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Sender: Michael Briand
Subject: Warning. Tangential issue ahead. Non-philosophers should exit here.
Date: Tue, Sep 2, 2014
Msg: 101152

Just a footnote, Bruce, to your contention that "there is no universal common standard for agreement on words, and without a Supreme Court as final arbiter, arguments about words in politics go on forever. So -- the real way word meanings work in the world is: words mean to us what we think they mean."

Well, actually, there is a standard and there is a "supreme court." The latter is the community of speakers of a language--in our case, American English (with the Anglo-American world a broader community). The standard, as Austin, Wittgenstein, and Kovesi have argued, is the purpose, point, or need we have for the concept in our way of life, which tells us how we may use the word in question. Thus, for example, if we are trying to define the term "freedom," we will find, upon adequate examination, that a person is not fully free unless s/he is at liberty, independent, and "self-determining" (that's four aspects or elements of freedom). There is plenty of room for disagreement about whether different obstacles, impediments, or encumbrances render a person unfree. But one can go only so far in dissenting from the purpose,point, or need for the term in our way of life. At some point, one begins to talk about a term other than the one originally under consideration.

The problem is, virtually no one except the philosophically inclined--and often not even them--care enough about clarifying the word-concepts in our language to extract a shared definition. It's no wonder that in our ethical and political speech 1 + 1 can equal 0 or 3. That's what happens when individuals care more about what they want a term to mean than what their community historically has said it means.

None of this is an argument, of course, against your idea of a "soft cloud" inductively generated by a large number of people, which is a legitimate method for locating the "central tendency" of a word's usage.

Michael

Michael Briand Chico, CA, where there was no earthquake 530.345.3709

From: Bruce Schuman Sent: Monday, September 01, 2014 4:22 PM To: TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG Subject: [TRANSPARTISAN] Leadership Affinity Network

Thank you, David.

I too saw the Kissinger article, and saved it to my framework for special consideration. As I wrote to you privately (thanks for the reply), I expect to go through the Kissinger article and comment on some of the important points he makes.

But I want to suggest an action proposal, as a framework for any philosophical observations.

LEADERSHIP AFFINITY NETWORK

The idea that has been emerging for me -- helped along by some very strong comments from Cynthia Kurtz on the main NCDD list, who introduced me to the concept of "Holophily" ("love of the same" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homophily ) -- I'm exploring the idea of an "leadership affinity network" -- which would involve an outreach in every constructive direction, towards leaders and groups and individuals who take a position on solutions for the world, and who appear at least tolerably willing to consider basic transpartisan ideas (cooperation, mutual respect, cocreativity, etc.)

The project would involve creating a substantial field (list) of "keywords" or tags -- several hundred, maybe 1000, maybe more -- that can be "fast clicked" without much thought, and no debate -- and be as logically simple as a Facebook "like".

This project is grounded in basic principles of semantics. There is no universal common standard for agreement on words, and without a Supreme Court as final arbiter, arguments about words in politics go on forever. So -- the real way word meanings work in the world is: words mean to us what we think they mean. Click the words you like, or find interesting, or support. Get enough of those words in play, in a fast process of internet-based statistical correlation -- and a huge field of soft statistical agreement could emerge at the center of the most diverse political spectrum. Maybe there are 50 or 100 or more keywords or tags that describe aspects of transpartisanship. Get them all in play, in a big soft cloud.

A core group builds an initial list -- maybe taken from our discussion here -- and then invited participants get to add new ones -- from which all participants can select. If we can promote interest -- keep it fast, keep it light, keep it easy -- a huge field of soft agreement on basic operating principles and interests would emerge. What do we like? What do we feel good about? This approach -- similar to "Appreciative Inquiry", but conducted at large scale, might take us a long ways.

In the context of that soft cloud of agreement -- building trust, awakening to the real complexity of what we are doing here, seeing all the nuances in one place -- real action proposals with "win win" implications can start to emerge. All stakeholders, all voices -- all in one big soft cloud, finding its own center of agreement by sheer statistical correlation.

I've been exploring this kind of thing for quite a while. I'll see what I can make happen, and see whether it makes sense as a response to the issues raised by Henry Kissinger (I have the article in a word.doc if anybody needs it)

http://online.wsj.com/articles/henry-kissinger-on-the-assembly-of-a-new-world-order-1409328075#printMode

- Bruce

Bruce Schuman

NETWORK NATION: http://networknation.net

SHARED PURPOSE: http://sharedpurpose.net

INTERSPIRIT: http://interspirit.net

(805) 966-9515, PO Box 23346, Santa Barbara CA 93101

-----Original Message----- From: List for transpartisan leaders and innovators [mailto:TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG] On Behalf Of David Nevins Sent: Monday, September 01, 2014 7:37 AM To: TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG Subject: [TRANSPARTISAN] A world in Turmoil

The turmoil in the world is perhaps the most critical issue facing our country today. Whether the polling data yet shows that the American public has caught up with the events and understands the critical nature of what is occurring around the world, is less important then understanding that this dramatic change potentially impacts our country more then any other issue of our time.

If you have not already done so I suggest you read Henry Kissinger's "On the Assembly of a New World Order" from the Wall Street Journal on 8/29/14. The link appears below

http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/henry-kissinger-on-the-assembly-of-a-new-world-order-1409328075?mobile=y

After reading Kissinger's article it is apparent to me that neither Democrats nor Republicans have a clear concept of the direction our country must go to address the conflicts around the world. There is no shortage of ideas, from both sides of the aisle, but there is no defined national strategic agenda related to foreign policy.

Most Americans believe the United States must play an important role in global affairs, but there is little consensus as to what the parameters of that role are and should be.

At the end of the article Kissinger raises the following questions

What do we seek to prevent, no matter how it happens, and if necessary alone? What do we seek to achieve, even if not supported by any multilateral effort? What do we seek to achieve, or prevent, only if supported by an alliance? What should we not engage in, even if urged on by a multilateral group or an alliance? What is the nature of the values that we seek to advance? And how much does the application of these values depend on circumstance?

For the above questions to be answered properly, and for our country to develop a coherent foreign policy we need a transpartisan analysis that is consistent with the definition of the word itself; an approach that "advocates pragmatic and effective solutions to social and political problems, transcending and including preexisting political ideologies"

An opportunity exists for the transpartisan movement to bring the great minds of our country together. The result very well could be a board policy of principles and associated specific actions that will serve as the template for the foreign policy of our country going now and in the future.

I fully realize the enormous complexity of the task I have outlined, yet I have no doubt that the rapidly changing events in the world can only be effectively dealt with from a transpartisan approach. Whether the execution of such an approach is possible within the organizational framework of the transpartisan movement, as it exists today, I do not know.

David L. Nevins

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