Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pearsall Park Disc Golf


NelsN, ChrisS, and I went over to Pearsall Park to play the new disc golf course today. It was a pretty cool course. It is sort of like a grown up Nani Falcone. Most of the holes were treeless. There was a lot of elevation change. It was very, very windy.

ChrisS had a great round. He birdied or parred the first 11 or 12 holes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


We at enjoy Thanksgiving. It's a pretty much non-annoying holiday. My Thanksgiving always consists of going up to the family farm, getting to see everybody on my dad's side of the family, eating a bunch of good food, watching football, and messing around outside.

This year we threw disc golf discs and played a round of target golf. We only played one game of 88 (dominoes). We need to do more of that next time.

I hope all of my readers enjoyed their holiday as much as I did mine!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

CoryS Shot a 61 at McClain


And, before he left, he gave the "Idaho Stare (tm)" and said "you better document this day". So, I've posted the score card and blogged about it. Hopefully that will be enough. Cory can kill anybody from 100 feet with a disc golf disc.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Tess Video

Tess is getting around fairly well for being only 9 months old. In this video she does various feats. The most difficult of these being when she bends over to pick up a toy without falling.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Disc Golf Movie

Tom Cruise stars in a new disc golf movie called "Valkyrie". I'm having trouble finding plot details. However, it looks like the character Cruise plays is a German disc golfer who wins some huge disc golf tournament held during World War II. His favorite disc is, of course, the Valkyrie. I'm not sure what plastic he threw. I'm guessing he threw the champion plastic since it would be the most durable plastic for use during a war.

Hopefully "Valkyrie" will be as well received as some of these other disc golf movies: "The Destroyer", "The Beast", and "Weekend at Ken Climo's".

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Knowledge is Contextual

We sometimes discuss philosophy at work. I'm ok with that because ideas are important and I like talking about them. However, there are some very fundamental concepts that are either understood only at an implicit level or not at all by some of the participants in these discussions. I'm going to blog about some of these things in hopes that they will be more widely recognized and understood. The first idea that I'm going to cover is the idea that all knowledge is contextual.

It's my view that all knowledge has perceptual data at its base. That is, there is no other means to knowledge than our senses. Or, our senses are our only contact with reality. This being the case, ideas which have no context or ideas being used outside the context which support them are not knowledge. Or, to put it another way, meaningful statements about reality are tied directly to the context that supports them and are not usable outside of that context.

An idea with no context is an idea that can't be traced back to reality or is not supportable by facts of reality when it is traced back. Here are some ideas that have no context:
  1. There is a Sears catalog on the surface of the moon.
  2. Bowling balls float on water.
  3. An elf ate my sandwich last Saturday.
Ideas with context are knowledge and are valid but they cannot be used outside of their context. For example, it makes no sense to say that unicorns eat hay because horses eat hay. This statement is not logical. It's not a statement about reality. There is no place in reality that I can go to see unicorns eat hay. It's true that horses eat hay. It's true that unicorns are an imaginary creature that can be described as a horse with a horn. However, it makes no sense to try to prove that unicorns eat hay because horses eat hay. Arguments about what unicorns eat are not arguments about reality. You can't apply your knowledge of what horses eat to unicorns.

The examples above are sort of contrived to illustrate what I'm trying to communicate. Some more realistic consequences of the contextual nature of knowledge follow.

Morality is derived in what I call the "normal context" of everyday human life. Morality is thus only valid in that context. This fact has some not well recognized consequences. Emergency situations are not part of the "normal context" and thus morality doesn't apply. For example, if a person's car breaks down in the middle of a blizzard and the only way he can survive is to break into a hunting cabin and use the supplies he finds there, it's not wrong for him to do that. It would be wrong in the "normal context". Emergency situations must be handled in an ad hoc manner. The principles of morality do not apply.

Hypothetical situations are often floated in discussions and they are often misused. If you are arguing against an idea, you must recognize its context. Hypothetical situations that are outside of an idea's context are irrelevant. For example, suppose you are arguing against the idea that government should not provide universal health care. A hypothetical situation in which technology advances to such an extent that health care can be provided at no cost is not something that is meaningful. We do not live in such a context. The idea that universal health care should not be provided by government was not derived in that context.

Since knowledge is contextual, knowledge can change if the context changes. What was true in the past is not necessarily true now. What is true now will not necessarily be true in the future. If you think knowledge is forever or universal or contextless, you're wrong. What you know can and should change to reflect new knowledge. This is the way knowledge works. You might wish that humans were infallible and all knowing. You might wish you could think about things for a few years and figure everything out for all time. Keep wishing. That's not reality.

Another consequence of the contextual nature of knowledge is that an idea that is valid in one context can be invalid in another. This doesn't mean the idea is false. It's true in its context. For example, Newtonian physics is true when applied to macroscopic objects traveling far below the speed of light. However, it doesn't work in other contexts. It'd be wrong to say that Newtonian physics is invalid because it only works in its context. All knowledge is contextual.

I think everybody who participates in our philosophical discussions at work knows some of or all of the above at an implicit level at least. However, that's not good enough. In order to be right about the things we discuss and to discuss them in a way that's not a waste of time, you need to know all of the above (and more) explicitly. You need to be able state and use a whole host of fundamental ideas from philosophy in order to even have a chance of being right about anything as abstract as morality, politics, or knowledge.

If any of the above is new to you, I suggest there are more important things you need to think about than whether or not the government should provide universal health care or the problem of universals or the ideas of Immanuel Kant.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I had a new low this morning, 196.5 pounds. I'm so skinny now that I have to wear two belts to keep my pants in place.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

10 Pars at McClain


I only shot a 69, but I had 10 pars. That's the most pars I've had in a single round out there. I also parred 15 for the second time ever.

After the 69 round, we played again and I shot a 70.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President Elect Barack Obama

We here at project that Barak Obama will win the presidential election. After carefully poring over election returns and exit polling all night, we are certain in this conclusion.

Thank you all for participating in the election. We should all do it again in four years!

197.0 Pounds

I weighed 197.0 pounds this morning after playing 4 games of full court basketball last night (my team won all four games). I'm so skinny now that I had to cover the drain in the shower with a mesh screen so I wouldn't fall down it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Three Reasons Texas Tech Cannot Win the College Football National Title

  1. Texas Tech versus Oklahoma on November 22nd, 2008 is not being played at Jones Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.
  2. The Big 12 Championship game on December 6th, 2008 is not being played at Jones Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.
  3. The National Championship Game on January 8th, 2009 is not being played at Jones Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.

That is all.