Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Idiotic and lamentable behaviour

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  • BenWilson,

    Are you delusional if you think you know you're delusional?

    I think the answer is no. If being delusional means being wrong about everything, then you can't be delusional and think you are delusional. But you could be not delusional, and think you are delusional, and just be wrong about it.

    I often think I'm like that. I think I'm wrong about everything, but then find that's yet another thing I'm wrong about. Happens every silly afternoon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    I think, therefore I am.

    Unless I'm delusional, in which case maybe I only think that I thought that I am, so possibly I aren't.

    But if I aren't, then I wouldn't be thinking at all, so probably I am.

    Therefore I'm not delusional.

    Or something.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Being wrong about everything would be an awesome superpower. It wouldn't help you, but it would help everyone else. You'd be an inverse oracle. I guess it's pretty obvious there are no delusional people in that sense. I guess true delusionality is thinking you know stuff with confidence that defies the evidence. And I guess most people are like that. But some are more like it than others, and in many cases are extremely successful and powerful people.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    While we're on the subject of Descartes, Windows stinks, therefore Linux is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    You'd be an inverse oracle. I guess it's pretty obvious there are no delusional people in that sense

    You've never heard Brendon Telfer commentate the netball then.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    You are not deluded about that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Are you delusional if you think you know you're delusional?

    What if you had an irrational belief that you were delusional? Huh? Huh?

    For some reason I'm reminded of an example from early on in my theory-of-knowledge lectures. Good luck following it...

    It's suggest that to 'know' something you have to have sufficient grounds to think so and you have to be right.

    Suppose you had sufficient grounds to think Gavin had borrowed your car. You might think you know that

    Either Gavin has borrowed my car or I am the King of Siam

    But suppose that, actually, Gavin had not borrowed your car. BUT by a strange series of events you had in fact become the King of Siam. Could you still be said to 'know' the proposition?

    I'll add that under that definition is quite possible (theoretically) to know something. Knowing you know something is practically and I think logically impossible. Delusion is probably the backwards version of that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    That kind of knowing is surely possible. I know that 1+1=2, and I know that I know that. I could even prove it, but I'm not going to! It's not that silly an afternoon just yet.

    What if you had an irrational belief that you were delusional? Huh? Huh?

    Then you are not delusional, just wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    What if you had an irrational belief that you were delusional? Huh? Huh?

    Then you are not delusional, just wrong.

    Oops, I get your question now. You mean "what if you had a true belief that you are delusional, but no justification? Then you couldn't be said to 'know' it, even though you might 'think' it".

    Again, it comes to what is meant by delusional. If it means 'always wrong', then you simply can't have a true belief that you are delusional. If delusional simply means 'believes without justification', then you can believe whatever, there are no bounds. You could well be delusional and believe it. But on your strict definition, you couldn't know it.

    These quandaries always have really simple solutions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Eleanor,

    Is aromatherapy delusional?

    wellington • Since May 2007 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Actually I was defining delusional as having an irrational belief which is false. So...

    If you wrong about being delusional, then (since your belief you were delusional is false) you would be deluded - so you'd be right.

    If you were right, then, your belief being true, you'd be wrong.

    <whatever the opposite of QED is>

    I think the critical think about that example is that's it may not be actually possible.

    The point with the knowing is loosely that (on some definitions, I'm not sure it does actually apply to the one I gave) to know you know something, you also have to know you know you know it and so on.

    Then there's the uncertainty-theorm-esqe limits of the mind to know itself and the whole question of what constitutes sufficient evidence.

    What does one plus one even mean?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Lyndon, on your definition, you say the belief is false, therefore you can't believe you are delusional, if you are. It's pretty simple really, but easy to tie yourself in knots. You can't define a proposition as being both true and false. Any set of words which purportedly has this property is not a proposition. That is one of the simplest definitions of a proposition, in fact, it is a statement which is either true or false. And any assumption you make that leads to such a proposition is false. In this case you assume thus:

    "What if you had an irrational belief that you were delusional?"

    which on subsequent definitions comes to:

    "Suppose you had an irrational belief that all your beliefs were irrational and false?"

    If you were delusional, then this belief would also be irrational and false, which would mean that not all your beliefs were irrational and false, which is impossible so we abandon the assumption that you are delusional. If you are not delusional, then not all your beliefs are irrational and false. But some might be, and this one in particular. There is no contradiction there, and so that must be the case, you are not delusional in your definition.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Oh and one plus one means "how many things are in a set that has one thing AND one *other* thing in it"

    and Aromatherapy is not delusional, it just smells that way.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    So don't give me any of this "delightfully naive" bs, I'm clued up enough to know that I don't know, and why. It's not for lack of interest or trying to find out.

    Well, Ben, I actually thought it was delightfully naive to believe Labour won't start scaremongering about National's evil "hidden agenda" no matter how many reams of insanely detailed policy they produce. Or were we in alternate universes during '95?

    And to be quite cynical, why wouldn't you if you're desperate enough - the more unhinged corners of the local blogisphere suggest that there's no conspiracy theory that doesn't have an audience. Last time I looked, sadly, we let the crazies vote too.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    But Key has at least one supporter posting here - something that cannot be said for DBP & the post concerning his demise.

    Try the last post in the thread, an impressive litany of lies and innuendo nobody else seemed to take issue with.

    Re the therapeutics bill, I was in a health food store the other day when I discovered something called 'Authentic Tibetan Goji Berries' being sold at an exhorbitant price. These had a wide range of miraculous properties, from preventing cancer to increasing intelligence and boosting your sexual potency. I was especially impressed that Tibet, a country with subsistence agriculture, minimal rainfall, six month frosts and virtually no roads was able to ship out these wonderful berries in large quantities. The berries look identical in every way to Chinese Wolfberries, except they are far more expensive.

    Don't people think there should be some sort of legislation protecting the slow and gullible from spending their money on products like these?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    That does seem to have got lost in the news Danyl, I'm still not sure why therapeutic medicine or treatments need to get some sort of free pass around regulatory supervision. If I read the lobby correctly its some sort of economic patriotism angle. But hey, if we regulate party pills, why not other such drugs?

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But hey, if we regulate party pills, why not other such drugs?

    Well, I come at it from a slightly different angle. No matter how "slow and gullible" I may be, I'd rather like (at the very least) to make an informed choice before dosing myself with 'natural' dietary supplements that demonstrably cause - or at least increase the risk of - damage to various organs I can't really afford to put through the mill again. And if I ever did, the three martini breakfast sounds much more fun.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    You've never heard Brendon Telfer commentate the netball then.

    Pay that!

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Eleanor,

    and Aromatherapy is not delusional, it just smells that way.

    Riiiiiight. So if you anosmic, it actually might work!

    ;o)


    BTW - I am quite relaxed about, if not pro, regulation. But the TPAMB was recklessly flawed. At least, from an aromatherapist's POV.

    wellington • Since May 2007 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • Markos,

    All of the previous contributors seem to be uptight about one issue or another... all i want to know (or at least be informed about) is kiwisaver.

    I look to these blogs as being from informed or at least intelligent contributors....so please attempt to be that and help out some of the less learned of us out there.

    My good friend, who shall remain nameless, works for AMP and states quite unashamably that this is a windfall for similar institutions and that any entrant should practice "buyer beware". What say yea

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Try the last post in the thread, an impressive litany of lies and innuendo nobody else seemed to take issue with.

    Thanks. That was nasty and I've deleted it -- you'll have to take my word that I hadn't seen it till you linked to it. But it looks fairer to say that it was a thread-stopper than that nobody took her up on it.

    The author of the post is welcome to complain to me but I thought it was untoward.

    But to be honest, the Setchell case was also basically a Wellington story. I'd wager conversations about it were a lot shorter in Auckland: DBP couldn't keep his story straight, again, and it was the final straw.

    It was significant that it was David, as a former Prime Ministerial speechwriter, who posted on it; not that many people in Auckland had much of a feel for it because we don't work those jobs. Certainly no one would have bothered to write a post like the one you pointed to.

    Folks? Am I right? Or just making a self-serving argument?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Craig

    Well, Ben, I actually thought it was delightfully naive to believe Labour won't start scaremongering about National's evil "hidden agenda" no matter how many reams of insanely detailed policy they produce. Or were we in alternate universes during '95?

    Quite probably, I was living in Australia then. But I never said Labour won't use every trick in their book, of course they will. Especially the old chestnut that National makes extremely easy with their failure to be specific about anything. My point was that National could easily evade that, if they had the nous to put some policy together.

    But their game is the opposite, they seem to think actually divulging policy only opens them to potential criticism. And they are right. That's how it works. If you actually take a position, it could be the wrong one, that's quite true. Which means there is no debate of any worth, other than Labour defending their policy and challenging National to prove somehow that their policy isn't this hidden agenda you're trying to put into my mouth.

    I don't know if there's an agenda. If there is, I'd bet it's about as vague as their official policy. It'll just be Nats doing Nat stuff when they're in, which we only have past history to go on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Shaz,

    ..."Am I right?"
    Yeah probably, it's a wgtn story because of how close to home it was to a number of people. Mind you, it was probably some comfort that if everybody with a potential conflict was turfed out, there'd be a pool of around 50 employees, and it would be skewed towards the pricks that no-one wanted to talk to ;)
    And that recently deleted post was way off in too many ways I could be bothered to address.

    Wgtn • Since Apr 2007 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Ben:

    Should say this more often, but thanks for the cogent and thoughful response. Not for the first time, I think we agree on more than might be apparent at first sight. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But to be honest, the Setchell case was also basically a Wellington story. I'd wager conversations about it were a lot shorter in Auckland: DBP couldn't keep his story straight, again, and it was the final straw.

    It was significant that it was David, as a former Prime Ministerial speechwriter, who posted on it; not that many people in Auckland had much of a feel for it because we don't work those jobs.

    Well, yes and no Russ. I've had a lot of conversations over the last three plus years about how Wellington is a geat sucking leech squatting on the head of Auckland, and giving little in return. :) And I wonder how many Herald readers who don't live in Auckland City zone out every time they see the words 'Tank Farm', 'Hubbard' or 'Banks' in a story? Sorry for jacking this thread to take a hobby horse out for a canter, but the NZHerald (you know, the only daily newspaper in these parts) just has to lift its game this local body electoral cycle.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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