leap into that abyss and I will make it a fullness and not an emptiness are you a fan of existentialist philosophy absolutely absolutely and I believe that existentialism is absolutely necessary it's beautiful it's a choice that we have to make ourselves we have to face our existential shadows it's an act of taking responsibility ultimately yeah it's an act of taking responsibility an act of will a desire for beauty in an absence of it what is not admirable about that so just to wrap up I always ask my guests to give a final thought what would you say to anyone that's listening well anything that I could say is always going to be colored by my experiences but if I could say something you know sub specie Eterna Tata so Spinoza says I would say that there is always more that you can do there is always more that you can become don't worry about the people that have said that you couldn't do thing don't worry about the people who have said that you don't have any hope you always have hope when you take hope in yourself when you even take responsibility for yourself and sometimes you may also need others to help you do it if you don't have a community go and find one go and develop one and always always seek after rationality always always seek after your emotional development always seek after new lessons and never give up on yourself yeah you know you're one of you if you got some questions ready I don't know all you got to do is all you have to do it to do it

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