A Taxonomy of All Possible Worlds
by Ian C. Dengler*
There are many approaches to the problem of
odd, miraculous or merely psychotic beliefs. Skeptics, for the entire
written record, have tried to debunk, or at least "doubt" various kinds
of argument. Very little changes this way.
Suppose, on the other hand, that we
could show how all possible arguments fit into a complete "taxonomy" of
cognitive choices, and that, moreover, there is a natural progression
from merely 50/50 probabilities, to every less probable proposition.
That is, between the ordinary
discourse of rhetorical (and unprovable) belief, and the obviously
abnormal, or pathological belief, there exist easily identifiable types
of thought which are the source of all the bad ideas skeptics fight
Such a "taxonomy" would,
additionally, unify all of philosophy in such a way that the goal of
skepticism would become the goal of logic itself.
Of course, I am suggesting that such
a taxonomy exists, perhaps in a rudimentary form today, but, once
conceived, it must inevitably become as precise as the intuitive sense
we all have of the nature of good, indifferent, and quite awful myths.
Here is how I do it:
- Let necessity be 1.0 as its own (proto)axiom,
with a probability, therefore, of 1.
other results have degrees of degrees of lesser probability.
has offsetting, 50/50 probability.
than 50/50 is improbability theory, as it includes the multitude of
imaginary worlds we tend to construct.
is the minimal degree of possiblism we can construct: it is, perhaps,
the only true paradox in logic, since we assert (positively) nothing,
while denying our own statement.
can, of course, be equal or impair. I am using a convergent series
here, because the largest number of arguments in logic come as
variations in self-referential claims, as in a daily newspaper. The
ends, of course, are utterly minimal.
||[apodeictics: rules and material physics]
||[cataleptics: Bacteria, Archaea and their human
||[eikasics: Euryarchaeota, to lobster analytics]
||[proegmenics: middle order Eukarya]
||[prohairetics: choice systems to vertebrate
||[kathekontics: synthetic adaptations as in
pets: birds and lizards]
||[phronesics: social model of the Cape Buffalo]
||[pithanotics: probable behavior in primates]
||[spoudaics: the Ideal State in humanism]
||[eristics: the Center Right]
||[sciolistics: flim-flam, nostrums and
||[philosophastics: alternative physics of
vampires and UFOs]
||[thaumaturgics: unrestricted alternative
physics of miracles]
||[anagogics: antinomian trance states]
||[paralogics: drug overdose]
syndromes to psychotics]
||[acataleptics: true legal insanity to terminal
states of life]
||[anapodeictics: anarchy or "ciao universe and
rules as well"]
The above model is a suggestion. However, in
its subdivisions, it comes very close to all our empirical knowlege of
things in the common world. It accounts for every possible, imaginary
argument, and allows for complete, comparative, commonsense praxis by
any and all. The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental
Disorders) is really just the 16th-17th-18th Orders of Logic, and
perfectly obvious when seen relative to all other common judgments.
Perhaps most usefully, we can
immediately classify and understand all humor, since a joke, like a
naked virus, is little more than an axiom and a cover. Arguments about
"Left" and "Right," or about schools and individuals have a specific
distribution. We need no longer wonder about how our intuition can
understand, but our metalanguage cannot formulate.
Copyright The Anomalist 1998
*Email the author: email@example.com