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Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme

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  • Shlomi Fish
    Hi Nadav! Please don t take it the wrong way, but I think that following my refute of your claims, you have evaded them, and instead of saying that you stand
    Message 1 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
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      Hi Nadav!

      Please don't take it the wrong way, but I think that following my refute of
      your claims, you have evaded them, and instead of saying that you stand
      corrected, you tried to amend them. But I'll reply to them just in case.

      On Thursday 12 April 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
      > On Thu, Apr 12, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il]
      Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
      > > By becoming a full time philosopher who does nothing in real-life but
      > > think and write, I'll lose my edge. Philosophy and insights come from
      > > experience and from getting your hands dirty. You need to learn in order
      > > to experiment, and you need to experiment in order to teach.
      >
      > It is conceivable that some "outside-world" experience can give you a
      > philosophical idea. For example, Richard Stallman's "free software" ideas
      > (and ideals) came after some real experience with a real printer. Many
      > ideas of Peter Singer (the philsopher I mentioned in a previous mail)
      > probably came from his experiences in a world eating meat and (ab)using
      > animals.
      >
      > However, once you have idea, it takes time and effort to make it into a
      > well-polished theory, book, or whatever. You can't do that if you don't
      > devote a lot of time to it. I'm not saying that you need to devote to it
      > all your time, or even most of your time - but if you spend 30 minutes a
      > day "blogging", I seriously doubt your ideas will have a strong impact on
      > the world.. If Richard Stallman continued to work full-time on coding
      > Emacs, he wouldn't have had the effect he has today.
      > Conversely, Linus who
      > concentrated on "dirty" code-writing hardly had any effect at all on
      > free-software philosophy.
      >

      Are you kidding? Linus had a huge effect. A lot of what he says has been very
      influential. He's often being quoted. He is a wonderful humourist and has
      provided a lot of balance to free software by not holding the radical
      opinions that RMS does. And he projected the project of writing the Linux
      kernel which is currently the most advanced open-source kernel and the one
      used by the most popular free software OS.

      From reading Linus, I think he's both extremely intelligent and extremely
      wise. RMS, OTOH is very idealistic, very stubborn and completely unable to
      distiniguish between the two. I often found value in what RMS said, but I
      believe I usually agree with what Linus or other people like Tim O'Reilly say
      more.

      > One problem with your "philosophy" posts (and I hope you don't take this as
      > an insult, I'm not trying to insult you) is that you do *not* do enough
      > fact checking or thinking on your theories.

      That may be true.

      > You raise ideas which have been
      > discussed by many philosophers in the past, but you never heard of them or
      > read their books (or books about them). You raise ideas on how to run a
      > country which doesn't go well with existing history as we know it.

      History can often be interpreted in a misleading way. Some people claim that
      the pre-depression USA was a counter-example for why Laissez-Faire Capitalism
      does not work, but it wasn't LFC by a long shot. Some people claim that the
      situation of the Negros in the USA was improved by the regulation, but for
      all we know it could have been better without it and with a public,
      voluntary, action on part of the Black people and the people who supported
      them.

      > You
      > raise ideas on the perfect job, when your commulatative job experience is
      > just a few months,

      Actually my commulatative job experience is a few years.

      > and you never talked to other people to hear about their
      > job experiences.

      I have in fact. On IRC, on Email, in real-life, etc.

      Please stop making wrong generalisations about me.

      > If you spent time on *research* - finding the facts, reading what other
      > philosophers said, listening to what other people think, and so on - that
      > will make you a better philosopher. If you can't do that because your time
      > is spent doing something else (be it programming or raising a kid), well,
      > that will never make you a better philosopher, unfortunately.
      >

      I could find facts. But I believe a philosopher has an artistic licence to
      publish an essay without much fact checking. Just because he has this idea.
      As you may know, I publish a lot of mini-essays on my blogs, because I have a
      good idea, and don't want to form it into a good essay on my site (or don't
      feel its scope justifies that), and instead just publish it there for
      everybody to read.

      > At least this is how I see it.
      >
      > > While education is important, your output is what matters, not what
      > > you've earned.
      >
      > This is 100% right. So if one day you'll write a brilliant philosophical
      > essay, I'd say, hats off for that auto-deduct renaisance-man. But until
      > then, I can still try to make suggestions ;-)

      I think many of my philosophical essays are good. Most of them are not about
      philosophy proper ("What is existence?", "Is the meta-variable nature of the
      presence of multi-purpose individualism beneficial for the collective state
      of mind?"[1]) but rather about applicative philosophy.

      If you're claiming I should invest more time in researching my essays, that
      may be true, and I can agree with that. However, if you're claiming I should
      get a Ph.D. in Philosophy, just to be able to call myself a philsopher - it's
      not something I can agree with.

      A good engineer is any person who is competent at doing engineering work, not
      necessarily someone who has a degree in an engineering field. Similarly, a
      philosopher may not have studied philosophy in university. I believe my
      experience as a software developer, a student for Electrical Engineering in
      the Technion, a K12 student, a writer of humourous stories, bits and
      aphorisms, a writer and giver of presentations, a blogger, etc. give me
      enough credit to call myself a philosopher. And I certainly have more in my
      arsenal than most people with a B.A. in philosophy.

      {{{{{{{{
      [1] - Don't ask me what the latter question mean.
      }}}}}}}}

      >
      > > I have read many of Kant's conclusions - from you or otherwise. And I can
      > > prove them to be wrong based on Logic and more basic assumptions.
      > > According to Neo-Tech, everything of importance can be deduced from the
      > > biological nature of men and women (and possibly some other natural laws
      > > and facts) and using Logic.
      >
      > So basically, your argument is that since Neo-Tech is right, Kant must be
      > wrong.

      That's not what I said. You completely mis-interpreted me. What I said was
      that given several of Kant's conclusions, I could disprove them based on some
      more basic assumptions and Logic. Nothing that has to do with Neo-Tech. I
      don't know how Kant reached his conclusions, but since the conclusions are
      wrong, I can assume his reasoning was wrong too. (Or else Logic, which is the
      tool for non-contradictory identification, is useless.)

      > That would be a perfect proof, if only Neo-Tech was indeed right.
      > But how do you know it is? And what if neither of those two positions is
      > wrong, and Neo-Tech is only partially right, and Kant is also partially
      > right? And what does it mean to be "right" anyway?

      I have some things I disagree with the core Neo-Tech documentation, or think
      they should be corrected. I also have many extensions or corrections to
      Neo-Tech. And I think some of the strategy that Neo-Tech took was wrong.
      However, that doesn't make me any less of a N-Ter, because in N-T people
      think for themselves, guide themselves, and philosophise for themselves.

      > Philosophy isn't an
      > exact science like math or physics. You don't check a philosophical idea -
      > which is a way to look at the world - for correctness based on experiments;
      > Nor can you check them using just logic - because unlike mathematics, there
      > is no fixed set of "philosophical axioms" that everyone agrees with.
      >

      Due to the liberty of speech anyone can utter the greatest stupidity, and it
      is his right to do it. However, it is also my right to claim that he's
      speaking non-sense, or even trying to voice a bad philosophy in order to do
      harm. I believe that like Math, we can make a deduction about reality,
      humans, societies, etc.

      For example, many people assume that altruism, the belief that humans must or
      should subject themselves to "higher causes" in order to live is good.
      However, then Ayn Rand asked "Why?" - give me a good reason why. And you
      cannot answer.

      JFK said <<< Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do
      for your country. >>>. There's also <<< Social good is superior to personal
      good. >>> . That was a slogan of the German Nazi party. (and no, Godwin's Law
      is not invoked here.)

      Imagine what would happen if a vast majority of the people of the countries
      surrounding Germany before WWII were armed with firearms. Wouldn't history be
      completely different?

      > Just a small example, is it ethical to eat animals? Some say it is (like
      > probably Neo-Tech, since eating meat is in our biological design), some say
      > it isn't (like the aforementioned Peter Singer). There isn't a "right"
      > answer. The only thing that matters (to philosophers) is how you explain
      > your answer, and the assumptions you made during this explanation (the
      > "axioms"). You can say "yes" with a good explanation, and you can say "no"
      > with a good explanation...

      If you tell me Peter Singer's reasoning, I may be able to detect some flaws in
      it. I can accept any philosophy as a philosophy, but I also reserve the right
      to claim it is false, invalid and illogical. Otherwise, we might as well
      agree that for each A, both A and Not-A are true, and being omni-knowing not
      say anything later on.

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish

      ---------------------------------------------------------------------
      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

      If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
      one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
      -- An Israeli Linuxer
    • Tzahi Fadida
      ... Don t confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those ideas. His
      Message 2 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
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        On Friday 13 April 2007 10:52:19 Shlomi Fish wrote:
        > Are you kidding? Linus had a huge effect. A lot of what he says has been
        > very influential. He's often being quoted. He is a wonderful humourist and
        > has provided a lot of balance to free software by not holding the radical
        > opinions that RMS does. And he projected the project of writing the Linux
        > kernel which is currently the most advanced open-source kernel and the one
        > used by the most popular free software OS.
        >
        > From reading Linus, I think he's both extremely intelligent and extremely
        > wise. RMS, OTOH is very idealistic, very stubborn and completely unable to
        > distiniguish between the two. I often found value in what RMS said, but I
        > believe I usually agree with what Linus or other people like Tim O'Reilly
        > say more.

        Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus
        may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those ideas. His
        influence thus, is more of spreading the word instead of inventing the word,
        which is what RMS did/does. Even now, i hear that for GPLv3 he had more
        reservations than any ideas.

        --
        Regards,
                Tzahi.
        --
        Tzahi Fadida
        Blog: http://tzahi.blogsite.org | Home Site: http://tzahi.webhop.info
        WARNING TO SPAMMERS:  see at
        http://members.lycos.co.uk/my2nis/spamwarning.html
      • Muli Ben-Yehuda
        ... So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and he s a great
        Message 3 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
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          On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:

          > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus
          > may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those
          > ideas.

          So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
          where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
          he's a great implementor.

          > His influence thus, is more of spreading the word instead of
          > inventing the word, which is what RMS did/does. Even now, i hear
          > that for GPLv3 he had more reservations than any ideas.

          Same question.

          Cheers,
          Muli
        • Nadav Har'El
          ... My original point (before Shlomi replied and Tzahi s replied to it) was that while Linus is a gifted engineer (which you split into two kinds of gifts,
          Message 4 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
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            On Fri, Apr 13, 2007, Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
            > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
            >
            > > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus
            > > may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those
            > > ideas.
            >
            > So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
            > where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
            > he's a great implementor.

            My original point (before Shlomi replied and Tzahi's replied to it) was
            that while Linus is a gifted engineer (which you split into two kinds
            of gifts, "design" and "implemtation"), he spent and still spends most of
            his time on engineering, and a minority of his time (although of course not
            zero) "philosophizing" on free software licenses and their social effects,
            on the effects of patents on innovation, on expanding free software's
            philosophy to other areas of intellectual property (text, music, etc.) and
            other areas of life in general, and so on.

            Not spending most of his time philosophizing doesn't say anything bad about
            Linus (some may even say it's a *good* thing!) but I think it can hardly be
            denied.

            On the other hand, there are people in the free software world that *do*
            spend most of their time philosophizing, theorizing, and writing texts - not
            software. This includes Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond (ESR), and a bunch of
            others, many of them not (yet?) famous. There are even groups trying to work
            together on free software philosophy, like the german Okenux, trying (in very
            broad terms, that may do them an injustice) to somehow combine the best ideas
            of marxism and free software.

            I've heard more than once remarks like "Who's that Eric Raymond guy, and
            what did he do - write the measly Fetchmail application?", or "Who's that
            Richard Stallman, and what right does he have to preach to us after he wrote
            a lousy editor 20 years ago". Ignoring the inaccuracy of these "facts" for
            a moment, the important point is that these "philosophers" (or theorisers,
            writers, bloggers, or whatever you want to call them) really wrote less
            free software in the last decade than other people (like Linus). This is
            because they spent most of their time on free software philosophy. It doesn't
            make their ideas any less valid. Sometimes, it makes their ideas even more
            worth listening to because their ideas have been well-researched, well-
            thought out, and well written.

            Of course, not everybody that has a lot of free time and writes something
            is worth listening to. Hitler's book (and again, I hope I'm not invoking
            Godwin's law ;-)) was written while he was in jail, and had a lot of time
            to think on his hatred to Jews and come up with all sorts of insane theories
            and plans. This is why peer review and hind-sight by the next generations is
            important in philosophy, as in any other academic field. Kant (just to use
            an example given by Shlomi) is remembered today not because of some arbitrary
            reason, but because his peers and successors thought that his theories were
            interesting, important, and that we have something to learn from them, even
            if not all of them are considered 100% correct. Just like Newton's is still
            considered important to learn, even though later generations found that in
            many cases, his laws aren't actually correct, and have been ammended by
            relativity, quantum physics, and so on.

            --
            Nadav Har'El | Friday, Apr 13 2007, 26 Nisan 5767
            nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
            Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |Those who beat their swords into
            http://nadav.harel.org.il |plowshares will plow for those who don't.
          • Tzahi Fadida
            ... We are referring here to FOSS philosophy, not to coding (either code design or code implementation). If there are projects of FOSS philosophy i am not
            Message 5 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
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              On Friday 13 April 2007 21:36:16 Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote:
              > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
              > > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge,
              > > linus may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those
              > > ideas.
              >
              > So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
              > where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
              > he's a great implementor.

              We are referring here to FOSS philosophy, not to coding (either code design or
              code implementation). If there are projects of FOSS philosophy i am not aware
              off, i will take my comments back. Till then...

              > > His influence thus, is more of spreading the word instead of
              > > inventing the word, which is what RMS did/does. Even now, i hear
              > > that for GPLv3 he had more reservations than any ideas.
              >
              > Same question.

              Same answer.


              --
              Regards,
                      Tzahi.
              --
              Tzahi Fadida
              Blog: http://tzahi.blogsite.org | Home Site: http://tzahi.webhop.info
              WARNING TO SPAMMERS:  see at
              http://members.lycos.co.uk/my2nis/spamwarning.html
            • Shlomi Fish
              ... [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on ... That may be true. ... Right. ... Well, this is a generalisation, which is not quite accurate.
              Message 6 of 18 , Apr 14, 2007
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                On Friday 13 April 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007, Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm]
                [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on
                Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
                > > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
                > > > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my
                > > > knowledge, linus may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not
                > > > invent those ideas.
                > >
                > > So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
                > > where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
                > > he's a great implementor.
                >
                > My original point (before Shlomi replied and Tzahi's replied to it) was
                > that while Linus is a gifted engineer (which you split into two kinds
                > of gifts, "design" and "implemtation"), he spent and still spends most of
                > his time on engineering, and a minority of his time (although of course not
                > zero) "philosophizing" on free software licenses and their social effects,
                > on the effects of patents on innovation, on expanding free software's
                > philosophy to other areas of intellectual property (text, music, etc.) and
                > other areas of life in general, and so on.

                That may be true.

                >
                > Not spending most of his time philosophizing doesn't say anything bad about
                > Linus (some may even say it's a *good* thing!) but I think it can hardly be
                > denied.

                Right.

                >
                > On the other hand, there are people in the free software world that *do*
                > spend most of their time philosophizing, theorizing, and writing texts -
                > not software. This includes Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond (ESR), and a
                > bunch of others, many of them not (yet?) famous.

                Well, this is a generalisation, which is not quite accurate. ESR still spends
                a large amount of his time writing code - he recently wrote bogofilter for
                example, and many other things. RMS cannot write code due to strain injury
                (see http://geekz.co.uk/lovesraymond/archive/hacking-for-christ ). However,
                he still spends a large amount of his time doing: working on the GPLv3 and
                other licences (GFDL, etc.), writing essays, travelling and giving
                presentations, etc.

                Consider this quote by Richard P. Feynman from his excellent book "Surely
                you're Joking, Mr. Feynman":

                http://www.pitt.edu/~druzdzel/feynman.html

                <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                I don't believe I can really do without teaching. The reason is, I have to
                have something so that when I don't have any ideas and I'm not getting
                anywhere I can say to myself, "At least I'm living; at least I'm doing
                something; I am making some contribution" -- it's just psychological.

                When I was at Princeton in the 1940s I could see what happened to those great
                minds at the Institute for Advanced Study, who had been specially selected
                for their tremendous brains and were now given this opportunity to sit in
                this lovely house by the woods there, with no classes to teach, with no
                obligations whatsoever. These poor bastards could now sit and think clearly
                all by themselves, OK? So they don't get any ideas for a while: They have
                every opportunity to do something, and they are not getting any ideas. I
                believe that in a situation like this a kind of guilt or depression worms
                inside of you, and you begin to worry about not getting any ideas. And
                nothing happens. Still no ideas come.

                Nothing happens because there's not enough real activity and challenge: You're
                not in contact with the experimental guys. You don't have to think how to
                answer questions from the students. Nothing!
                >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                While this quote is a bit wrong-headed - it illustrates a point. As I'm saying
                here - http://xrl.us/vrek - there are several levels of learning:

                * Level 1 - Learning.

                * Level 2 - Experimenting.

                * Level 3 - Teaching.

                * Possible Level 4 - Science or Philosophy. (Possibly included in Level 3)

                Now you need to learn something before you can experiment with it, and you
                need to experiment with something before you can teach it. However, you
                cannot just sit idly on day thinking - this is unproductive.

                I believe I'm now spending a minority of my time coding. Most of
                my "productive" time is spent writing essays, important emails (like this),
                blog entries, etc. But I also get a lot of inspiration and insights from
                learning or experiencing with new technologies, etc. I must if I want to be
                good.

                Nadav, the obscure philosopher you've quoted was wrong. While it is possible
                that my philosophical essays will not be taught in philosophical courses
                soon, it does not mean it is invalid or bad or not innovative. Most B.A.
                Philosophy corriculums don't cover Ayn Rand either, and I found her
                philosophy incredibly original and highly enlightening. And all her books
                were huge best-sellers, and have directly influenced a great deal of
                Americans and other people.

                > There are even groups
                > trying to work together on free software philosophy, like the german
                > Okenux, trying (in very broad terms, that may do them an injustice) to
                > somehow combine the best ideas of marxism and free software.
                >
                > I've heard more than once remarks like "Who's that Eric Raymond guy, and
                > what did he do - write the measly Fetchmail application?", or "Who's that
                > Richard Stallman, and what right does he have to preach to us after he
                > wrote a lousy editor 20 years ago". Ignoring the inaccuracy of these
                > "facts" for a moment, the important point is that these "philosophers" (or
                > theorisers, writers, bloggers, or whatever you want to call them) really
                > wrote less free software in the last decade than other people (like Linus).
                > This is because they spent most of their time on free software philosophy.
                > It doesn't make their ideas any less valid. Sometimes, it makes their ideas
                > even more worth listening to because their ideas have been well-researched,
                > well- thought out, and well written.

                I feel that I've written less code lately, and instead wrote more philosophy.
                That's what I feel I'm better at. However, I still have to write some code
                and be productive in this regard, or else I'll lose my edge.

                >
                > Of course, not everybody that has a lot of free time and writes something
                > is worth listening to. Hitler's book (and again, I hope I'm not invoking
                > Godwin's law ;-))

                No, it does not.

                > was written while he was in jail, and had a lot of time
                > to think on his hatred to Jews and come up with all sorts of insane
                > theories and plans. This is why peer review and hind-sight by the next
                > generations is important in philosophy, as in any other academic field.
                > Kant (just to use an example given by Shlomi) is remembered today not
                > because of some arbitrary reason, but because his peers and successors
                > thought that his theories were interesting, important, and that we have
                > something to learn from them, even if not all of them are considered 100%
                > correct. Just like Newton's is still considered important to learn, even
                > though later generations found that in many cases, his laws aren't actually
                > correct, and have been ammended by relativity, quantum physics, and so on.

                Well, it is important not to take anything for granted. I used to find a lot
                of value in Marx' theory, but then after reading Neo-Tech, and other
                Objectivist writing, and taking the time to digest it, found Marxism to be
                more and more stupid, and can actually prove it.

                As you may well know, there are many ways of explicit or implicit censorship:
                state-governed censorship (Modern day China, the Communism in Eastern
                Europe), abusive laws such as the DMCA, or copyright takedown notices etc.
                All of these prevent the proper growth and expansion of knowledge:

                http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

                Regards,

                Shlomi Fish

                ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                -- An Israeli Linuxer
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