Thursday, 4 March 2010

Philosophical Foundations of Law and Finance - 44th Weekly Meeting

Dear all

Joe has an astoundingly structured agenda for the 44th gathering of the Philosophical Foundations of Law and Finance, on Friday 5 March 2010, from 6.00 to 8.00pm, in room 5.16, 309 Regent Street (University of Westminster):

1. One of the ambitions of First Series of Philosophical Foundations of Law and Finance, Sessions 1 - 40, was to provide a sufficient treatment of the philosophical toolkit consisting of infinity, symmetry and uncertainty. We found that snippets of Plato's Laws, Timaeus, Apology, Republic, and Aristotle's Metaphysics and Rhetoric could be re-jigged according to the following distinctions: (1) divergent versus convergent infinities (Knopp); (2) bilateral, translational and rotational symmetries (Weyl) and (3) risk (Pascal). These then gave us an apparatus to examine the sacredly unsayable (such as "justice" and "truth")) found in the works of Plotinus, Nargarjuna, Blake, Rumi, etc and the meaning of faith translated in the discourse and processes of the global financial system--which is homomorphic (maybe) to Durkheim's vision (1905) of a global religion.

2. In Series 2, the ambition is in the same general direction as in Series 1, but our methodology will be sharpened. Instead of using the naïve but beautiful visual symmetries (as if we knew them--sigh), we will look underneath the hood so to speak, at the assumptions that compose the language of symmetry--which is Group Theory.

3. Group Theory (GT) is the algebra (precise calculation) of symmetry. I'd say even more strongly like Descartes in the Discourse of Method relating linear algebra to the two dimensional plane, that Group Theory and Symmetry are the same. Thankfully and mercifully, there are only four GT Axioms: closure, associativity, identity and invertibility. []

4. By the way, mathematicians think of Group Theory as a form of philosophy rather than maths--it's that easy!

5. Following from Session 41, I will attempt to demonstrate how metrology (scales of knowledge--the nominal, interval, ordinal and rational) is a deep question inside the Axiom of Closure. We can see how the divide between social science and "hard" science occurs in there. For those who love graphics, our questioning turns on the meaning of the abstract symbolism of {G, •}. This notation will be explained.

6. Why such an investigation? Is it worth the trouble? Well, GT gives us a way of talking about the entirety of law and finance, allowing us to make better than best-guess predictions about their structure. That's the hope and promised miraculous snake-oil cure of GT!

7. In the first hour (6 to 7pm), I'll explain point 5 above by reading and commenting on parts of a paper I'm working on.

8. From 7 to 8pm, we will continue reading Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling.

9. Maybe we'll find an irrational relation between the two hours.

From 8.00pm onwards you can propose topics and jokes at Vapiano (19-21 Great Portland Street, W1W 8QB) where we reconvene for drinks and meal.

See you on Friday!

Joe and Laura

PS If you have problems in getting into the building please text or call me at 07910 305957 and I’ll try to help. Laura

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