OK now we're getting somewhere. I like what this guy is on about. A bit from Wik below - but there is lots more on the wik page. I like this stuff, and wouldn't mind having a discussion about this further from those interested or who can express their own understanding of this philosophical perspective - and it's implications for life generally and personally.

This from Wik:

Sextus Empiricus raised concerns which applied to all types of knowledge. He doubted the validity of induction[2] long before its best known critic David Hume, and raised the regress argument against all forms of reasoning:

Those who claim for themselves to judge the truth are bound to possess a criterion of truth. This criterion, then, either is without a judge's approval or has been approved. But if it is without approval, whence comes it that it is truthworthy? For no matter of dispute is to be trusted without judging. And, if it has been approved, that which approves it, in turn, either has been approved or has not been approved, and so on ad infinitum.[3]
Because of these and other barriers to acquiring true beliefs, Sextus Empiricus advises[4] that we should suspend judgment about virtually all beliefs, that is, we should neither affirm any belief as true nor deny any belief as false. This view is known as Pyrrhonian skepticism, as distinguished from Academic skepticism, as practiced by Carneades, which, according to Sextus, denies knowledge altogether. Sextus did not deny the possibility of knowledge. He criticizes the Academic skeptic's claim that nothing is knowable as being an affirmative belief. Instead, Sextus advocates simply giving up belief: that is, suspending judgment about whether or not anything is knowable.[5] Only by suspending judgment can we attain a state of ataraxia (roughly, 'peace of mind'). Sextus did not think such a general suspension of judgment to be impractical, since we may live without any beliefs, acting by habit.

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Comment by Alice on April 25, 2011 at 8:32pm

Sure… : )
Comment by Frankie Dapper on April 25, 2011 at 10:09am


Sea salt and sand worms, you know I love em.

Luck operates in short term. A bad beat, a lucky strike. Long term, though, not so.

I may be crazy but I think Sextus is coming to a close.

Neb by neb

The sighted sign

Grasp the grain

That waxing on

is so much brail

In declensions

of deforming

glancing meaning

but who can describe?

Comment by Alice on April 25, 2011 at 2:22am
Why can’t I cut out refined carbs and sugar?
It’s easy – just eat meat and veg… go palaeo!
I have after 2 years of that diet started to eat some sourdough bread – with lots of butter and eggs and sea salt…
Sure I agree regarding horse racing – you need all the form and facts for that – and even then it’s probably mostly intuition and luck.
Comment by Frankie Dapper on April 24, 2011 at 10:55am


You are crazy! You cannot cut out refined carbs and sugar. That dentist and doctor will punch your mouth loose.

No wonder you are so damn energetic. Get rid of the stuff you had and row row row your boat. . .

Stock market v horse races. No contest. Stock market-if you can hit a dart board you can win in most years. Horse racing-if you cant use a highly sophisticated microscope ya got no chance! 

And count on help until you need it.


Comment by Alice on April 24, 2011 at 2:35am



Sure – LOL – John’s life couldn’t be any other way : )


Yes, I agree there is lots of complexity in all our states – even that John himself may have a slightly deluded self-perception when he says that he is a depressive person – if indeed he’s every said that – it may be our own delusion that holds John’s identity in that notion.


It’s interesting because I have a personal experience of this – since being 12 years old I’ve suffered from PMS, depression, stress, anxiety and aggression – it went on for years and years, and only pregnancy stoped it.  I then, due to other tragic events, did lots of study about autoimmunity and changed my diet, aiming to heal my gut wall and encourage a healthy balance of good bacteria through a palaeo diet, probiotic foods and cutting out sugars and refined carbs that feed pathogens in the gut – and too my absolute delight and amazement, my symptoms have gone.  So long as I stay off sugar and eat a palaeo diet – basically meat and veg, raw, cooked and fermented and a bit of home made yogurt for good bacteria.


It’s all about calculated risk – you obviously see the risk as being higher in gambling or wagering, than in stocks.  Blue chip stocks were hit hardest I think in the GFC.  Diversification is key I think – as well as watching closely what’s going on specifically with companies – who’s running them, are there any changes coming up.  Life is risk, but being away of how much is useful when making decisions – especially I would imagine about large sums of money that you rely upon as your social security into later life.  I hope to rely on support capital from family and friends into later life – but we’ll see how that theory goes as I get closer to it…. : )


I’ve got Jane’s book on my library list. : )

Comment by Alice on April 24, 2011 at 12:11am
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/dennett OK John, is this where you've been looking? DAvid Eagleman?
Comment by Frankie Dapper on April 23, 2011 at 9:41pm

So Alice,

Anatomy is destiny but not to the extent determinism is destiny. If you buy into the idea of determinism John's life could not have been any other way.

On the other hand if life is willy nilly any number of influences could have caused John to go in another direction-perhaps never even seriously contemplating determinism. But I know your argument is that our biochemistry creates our moods and dictates the likes and dislikes of our psyche. I dont think it is that simple. Even the biggest Pangloss will be depressed under dire circumstances. And Pangloss' psyche and brain chemistry will be altered accordingly.

I can tell you from being around negative people that too much exposure affects my outlook.

In the US only one percent of horse racing gamblers win. It  is funny how persons who play the stock market are investing and people who wager are gambling. It is also funny how I will research and analyze a few horse races for hours and then I will go ahead and invest five thousand on some stock that I know very little about. Not rational really. I never put in the time to become knowledgable regarding investments and took an awful hit when the us market crashed. Been somewhat lucky with my recent guesses.

I think you will like Jane's book.

Me and you, our values are simpatico more or less.

Comment by Alice on April 23, 2011 at 8:49pm

I really don’t think that John’s adoption of believe in determinism is the cause of any negative consequences. I actually think the opposite – that his negative consequences came first and then he found determinism to make sense of it.

Biochemically we have our patterns, then we find believes that link into our biochemical patterning. The way our brain functions has way more to do with what we eat each day that it is to do with our beliefs. And I’m quite confident that I could win any such argument. : )

Just speak to any women about her monthly cycle to realise how much our biochemistry affects our moods – way more than our beliefs. We are way more simple than we might think. Our brains aren’t that powerful to create our mood through thought alone – otherwise we would all be proscribed a short course of meditation and a positive thinking course – and we all know that just doesn’t work – I know of hundreds of people who are still struggling with biochemical negatives who meditative and practice positive thinking all the time. It’s an intriguing fact that people are so dumb that they repeat the same things again and again with the faith that it works, when clearly it doesn’t – and yet find themselves year after year doing the same thing in a routine, spouting the same self deluded crap about what they doing and how it’s made their lives better.

And the same with gambling… those with knowledge and acumen are rewarded. The old 80% of wealth to 20% of people – you must be in the top 30% at least… : ) to be making a living out of it – and gambling too, as I think the odds are stacked against you – the bookies want their cut and so on… so to make money you must have quite a head on you regarding the strategy – it’s the lawyer in you I’m sure it helps.

We have a friend who does the stock market – he has his rules – he’s turned $30,000 into $1.5 million in about 10 years – in the year of the GFC he made a 30% profit, rather than the average 20% loss that most copped. His strategy is to read all the articles about who’s doing what in the library a couple of times a week – then he buys when it’s going up and sells after only make a short gain – then waits until it drops again and is on the up again then buys and only makes a small gain – it’s cautious and not greedy. He had most of his money in the bank by July of that year, because nothing was going up again, it just kept dropping – so his courteous clever (lack of greed) strategy saved him. he also has rules of thumb about who to invest with – he doesn’t do companies with one boss – only governed by a group. and he doesn’t do certain products – can’t remember now – perhaps oil – I can’t remember now – but his rules work for him. I think he has a conservative style – a good slow but sure approach. Not the rich quick scheme.

I wonder if I might get her book. Perhaps I should look at the library and save myself buying yet more books that sit around looking at me! : )

I am curious about anything really – I seem to be able to have interest in anyone I meet – although I find a few people aren’t willing to be open to me – and so I can’t relate to them – those that are perhaps prejudice against me in some situation – Indian men for example in India will only speak with my husband – and he encourages that too – old fashioned and from white apartheid south Africa I think affects him subtly. Or people who find me threatening because I’m confident and willing to create conflict to make a point – or just to shake things up.

My changing my mind does disturb me at times – because I sometimes feel that I’ve betrayed myself or not been loyal to my own values at times, when agreeing with an argument put in a certain way that I suddenly realise has other consequences. I think I basically value egalitarianism and communalism – although I do contradict myself with hierarchical and individualist lifestyles at times. The waters seem muddy. But generally I think I am a liberal – I vote Australian Green and support compassion in society. I don’t know that the Greens would do well to run the country independently, but I make up the few that give them enough say to keep the balance ‘good’, and of compassion and intellect – I’m pro same sex marriage, and good treatment of refugees, and social security benefits and free health care. I don’t support the theory of ‘trickle down effect’ in the economy – it’s crap and it doesn’t happen – it’s more of a trickle up effect! LOL But I always seem to quite easily relate to those of all political persuasions, as really all humans do share common values of sociability and willingness to connect with others. I don’t see any value in hate or aggression – although I do experience and express these emotions quite a lot, especially in my home life – unfortunately – although I do spend 95% of my time at home – so it’s only probability that allows it to be that way.
Comment by Frankie Dapper on April 22, 2011 at 10:54pm


It is an interesting article-dealing with concepts which many are unfamiliar, especially theists.

Have you read about identical twins who are separated from birth? There are some amazing implications for our personalities and propensities. On the other hand the simple observation regarding location tending to determine religious beliefs and cultural mores indicates that we can never dismiss the influence of our environment. Think about how few muslims are able to overcome their sickly upbringing and effectuate an apostasy.

Have you read Hersi Ali? Super interesting book and courageous woman who did overcome. Not sure of spelling.

Alice, you give me the impression, that you are quite curious in all intellectual matters, and willing to change positions if persuaded.

Comment by Frankie Dapper on April 22, 2011 at 10:46pm


I think there was a shot there. That's ok. You are probably correct in terms of identifying our personality traits. In fact I despise having to relie on anyone for just about anything. In law school I recall having to ask classmates for help in legal research projects. It was an awful feeling for me. Also as a generalization I suspect that is typical male/female pattern.

To me it is sensible to be skeptical about matters that lack definition and are essentially impossible to disprove-like the existence of God. ( I am aware that some atheists claim to be able to disprove god(s).) The human tendency to suspend disbelief is of course a dangerous one. And in the case of John and certainly some others, adoption of determinism,  has had profoundly negative consequences.

Cant deny the notion that uncaused choice is silly.

Jane Goodall's chimp book is good read and very interesting. Not only in terms of chimps and humans but for her observations relating to her treatment by the scientific community.

You ask a reasonable question about the morality of those gamblers who do well. As long as there is no cheating I do not really see a problem with it-certainly not any worse than most professions. Essentially, most professions reward those with knowledge and acumen to the detriment of those without.



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