Tuesday 29 July 2014

What are we entitled to say about Entitlements?

All Professors are entitled to say stupid things but how can one be sure of saying the stupidest things possible at any given time while still retaining currency as a pukka pointy headed Public Intellectual?
One answer has to do with equating essentially contested, or holophrastically indeterminate, words or concepts- like Justice, or Capabilities, or Entitlements- with mathematically rigorous Sets and then looking at situations where we can good-faith agree that elements of a certain type belong in the Set in question. Our naive intuition is that, once a sufficient sequence of such elements is admitted, then some structural feature of the Set will become evident such that all our theorems can be 'relativised' w.r.t that set and a Bernays (second order) Reflection Principle obtains such that we have an assurance that the Set as a whole will exhibit the property we have painstakingly discriminated and what's more all our Knowledge is relevant to it and every correct form of Reasoning applicable to it.

If words and concepts are essentially ontologically dysphoric- i.e. not at home in this world- and thus if the Sets that describe them bear no relation to the 'Universal Set' (V)  of all that is- no objection can be raised, other than the obvious one- viz. why pay Professors to spout Schizophrenic shite when our Lunatic Asylums supply a better product for free?
Suppose words and concepts, save when used disingenuously, aren't gaping wormholes into madness, then any Set they define must be a subset of V. However, in that case, either some Set of algorithms exist, within the Universal Set, which with provable consistency partition V so as to yield the Set you are interested in- which is impossible by Godel's second incompleteness theorem- or there is no provably consistent algorithmic method of wholly distinguishing that Set within V.
As Godel put it-

I suppose, if one still wants to gain the academic respectability of Mathematics, one could still do so by invoking Fuzzy Set theory- indeed, there are some approaches to Entitlements which do so- but, while this might be sensible- and the sort of back-room drudgery Bureaucrats ought to be doing for the good of their souls- what it isn't is Sen-tentious.
Consider the following-

Wow! So Entitlements are a Set distinguished by the property of being unknown, at any moment in time, to any living being and, what's more, unknowable tout court.
Well, 'opportunities' are what Evolution has designed us to search for on an unknown, unpredictable, fitness landscape. Similarly 'rights' are co-evolved and subject to even more uncertainty including strategic uncertainty.
As for the Law- it is scarcely static and unchanging.
In the case of the Bengal Famine, which Sen studied, it wasn't the Law 'which stood between food availability and food entitlement'. On the contrary, the elected Govt of Bengal could have implemented the Bengal Famine Code- or at least acknowledged that a Famine caused by food availability deficit existed instead of pretending them evil Hindu Money-lenders were hoarding all the food.
Sen's hilarious theory is that workers in the Cities were so gluttonous and callous that they ate 5 times as much rice as previously and stood around with jutting bellies sneering at their own brothers and cousins from the countryside who had come staggering into Calcutta only to collapse and die in the streets.
Yes, there was an Entitlements type failure- it became impossible to sell or mortgage land while the Japs (aided and abetted by Subash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army) were at the door- and, no question, the Army and the Administration worsened things initially, till an Army man became Viceroy- but that wasn't the root of the problem.
The fact is, in a rain fed Agricultural economy (as opposed to a 'no escape' zone of fertility) , Entitlements create Famines.
Well, the evolutionary stable strategy- absent belief in Entitlements- is to have highly diversified food resources and also to maintain mobility. Thus if one or two or three food sources collapse, agents can still survive or walk away. Should land become scarce- head hunting is a good Zahavi type signal.
The alternative- viz. producing a surplus to support a class of fungible asset producers- depends crucially on the notion of Entitlement- legal, contractual, theological, moral or what have you.
The Law guarantees that food availability deficit will translate into food entitlement collapse. Why? It fools people into investing in, if not an otologically dysphoric, then a wholly naked Ponzi scheme rather than, as Evolution dictates,  making a Career Move into Head Hunting.
Like Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal, Jangal Santhal et al.

Sunday 27 July 2014

The Reflection principle & Borges's Aleph

Leibniz wrote, in section 56 of the Monadology: “Each simple substance has relations that express all the others, and is in consequence a perpetual living mirror of the universe”.

Borges's Aleph is a small spot only viewable from a certain angle when lying on the floor of a rodent infested Buenos Aires cellar. In it, everything in the Universe is simultaneously viewable. Yet, Borges comes to the conclusion that it is a false Aleph. Why?

Well, for the purposes of the higher criticism- i.e. writing tendentious shite about modish Modernist texts we haven't re-read since we were ourselves equally psilosophical College Sophomores- one approach is to argue that, by any Reflection Principle which itself has enough structural features- or a, Tarski type, suitably dense Relation Algebra- to fully specify the pre-image/pratibimba or Universal Set (V) for any given empirically observed Aleph, it must be the case that there is no way of distinguishing if that Aleph is merely partial or actually complete. Indeed, by a Rabzorov Rudich type argument, the probability is overwhelming that it must simply be false. This is because there are no 'natural proofs' just as there are no Godelian 'absolute proofs' which oblige God to really exist. 

A merely literary mimesis of the above requires, as so often happens on this blog, making a distinction between cataphatic and apophatic theology.

Whitman's method was cataphatic- i.e. listing sonorous shite. Borges, notoriously, was a heteroclite Whitman- his lists undermine themselves. He gives us a credible Aleph by means of a vetriginously veridical cataphasis- 'On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph’s diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror’s face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I’d seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam; I saw convex equatorial deserts and each one of their grains of sand; I saw a woman in Inverness whom I shall never forget; I saw her tangled hair, her tall figure, I saw the cancer in her breast; I saw a ring of baked mud in a sidewalk, where before there had been a tree; I saw a summer house in Adrogué and a copy of the first English translation of Pliny — Philemon Holland’s — and all at the same time saw each letter on each page (as a boy, I used to marvel that the letters in a closed book did not get scrambled and lost overnight); I saw a sunset in Querétaro that seemed to reflect the colour of a rose in Bengal; I saw my empty bedroom; I saw in a closet in Alkmaar a terrestrial globe between two mirrors that multiplied it endlessly; I saw horses with flowing manes on a shore of the Caspian Sea at dawn; I saw the delicate bone structure of a hand; I saw the survivors of a battle sending out picture postcards; I saw in a showcase in Mirzapur a pack of Spanish playing cards; I saw the slanting shadows of ferns on a greenhouse floor; I saw tigers, pistons, bison, tides, and armies; I saw all the ants on the planet; I saw a Persian astrolabe; I saw in the drawer of a writing table (and the handwriting made me tremble) unbelievable, obscene, detailed letters, which Beatriz had written to Carlos Argentino; I saw a monument I worshipped in the Chacarita cemetery; I saw the rotted dust and bones that had once deliciously been Beatriz Viterbo; I saw the circulation of my own dark blood; I saw the coupling of love and the modification of death; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph and in the Aleph the earth; I saw my own face and my own bowels; I saw your face; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon — the unimaginable universe.'

Rabindranath Tagore said- 'Kadombini moriya proman korilo she more nai' (Kadambari dies only to prove she was still alive) and though he was referencing the baroque Sanskrit novel, not his beloved  sister-in-law's suicide, there is a univocity to this epigram which redeems that too hirsute and prolix Sage.

By contrast, Borges's various Kadambaris- whose V precludes Victoria Ocampo, for whom Rabi had a lech- whether called Beatrice Viterbo or Teodolino Villar, did not die merely to prove they were alive but, like the risen Christ at the end of the Gospel of John, in order to become the protagonist of such Epic Agons as, were each written down in a book, not the World- nay, not the Library of Babel!- could contain them all. 
Which is why their Alephs are false and Zahirs forgettable. 
If only because 'Borges & I' represents a Red Queen's race.

In this respect, Borges ever trembles on that threshold boldly crossed by both true Mannerists (e.g Riti kavya a la Jagganath Pundit) & proto-Marxists (as in the subaltern Shlok of Nund Reshi) videlicet; Love is a Second Creation. Its God Grief.

What of Cantor's Aleph & the too Christian Godel?

'Hao Wang records Godel’s argument in item 8.7.14 of his Logical Journey- 'Consider a property P(V, x), which involves V. If, as we believe, V is extremely large, then x must appear in an early segment of V and cannot have any relation to much later segments of V. Hence, within P(V, x), V can be replaced by some set in every context. In short, if P does not involve V, there is no problem; if it does, then closeness to each x helps to eliminate V, provided chaos does not prevail.”

This sounds a bit like the Secretary problem also known as the 1/e stopping rule. If so, we have a proof of the (almost) Trinity

“There is also a theological approach, according to which V corresponds to the whole physical world, and the closeness aspect to what lies within the monad and in between the monads. According
to the principles of rationality, sufficient reason, and preestablished harmony, the property P(V, x) of a monad x is equivalent to some intrinsic property of x, in which the world does not occur. In other
words, when we move from monads to sets, there is some set y to which x bears intrinsically the same relation as it does to V. Hence, there is a property Q(x), not involving V, which is equivalent to P(V, x). According to medieval ideas, properties containing V or the world would not be in the essence of any set or monad”.

  But those properties  would be in the Holy Ghost against whom alone sins are unpardonable.
But, what is Sin (Evil being Empty) other than its own corpus delecti?
Thus all Sin is formally identifiable as a failure to properly dispose off Sacrifice's surplus.
What is unpardonable is to ascribe e's excess over 'two-ity' to anything but V
Wherever two are gathered, there is the lover & the rival.
When they disperse there remains only the Zahir of their Aleph.
And that is always the smallest coin in circulation amongst us.
So, drink up, & spend that penny already.

Friday 25 July 2014

Eyeless in Gaza

Since Chetan Bhagat- all round nice guy and deservedly successful Indglish novelist- has tweeted on the bombing of Gaza, it falls to me- all round shithead and least successful Indglish novelist ever- to add my tuppence.
But, what can I say as Indglishly egregious or flatulently facile?
Recursively this- or so it might fractally appear.
'The Palestinians are bloody marvellous. As a people, again and again, they have demonstrated incredible resilience arising purely out of shared Human- not Ideological, not Eschatological- Commitments and Values.
'People kept saying- not the level, per se, but the fiendishly ironic type of injustice meted out to the Palestinian will turn them into a nation of psychopaths.
'As a case in point, take 'Black September' when (in an extraordinary display of Pan Islamic solidarity) Pakistani pilots flew Saudi jets to bomb Palestinian women and children, on behalf of the Hashemite King of Jordan (whose granddaddy had been chased off the throne of Mecca by the Wahabbis whose refusal to let Pakistani Hanafis recite Fatiha at the Prophet's grave remains a bone of contention).
'After so colossal a betrayal, nobody could blame the Palestinians if they'd simply gone nuts.
Some had already- Sirhan Sirhan's assassination of Robert Kennedy wasn't a real smart move- but Sirhan was Christian and his Dad had taken U.S citizenship- i.e felt obliged to talk hate mongering shite at the dinner table. Similarly, it was the Christian George Habash, but also Nayef Hawatmeh (both Leftist nutjobs) - who paved the way for the Black September 'Nakhbah'- not Arafat, who as Grand Mufti Husseini's nephew, wasn't interested in taking down the descendant of the hereditary Sharif of Mecca.
'Thankfully the 'Christian' Lefty fuckwits were not representative of anything. Palestinian Christians, though educationally ahead even before the Mandate, were just as loving and Human and Decent as their Muslim brothers and sisters and the evidence is this will always be the case.
'Yet how gainsay, the fact this same brilliant-too-brilliant Community produced the fuckwit retard, soixante huitard, Lefty gobshites who posed the worst existential threat to the Palestinians as an Ethical People.
'I know, I know. Arafat was far from perfect. He was, perhaps, more lachrymose than Lefty- but tears can heal even when shed by venal eyes- coz the Ethos of every genuine Ethne works in just such fashion and Barrister Gandhi, for in every other way disbarred, yet is not miscalled Ind's Mahatma.

'This is the true miracle of the ever-renewed Palestinian 'nakbah'- the rainbow at the end of the last Sixty years' Secular Flood of injustice- surviving every setback, this Deme ever demonstrates 'spontaneous order', 'euvoluntary', bottom-up, cohesion, organisational skill, tolerance, pluralism, etc.- and it's all just an expression of their Humanity and unproblematic day-to-day Social Being, nothing premeditated or 'Managerial' or  Ideological or intermediated by 'Poli Sci'- these guys are not and never will be 'Muselmann'- and that by itself is why, sooner or later, the 2 Chief Rabbis will decree that they are too, Jews.

'Till then, eyeless in Gaza, Samson brings down his own Temple not because- Borges' reading of Donne's Biothanatos- he prefigures the One who said 'Ye are as Gods' but rather because he was a Judge and none must save as All.'

Friday 18 July 2014

John 21-22

 'And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.'
Be it Godel's Aleph or Ghalib's Arif or what Wine wastes yet of me
'If I will that he tarry till I come- what is that to thee?'
In sum,the Continuum is as chary of its own Inspection
As is Jamshed's cup of the Saqi's reflection

Only Unitittyarianism could have prevented Partition

Abstract- The Brahmo Samaj's Unitarianism did not just polarise the Hindu bhadralok into 'idolators' and 'True Brahmins'- it broke a previous cultural compact with the Muslims which granted the latter higher normative status- thus making the former's material success a mere 'majazi' (illusory) illustration of the futility of materialism because only the impoverished Muslim toiler, or Sufi Pirzada, enjoyed true (haqiqi) felicity, both now and ever-after.  Furthermore, since militant iconoclasm would have involved smashing up Granny's Puja-room and she'd slap you silly if you tried, both Brahmo Unitarianism and neo-Sanatan Univocity needed to go flex their muscles elsewhere- hence 'Tiger' Jatin & Jugantar, 'Baby' Aurobindo & Anushilan, not to mention the bespectacled 'Bose Bros' & Forward Block- which earned them the enmity of the British overlords whose avaricious Rule had permitted the Hindu resurgence in the first place. The result was that the Hindus became fragmented and subject to pogrom where they were in a minority- so much so, that they ultimately needed Nehru to protect them and permit them to continue to play-act a type of populist politics whose reductio ad absurdum would be either Pir Gholam Sarwar Husseini's 'creed equals class' ethnic cleansing in Noakhali or, amongst tribes too primitive for Islam to have even taken root, the revival of head-hunting a la Charu Mazumdar.

Was there any way for all this to be avoided? Yes. Raja Ram Mohan Roy should have rejected Unitarianism (silliest sect of Xtianity ever) & embraced Unitittyarianism-  i.e. the belief that 'though nipples are many, titty is one'.  This is the one mahavakya of true Upanishad. Mind it kindly. Aiyayo.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Peter Singer's drowns in his own shallow pond.

Peter Unger summarises the essential features of Singer's shallow pond gedanken thus-

'The path from the library at your university to the humanities lecture hall passes a shallow ornamental pond. On your way to give a lecture, you notice that a small child has fallen in and is in danger of drowning. If you wade in and pull the child out, it will mean getting your clothes muddy and either cancelling your lecture or delaying it until you can find something clean and dry to wear. If you pass by the child, then, while you'll give your lecture on time, the child will die straightaway. You pass by and, as expected, the child dies.'

Suppose the lecture you are about to give is not shite. Suppose, furthermore, that someone attending that lecture isn't just a Credential-seeking swine but someone with power to do some good in the world. If you are a Utilitarian, you should go give your lecture and after ensuring that you have convinced the one guy in the audience who isn't a Credential-seeking swine you should make an emotional confession of your crime and hand yourself over to the police. Suppose no Police or Judiciary exists. Then, if you believe yourself to be bound by some implicit or unstated Social Contract, you should administer to yourself the extreme penalty for culpa levis in concreto.
Alternatively, just fucking get your shoes dirty, save the kid and take him along with you to deliver your lecture. It will go over big. 
Singer in devising his gedanken, and Unger in quoting it, don't get that their lectures are shite. Not wearing dirty shoes while giving your lecture might matter to Credential-seeking swine and the sort of Rent-extracting Institutions that cater to them. But both are shite. So are you.

More generally getting paid to be a great big fucking gobshite aint Ethical, it aint part and parcel of 'Philosophy' or 'Public Justification Discourse' or any such thing.  The way Singer sets up his gedanken and the manner in which Unger comments on it shows that doing Ethics in the Academy turns your brains to shit and makes you a deeply unpleasant person.

Should we get our shoes dirty wading in to prevent Singer or Unger or whoever else has succumbed to this witless academic availability cascade from drowning in the ornamental pool of their own infrahuman stupidity?
Purvapaksha- Yes, but only to kick them in the teeth coz, heck, the pool is shallow, they're gonna drown anyway, so like the least inappropriate person to kick in the teeth is a Singer or Unger and, anyway it will give your pleasure, but them gobshites will scarcely even notice coz of the massive amounts of calcified faeces protecting their dentures.
Uttarapaksha- What's really important is starving babies. Clearly, kicking Singer or Unger in the teeth has an opportunity cost coz while you are doing so some one or other of the women you have kidnapped and forcibly impregnated could get loose and go get an abortion. But, at the margin, the loss of a single starving child might trigger the tipping point of your own salience in the Rent-seeking Charity racket which arises out of everybody else's obligation to send money to starving children. Look at what's happening in Kerala, a State which Unger mentions lovingly. 
You simply can't afford to take time off raping women and kidnapping kids to go kick Unger and Singer in the teeth.  If you aint holding a sufficiently large number of starving kids hostage, the Utilitarian calculus suggests that it is worthwhile to beat you and throw you in prison rather than let you carry on adding to the number of starving children, thus creating a corresponding fiduciary obligation on the part of those who haven't been raping and kidnapping like crazy and thus have no starving kids of their own.

Siddhanta Mahatma Gandhi said 'Health is the only Wealth- not Silver...or Goooooooold'.

For bandage, let the World yet rage

Burn the Battlefield's Cross of Blood
Un-weave the Rainbow's Universal Flood
For bandage, let the World yet rage
Poets dream o'er an empty page

Impossibility of cats

At the Student Union pub, the evening after our first Social Choice theory lecture with Amartya Sen, the Teaching Assistant lowered his voice to a whisper and told us the terrible story of 'He who must not be named'- a brilliant Bengali whose fundamental research extended Arrow's impossibility result to prove the non existence of cats. Like Godel's proof of God, it relied on the theory of ultrafilters which we ought not to mess with lest we meet a similar fate.
Just recently, the neighbor's cat has been jumping through the window and making disparaging meowing noises- possibly of a racist or sexist nature- and this has got we wondering. Is there a simple way to derive the same result as the too brilliant Bengali?
 How about this?
Suppose there's a cat whose meows are always decodable as equivalent to the results of a perfect Social Choice rule. If the rule is impossible so is the cat. However, it is a plain fact of cat-person phenomenology that any cat offered the right incentives- tummy rubs and treats- produces a string of mewing noises decodable in the desired manner. Therefore all cats are impossible. Q.E.D.

Monday 14 July 2014


I'm thy little clay cart- not Sarasvati
Immerse thy Heart! not Art in me
What must, on casters, roll from its Wedding night
Are Wit's disasters droll ere Kali smite. 

Sunday 13 July 2014

Shibi's dove, Samaritan's dilema & why Sen is shite.

King Shibi was sitting on his throne dispensing justice when suddenly a dove flew into his audience hall and pleaded for asylum. At that very same moment, a hawk swooped in and demanded the right to devour its lawful prey. Shibi satisfied both parties by cutting off a portion of his own flesh to ransom the dove.

Shibi's action set no precedent for Indian Law Courts because it clearly wasn't a sustainable solution to what, following Buchanan, we call the Samaritan's dilemma, whereby protecting the weak may end up creating a perverse incentive destructive of the very institutional foundations of Social Justice such that, in the end, everybody is worse off with the weakest suffering most.
So what?
Big yawn.
Why are you posting about this on a Sunday morning, yaar?
Kindly put up naked pix of P.Chidambaram to get us salivating again, coz we're clean out of Alka Seltzer and Granny drank all the good Vodka and just last week I tried to make a Bloody Mary with Old Monk but threw up all over my Hindi tuition-wallah who, fortunately has an M.Phil in Linguistics from J.N.U, and thus was inured to that sort of thing.
The answer, my dear Mani Shankar, is I'm going to prove Congress lost due to foreign hand only.
Using advanced mathematical techniques, we can establish sans doubt, cavil or infirmity of suspicion that Amartya Sen (who now traitorously says Modi has every right to rule despite being a low caste chai-wallah) was the true architect of the Congress debacle in the recent election, because, clearly, Sonia Madam & Rahul Baba did nothing wrong at all, nor did NaMo's Nazi goons do anything right at all, so all is the fault of the 'foreign hand' (not hands, due to messing up India is bayen haath ki khel- and done by left hand only) which clearly points the finger at Sen due to he is being helped by the indubitably foreign (because Belgian rather than Italian) hand of the all the more sinister, for Hindi speaking, Jean Dreze.

But first a hat tip to Anonymous who put me onto the trail of Sen's C.I.A funded perfidy by leaving this comment on my post on Sen's merisms & Senility's Mereology

'Was there a specific article or paper which prompted this burst of spleen? If so, you've failed to link to it. I haven't come across 'merism' in the literature before- who has time to read everything?- but, imagine it arises in 'Law & Econ' with which I'm not that familiar.
'I suppose a merism for the Market would be 'buyers & sellers'. So long as one always has to quote both one's buy and sell price, like an old fashioned stock jobber, then no 'uncorrelated asymmetry' (Maynard Smith) arises and so the Evolutonary Stable Strategy is mixed Nash rather than a pure conditional.
'To quote Wikipedia- 'The usual applied example of an uncorrelated asymmetry is territory ownership in the hawk-dove game. Even if the two players ("owner" and "intruder") have the same payoffs (i.e., the game is payoff symmetric), the territory owner will play Hawk, and the intruder Dove, in what is known as the 'Bourgeois strategy''.
'I think the charitable way to look at Sen's merism 'niti and nyaya'- for Justice Public Discourse- is to separate out the 'Bourgeois strategies' of 'Niti' (where the Institution or 'rule bound' individual has well defined 'territory ownership' and the other party feels they don't) from 'Revolutionary' Nyaya which takes nothing for granted regarding 'territory ownership'.
'I must admit, it's some years now since I read Sen's book which, in any case, was meant for a popular audience. Still, my question is, why not give the man the benefit of the doubt? Surely we can all accept that 'uncorrelated asymmetries' can be distortionary and that Sen is the leading Public Intellectual calling attention to this?' 

I'm afraid, I can't point to a specific article or paper which uses the word merism to denote the 'covering set' of a mereology. That bit is idionomic.
However, Anonymous's basic point re. uncorrelated asymmetry arises in the theory of discoordination games (i.e. where agents get a bigger pay-off from interacting with those dissimilar to themselves).
 A good example is Conley & Nielsen 2008 who write 'We also consider a discoordiation game in which agents benefit from interacting with others who have learned a different strategy than they have. For example, agents might learn how to be leaders or followers. Not surprisingly, we find that both these behavioral norms will coexist in equilibrium. What is surprising is that we also find that there must necessarily arise in equilibrium a class of “social market makers” who have learned to pay both social roles. This is true even if there is a cost to learning strategies. In contrast, there is no role for social market makers in coordination games and they disappear entirely in equilibrium if there is even a slight cost of learning new strategies.'

Note, a 'market maker' is the same thing as Anonymous's 'old fashioned stock jobber' and functions in Conley & Nielsen in a manner that improves on the 'uncorrelated asymmetry' equilibrium such that pure, conditional, hawk dove strategies get increasingly delinked from 'territory ownership' i.e. are now defeasibly Bourgeois or stochastically Socialist (i.e. represent a mixed strategy) and converge to the Morishima Rational Distribution- i.e. ultimately ownership is something solved for endogenously by looking at the shadow price vector and meditating on golden path dynamics. In other words all agents' ex ante 'regret minimization' (or learning heuristics or mimetic monadology) converges to the canonical, information conserving.  Evolutionary Stable Strategy.

Sen's merisms- e.g. 'niti/nyaya' or 'transcendental approach vs human development based'- are discoordination games.  As Conley & Nielsen show, this could be a good thing supposing such games correspond to genuine uncorrelated asymmetries- e.g. members of a vulnerable Minority who need to reduce harmful interaction with the Majority, and those from the Majority who wish to altruistically interact with the Minority- then, Sen is a 'cultural market maker' and good luck to him, he's doing something valuable because it may really be the case that 'the Justice of the 'Dalit'' is different from 'Justice' as conceived by the Bourgeoisie who thereby assert 'territory ownership' over the Transcendental and thus assure themselves obligatory passage point status and the right to levy Tiebout Manorial rents in a manner adverse to the majority of their class fellows- heck, you know the guys I mean- it's them dirty one percenters wot got an Ivy League Edumication and bought the White House for their house nigger just to show off.... sorry, I've run out of my organic Waitrose Pina Colada mix and am now mixing my Bacardi with Mountain Dew, so things are gonna go downhill from here pretty damn fast..and anyway what was I saying?..right..urm... fuck it... the point about 'cultural market makers' is that they gotta say 'hey guys, there's gonna be a much bigger pie, bigger portions for everybody, if we figure out how to get handicapped people productive- which means don't lynch them while they are working, wait till they've retired- or, actually, just steal their pension fund and have a good laugh as they hobble around scratching their woolly heads and copiously menstruating and well, whatever else it is they do gets them banned from the Country Club.'
Sen isn't doing this. Or perhaps he is. Maybe I should read his book.
Still, the takeaway point from all this today, is, kids, Shibi's dove actually has a co-evolved, intra-species eusocial, hawk response in accordance with the 'handicap principle'  If a dove seeks refuge with you, clearly you are a dove and must raise up your flock to chase off the eagle. Amotz Zahavi has shown why this is good for Eagles without being harmful to doves.
King Shibi, unlike Yuddhishtra, hadn't learned Statistical Game Theory. That's the only reason a 'Samaritan dilemma' arose. More broadly, a nyaya/niti disjunction only arises from a cognitive bias re 'territory ownership'. As for Sen, true he contributed to Rahul's debacle, but the main reason to mention him is simply to point out he's shite. Will somebody please give him a Magsaysay award already just to make this clear?

Friday 11 July 2014

Agape's Apnea

'A boy's love burgeons from a too full heart
'A man's from having too well dined'
 Kipling's, alas!, too Indian art 
Taught me the latter was more refined.

I'm fat, fifty one, and my only son
Whose bean feast to order were day's work done
At midnight's hour, as if a promise to keep
I myself devour & can not sleep

Tossing and turning, my bed a barque
Back to Ithaca & the Sea wine-dark
Of Agape's Apnea what can I say?
My breath itself its take-away

Prince! 'tis not our being fat or scant of breath
But our Holy Ghost Farther yet to Death...

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Sen's merisms as senility's mereology

Edited- in view of a comment

A merism is a linguistic attempt to define a universal domain, for example by saying 'high and low' or 'by sea or land' or things like 'Will and Testament' where there were two types of jurisdiction regulating acts of an essentially similar kind.

Amartya Sen's 'Idea of Justice' posits the following merism as providing a 'covering set' for the subject of its discourse- viz. 'niti' and 'nyaya'  which, I suppose, is meant to replace the quaint and faintly vulgar distinction between Theory & Practice'- as in 'Theoretically everybody is innocent till proven guilty. In practice, the Bihari servant did it and we'll beat him till he confesses.
Sen says '‘Neeti’ is about rules and institutions and ‘nyaya’ is about their realisation' - i.e. the former is theoretical or transcendental whereas the latter is about real world outcomes in which 'we realise all the different aspects of human life and take into account all the relevant factors.'

Why would the outcomes of properly designed rules and institutions diverge from ad hoc actions to the same end which genuinely 'take all the different aspects of human life into account'?

If Theory and Practice are different it must be because either the Theory is crap or the Practice hypocritical or because of some informational or cognitive constraint for which a workaround is being sought.
However, if we have rational expectations, then provided 'regret minimizing' learning is implemented then we know in advance that the two either converge or one or both are abandoned- i.e. they cease to be part of whatever 'Concrete Universal' they are supposed to be concerned with.
But, this is not the approach Sen takes.
Rather, there seems to be some mysterious sort of mereological claim behind Sen's book,  'The idea of Justice' which appears as misconceived as his much vaunted but meaningless work on Arrow's theorem and which, perhaps, arises out of a misprison, not as with Harsanyi, of a Methodical, but a Mathematical sort.
Thus, Sen says, '...incompleteness of rankings would not prevent making comparative judgments of justice in a great many cases, where there might be fair agreement on particular pairwise rankings, about how to enhance justice and reduce injustice'. 
Aumann agreement- where we can't agree to disagree- is much much stronger than 'fair agreement' which in turn must be much weaker than Baumol 'superfair' (i.e. envy free and therefore 'zero regret learning' based) agreement.  Yet, mathematics say that both arise through 'regret minimizing algorithms' while everything else is sublated away.
In good faith discussion and collective choice, re. any given pairwise ranking  either there is a coordination or a discoordination game. In either case, 'fairness' militates for your changing your mind as you learn rather than be bound once and for all by stare decisis. Thus, 'fair agreement' would be provisional and defeasible w.r.t. the Hannan consistent, regret minimizing, 'reflective' equilibrium without any mereologically hiatus occurring.

Leaving aside the Maths, suppose Sen's operationalized 'fair agreement' can be expressed by a maxim- which is called a 'nyaya' in the Indic tradition- then either that maxim is universalisable or it is not. If it is universalisable then a categorical imperative exists and we are on our way to a transcendental identification of a fully just society. If it is not universalisable then either the point is moot whether it is a specific instance of a more general maxim which is universalisable or, alternatively, we can't be certain that our 'fair agreement' is purely conventional and arises out of shared prejudices or else is self-serving merely and requires 'ideological' window-dressing so that we have 'false consciousness' or  'plausible deniability' re. our true and ugly motives. In this case, we are deluding ourselves that we have 'fair agreement' regarding Justice as opposed to what is cheaper, or more convenient, or more profitable to believe or pretend to believe.
By the same token- suppose the 'fair agreement' can't be expressed by a maxim, then two possibilities arise
1) there is some algorithm or heuristic which generates the same set of 'fair agreements' re. pair-wise comparisons of Justice.  Either this can be expressed in some future Language which evolves on that problematics' fitness landscape or it is essentially apophatic. Either way, what can't be denied is that this view implicitly endorses the transcendental identification of a fully just society even if that lies beyond human ken.
2) no algorithm can generate the same set of 'fair agreements'. In this case overlapping Brouwerian 'choice sequence' can still do the job- so, at least for Intuitionism, the transcendental identification still exists.
From the philosophical point of view- and Sen is writing here as a philosopher- it makes mereological sense to say that which is just in a particular instance is part of Justice. We don't need 'well ordering'- i.e. the ability to stipulate the 'best'- in order to construct a complete pair-wise ordering. Thus, Sen goes on to say, in the passage quoted above- 'A partial ordering can be very useful without being able to lead to any transcendental identification of a fully just society. The approach of the human development is a special application of this general strategy of making do with what can be very widely accepted, without expecting that this strategy will solve every decisional problem we face.'
What's wrong with that?
Surely Sen is just saying 'guys, let's not postpone piecemeal Social Engineering (except Sen would fight shy of this Popperian term) because we're all so caught up in working out the Mathematics of the Perfect Society's Voting rules or Preference Revelation Mechanisms or whatever. More especially, for very poor countries like India and Bangladesh- could we just agree to feed the hungry already because they'll be dead by the time we've fine tuned the sermon we want to read them by way of Grace?'
If this was is what Sen is saying, then why are Bhagwati and Panagariya, but also low I.Q shitheads like me, so angry with Sen?
The answer has to with his use of the collocation 'human development', more particularly human beings in 'Developing Societies'- i.e. people living in places where, by definition, though Institutions are weak and Baoulding 'Pscyhic Capital' is low, there are a heck of a lot of 'low lying fruit' (of the sort which G.D.P does capture) arising from the implementation of up to date technology and the breaking of sort of Klepto or Kakistocratic rent-seeking coalitions which flourish best under the umbrella of Identity Politics- i.e. the notion that human beings differ radically from one another on the basis of things like Colour or being Circumcised or Church attendance or whatever.
Sen may be on the side of the angels but, the fact is, his notion of 'Human Development' is highly manipulable by Kakistocracies such that he himself becomes a sort of P.R trophy or mascot for the worst of regimes.
What is shocking about Sen- a bright guy serving at the heart of Western Academia at precisely the point when, at least for the mathematically literate, Statistics and Game Theory solved all the Philosophical aporias of the Social Sciences and, with extraordinary success, united Economics to the Life Sciences in a manner that 'keeps on giving'. Just recently, there was a headline in a National newspaper showing how 'regret minimization' in portfolio selection is also the algorithm which gives rise to Mother Nature's prodigal diversity.  Sen, as a Bengali, would have been aware of the 'Hannan consistency' result when it appeared. Hannan was taught by a Bengali. He says that back then Bengali students had a better grounding in Stats than Americans.
Sen, as a philosopher, must know David Lewis famous book on Conventions as Schelling focal point solutions to co-ordination problems.
In the Seventies, when he taught at the L.S.E, he would certainly have known all about the Price equation and Maynard Smith and Evolutionary Stable Strategies and Ken Binmore's work and thus Aumann and Peyton Young and Schelling and so forth.
Yet, he refuses to say, well, of course any given 'fair agreement' is defeasible such that it informs a Brouwerian choice sequence terminating at an incomputable Schelling focal point, which is too transcendental- selah!- indeed it reconciles the Rahim of Rawls with Dworkin's Ram- or Judge Hercules- such that 'harmonious construction' is univocal and thus Habermas was not actually an utter shithead all along and as for the late Richard Rorty or the recent Hilary Putnam, they too are redeemed because, though failing to recognise their own felicity, they met the Unicorn, tarried in Peach Blossom Valley, but then moved on for Love is a viva, in articulo mortis,  only its Savants fail, thinking Thought's Quest its only Grail.

Is there any way of looking at Sen's intellectual trajectory and not coming to the conclusion that he was simply engaging in strategic gesture politics?
I can't see how.
Still, if only so I get to finish the bottle of Bacardi I've just broached, let us continue to argue the toss.
Suppose Sen's 'fair agreement' is homologous to Rawlsian 'overlapping consensus'- then, there is no 'strain of commitment' arising from a common Research Project re. the ergodics of what obtains. (Earlier, Rawls had assumed that Samuelson's Economics (which is ergodic or else empty) is a free 'plug-in' for all agents in the 'original position- i.e. Muth rationality was 'enabled'.)
In this case, even if we have no strategic behaviour by reason of costless and ubiquitous  'zero knowledge proofs' - or else everything is 'common knowledge' - still nothing mereological can be predicated of 'fair agreement' no matter what protocols re. 'Public Justification' are observed.  No 'fair agreement' re. Justice-as-Fairness can itself be a part of either Justice or Fairness save coincidentally or by virtue of backward induction. If the former, then Justice is Stochastic, whereas, if the latter, it is Occasionalist.
Is there some other way of conceptualizing 'fair agreement'?
One obvious answer is that 'fair agreement' arises where there is an underlying co-ordination problem. We all want to use the word 'Justice' from time to time in an inter-subjective context and it makes sense for us to do so in terms of a Schelling focal point, provided we aren't really interested in Justice but simply in improving our own lives- or those of people we feel sympathy for.
Provided there is a pay-off for a decisive counter-party, with different interests. to pretend that the improvement we desire is one they only concede because of their greater nobility and attachment to transcendental ideals (which by itself has a reputational effect and lowers their transaction costs while also making possible the extraction of Manorial Tiebout rents for their principals) then there is a sustainable preference falsification availability cascade here of the sort Sen invokes when he writes-
'...Parisians would not have stormed the Bastille, Gandhi would not have challenged the empire on which the sun used not to set, Martin Luther King would not have fought white supremacy in ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’, without their sense of manifest injustices that could be overcome. They were not trying to achieve a perfectly just world (even if there were any agreement on what that would be like), but they did want to remove clear injustices to the extent they could...'

This is Romantic hogwash unworthy of even a 16 year old Howrah schoolgirl.

Parisians did not storm the Bastille because they suddenly developed an interest in Justice but because they thought they'd be better off under a different type of regime. Similarly, Gandhi did not condemn Western Education, Western Medicine, Western Technology, Western Democracy and, after 1918, the British Raj which was bringing more and more of these horrible things to India, because he suddenly developed strong feelings about Justice but because he himself and the class he belonged to stood to gain, and indeed did greatly gain, by such strategically simulated preference falsification but for which the Indian National Congress would have had to show that it was better at administering India than the I.C.S. Similarly, Martin Luther King may have appealed to the notion of Justice- indeed, he was a bit of a Rawlsian avant la lettre-  but everything he campaigned for was of direct benefit not just to himself and the Church he represented but to other 'coloured' people like himself in America at that time. What was the upshot? The Daley dynasty's Chicago (satirized in the Kelsey Grammer starrer 'Boss') produces an Obama who was financed by, among others, the heiress to the Playboy Empire. These are Tiebout Manorial rents with a vengeance and explain the disappearance, since 1970, of the American middle class and the rise of the 'one percent'.

Is Sen simply a victim of a senile Sehnsucht for the romantic certainties of Undergraduate prattle about the sanctity of 'Struggle' (pronounced Ees-tragal, as in Bengali)?
Perhaps. But he is making a mereological claim- indeed, he has done so pretty consistently over the last forty five years- viz. that part of the idea of Justice, or Social Welfare, or what have you, is the commission of fatally prejudicial actions involving throwing away information or arbitrarily changing the rules of the language game or plain, out and out, lying.
In particular, Sen makes great play of the fact that 'well-ordering' isn't essential and so no 'best' outcome or 'ideal' situation might exist and so deontics must be concerned with pair-wise comparison.
This begs the question- is Economics not, as Samuelson said, essentially concerned with ergodic processes? Leaving that question aside- is Life itself not the product of Evolution, that is a dynamics that is mathematically describable, rather than the one off creation of an arbitrary God?
If so, Schelling focal points that aren't strategic but Muth rational and Euvoluntary exist (and, probably Baumol 'superfair' w.r.t Sen's 'fair agreement' stipulation) for 'Justice' or 'Social Welfare' though not effectively computable still generate a 'well ordering' and, furthermore, function is a manner which obviates pair-wise comparison and the invidious manner in which that procedure throws away information about dynamics.

Ultimately Sen's merisms are those of a sophomore- ''OMG rich people have nice stuff, while poor people don't got shite to eat'- but such merisms deny mereology a dynamic- i.e. they forbid Development, more especially Human Development..

Saturday 5 July 2014

Sankaracharya vs Sai Baba

As a Smarta follower of Sankaracharya, should I suffer the installation of an image or icon of Shirdi's Sai Baba in my family 'Puja' room or, more importantly, in the grand temple I have promised to build utilising the proceeds of your kind donations which I hereby solicit?

H.H., the 90 year old, Sankaracharya of Dwarka, who endeared himself to us by delivering a powerful slap to a too well-spoken reporter a few months ago, says- 'No. Sai Baba's mantra was 'Allah Malik'. He was probably a Muslim fakir and ate meat in his youth. Hindus should not worship him.'

This is a perfectly reasonable argument with some alethic or descriptive force. What it isn't, what it can't be, is doxastic or prescriptive.

Why? Adi Sankara broke the rules of Smarta orthodoxy by conducting his mother's obsequies despite having previously renounced the World. Without question, he and his lineage are authoritative (Acharyas) with respect not to Vyavaharika Dharma but its transgressive sublation.

What we have here is the Hindu version of an halachic ordinance- but one that is impredicatively 'halachah v'ien morin kein'.

Slapping reporters is contrary to our Secular Scientific Sittlichkeit, but I'd love to have been that reporter because News is shite, all Views are shite, only that cow is holy whose tail doth at us gadflies deliver a slap that's tight.
In this sense, there is nothing here to drive the news-cycle re. some supposed Sankaracharya vs Sai Baba mega-smackdown pitting trident wielding, cannabis smoking, Congress supporting, naga sadhus (naked monks) against deeply petit bourgeois voters for Modi or saffronized votaries of Uma Bharti.
Indeed, though Sai's deepest devotees at Shirdi saw that donations went up not down because of the Sankaracharya's seemingly senile provocations, they nonetheless, and not from a mere motive of patriotism, decided to just ignore him henceforth.
The Sankaracharya, too, in his reply to Uma Bharti, strikes, not a martial strain, but piteous chord whining about how like Sadguru Adi Sankaracharya don't got no Temples though them Swaminarayans' got plenty and what's more middle class cunts, like the worthless N.R. Iyer writing this, prefer to go to them hyper-clean and family friendly places and put their little pittance into Dualism's hundi coz to quote a Malyallee Christian poet- 'In the heart's collection-box, 'twas Thou dropped the button/We count sheep waking, thus dine not on mutton'.
Sankara, who refers to himself as 'thy Tamil child', is of course- for what is 'of course' is merely autumnal- only capable of creation by being joined to Sharada- thy studious dawn, my drunken dusk- and though the heart is but a tear ripened fruit, we faster yet circumnavigate its route, so thy infinite alterity, Ganesha, elder brother- keep safe our sleep twixt Father & Mother.

Anyway, now I've had my say on the topic of the day as indeed is meet coz, at least, on this street, I'm a leading Hindutva blogger- which is why all the Hindus round here have converted to Islam so as to prevent my drunkenly dropping in on them and trying to shuddify their aged grand-mothers with Ganga Jal & Glenfiddich- which would be cool except them old broads go easy on the Ganga Jal and, ever since the London riots led to the strict enforcement of licensing laws, getting after-hours Whiskey delivered is now as expensive in Acton as it has always been in Ahmedabad- & anyway, the point I'm getting at is that I am now, at least within this parish, the peerless Pundit of anti Muslim polemics, the sole Sanakaracharya of Seriously Sandeep type anti-'Sickular' Scription, not to say Fulham's foulest fuckwit & West Brompton's biggest bore.

A Qasidah on Narendra Modi

I grieve not that our Nehruvian naseebsas trysts, turn out phoney
Nor  for our Fakhr that Rawls's raheel lists Sen as pack pony.
But that the beloved's encampment- abandoned by Econo-mystics-
Yields yet Memory's atlal of Merism's Chrematistics!

Thursday 3 July 2014

Now all I've loved I've lived to hate

I'd love and love yet never write
Is satiety thy appetite?
Now all I've loved I've lived to hate
My haecceity is gaining weight.

I'd look and look yet never speak
Thy Book such terror to the meek
Now all I've loved I've lived to hate
Thy Will exalts the intestate

I'd woo and woo but never wed
Till Sita's rape in Gita's bed
Now all I've loved I've lived to hate
Must hearts yet miscegenate?

I've growled and prowled and piteous mewed
At thy skirt hems snapped & slippers chewed
Now all I've loved I've lived to hate
What say you to a grown up date?
Prince! Would you, could you, off kindly fuck?
With thy Mother of MILFs I'd try my luck