Author Archives: Troythulu
Good evening. With this post, I’m finishing two projects, the second City of Glass, and my task over the previous couple of weeks in taking and making notes from a set of lectures from the Teaching Company course ‘Philosopher’s Toolkit.’ I’ll be typing those into Evernote over the weekend, and engaging in related tasks over the next few weeks as well, including a workshop from lecture #8 in the series. I’ll have to arrange things with @Ravenpenny for that soon. Maybe later tonight on FB. I simply must get more of my projects under my proverbial belt!
So, here are this week’s images, all ready for enbiggening…
All JPEG, PNG & GIF images in this post are original works by the author,created by
This is the second re-release in my Project Logicality series, and it was posted in its original form in April of 2011. I’ve corrected and re-written this and reposted it here, hopefully clearer and to the point. May all your arguments be rational and all your disputes be resolved. ~ Troythulu
We persuade others through our arguments, to get them to accept the statements and claims we make as likely true of their own free choice, justified on the basis of the reasons we give rather than prove them absolutely. Argumentation contributes to healthy discussion and debate, to let those so arguing find common ground, and to make easier a willingness to compromise.
People argue daily, though seldom with skill, and in my view, argumentation as a well-honed tool of a functional democratic republic is needed more than ever with the increasing decay of social discourse, political polarization and interpersonal conflicts that ever more are seen as irreconcilable.
In this post, I’ll describe the basic assumptions and basic conditions that go into any attempt at constructive argument, and before I do, I’ll note as before that good argument is intellectual in force, not coercive or deceptive. It is an ethical means of influencing others, limiting their freedom of action without imposing on their freedom of will.
First, argument is carried out under conditions of uncertainty: We generally don’t argue about things we think certain, though that doesn’t prevent us from talking about them.
We argue about things because we think it important enough to convince others of them, and things may well turn out to be otherwise. If things were absolutely self-evident, they would be so to all, and there would be no need to convince anyone of them.
These differences may be implied and apparent to an analyst, concealed in the context of an argument, or explicit, obvious to an audience. Bear in mind that even the concept of certainty can depend on the audience addressed and the assumptions they bring to the table as to what it means.
Second, Argumentation must consider the needs of an audience. people argue about things that matter to them, attempting to resolve what they think are conflicting positions that cannot simply be settled by any non-argumentative means; appealing to common knowledge, or widely-shared empirical methods; things they consider to be non-trivial, matters important enough to need resolution.
This is not to pander to their biases, or to say that one claim is just as good as any other, it’s just that in being ethical, we must consider what is likely to persuade a given audience as if they were exercising their critical judgment on the merits of the arguments we give, and the soundness of the justifications we offer for our claims.
The audience is the final judge of whether an argument is strong or weak, justified or not, assenting to it if it is strong or justified, rejecting it if not.
Third, argumentation is both adversarial and cooperative. we make choices in arguments, choices in what arguments to select, and how to arrange and present them, based upon the audience we are addressing.
The adversarial components of argumentation help the rigor of the discussion; they help us avoid hasty generalizations; they reduce omission of important details. Skilled arguers seek first to find common ground which is itself the bedrock upon which they can meaningfully discuss their disagreement. Ultimately, these enhance our confidence of the outcome, a confidence pending better arguments to be made in future.
Fourth, argumentation involves restrained partisanship. It requires a cooperative effort between arguer and audience, despite the contentiousness often associated with everyday argument.
Arguers must share a common system of terms, assumptions, and meanings. This allows resolution of the dispute, and is needed to permit any meaningful argument at all.
Fifth, and finally, argument involves elements of risk. This is the risk of losing the argument, the risk of being shown wrong, the risk of having to alter one’s views and position, and in either case the emotional disruption of wounding one’s self-esteem or losing face with others.
But the cooperative aspect of argument means that in willingly accepting these risks, each arguer is respecting the rights and personhood of the other, and in so doing, claiming that same privilege of respect from the other for him or herself.
I think that these are good situational benchmarks, and are the optimal conditions, I would argue even necessary conditions, under which can be made any serious attempt to argue constructively, for the purpose of reaching the best possible conclusions given the means at hand.
Last post in this series, I gave an overview of what hypershards are capable of, at least from the examples of some of the Gods of Terra setting’s iconic characters, the Fractus, the Mirus, and the Magna.
But I also mentioned that their ‘supernormal powers’ were secondary to their original function as communications devices by some ancient, inscrutable design. I’ll get to that in this post, but first, I want to quantify the better-known abilities that these relics grant to their users, to aid in writing them up, doing the number-crunching, for rules sets like SJ Games’ GURPS.
First, the planet-killing possessed by the Magna, and formerly also by the Mirus and the Fractus: This effect destabilizes otherwise ordinary, harmless isotopes of common elements by manipulating the electroweak force, making them into lethal radioisotopes, particularly atoms of carbon, oxygen and nitrogen, the effect beginning at a radius of about 100 yards from the source after a minute, and spreading out from that rapidly, engulfing the planet’s atmosphere, crust, and oceans in an hour, this effect generating enough radiation to quickly kill all but the hardiest, most simple forms of life, even those tough little bastards, tardigrades, and anaerobic life far below the surface.
The effect will spread to deep ocean depths in time, killing almost all forms of abyssal life, even extremophiles living near volcanic vents. While this is going on the ‘shard must feed, tapping superforce particles from hyperspace, draining energy from nearly sources by lowering its feeding core to the lowest allowable energetic ground state. It may feed also on the radiation released while protecting its host from the same.
That’s nastier by far than the most lethal mass-extinction on Terra by natural causes, the Great Dying at the end of the Permian era, which is estimated to have killed a a mere 95% of all species! Remember, three of these things have been refitted, co-opted to kill planets, though of course physically blowing them up is beyond their repeatable operating limits, and these relics are very rare and expensive.
But these are primarily, originally, communications devices, and so are capable of various broadcast and beamcast functions that their owners may not be aware of.
This ability involves the relic’s ability to tap into whatever passes for the language-centers of a being’s brain, copying for the ‘shard’s use whatever languages that being knows and storing these, to be accessable to the user when needed, and simulating that language in whatever form it takes, auditory, visual, olfactory, etc, etc, by a member of the target species.
Sometimes this involves the generation of scents for smell-based languages, holograms or other imagery for visually oriented beings, even simulated gestures for non-humanoid forms of sign-based language, and of course, auditory speech, even that based on non-human vocal equipment, perhaps using musical notes for speech.
These are further transmitted, spoken, beamcast, broadcast, etc, by a variety of media, like neutrino, maser, and variations in local electrical potential, for the more unusual ones. These relics can both transmit and receive in a variety of spectra and bandwidths, and this leads up to another near-universality for hypershards…
…their use as sensory instrumentation, on the very same exotic channels they use to communicate…
Hypershards have the curious property of existing in 11 space-time axes, and this gives them very powerful means of extending the senses of the host beyond the usual three, which is why Wavetouched have the most suitable brain-architecture for this use.
Normal human brains can become quickly overwhelmed by the neural feedback caused by perceiving in more than three dimensions, and Wavetouched brains have structures, most of these in the temporal and occipital lobes, but some in the frontal lobes and limbic system, that mesh well with the interface points of the ‘shards in their brains, allowing them to more effectively screen out stimulation, and focus on what they want to notice.
This appears to the ‘shard’s host to be a sort of overlay onto the visual field, a sort of virtual Heads Up Display system, of whatever sensory modality is appropriate and most useful at the time. The overlay allows optionally blocking out excess data that may be distracting, or in some cases, maddening to a human. This gives Wavetouched a sort of augmented reality, as tags, labels, menus, and various indicator symbols of whatever languages are known can be superimposed over the sensory field at will.
When I came up with the Mirus as a character, I wanted to make him more than just a comic book superhero with “mad powerz” who vanquishes his opponents in a blaze of pyrotechnic glory…
He’s a rationalist, but with a dark, terrible past as a killer of worlds. I wanted him to be able to talk to people, to reason with them in ways they can understand no matter the species or culture, not just kill them.
But his past isn’t going to go away. It’s why he terrifies people still, on every world he visits.
Everything else beyond that core of critical thinking and rationalism, over the character’s evolution, has become secondary.