A “proof” is designed to demonstrate something non-obvious. The trouble with philosophy, too often, is that philosophers, like Ouroboros, turn to nibble on their own tail, trying to prove the obvious.

The great tool of “proof” is mathematics, and the cautionary tale in the use of mathematical proof was the example of Zeno, who tried to prove something quite non-obvious about the obvious. Take his arrow paradox. The arrow hits the target. He tried to prove that it doesn’t. This was in aid of his agenda to deny the reality of particulars, or motion, or somesuch nonsense.

What he really accomplished was to show the dangers of the misuse of measurement, and of biting off more than you can chew (this is especially true for Ourorboros, the Great Worm).

I see the unraveling of Zeno’s Arrow Paradox as a very pregnant metaphor for how to unravel a few puzzles that beset us to this day: determinism, skepticism about existence, and even the use of scientific method in social theory, particularly economics.

My aim is not to prove that we have free will, but to show that the “proofs” of determinism are illusory. My aim is not to prove that there is a reality outside our minds, but that the “slightest philosophy” of Hume is too clever by half, and quite mad. My aim is not to deny to sociologists and economists the status of scientists, but to use what is scientific in what they are doing to demote them from their coveted status as court wizards.

Alas, these projects, like most of my projects, have not moved very far in the past few years, in part because of family matters. But my situation is changing. I helped bury my father a week ago. As I reshuffle the burdens of life, perhaps I’ll find more time to turn Zeno on himself, and unburden the worm of Ouroborosian enterprise.

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