Dr David Gibbs
Sheldon Chumir Health Centre
1213 Fourth Street SW
Calgary AB T2R 0X7
Dear Dr Gibbs,
Subject—A Challenge to Debate Behaviorism vs Existentialism
Quotation—Restricting knowledge to a small group of people deadens the philosophical spirit and leads to spiritual poverty. —Albert Einstein
I am writing to ask you to engage in a public debate regarding the psychological model preferred by doctors. I would argue for existentialism and you would argue for behaviorism. If you would prefer to argue for a model other than behaviorism, then I would ask you to write a sixteen-hundred word essay detailing your proposed psychological model. Behaviorism tells us how to behave while existentialism self-teaches us to Be.
The Freudian cognitive model has the ego choosing between the id (or self or soul) and the superego (or government). If the ego chooses the superego in times of moral uncertainty then it is behaviorism. If the ego chooses the id in times of moral uncertainty then it is existentialism. My argument is that by not specifically selecting existentialism the option defaults to behaviorism.
I would argue that embracing existentialism represents the first step towards realizing self-awareness in people. I am asking you to contact me at your earliest convenience so that we can work out the details of this important project.
Copy—Sixty Philosophymagazine subscribers
Quantum theory does not hold undisputed sway, but must share dominion with that other rebel sibling—relativity. And although these two bodies together have led to the most penetrating advances in the search for knowledge—they must remain enemies. Their fundamental disagreement will not be resolved until both are subdued by a still more powerful theory that will sweep away our present painfully won fancies concerning such things as space, time, matter, radiation and causality. The nature of this theory may only be surmised—but it will ultimately come down to the very same certainty as to whether our civilization as a whole survives—no more no less.
—Banesh Hoffmann, The Strange Story of the Quantum (1958)
Relativity asks questions like—Is there a beginning and end to time? Where is the farthest point in the universe? What lies beyond the farthest point? What happened at the point of Creation? By contrast, quantum theory asks the opposite questions—What is the smallest object in the universe? Can matter be divided into smaller and smaller units without limit? In many ways these two theories appear to be exact opposites. Relativity concerns itself with the universe at large while quantum theory probes the subatomic world.
—Michio Kaku, Beyond Einstein (1995)
Neither relativity nor quantum theory by themselves provides a satisfactory description of nature. Einstein showed that relativity theory alone cannot form the basis for the unified field theory. Nor is quantum theory satisfactory without relativity. Quantum theory can only be used to calculate the behavior of atoms and not the large-scale behavior of galaxies and the expanding universe. Merging the two theories has consumed the Herculean efforts of scores of theoretical physicists for the past half century.
—Michio Kaku, Beyond Einstein (1995)
If we do discover a complete theory of everything, it should be understandable by everyone and not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and ordinary people, be able to take part in discussing questions as to why both we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we would at last know the mind of God.
—Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (1996)
Quantum theory deals with fundamental units of matter and energy. Relativity deals with space, time and the structure of the universe as a whole. Both are accepted pillars of modern scientific thought.
—Lincoln Barnett, The Universe and Dr. Einstein (1948)
The final theory of everything will undoubtedly be a mathematical system of uncommon tidiness and rigor that accommodates the physical facts of the universe as we know it. The mathematical neatness will arrive first followed by its explanatory power. Perhaps one day physicists will find a theory of such compelling beauty that its truth cannot be denied—truth will be beauty and beauty will be truth. The theory will be, in precise terms, a myth. A myth is a story that makes sense on its own terms, offers explanations of everything we see before us, but can neither be disproved nor tested. This theory of everything will indeed spell the end of physics. It will be the end not because physics has been able to explain everything, but because physics has at last reached the end of all the things for which it has the power to explain.
—David Lindley, The End of Physics (1993)
I know not what the world thinks of me, but as for myself, I seem to be only a boy playing on the seashore, now and again finding a smoother stone or a more beautiful shell—all the while the great ocean of truth lies undiscovered before me.
—Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
The theory of one brings the reader face to face with the stunning realization that the universe is bounded—rather than unbounded, as Einstein and others have asserted. The theory of one delivers the ocean. It is the theory that spells the end of physics. It is the monolith of 2001—a spacetime odyssey.
—Christopher Bek, The Theory of One (2001)
If this discovery is confirmed, it will surely be one of the most stunning insights into our universe that science has ever uncovered. Its implications are as far-reaching and awe-inspiring as can be imagined. Even as it promises answers to some of our oldest questions, it poses others even more fundamental. We will continue to listen closely to what it has to say as we continue the search for answers and for knowledge that is as old as humanity itself, but essential to our people’s future.
—President William J Clinton
Christopher Bek is a mathematician, actuary, philosopher, scientist and writer—and is a superior spreadsheet, database and riskmodeling craftsman. He has consulted to the top executives of one of the largest companies in Canada—and has made presentations relating to the philosophy and science of risk management in Houston and New York. Chris founded Risk Management Services in 1995 dedicated to helping executives develop scientific management practices that will allow organizations to properly serve the shareholders, the stakeholders and society in the community. Socrates (470-399 BC) set the table for Plato (427-347 BC) by radically insisting that we must first answer the question of what X is before we can say anything else about X. Plato then founded philosophy by daring to ask what existence would be like outside the cave. Chris founded Philosophymagazine on 1 January 2001 in support of those who have taken a less traveled road in the struggle towards daylight.