Applied Philosphy

We hear too much of “applied science” but nothing of “applied philosophy.” Yet one cannot come about without the other. Before the refinement and testing (science) there must be the thought. Philosophy is the science of thought. The pie of life is divided in two. That’s as dynamic as it gets. One half is Philosophy (the idea, the inspiration), the other is Science (bringing it about).

However, our minds are divine. Our hands are not. We can move millions of chemicals and electric signals by will. By pure will we have formed matter into pictures and progressive cohesion. Pure divinity. Pure power to create and organize matter by thought. But it is limited to our own inner universe.

Yet how to bring our imaginations to real life fruition? Much thought went into E=MC2. Look at how much more went into bringing it to be.

Philosophy is the science of thought. It builds houses of reason which guide our creative endeavors in the physical world around us. Science itself then builds houses of knowledge. Science is not a fact. It is not truth. It is a method.

sidney-harris-cartoon-a-miracle-occurs-here
Something just doesn’t seem to belong in this particular house, does it?

Observe, Classify, Infer, Interpret, Measure, Predict, Questions & Hypotheses, Experiment, Model Building. These 10 skills — The Process Skills of Scientific Inquiry — together constitute the much vaunted Scientific Method. It is as Einstein said: “Science is merely the refinement of everyday thinking.”

What is the standard to judge the value of everyday thinking? It is Logic. Logic is immutable because The Law of Cause and Effect is immutable. Nothing just happens. For every cause there is an effect. When it comes to human action, Logic assesses whether actions were logical or not. For every human action there is a cause and an effect.

When I waxed monstrously nostalgic I was able to take Continuing Ed courses with Oxford. I did not need to return to Old Geezer College (Kellogg) for most of it. Oxford Univ. has always been at the forefront of continuing education. This is true even in online courses. Like brick and mortar attendance, Oxford online has a common room. Students discuss what they want. The tutor seldom intrudes. For one philosophy course a student asked “How to do philosophy?” In other words, how to apply it. The Don (donna) of the course was Marianne Talbot of Brasenose and Pembroke colleges. The tutor was Peter Wright. He intruded to clarify. Because it was so succinct I made sure to copy the reply.

“Thinking logically (and clearly) is not a matter of being able to formalise what you
think, and being able to do this doesn’t necessarily guarantee that what you say is logically coherent. In fact, formal logic is parasitic on the logic of natural language, the logic each one of you employs whenever you try to make a coherent point or give reasons for something or provide an explanation. What philosophy particularly demands is that you do try to say these things as clearly as possible and that the reasons you provide support the conclusions. All thinking in whatever subject is bound by these strictures but it is important in philosophy because what we are discussing are ideas and concepts and their relations.”

Philosophy is not just thoughts thrown out off the top of the head. There are parameters. All philosophers are taught to look and listen for certain words that indicate a conclusion is coming based on what was just said. Such words are: thus; therefore; because; if so; if then, as such . . .etc.  Philosophy is thus dependent on Logic.

It would seem an easy criterion. Your premises must support your conclusions; your actions must be in response to your motives or the stimulus. You must express this clearly.

THUS we see that Logic is a criterion.

The criterion is not as simple as it sounds, however, when investigating mysteries. Before you can set yourself in action, you must have it worked out in your mind. You must have data. Enough at any rate to draw the lines between the dots. Then, finally, you are into “applied philosophy.” You are not just reacting.You are building a house of knowledge.

Nowhere is philosophy needed more than in the solving of mystery. It is here where we see just how we can truly apply the science of thought and tangibly bring about a solution.

Each criminal case is a house, a diabolical one built by a fiendish mind. Parts of it are visible (clues/evidence) but not all of them. Most of all the builder is hidden. The detective must rebuild this house in reverse so it leads to the builder. This is the philosophy of reenactment of the crime. Not as common in America, though it dominates French intelligence. Obsess on every clue. This is the British approach. I have found both are best in approaching cold cases. Much has to be rebuilt after so long, and much brooding on every clue is necessary.

I have received so much praise for my investigation of EAR/ONS. I am grateful. But I think that what I’ve done is the minimum. It was necessary to lay out the facts and MO. Zodiac was steeped in folklore already. Restoring the actual sequence of events did not get me kudos. EAR/ONS had not yet plummeted into folklore, with camps fighting over popular suspects. I am very happy to have been able at the very least to reveal many facts here. I am the man Bigfooters “love to hate” because I radically revised the history of claims of a “Gigantopithecus” in America. It has caused a quiet schism that the franchise doesn’t like to recognize.

But it is in Cold Case where Logic can be most fruitfully applied. Philosophy must build a house here that requires the standard be as much data as possible, also that any dissertations have as complete as possible the restoration of the crime scene, reenactment of the crime, and the logical distilling of every clue. Then there will not only be a community that can be mentally stimulated by a mystery, but there will be a fair chance that it can be solved, even after decades, rather than simply becoming another urban legend and folkloric franchise.

Though my plate is full, I have itched for years to go after the Phantom of Texarkana or the Cleveland Torso Killer. More than most cold cases, the Phantom of Texarkana case represents the hazards not just of too little data in the public arena but of shallow legend and economic rehash. In the next blog post I will outline what details really need to be gleaned in order to even pursue a solid list of suspects.

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