20 July 2013

20 minute workout at 6:00 AM (got up a bit later after retiring later): 200 lowrise steps (still agonizingly difficult, owing to pain and anaerobic stress). Still collapse onto my bed dramatically when finished.

Also did 75 supine moves with weights. Now, relaxing with green tea: no pain at all.

Kant Study

Reading Watkins on the Analytic of Principles where we discover the link between the issues that have gone before (the necessity of non-conceptual space and time, the way in which all perception imposes categories on the manifold through judgement) and scientific knowledge. Have to finish Strawman I mean Strawson whose book I don’t recommend.

Kant Study: Home of the Whopper

Here’s a very long and almost incomprehensible sentence from the “Critique of all Speculative Theology” in Kant’s Critique:

The absolute totality of the series of these conditions in the derivations of their members is an idea which of course can never come about fully in the empirical use of reason, but nevertheless serves as a rule for the way in which we ought to proceed in regard to them: namely that in the explanation of given appearances (in a regress or ascent) we ought to proceed *as if* the series were in itself infinite, i.e., proceed *in indefinitum*, but where reason itself is considered as the determining cause (in the case of freedom), hence in the case of practical principles, we should proceed as if we did not have before us an object of sense but one of pure understanding, where the conditions can no longer be posited in the series of appearances, but are posited outside it, and the series of states can be regarded *as if* it began absolutely (through an intelligible cause); all this proves that the cosmological ideas are nothing but regulative principles, and are far from positing, as it were constitutively, an actual totality in such series.

…and here’s the original German of the above Whopper, which I was able to track down today on the Internet right here:

Die absolute Totalität der Reihen dieser Bedingungen, in der Ableitung ihrer Glieder, ist eine Idee, die zwar im empirischen Gebrauche der Vernunft niemals völlig zustande kommen kann, aber doch zur Regel dient, wie wir in Ansehung derselben verfahren sollen, nämlich in der Erklärung gegebener Erscheinungen (im Zurückgehen oder Aufsteigen) so, als ob die Reihe an sich unendlich wäre, d.i. in indefinitum, aber wo die Vernunft selbst als bestimmende Ursache betrachtet wird (in der Freiheit), also bei praktischen Prinzipien, als ob wir nicht ein Objekt der Sinne, sondern des reinen Verstandes vor uns hätten, wo die Bedingungen nicht mehr in der Reihe der Erscheinungen, sondern außer derselben gesetzt werden können, und die Reihe der Zustände angesehen werden kann, als ob sie schlechthin (durch eine intelligible Ursache) angefangen würde; welches alles beweist, daß die kosmologischen Ideen nichts als regulative Prinzipien, und weit davon entfernt sind, gleichsam konstitutiv, eine wirkliche Totalität solcher Reihen zu setzen.Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 11.01.29 AM

Because Guyer and Moore elected to do literal translation so that an increasing number of people interested in Kant but unwilling to learn German would get the best results, the two sentences are close in word count, the phrasing is the same to the bitter end: gleichsam konstitutiv, eine wirkliche Totalität solcher Reihen zu setzen == “as it were constitutively, an actual totality in such series.”

I still need to finish my essay on the utility of sentence diagrams (of a streamlined form I shall describe) in understanding Kant. The syntax of the passage is perfect: Kant isn’t running his mouth: and the import of the passage is quite striking, because it appears to me that Kant is applying mathematical Intuitionism’s distinction between constructed and actual infinities: but the developers of Intutionism relied on Kant. Kant sought results that needed tools that he in effect grounded but was himself out of luck.

More on this later.

I want to program my Mac without credit cards!

It burned my ass that apparently you needed a credit card to program Apple (download xCode from the Store) but then I discovered a workaround, which would be to use a temporary Apple ID when downloading xCode (which includes all sorts of basic tools needed for programming including a C/C++ compiler). Using the temporary ID you get a lovely None option next to the ugly Visa, Master Card and American Express options.

I haven’t completed the download since I spent most of yesterday afternoon struggling with the problem and by five I was sick at heart and wanted to return to Kant study but it looks like I can do it today.

Apple has always made programming its computers a bit of a stretch. I recall the absence of any compilers for six months after the Macintosh was introduced in 1984. I basically preferred the PC simply because it wasn’t such a “nanny state” as Apple has been about programming.

Expecting a developer to register to develop on your machine is in my experience unprecedented but a lot has changed since 1984. The credit card requirement seemed like a showstopper yesterday but Googling “obtaining xCode without a credit card” gives you four million results because teenage and foreign hackers are not normally going to have a credit card, and, it’s vulgar and sinister to expect that they will.

We don’t need no steenking credit cards!

Thrift alone demonstrates that credit cards waste money and Hoover out your wallet, fast. When I don’t have credit cards I have cash; when I have them, cash disappears. This is because extending credit is something credit companies don’t do because I’m so good looking, or for eleemosynary reasons: they do so to make money in a zero sum game by taking my money.

Traveling with money and without credit cards is a minor art. It’s not as difficult as other travel challenges such as traveling with no money but it can be amusing when the hotel owner looks at you suspiciously when you offer to prepay in cash…and asks for a security deposit.

You discover that American Express traveler’s checks, which many beginning US travelers buy, are oversold and can be replaced with a willingness to fight in defense of your money, or, to have two separate stashes, such as your wallet and your shoes, or a money belt.

Even on vacations that are supposed to be fun, there’s that grinding anxiety of the traveler, perhaps a spendthrift, who has cut it too close and has to use charm to delay (for example) a hotel bill until a deposit has been made. One should plan so as to not have your vacation ruined. One feels shifty, and like Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley.

For example, I discovered in Sydney that ATMs allowed me access to my HSBC funds. I’d brought extra cash because I assumed the worst but the ATMs were only too ready to give me money…at confiscatory fees. But getting the access just afforded me more anxiety because the ATM didn’t disclose what I was paying in the form of fees…I had to find out that number later by calling HSBC. I forget what the fee was, but I do remember that it was unconscionable.

I’d conclude by saying that traveling, and keeping track of expenses in writing, all teach valuable lessons about budgeting, but this simply isn’t so. First of all, I am at this late day not going to improve or change; as my ex-wife said I spend money like water.

She’s right. As I think my eldest son discovered, you can buy a temporary happiness with money, and I “dast not blame” my late son for his life, with a loving but over-thrifty mother, asthma and ignorant, even at times cruel teachers, in which a couple of thousand bucks could make a temporary difference. Both he and I spent money “like water” on things that amused us and which made a positive, if temporary, improvement in our lives…such as my copy of Kant’s Critique and the Cambridge Companion.

I loved being what Nabokov calls the *HotelMensch*, the expatriate who lives in hotels and dines in restaurants, free of grinding ties to kitchen tables (with their implication of female dominance). But the HotelMensch has to realize that it shall all come to an end.

Southeast Asia seemed, in 2004, an excellent place for me to live as a *HotelMensch* but then I’d think of sickness and death; of those two Horsemen sickness has arrived. In 2004, healthy as another type of horse I would think “well that should be interesting”, as I told Erica in Tung Wah hospital last December of dying in a foreign land, described here in her article.

The question for Nabokov, and perhaps for my friend the travel artist Elizabeth Briel, is where do these unusual paths all lead in the end. One knows when quite young that you don’t want to be “bourgeois” but then you see how bourgeois thrift creates legacies. Owing to taxation, not of inheritance in the USA, and the lack of the 19th century’s surety of the gold standard, the legacy isn’t what it could be but it’s better than nothing.

Whereas I identify more with US Grant who after a post-Presidency European trip found himself skint. Perhaps Grant, Nabokov and I all produce more than the comfortably well-off bourgeois.

A lot of Baby Boomers say silly things such as “50 is the new 30” and I was really impressed with myself for still running at 60 (a recent perusal of my running logs shows that 2009 was a annus mirabilis as regards running). But alas I have discovered that 60 is the new 60 and at that age, which is still rather “old”, your luck can run out. Which is why medical plans now fascinate me, whether private plans (where the rates are plummeting because of the Affordable Care Act…please don’t call it ObamaCare) or Medicare for which I shall be eligible in two years.

I don’t know how long I shall live. This morning I exercised vigorously at anaerobic levels as if I’d started the day with a two-mile sprint, only without the pounding of bones that may not be able, owing to cancer, to take said pounding. But then (like last Feb) a trip to the Circle K for Nescafe (caffeine, really) found me asking for a wheelchair at the entrance owing to severe pain. I got wheelchair’d back, was given a breakout painkiller dose, and now am free of pain, save for a referred ankle throb from time to time.

For remember, man, thou art dust, and unto dust thou shall return.


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