If Truth were subject to Patent Law.
Red Lines, Settled Science, The end of History and entitled Facts.
I did a blog about Boris Johnson at the United Nations General Assembly on the last occasion of the periodic scolding of both the truth and of Bashar Assad, (http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2016/09/syria-cui-bono-incitatus-boris-johnson.html )
Since then the catechism of fake news has developed into a higher art form and as such I have been musing over the idea that, how would Claims made in newspapers or television media look if they were subject to the same rigors as claiming a patent over an invention, or innovation, what would the patent clerk turned truth clerk make of it all when he looked at his in-tray (inbox) of the hopeful claimants to a unique claim to some previously unasserted or unknown truth. We are further asked to bow to expert opinion, what constitutes an expert these days? Further how much better is an experts opinion than any other opinion where the content is speculation even common sense.
´´if it were easy to set standards for judging judgment that would be honoured across the opinion spectrum and not glibly dismissed as another sneaky effort to seize the high ground for a favourite cause, someone would have patented the process long ago.´´
Tetlock, Philip E. (2005), Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?
´´If we want realistic odds on what will happen next, coupled to a willingness to admit mistakes, we are better off turning to experts who embody the intellectual traits of Isaiah Berlin’s prototypical fox—those who “know many little things,” draw from an eclectic array of traditions, and accept ambiguity and contradiction as inevitable features of life—than we are turning to Berlin’s hedgehogs—those who “know one big thing,” toil devotedly within one tradition, and reach for formulaic solutions to ill-defined problems.3´´
Kant contrasts “apodictic” with “problematic” and “assertoric” in the Critique of Pure Reason, on page A70/B95. . These matters are to do with what we know as truth in the world which is sometimes called reality. Some commentators have been arguing a ´Post Truth´ turn in the news this is a logical error in reasoning for as Frank harris says in England or Germany, p.144 ( https://archive.org/stream/englandorgerman01harrgoog/englandorgerman01harrgoog_djvu.txt)
´´Genius welcomes criticism; the more the
merrier, the higher the better. “Come look
what I’m doing´´, it cries fearlessly, knowing
that truth must help it and that in an open
struggle between truth and falsehood, truth has
nothing to fear. ´´
“Colorless green ideas sleep furiously” is a sentence composed by Noam Chomsky in his 1957 Syntactic Structures as an example of a sentence that is grammatically correct, but semantically nonsensical. The term was originally used in his 1955 thesis “Logical Structures of Linguistic Theory” much of what we consume in the establishment narratives served up by main stream news sources look and sound plausible on the surface and yet the reverse is true of what Maimonides says in a guide for the perplexed ´´a golden apple may be wrapped in Siver filigree.´´perhaps we could say a Golden Apple or a Turd may be wrapped in a tissue of golden newsprint.
In Patent applications, the abstract of the patent application puts an onus on the patent applicant to set out the state of the art in the field related to the application and to state what is novel or new regarding the application further it requires that the innovation or inventions distinction is also clearly defined. For a discourse on distinctness, I recommend C. S Peirce’s essay on How to make our ideas clear. ( http://www.peirce.org/writings/p119.html )
Patent law applies across the world and is, of course, honoured more in the breach than the observance in some if not most of the world. Another curious thing is that patents can also be regional and one can tick a menu box for the jurisdictions in which the Patent is to be applied for. This is a curious juxtaposition to how propaganda meant for export is not generally aired in Governments home markets, a frustration for domestic government propagandists. Have you ever had a digital rights management notice saying ´´Content Blocked in your territory´´, licensing of content and censorship of propaganda are part of the same apparatus of mass surveillance and Mass manipulation, Beware! For a practical discourse on this in real life see the Smith Mundt Act.
( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith%E2%80%93Mundt_Act )
Section 501(a) of the Act (care of the Voice of America Web site) provides that
“information produced by VOA for audiences outside the United States shall not be disseminated within the United States … but, on request, shall be available in the English language at VOA, at all reasonable times following its release as information abroad, for examination only by representatives of United States press associations, newspapers, magazines, radio systems, and stations, and by research students and scholars, and, on request, shall be made available for examination only to Members of Congress.”
“This means that VOA is forbidden to broadcast within the United States.” In reality, of course, any American with a shortwave receiver or an Internet connection can listen to VOA. This is incidental, however. VOA cannot direct or intend its programs to be “for” Americans. This distinction is often lost on experts who see the letter of the law, but with no real understanding of the media. George W. Bush-era State Department official James K. Glassman has called for directing VOA at American audiences.
On Fake news, I propose a similar requirement regarding truth claims or claims of veracity made in patent applications, regarding matters of concern in current affairs of the day. To gain trust from readers it always was that a trusted journalist would be held accountable for their record and would seek the counter-arguments to any particular claim from the person or persons or organisation likely to be affected by such a statement. I think it is, What is generally understood to be as putting both sides of the story or offering the courtesy of the right to reply to criticism or charges of any sort. Even where there is universal agreement it seems prudent to see that devil´s advocate is played by some imaginary patent clerk of the truth, asking, ´what is the whole of the background to this universal truth claimed and where is it that we all in our collective wisdom may be wrong?´. In another way, we should state the boundary conditions in which our Claimed truths will hold true.
Setting out the other side or sides of a story, or to a claim about facts or, the different contexts in which the facts may be interpreted. Seems to be both good science, Good Journalism, good government and good democracy. Demonising those who look for the weaknesses in arguments made with certainty should not be met with a chorus of disapproval and tagging of Cassandra, chicken little or Traitor.
We all get things wrong, it is generally accepted that we ´´Learn from our mistakes´´. Knowing that mistakes are part of the whole process of getting things right sometimes. Why is it that we are meekly supposed to accept certainty levels opined by experts, which experts have so often reversed themselves on to countless a number of occasions in as many fields as you could possibly list.
A hunt for universals or one size fits all truths seems absurd and yet we consume a diet of such certitude and narrowness of criticism. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof but, common-place assumptions also require periodic testing. Times change and knowledge surrounding key concepts change the whole can end up altering the understanding of constituent parts as Heraclitus said Panta rhea, (Everything Flows).
From Wikipedia this on State of the art and prior art.
Arguments claiming prior art are used in defending and attacking patent validity. In one U.S. case on the issue, the court said:
“One attacking the validity of a patent must present clear and convincing evidence establishing facts that lead to the legal conclusion of invalidity. 35 U.S.C. § 282. To establish invalidity under 35 U.S.C. § 103, certain factual predicates are required before the legal conclusion of obviousness or non-obviousness can be reached. The underlying factual determinations to be made are
(1) the scope and content of the prior art;
(2) the differences between the claimed invention and the prior art;
(3) the level of ordinary skill in the art; and
(4) objective evidence of non-obviousness, such as commercial success, long-felt but unsolved need, failure of others, copying, and unexpected results.”
Graham v. John Deere Co., 383 U.S. 1, 17, 148 USPQ 459, 467 (1966).
Main article: Prior art
In the context of European and Australian patent law, the term “state of the art” is a concept used in the process of assessing and asserting novelty and inventive step, and is a synonym of the expression “prior art”. In the European Patent Convention (EPC), “[the] state of the art shall be held to comprise everything made available to the public by means of a written or oral description, by use, or in any other way, before the date of filing of the European patent application” according to Article 54(2) EPC. Due account should be taken of Article 54(3) EPC as well, but merely for the examination of novelty.
The expression “background art” is also used in certain legal provisions, such as Rule 42(1)(b) and(c) EPC (previously Rule 27(1)(b) and (c) EPC 1973), and has the same meaning.
In advertising, the phrase is often used to convey that a product is made with the best possible technology, but it has been noted that “the term ‘state of the art’ requires little proof on the part of advertisers”, as it is considered mere puffery. The use of the term in patent law, by contrast, “does not connote even superiority, let alone the superlative quality the ad writers would have us ascribe to the term”.
Executive Summaries and Abstracts.
At the beginning of a scientific paper or academic paper there are abstracts and in business studies or reports, executive summaries. They perform a task of distilling the import of the content detailed in the larger document, this is a slightly different process to defining the state of the art or Prior art in patent law although the three ideas could be seen as alternative degrees of setting out the different sides of a story which might not be the focus of the point of view which is being presented by any particular journalistic piece.
CriticismsExecutive summaries.from Wikipedia.
´´It has been said that, by providing an easy digest of an often complex matter, an executive summary can lead policymakers and others to overlook important issues. Prof. Amanda Sinclair of the University of Melbourne has argued that this is often an active rather than a passive process. In one study, centred on globalization, she found that policymakers face “pressures to adopt a simple reading of complex issues” and “to depoliticise and universalize all sorts of differences”. She claims that “all research was framed under pre-defined and generic headings, such as business case points. The partners’ reports were supposed to look the same. The standardization of research occurred via vehicles such as executive summaries: “executives only read the summaries” we were told”. Similarly Colin Leys, writing in The Socialist Register, argues that executive summaries are used to present dumbed down arguments: “there is remarkably little adverse comment on the steep decline that has occurred since 1980 in the quality of government policy documents, whose level of argumentation and use of evidence is all too often inversely related to the quality of their presentation (in the style of corporate reports, complete with executive summaries and flashy graphics).”
An academic abstract typically outlines four elements relevant to the completed work:
The research focus (i.e. statement of the problem(s)/research issue(s) addressed);
The research methods used (experimental research, case studies, questionnaires, etc.);
The results/findings of the research; and
The main conclusions and recommendations
Fig.1: Wineglass model for IMRaD structure. The above scheme schematically shows how to line up the information in IMRaD writing.
It has two characteristics, first one is “top-bottom symmetric shape”, second one is “change of width”, that means “the top is wide and it narrows towards the middle and then widens again as it goes down toward the bottom”. First one, “top-bottom symmetric shape” represents the symmetry of the story development. Second one, the change of the width of above diagram, represents the change of generality of the viewpoint.
Original research articles are typically structured in this basic order: 
Introduction – Why was the study undertaken? What was the research question, the tested hypothesis or the purpose of the research?
Methods – When, where, and how was the study done? What materials were used or who was included in the study groups (patients, etc.)?
Results – What answer was found to the research question; what did the study find? Was the tested hypothesis true?
Discussion – What might the answer imply and why does it matter? How does it fit in with what other researchers have found? What are the perspectives for future research?
What is obvious/ Caveat Emptor ( believer(sic) beware)
This article gives a full consideration of the difficulties in tackling hindsight and the subjective nature of findings of fact in novel or newly minted ideas or inventions.
Thus, the following emerges from the above experiments:
(a) Patent law faces a critical quandary. It is important for an invention to be non-obvious at the time of its invention for it to be granted a patent. Once the object to be achieved is obvious and pre-mediated, the path to reach the object is effortless. Determining whether an invention was non – obvious in the past raises daunting specter of hindsight.
(b) The above experiment showed that in a thick patent specification, if a particular compound or disclosure appears, it may be missed by the person of ordinary skills in the art. The question to ask is whether he would find it, not whether he could find it. It is this “likelihood” and “potentiality” which has to be seen. Sometimes, a person gets blind to the obvious.
Therefore, the maze experiment, the cake on the experiment and the pink stick experiment will lead one to the conclusion that obviousness, in patent law, denotes a subjective analysis of facts and law.
And so as we progress with our inquiry into fact checking for ´´The Real Truth´´ we get into questions about ´Honest Mistakes of plausible deniability, and weasel words designed to confound an honest enquiry into truth and obscuring of context. Here Shakespeare plays with that curious and awkward dance we often have with the ´Facts´and our presentation of and feelings about them.
From Henry Viii.
Archbishop Cranmer. [Kneeling]
I humbly thank your highness;
And am right glad to catch this good occasion 2915
Most throughly to be winnow’d, where my chaff
And corn shall fly asunder: for, I know,
There’s none stands under more calumnious tongues
Than I myself, poor man.
Henry VIII. Stand up, good Canterbury: 2920
Thy truth and thy integrity is rooted
In us, thy friend: give me thy hand, stand up:
Prithee, let’s walk. Now, by my holidame.
What manner of man are you? My lord, I look’d
You would have given me your petition, that 2925
I should have ta’en some pains to bring together
Yourself and your accusers; and to have heard you,
Without indurance, further.
Archbishop Cranmer. Most dread liege,
The good I stand on is my truth and honesty: 2930
If they shall fail, I, with mine enemies,
Will triumph o’er my person; which I weigh not,
Being of those virtues vacant. I fear nothing
What can be said against me.
Henry VIII. Know you not 2935
How your state stands i’ the world, with the whole world?
Your enemies are many, and not small; their practises
Must bear the same proportion; and not ever
The justice and the truth o’ the question carries
The due o’ the verdict with it: at what ease 2940
Might corrupt minds procure knaves as corrupt
To swear against you? such things have been done.
You are potently opposed; and with a malice
Of as great size. Ween you of better luck,
I mean, in perjured witness, than your master, 2945
Whose minister you are, whiles here he lived
Upon this naughty earth? Go to, go to;
You take a precipice for no leap of danger,
And woo your own destruction.
Archbishop Cranmer. God and your majesty 2950
Protect mine innocence, or I fall into
The trap is laid for me!
Honesty and truth conflated
(Original post by Akamega)
In the case of Trump et al, I don’t doubt they might be honestly articulating what they believe, but that’s not the same thing as being truthful. Trump, for example, is notorious for his false claims (check most fact-checking websites), and we saw a similar sort of falsehood when it came to Brexit campaigners in June. But right-wing voters are championing these people as bastions of truth and honour.
Trump et al supporters either:
1) Conflate honesty and truth, and are enamoured with Trump as a result.
2) Or, can distinguish between the two, and therefore realise that Trump’s claims were predicated mostly on lies and still supported him.
The first is really interesting. The latter is terrifying, immoral and vindictive.
It’s interesting that you talk about truth and support for Trump, because there was a large swath of misinformation concerning Trump put forward by media and other sources. Quotes were taken well out of context, and blatant speculation was used to make his potential presidency seem apocalyptic.
I the problem is, once you start lying about very basic facts, viewers and readers lose faith in your authority on the truth. This is likely a reason why Trump was so successful.
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!” ~ Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832), Marmion
Yet, in the end, the theory of games is scaffolding. I can restate
my analysis of convention without it. The result is a theory along
the lines of Hume’s, in his discussion of the origin of justice and
property. Convention turns out to be
4 The Strateg), of Conflict
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1960).
a general sense of common.interest; which sense all the members
of the society express to one another, and which induces them
to regulate their conduct by certain rules. I observe that it will
be to my interest [e.g.] to leave another in the possession of his
goods, provided he will act in the same manner with regard
Foucault. the episteme.
´´I would define the episteme retrospectively as the strategic apparatus which permits of separating out from among all the statements which are possible those that will be
acceptable within, I won’t say a scientific theory, but a field of scientificity, and which it is possible to say are true or false. The episteme is the ‘apparatus’ which makes possible the separation, not of the true from the false, but of what may from what may not be characterised as
scientific.” Michel Foucault.
One final thought, perhaps propaganda is the passing off , of Ontology as Epistemology or, belief as knowledge.
The Trump and Brexit debate with the object substituted as a belief in God.
´´Manipulation, like the conquest whose objectives it serves, attempts to anaesthetize the people so they will not think. For if the people join to their presence in the historical process critical thinking about that process, the threat of their emergence materialises in revolution…One of the methods of manipulation is to inoculate individuals with the bourgeois appetite for personal success. This manipulation is sometimes carried out directly by the elites and sometimes indirectly, through populist leaders.”
― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
is the enemy of objective enquiry and truth telling.
English philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon (1561–1626), in the Novum Organum noted that biased assessment of evidence drove “all superstitions, whether in astrology, dreams, omens, divine judgments or the like”. He wrote:
The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion … draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects or despises, or else by some distinction sets aside or rejects[.]
In his essay (1897) “What Is Art?”, Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy wrote,
I know that most men—not only those considered clever, but even those who are very clever, and capable of understanding most difficult scientific, mathematical, or philosophic problems—can very seldom discern even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as to oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions they have formed, perhaps with much difficulty—conclusions of which they are proud, which they have taught to others, and on which they have built their lives.
Tolstoy, Leo. What is Art? p. 124 (1899). In The Kingdom of God Is Within You (1893), he similarly declared, “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” (ch. 3). Translated from the Russian by Constance Garnett, New York, 1894. Project Gutenberg edition released November 2002. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
A two-decade study of political pundits by Philip E. Tetlock found that, on the whole, their predictions were not much better than chance. Tetlock divided experts into “foxes” who maintained multiple hypotheses, and “hedgehogs” who were more dogmatic. In general, the hedgehogs were much less accurate. Tetlock blamed their failure on confirmation bias—specifically, their inability to make use of new information that contradicted their existing theories.