Human diet
Kinetic theory of gases
Descartes' 'Discourse on Method'
Radical feminism
Poetic rhythm
The intellectual and cultural life of London
The Green Party
Where to live?


((surveys)) are often conflicting and dramatically different for the same application-sphere. Their differences can give momentous insights into differences of opinion, different attitudes to rationality, the emotions, the world, even if these are not the application-sphere in question. Some ((surveys)) regard evidence and the scrupulous examination of evidence as very important, other ((surveys)) disregard evidence. Some ((surveys)) disregard the emotions even when it can be shown that they are relevant, some ((surveys)) include the emotions even when it can be shown that they are irrelevant. What is an adequate ((survey)) for one religion or ideology is a completely inadequate ((survey)) for another. The ((surveys)) of secularists are completely different from the ((surveys)) of Christians, for some application-spheres but not all.

My approach is far from being relativist. In very many cases it can be shown, if not conclusively, that some ((surveys)) are vastly more adequate than others. In very many cases, no attempt is made to construct an adequate ((survey)) at all. What seems 'obvious' is the unquestioned basis for belief or action.

An adequate ((survey)) lists the factors which are necessary to minimize distortion. A ((survey)) may be inadequate because it leaves out an essential factor or more than one factor. A ((survey)) may be inadequate because it includes as a factor something which, it can be argued, should not be a factor at all. Factors are involved in extreme situations as well as situations which allow their calm and leisurely consideration. From Antony Beevor's 'Stalingrad,' 'Hitler's Obsession:' 'Neither he [Paulus] nor Schmidt seems to have appreciated that speed was the decisive factor. They had failed utterly to prepare the heavy mobile force which offered their only hope of smashing the encirclement before it was in place. Now they failed to appreciate that once the Red Army consolidated its position, almost every factor, but especially the weather, would turn increasingly against them.'

The ((survey))-form is completely general. The common notation allows for the description of ((surveys)) which belong to very different spheres. This page includes ((surveys)) from spheres as varied as poetry, physical chemistry and politics.

Here, I bring together topics which I discuss on other pages, to show the versatility of this approach and the advantages of using a clear and simple notation to make it easier to compare ((surveys)) and the factors which they include or don't include, the factors which they emphasize or treat as unimportant. The notation I use takes a little time to learn but after that makes discussion far more concise and much easier to follow, without distracting differences of wording when essentially the same situation is being analyzed.

In the next section, I use ideas and notation which are explained in Introduction to {theme} Theory.

factorization is the process by which an issue is broken down to give the factors. The ((survey)) lists these factors, the survey-terms, within double rounded brackets. If the ((survey)) is claimed to be complete, then the {completion} indicator may be appended at the end of the list, derived from the {theme} {completion}, . So, for factors F1 ... F4, the ((survey)) claimed to be complete would be,

(( F1, F2, F3, F4 ))

If this ((survey)) is obviously not complete, according to a critic or the maker of the ((survey)) (who may recognize that it's impossible to give a full ((survey)) in this case) then there's negation of completion, ). So,

(( F1, F2, F3, F4 )).

If, according to either of these, this ((survey)) leaves out F5, then the term - F5 is included. , after the double brackets and within a single bracket:

(( F1, F2, F3, F4 )) - F5).

None of the factors may be regarded as being more important than the others: none of the factors have particular weighting. A more systematic thematic way of stating this would be to say that none of the factors has {prior-ordering} or that the survey-terms are unordered. ((surveys)) are often dramatically different in what they include and leave out, and dramatically different in their different weightings of the things included. If the claim is made that one factor is particularly important, for example, F2, then this may be given in bold print and a different font, F2. So, the ((survey)) with ((survey))-terms F1 ... F4 with F2 weighted would be:

(( F1, F2, F3, F4 )).

factors which are regarded as less important can be given in faint print.

The claim may be made that the factors can be given {complete-ordering} according to some criterion, such as 'most important factor' for College admission to 'least important factor' for College admission. In this case, the symbol for {ordering} is followed by the symbol for completion: Ô .

In the next sections, I discuss various application-spheres of ((surveys)). In my notation, a ((survey)) which has human diet as an application sphere is written as (( )) :- (human diet). When human diet is surveyed, then this gives ('directs to') a list of factors:

(( )) :- (human diet) (( F1 ... Fn )).

After factorization there may be amplification, which can be provided by means of amplification brackets ( + ... ), as in this example:

(( )) :- (human diet) (( F1 ( + ... ) ... Fn )).

In the remaining sections, I use '(( ))' for 'survey' and 'surveys.'

Human diet

For human diet, there would be wide agreement (but not so very wide) that these are factors:

(1) Nutritional adequacy. A diet should provide all the components needed for health (such as vitamin B12) in adequate amounts.
(2) Taste. Eating is, or should be, one of the pleasurable activities of life. It can provide richer, more interesting, more complex or more interesting experiences or ones which are bland or even unpleasant. Vitamins can be obtained by means of supplements, which are devoid of pleasure, or obtained in full as part of an enjoyable experience.
(3) Sustainability. Eating should not make excessive demands on fossil fuels and other resources which are limited in supply.
(4) Cost. This is a factor which is crucial for many people, less so or of no account to others.
(5) Human welfare. Eating should not cause avoidable suffering to humans, such as slavery or child labour.
(6) Animal welfare. Eating should not cause avoidable suffering to animals.

In some forms of traditional French cooking (but other examples could easily be given) (6) here, 'animal welfare' is regarded as completely unimportant. Giving only part of the (( )) for this form of cooking, the absent factor:

(( - animal welfare )).

If a critic, such as myself, finds fault with this (( )), claiming that animal welfare should be an important ((term )), then this is evaluation of the (( )). ® : - (evaluation) evaluation + evaluation - so that this (( )), for me and other critics who think likewise, is evaluated as incomplete:

(( - animal welfare )) ev-

This has to be distinguished from a (( )) which is incomplete because some factors are omitted which it would be impractical or almost impossible to include.

'No-frills' supermarkets give prior-ordering to the cost of the foods they sell. In this country, they tend not to ignore animal welfare completely, but this incomplete (( )) would be accurate:

(( cost, animal welfare )).

Kinetic theory of gases

All variables and constants here have their usual meanings in physics and physical chemistry.

The perfect gas law ( perfect gas equation of state )

pV = nRT

is a limiting law, without {distortion} only at the limit P tends to 0.

[ real gases ] D - [ ideal gases ] as P tends to 0.

In the kinetic model of a perfect gas, [ p ] < > [ V ] by eqn.

pV = 1/3 nMc2

One assumption of the kinetic model is that the diameter of the molecules is negligible. Molecular diameters are assumed to be much smaller than the mean free path.

== :- (( molecular terms taken into account in kinetic theory )) so that

(( molar mass of molecules, root mean square speed of the molecules - molecular diameter )).

In general, in simplifications in science, == :- (( )).

The van der Waals equation, a model equation of state for real gases, has coefficients a and b, a representing the strength of attractive interactions and b the strength of repulsive interactions: in the representation of vector forces a » D of b.

In this respect, == ( of van der Waals equation ) < == ( of kinetic model).

Descartes' 'Discourse on Method'

In the Second Part of the 'Discourse on Method,' Descartes gives four principles to be used in his inquiry:

' ... au lieu de ce grand nombre de préceptes dont la logique est composée, je crus que j'aurois assez des quatre suivants, pourvu que je prisse une ferme et constante résolution de ne manquer pas une seule fois à les observer.'

' ... instead of the great number of precepts of which logic is composed, I believed that the four following precepts would be enough for me, provided that I had the firm and constant resolution not to fail in observing them even in a single instance.'

The fourth amounts to a ((survey)).

'Et le dernier, de taire partout des dénombrements si entiers et des revues si générales, que je fusse assuré de ne rien omettre.'

'And the last, to make enumerations so complete and reviews so general that I would be assured of omitting nothing.'

In the symbolism I use for {completion}, (enumeration ‚).

Radical feminism

In my page on radical feminism I argue that it ignores the importance of technological innovation and other advances in improving the material conditions of life:

(( - technological innovation )) ev-

Poetic rhythm

In my pages on the poetry of Seamus Heaney, I argue that often, his work lacks any authentic poetic rhythm. Many commentators ignore poetic rhythm. Often, what is particularly important to them is 'sensuous' or 'visceral' language (which is F1 here) and up-to-dateness of {theme} (F2). Their (( )) would be, in part:

(( F1, F2 - poetic rhythm )) ev-

Not all simple - or even crude - descriptions or summaries distort the subject. Very often, the subject described or summarized is simple or crude. But very often, there are qualifications to be made and more detail needs to be given - there's the need for amplification. My approach is to have (basic outline) // (amplification). Here, '//' is the symbol for {separation}, showing that (basic outline) is separated from (amplification).


'Fun' can be harmless or harmful. Fun currently has very great weighting, so much so that {diversification} is denied, the possibility that fun can be harmful is denied. How could fun ever be harmful? It's harmful when clear duties are avoided because they would interfere with fun, when learning an exacting technique or branch of knowledge is avoided because it wouldn't be fun, when fun is obviously based on a completely inadequate (( )). So much of life can't be made to fit in. Motor neurone disease can be considered 'no fun at all,' but views of the world which don't acknowledge the harshness of so much of reality are hopelessly misguided.

The cultural and intellectual life of London

When Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London at the time, announced, after the suicide bombings in London, that London was the greatest city in the world because the different groups in London lived in such harmony, then obviously he had not carried out a (( )). The achievements of ancient Athens, its intellectual and artistic innovations were a reminder of these limitations. Human life is far more than just a matter of 'living in harmony.'

The Green Party

What are the most serious threats to physical existence? Surely, the future threats would include (a) climate change and its effects, such as rising sea levels, the depletion of the earth's non-renewable resources. (b) and, also, eventually, the possibility that nuclear weapons will proliferate uncontrollably and that regimes may acquire them who will be willing to use them. With the example of Nazi Germany always in mind, the threat posed by aggressive, militaristic nations who will use conventional as well as nuclear weapons to invade or destroy other states. Of these two threats, the Green Party in this country acknowledges fully (a) but not in realistic terms, if the contribution of nuclear energy is regarded as very important but has inadequate policies as regards (b). Its claim that reasoned debate and a spirit of compromise and conciliation will be enough to avoid (b) is surely impossible to take seriously. Overall, the Green Party's policies are based on an inadequate (( )).

See also my page Green: immature, unsophisticated or gullible.

Where to live?

Fatuous 'surveys' (the word isn't used in my sense at all) of the 'best' places to live are always based on inadequate ((survey)) (in the sense I use) and inadequately examined weightings. In one such (( )) some years ago, Norway was announced as the 'best' country. This is to give a high weighting to material prosperity, lack of congestion and lack of crime and a low weighting to other factors which would have a very high weighting for many people, such as sweltering summer days, the teeming life of hot streets, lush vegetation, a very long growing-season, English (or French or whatever is the native language of the person) as the official language of the country, the stress upon extreme experience rather than moderation, haute cuisine, low-priced wine or beer, vineyards on the hills, a thriving beer culture, very high mountains rather than mountains of moderate height, the autumn colours of deciduous woods and forests but not coniferous woods and forests, abundant butterflies, warm seas, lack of involvement in whaling, the ways of life, traditions and ways of talking familiar to the person, part of the person's life, markedly different from the Norwegian ones, the architecture of the country, building in stone or constructing in wood.

The lack of alignment which imposes so often {restriction} on human contentment makes its effect felt here. If someone gives weighting to a favourable climate, an interesting cultural and intellectual life and a few other factors, then these factors may not be found together (aligned) in one country. Instead, they are dispersed. I would give weighting, but not the most weighting, to climate: hot summers and long, snowy winters. I give a very high weighting to cultural and intellectual life. Living in New England would suit these weightings, but I give greater weighting to not living in any country where the death penalty is applied. Although none of the New England states executes any longer, the United States is an actively executing country (and the New England states are subject to federal law, which still has prisoners on death row.) Living in New England would be unthinkable for me, no matter what the other advantages. I give weighting to lack of congestion. The crowdedness of England depresses me. Living in parts of Southern France or Spain would leave congestion behind, but the bullfighting tradition, the lack of interest in matters of animal welfare in most of the population, would be unacceptable: again, lack of alignment.



   {} ((Surveys))