Archive for August, 2010

Wiki. Source.

Kennethamy:

Well, here is an example: in English we use the terms, “believe” and “know” very differently, from which we can infer that there is a difference between “believing” and “knowing”. For instance, we say, “Joe believes that La Paz is the capital of Ecuador, but he is wrong”. We never say, “Joe knows that La Paz is the capital of Ecuador, but he is wrong”. However, we have to be cautious. There are often extraneous circumstances which govern what we say so that if we attend only to what we say, will mislead us. A good example is that we do not say “It is raining, but I do not believe it is raining”. But that cannot show that it cannot be true that it is raining but I not believe it is raining. (Moore’s Paradox). Here is an interesting example of a sentence that may be true, but which, for extraneous factors not having to do with its semantics (meaning) it would make no sense to say.

Emil:

What is funny about “It is raining, but I do not believe it is raining” is that it is equivalent with “It is raining and Moore does not believe that it rains” (since “I” refers to Moore). However the latter one is not viewed as paradoxical. The difference seems to be that it is an implicit assumption in most communication contexts that the utterer (here Moore) believes what he claims. With that assumption in mind, we get the contradiction: It is raining, Moore does not believe that it is raining and (from the assumption and the utterance) Moore believes that it is raining. Thus, Moore believes and does not believe that it is raining. Voila!

Kennethamy:

(since “I” refers to Moore).

Why do you think that? Do you think that when Descartes wrote, “I think, therefore I exist” he was referring to Descartes? He was referring to no one in particular. The first person personal pronoun there is a very impersonal personal pronoun, just as when I say something like, “If you believe that the claim that a miracle has occurred is justifiable, then you are wrong”need not be addressed to anyone in particular. The “you” there just means the impersonal, “one”. (As in the French, “on” and the German, “Man”). But your explanation of the paradox is right. A person who makes a claim is assumed either to believe or know what he claims. (In fact, Moore pointed that out in a different context). But that fact about conversation is not about the semantics of what the person says, it is about the pragmatics of what he said. It does not seem to me that the person who says, “It is raining and I don’t believe it” is contradicting himself (and you did not say he was). But, as you said, from the premises that the person who says it is raining but that he does not believe it, together with the premise that he does believe it is raining, a contradiction can be derived. But that, to repeat, is no reason to think that the person is contradicting himself.

Emil:

Why do you think that?

I never heard of impersonal “I”‘s before. The pronoun “I” refers to the speaker, you defined it yourself in another thread.

Do you think that when Descartes wrote, “I think, therefore I exist” he was referring to Descartes?

Yes.

He was referring to no one in particular.

I disagree. I think he was referring to himself. But alas, the justification works equally well no matter who uses the argument. That does not imply that the “I” is impersonal.

The first person personal pronoun there is a very impersonal personal pronoun, just as when I say something like, “If you believe that the claim that a miracle has occurred is justifiable, then you are wrong”need not be addressed to anyone in particular. The “you” there just means the impersonal, “one”. (As in the French, “on” and the German, “Man”).

Or the danish “man”, (The german one isn’t capitalized, since “man” isn’t a noun but “Mann” is (means man). To avoid confusion with impersonal and personal pronouns in english, I try to always use “one” but it slips from time to time. You know, the bewitchment of our language.

But, as you said, from the premises that the person who says it is raining but that he does not believe it, together with the premise that he does believe it is raining, a contradiction can be derived. But that, to repeat, is no reason to think that the person is contradicting himself.

Right. Here is a more formal argument for the ‘contradiction’.

1. Moore utters “It is raining but I don’t believe it.”

2. For any person and any utterance, if the utterance is uttered in a truthful context, then the person believes all the propositions expressed by his utterance.

3. “It is raining but I don’t believe it.” was uttered in a truthful context.

Thus, 4. Moore believes all the propositions expressed by this utterance. (2, 3)

5. The propositions expressed by “It is raining but I don’t believe it.” are {that it is raining, that Moore doesn’t believe that it is raining}.

Thus, 6. Moore believes that it is raining. (4, 5)

Thus, 7. Moore believes that Moore doesn’t believe that it is raining. (4, 5)

This isn’t actually a contradiction, but it is somewhat paradoxical in a looser sense.

If we include the utterance (re-worded) as a premise. A contradiction follows:

8. It is raining and Moore doesn’t believe that it is raining.

Thus, 9. Moore doesn’t believe that it is raining. (8)

Thus, 10. Moore doesn’t believe that it is raining and Moore believes that it is raining. (6, 9)

Two days ago, Blizzard posted some statistical data about the top 200 (really is 199) players in Europe. I did a bit of statistical analysis on that data and made some nice illustrations as seen below. The data is self-explanatory, but the explanation is unknown to me. It need not necessarily be the case that Terran is overpowered. It may be that players simply like playing it better than the other races.

Give it a read. It is divided into 4 parts:

My Take on the Liar Paradox (Part I of IV)
My Take on the Liar Paradox (Part II of IV)
My Take on the Liar Paradox (Part III of IV)
My Take on the Liar Paradox (Part IV of IV)
All four articles combine to a total of about 8,000 words, so it will not take long for a dedicated reader to read through it.

In two articles one can read about the how some people think we should save the music industry.

How to save the music industry by Paul McGuinness.

U2′s manager: how to save the music industry by Neil McCormick.

The first is a pretty standard article written by lobbyists. It contains the usual piracy is stealing, piracy is killing music and other flavored metaphors. Some highlights for those that are too lazy to read through it (perhaps because they have already read too much of that kind to begin with, or that it is about 3,600 words):

“My message was quite simple – and remains so today. We are living in an era when “free” is decimating the music industry and is starting to do the same to film, TV and books. Yet for the world’s internet service providers, bloated by years of broadband growth, “free music” has become a multi-billion dollar bonanza. What has gone so wrong? And what can be done now to put it to right?”

So we begin with the usual claims. The industry is put in the victim role, being the victim of piracy. That this is wrong and should be put right. Nothing new here.

This bit was somewhat surprising:

Then there is the backlash from the bloggers – those anonymous gremlins who wait to send off their next salvo of bilious four-letter abuse whenever a well-known artist sticks their head above the parapet. When Lily Allen recently posted some thoughtful comments about how illegal file-sharing is hurting new developing acts, she was ravaged by the online mob and withdrew from the debate.

Seeing that blogs are run by musically interested people, that is, the big fans of music, probably even the biggest consumers. Why rant about bloggers?

It is funny that he refers to Lilly Allen‘s stunt which should actually be embarrassing for him to refer to. Perhaps he doesn’t even know that Lilly Allen’s remarks on copyright were themselves copied without permission! Anyway, some good came out of it: 1) she deleted her pro-copyright wannabe-blog, 2) someone made a very nice parody of her using her own tune.

Nevertheless, Bono has stepped into the argument. Quite unprompted by me, he wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times in January and he pulled no punches. “A decade’s worth of music file sharing and swiping has made clear the people it hurts are the creators… and the people this reverse Robin-Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.” Bono is a guy who, when he decides to support a cause, does so with enormous passion. But even he was amazed by the backlash when he was mauled by the online crowd.

So Bono has become involved, no surprise there. I doubt that it wasn’t suggested by some record boss though. No evidence either way.

So, the new target of hatred is the ISPs who are making lots of profit off illegal file-sharing. I suppose this is the result of ISPs not being willing to ‘cooperate’ in resulting in court battles around the world.

You have to ask how these inchoate, abusive voices are helping shape the debate about the future of music. I rarely do news interviews but when I spoke to the influential technology news site CNET last autumn I was set on by a horde of bloggers. One of them was called “Anonymous Coward.” I’m not worried about criticism from Anonymous Coward. But I am worried about how many politicians may be influenced by his rantings. The level of abuse and sheer nastiness of it was extraordinary. Without Anonymous Coward and his blogosphere friends, I think many artists and musicians would be more upfront about the industry’s current predicament. They might tell the world what they really feel about people who steal their music. But it’s understandable why they don’t – and that is partly why I don’t mind filling the vacuum.

There we saw the usual “steal music” bit. No surprise there. Again, more ranting about people with blogs (like me!). I wonder what they expect from musicians? That they stand up and call their fans thieves and expect them to keep paying for their music? I doubt it. Besides, musicians need not know a lot about file-sharing politics, perhaps they just — and here it comes — make music? So even if musicians participated more in the debate, what good would it do? Not much probably.

More self-victimization:

You have to ask how these inchoate, abusive voices are helping shape the debate about the future of music. I rarely do news interviews but when I spoke to the influential technology news site CNET last autumn I was set on by a horde of bloggers. One of them was called “Anonymous Coward.” I’m not worried about criticism from Anonymous Coward. But I am worried about how many politicians may be influenced by his rantings. The level of abuse and sheer nastiness of it was extraordinary. Without Anonymous Coward and his blogosphere friends, I think many artists and musicians would be more upfront about the industry’s current predicament. They might tell the world what they really feel about people who steal their music. But it’s understandable why they don’t – and that is partly why I don’t mind filling the vacuum.

And so on, blablabla. It is not worth going over that article in detail.

Let’s think of the second article, specifically the last bit, first he quotes the original article:

In the future I envisage every piece of music will be licensed to be available at any time on any device. All music will be transferrable between computer and portable device. ISPs will be reporting significant revenues from their “content ventures.” These are the added-value businesses that over time they must move into as their flat-rate broadband business reaches saturation point. This is not fantasy: an independent survey by Ovum recently predicted that ISPs in the U.K. could earn more than £100m in digital music revenues by 2013. In the beautiful future of my dream, every record label and every ISP will be joined in commercial partnership, sharing revenues and strategies to get their music to as many millions of people as possible.

And then comments:

I hope he’s on the right track. Clearly, for the music business to survive with anything like its current abundance, someone needs to find a way to pay musicians and other copyright holders for their work. We may indeed be moving towards a global jukebox, where you can access any track at any time, effectively paying for your musical entertainment by subscription, licence fee or some kind of hardware levy (an entertainment licence fee levied on every mobile phone or computer, for example). This would require a next generation technological leap, new kinds of business alliances between hardware makers and creative industries and a global political agreement on copyright. Perhaps ISPS need to take on the roles of record companies and invest in creative talent, instead of just exploiting it? Imagine the power of Apple computers united with the Beatles old Apple music label.

But I think there are other possibilities, and one (though few in the music business really want to contemplate it) is that the age of mass market music is truly coming to an end, and the music business will dramatically shrink to more historically consistent (and possibly localised) proportions.

We live in the age of the amateur. Music (like all forms of artistic self expression) is an innate human talent, and the internet (along with the cheap and easy recording technology provided by computers) has unleashed a tsunami of self-expression. In human history, there has never been more music made by more people (and made available to be heard) than there is right now, even if few can make a living out of it. But in all this abundance of music, where are the geniuses to rival the all time greats? Is music getting more interesting? Or just more … everything? Do we really need all this music?

Maybe music will be something people do for a while and then move on, a Myspace site and YouTube video being the 21st century equivalent of being in a band at college. For people who make music just to have fun making music, times have arguably never been better. As the economic benefits of the music business shrink, there’s a good chance that ever fewer dilettantes will get involved for that most 20th century of motivations, “fame and fortune.” And as it gets harder and harder to make a living, only the truly vocational will persist. With this, the talent base may shrink but the greatest (or at least most driven) talents should still, like the cream, rise to the top. Maybe the future of music will be a huge field of free amateur music and a much smaller but genuinely exceptional base of professional musicians.

Such an outcome would probably not be particularly appealing to most people involved in the music business today. But the survival of the mass market music business is not a given. The internet is changing everything. I have a lingering suspicion that the music industry’s future shape will be dictated by technological developments and social and economic changes we can’t even foresee at the moment. There is only one thing of which I think we can be certain. There may not always be a music business. But there will always be music.

Besides the first sentence “I hope he’s on the right track.” the rest is generally agreeable.

As for the future of copyright and copyright infringements. Currently we are in a situation where there is lots of copyright infringement. There are mainly two ways to get out of that situation:

  1. Have insane amounts of surveillance in order to prevent piracy.
  2. Change the laws to make it legal.

I prefer the second solution. It is a category of different solutions.

1) one could change the laws such that non-commercial copying is legal and let commercial copying (that is, with the intent of making money on the copied product without having the rights to do so) continue to be illegal. This is pretty much what the various pirate parties propose and I agree with it.

2) one could change the laws such that all copying is legal and have musicians earn money from some kind of music or general creative industry tax. This solution has the obvious problem of answering the questions: 1. “Who gets paid?” and 2. “How much?”. No satisfying answer seem to have been found to these. If one implements some system where the artists are paid according to how many times people listen to their songs, there are so many problems with this. First, it needs lots of surveillance, and second, how do we prevent people from cheating? For instance, just buying lots of music players and placing some them in some basement playing your own music non-stop. And so on.

No matter how one does this, I think that this is definitely a better situation than the one solution 1 would result in. There are so many things that are made hard or impossible due to our current copyright laws. For lots of examples, see he works of Lawrence Lessig, specifically Free Culture.