Another Russellian example in everyday life.

2 views
Skip to first unread message

Bill Taylor

unread,
Dec 15, 2002, 12:40:58 AM12/15/02
to
Or rather, in politics, which is not the same thing, and perhaps less unexpected!

Martin Gardner, I think it was, in his column, pointed out a possible type
that could happen, though never has yet, I think. He observed that the U.S.
Supreme Court, being an institution, might have a buildings/land squabble
with its neighbours, that went to law and ultimately finished up being
appealed to the supreme court, who might then have to judge and find
against itself!

Weird, he thought; though perhaps not *perfectly* Russellian.

Anyway, a similar thing just came up in real life, here in New Zedland.


We have a "Race Relations Commissioner", a government officer who is supposed
to conciliate in race problems, though quite often his remarks are seen to be
somewhat inflammatory. And so it is with the latest, recently appointed one.
He made some ill-considered remarks to the UN meeting on cultural preservation,
comparing NZ's colonial past with the Taliban. Naturally, this did not go down
well with most of the country, and he has been pilloried in the press over it.

But now, the latest twist is that one of our MP's (parliamentary representatives)
has decided that his remarks amount to a "serious, substantial and deliberate
breach of our human rights act", section 61 of which forbids any person:
"to publish or distribute or use within a public place words that are... likely
to excite hostility against... any group on the grounds of colour, race, or
ethnic origin".

It does seem that he has a case! - on paper at least. So he has decided to
offically complain about it. And who does he have to complain to...?
...the Race Relations Commissioner!!

For the moment, the RRC is getting his underlings to handle it; but I expect
the maverick MP will press on with it till it gets to the RRC himself.

Then old Bertie Russ will be sniggering in his grave!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bill Taylor W.Ta...@math.canterbury.ac.nz
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Everybody loves my baby,
"But my baby don't love nobody but me." (The Russell love song)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terry Boon

unread,
Dec 15, 2002, 8:11:38 AM12/15/02
to
On Sun, 15 Dec 2002 05:40:58 +0000 (UTC), Bill Taylor
<mat...@math.canterbury.ac.nz> wrote:

> Or rather, in politics, which is not the same thing, and perhaps
> less unexpected!
>
> Martin Gardner, I think it was, in his column, pointed out a
> possible type that could happen, though never has yet, I think. He
> observed that the U.S. Supreme Court, being an institution, might
> have a buildings/land squabble with its neighbours, that went to law
> and ultimately finished up being appealed to the supreme court, who
> might then have to judge and find against itself!

For those who want to follow up the original reference...

It was Douglas Hofstadter in his "Metamagical Themas" column (now
available in collected form) in Scientific American, the successor to
Martin Gardner's column. He discussed this in the June 1982 column,
"Nomic: A Self-Modifying Game Based on Reflexivity in Law".

--
Terry Boon, London, UK
te...@counterfactual.org

Daryl McCullough

unread,
Dec 15, 2002, 3:13:23 PM12/15/02
to
I once witnessed a real-life example of the Liar paradox (sort of).

I once had a very old, beat-up car that had a bunch of things wrong
with it, but still drove okay. There was a red "warning" light that
was always on (so whatever it was warning about couldn't have been
too serious).

One day, a six-year old boy was riding in my car and asked what the light
meant.

Me: That light comes on to tell me that there is something
wrong with the car.

Boy: But what's wrong with your car?

Me: I really don't know. Nothing I know of.

Boy: I know what's wrong with your car---that light doesn't
work right.

So, is the light correctly informing me that the light itself
doesn't work?

--
Daryl McCullough
Ithaca, NY

Bill Taylor

unread,
Dec 15, 2002, 11:07:24 PM12/15/02
to
da...@cogentex.com (Daryl McCullough) writes:

|> Boy: I know what's wrong with your car---that light doesn't work right.

Reminds me of an ancient joke from my boyhood kiddymags days...


Driver: Why is that pile of stones there?

Workman: To put the light on.

Driver: But why is the light there?

Workman: So you can see the pile of stones.


|> So, is the light correctly informing me that the light itself doesn't work?

Very liar paradox!

And somewhat similar to a classic throwaway line from "Dr Strangelove".
After the plane was hit by a missile, and they were checking through the damage...

"Sir, the auto-destruct mechanism blew itself up!"


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bill Taylor W.Ta...@math.canterbury.ac.nz
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

People having religious sensibilities that are easily offended
offends MY religious sensibilities.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

William Elliot

unread,
Dec 16, 2002, 12:02:25 AM12/16/02
to
On Mon, 16 Dec 2002, Bill Taylor wrote:
> Reminds me of an ancient joke from my boyhood kiddymags days...
>
> Driver: Why is that pile of stones there?
> Workman: To put the light on.
> Driver: But why is the light there?
> Workman: So you can see the pile of stones.
>
When working for a forest service CCC camp my dad was asked to get
rid of a pile of concrete blocks. So he got a crew to load them
onto a flat bed, drove over to a lake and had them tossed in.

Later the supervisor asked dad wherever had happened to the blocks. My
dad explained that he had them tossed into lak. "Oh no!" exclaimed the
supervisor, "Mr. L...., getting rid of them means you move them from one
place to another. There's a lot more work in those blocks before they
wear out."

--


> "Sir, the auto-destruct mechanism blew itself up!"
>

Are suicide bombers an endangered species?


-----= Posted via Newsfeeds.Com, Uncensored Usenet News =-----
http://www.newsfeeds.com - The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World!
-----== Over 80,000 Newsgroups - 16 Different Servers! =-----

G. Frege

unread,
Dec 16, 2002, 12:31:56 AM12/16/02
to
???

:-)

F.


P.S.
Couldn't resist...

William Elliot

unread,
Dec 16, 2002, 12:57:22 AM12/16/02
to
On Mon, 16 Dec 2002, G. Frege wrote:
> ???
> :-)
>
The subjective subject

> P.S.
> Couldn't resist...
>
If temptation knocks, subcome. You may never have another chance.
-- Annie May

Riddle of the Day: You subjected?

G. Frege

unread,
Dec 16, 2002, 2:16:54 AM12/16/02
to
On Sun, 15 Dec 2002 21:57:22 -0800, William Elliot <ma...@xx.com>
wrote:

>
> The subjective subject [?]
>
No,

What's the subject of this post?


F.

William Elliot

unread,
Dec 16, 2002, 2:57:48 AM12/16/02
to
On Mon, 16 Dec 2002, G. Frege wrote:
How subjective.

Riddle of the Day: The king is the subject?

George Dance

unread,
Dec 16, 2002, 10:12:36 AM12/16/02
to
G. Frege <in...@simple-line.de> wrote in message news:<c0pqvug06qloh17tp...@4ax.com>...
> ???
>
> :-)
>
> F.

Self-reference?


> P.S.
> Couldn't resist...

J.L. Perez-de-la-Cruz

unread,
Dec 16, 2002, 2:57:20 PM12/16/02
to

Bill Taylor wrote:
>
> ...a delightful history...

However, I'm afraid that it is not a problem at
all, at least in the legal world. The principle
"Nemo iudex in causa sua" is very old and deeply
rooted in the legal system.
Typically, the "abstentio" and the "recusatio"
(I don't know the names in common law, I guess
"abstention" and "recusation") provide the
means for the remotion of the involved official.
Of course, these issues are decided by another
judge/court.

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages