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Tomorrow Today will be a busy day so I will keep this post short.
Today’s post will be a BIG PICTURE post, and one that really captures the ESSENSE of why this blog exists.
As my dear and loyal reader know, this blog is dedicated to the chronicling of the Restoration of all things in Christ.
But seeing as how there is a lot to Restore, and that the damage inflicted by the neo-Modernists (Modernists) initially and subsequently the post-Modernists is so extensive, and extends way beyond the friendly confines (yes, I am a Chicagoan by the grace of God) of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and into all the lands inhabited by Christendom, your humble blogger has taken it upon his broad shoulders (another Chicago idiom) to try and explain why this is so.
And naturally, since this blog tries to identify the ESSENCE of the above stated problem, it heavily relies on explanations taken from the philosophical sub-set of human knowledge. These explanations are taken and then applied to exiting, specific problems that you dear readers observe unfolding before your very eyes.
Today however, I will stay on the theoretical level. This is due to a brilliant post that I came across that explains, as I mentioned earlier, the raison d’etat for this blog, and it does so much, much better than your humble blogger could have done.
The Razor Ockham *Should* Have Proposed
Ockham’s Razor is the heuristic sometimes known as the lex parsimoniae: the Law of Parsimony. As he actually proposed it:
Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate: Do not posit pluralities beyond necessity.
Ockham’s Razor as it is usually rendered:
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem: Do not multiply entities beyond necessity.
The entities of a theory are its terms. They are not actual entities, but formal only. So the Razor is often rendered:
Do not multiply terms beyond necessity.
This makes it easy to compare theories and see which one is more parsimonious – especially if they are mathematically formalized. F = ma, for example, clearly invokes three terms, that terminate on three sorts of properties of things. The basic idea of course is that as between two theories that adequately explain some phenomenon, the simpler is more likely to be more accurate. But why?
In Finality Revived: Powers & Intentionality (Synthese, March 2016), David Oderberg suggests in passing that Ockham should instead have proposed:
Do not multiply mysteries beyond necessity.
There are two ways to multiply mysteries: to increase terms beyond adequacy, or to decrease them beneath adequacy.
Note bene: What is key to understand in the above is that Ockham’s Razor made it possible to compare two competing “theories” using a purely OBJECTIVE methodology. By forcing the definition of terms (of a given theory) into mathematical notation, the SUBJECTIVE elements of the theory were stripped away. Then by comparing the OBJECTIVE terms, the OBJECTIVELY CORRECT (or “more correct” as the case may be) results were easier to “discern”.
If you decrease terms too much, your explanation is inadequate. One common result is that you end up failing to explain all sorts of related things. For example, the modern rejection of final and formal causation can’t account for mind, freedom, complexity, or order; whereas under the Aristotelico-Thomistic Grand Synthesis that modernism had displaced, they had posed no particular problems.
Note bene: This is the reason behind the fall of Marxism. The human creature is more complex than the “linear” explanation given by Marx/Lenin/Stalin/Mao/PolPot/Castro and the other 20th century butchers. The inability to explain and reconcile these human complexities led to the mass murder of large swaths of the population that was seen as “non-conformist”.
If your explanation produces mysteries that your former explanation understood, then you are on the wrong track.
Note bene: This is presently known as Mamet Law. Mamet’s Law posits that to be a “present day leftist”, you have to unlearn a lot of what is already known. And we are referring to objective knowledge here.
If on the other hand you increase terms too much, you introduce new mysteries; for, when it is first noticed, every new mystery is denoted by a new term; and vice versa. So, to introduce a term just is to introduce a new mystery, or rather to notice it. Every new term notices and relevates a new explanandum, each of which calls out for a new explanans, and bedevils us until we get it. This is a formalization of the fact that each new thing we learn increases the surface area of our ignorance; increases the precision of our understanding of how much we have still to learn.
Note bene: This above preciently explains the fallacy behind Phenomenology. As you dear reader recall, Phenomenology is the “ideology” which claims… well, nothing. It is just the latest regurgitation of Vital Immanence, so precisely explained by Pope St. Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis.
Viz.: F = ma raises the question: what are Force, mass, and acceleration? These are defined in terms of other entities, and each such term must itself be explicated in terms of yet others. That’s not always difficult to do, but it must be done, if the explanation is to amount to more than hand waving.
So: don’t add a new mystery by adding a new term if in so doing you are not clearing up at least one old mystery.
God is the only term that does not introduce another explanandum – although he does of course introduce another mystery. For, while he needn’t be explained, nor can he be explained. Nevertheless no explanation that does not ultimately terminate and rest upon him can be complete, or therefore satisfactory; for it cannot otherwise rest, or therefore explain. Notions alienate from the Absolute cannot ultimately work; they break down; they fail; they stultify; they negate; they kill.
Note bene: the philosophical explanation not only behind Francis’ JunkTheologyofDeath, but the entire post-conciliar moral/philosophical ediface in one short paragraph!
Will end here, but will have more to say on this in a subsequent post.