6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Powered By Docstoc
					3. The Multidimensional World
  of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

          Buffy’s Destiny/Duty
• Giles: You really have no idea what's going on,
  do you? You think it's coincidence, your being
  here? That boy was just the beginning.
  Buffy: Oh, why can't you people just leave me
  Giles: Because you are the Slayer. (comes
  down the stairs) Into each generation a Slayer
  is born, one girl in all the world, a Chosen
  One, one born with the strength and skill to
  hunt the vampires...
• Buffy: (interrupts and joins in) ...with the
  strength and skill to hunt the vampires, to
  stop the spread of their evil blah, blah, blah...
  I've heard it, okay?
  Giles: I really don't understand this attitude.
  You, you've accepted your duty, you, you've
  slain vampires before...
  Buffy: Yeah, and I've both been there and
  done that, and I'm moving on.
              Buffy’s desires
• Giles: A, a Slayer slays, a Watcher...
  Buffy: ...watches?
  Giles: Yes. No! (sets down the books) He, he
  trains her, he, he, he prepares her...
  Buffy: Prepares me for what? For getting
  kicked out of school? For losing all of my
  friends? For having to spend all of my time
  fighting for my life and never getting to tell
  anyone because I might endanger
  them? Go ahead! Prepare me.
                     Main issues
• Begin with contradiction of Duty and Desire
• What is the nature of reality that this
  experience implies or suggests?
• 1) “Duty” without desire: Angels
  – Angels cannot be happy (including “Angel”)
• 2) Desire without duty: Vampires and demons
  – Spike’s Christmas for Vampires
• 3) Duty and desire: Humans
  – Buffy wants to renounce her duty, but changes her mind
  – Implies a choice: free will

           What are Vampires?
• Beings that live from the life-blood of human
• It’s the realization of a basic desire
  – No sense of guilt, of a contrary duty to respect
  – it’s their nature
• They are intelligent desiring beings
  – Their minds are focused on satisfying their desires
  – i.e., they are totally self-interested, pure egotists
           Possibility of morality
•   The “appearance” for science is deterministic
•   but in reality we could be free, undetermined.
•   Hence, morality is possible
•   Science: about appearances
    – Our human ways of experiencing reality
• Morality: connected to beliefs, thinking about
  reality beyond appearances in connection
  with acting in the world.

          Postulate of freedom
• We cannot know that we are free.
• But we can believe it, without contradicting
  scientific evidence.
• Kant “It is necessary to criticize knowledge in
  order to make room for faith.”
• First postulate: freedom (free will)
  – Other postulates: God and Immortality, but
    understood in terms of inner experience of duty

Two problems that wake Kant from his
        “dogmatic slumber”
• 1) Problem for morality:
  – If science is true, morality is impossible.
• 2) Problem for science
  – If empiricism is true, science, as knowledge of
    universal and necessary laws, is impossible.

          Science and morality
• Morality presupposes free will
• Scientific knowledge is based on deterministic
  categories of
  – time-space
  – substance-accident (objects with properties)
  – cause-effect (determinism)
• If this is objectively true of the way the world
  is, morality is impossible

  Hume’s empiricism: woke Kant from
       his “dogmatic slumber”
• All empirical (synthetic) knowledge gives particular A
  posteriori generalizations: Some swans are white
   – All swans I/we have observed are white
   – But there could be black swans
• No empirical knowledge is “universal and necessary”
• Only analytic truths are such: all bachelors are
  unmarried men; 3 + 4 = 7. A priori truth

Universality and necessity of scientific
• But scientific laws should be universal
   – Newton’s first law: “Every body continues in its
     state of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line,
     unless it is compelled to change that state by
     forces impressed upon it.”
   – Law of gravity: All objects attract each other in
     direct proportion to their mass and in inverse
     proportion to the square of their distance apart.
• However, such would be universal laws cannot be
  justified by empiricist theory of knowledge
   – As synthetic generalizations, they are like “all swans (that I
     have seen) are white”

                  Kant’s reply
• “All triangles have three sides” = analytic
  truth, a priori
  – Definition of term
• “The square of the hypotenuse of a right
  triangle = sum of squares of sides”
• Analytic or synthetic truth?
  – Does it only apply to some right triangles, those I
    have measured so far?

        A priori synthetic truths
• It’s an empirical discovery that took thousands
  of years—so synthetic truth, not a matter of
  verbal definition
• But it is absurd to say that further empirical
  investigation will uncover right triangles for
  which it is untrue
• Hence: it is a universal and necessary
  synthetic truth that is true “a priori”

• Hume:
  – 1) analytic and synthetic
  – 2) a priori and a posteriori
• 3) Kant: a priori synthetic knowledge

    Kant’s Copernican Revolution in
• Previous (empiricist) epistemology based on
  theory of reflection or abstraction from object
  to subject.
• Truth is the adequation of intellect to things.
• Hume shows that universal and necessary
  scientific laws are impossible on this basis
• So let’s try reversing the approach

Traditional and empiricist theory of

   Subject             Object

 Kant’s Copernican revolution in

Subject        Object   (Reality)

    Copernicus and epistemology
• The sun goes around the earth
• Based on old epistemology: from object to
• But the subject is moving, and this motion
  gives rise to the appearance of the sun going
  around the earth.
• The object as perceived is relative to the
  movement, activity or perspective of the
      Experience is a combination
• Reality as it is in itself is grasped by us according
  to our ways of perceiving and knowing.
• Perception: forms of time and space
• Knowledge: forms of substance-accident, cause-
• Experience of objects-for-us is the result of two
   – reality as it is in itself
   – and the a priori organizing forms/categories of the
     human subject
Why we will never find triangles that don’t follow law
                   of Pythagoras

• Triangles are not natural objects. Are there
  any pure triangles in nature?
• We actively draw triangles according to a rule.
• An implication of this rule: Pythagoras’
• Wherever we go, all triangles will follow this
  rule because it is the rule by which we make
• “Synthetic a priori” truth
                      Reality for us
• So all objects that we perceive are in time and
  space because that is our rule of perception.
• All objects that we know are
   – Independent substances (objects) with properties
   – in causal relations

• Because that is our rule for experiencing objects.
• But beings that perceive differently, that know
  according to other rules are possible.
   • E.g., dogs, Martians

              Reality in itself
• We cannot know this
  – because knowing implies organizing experience
    according to a priori rules.
• Our knowledge is about appearances, not
  reality in itself.
• We can’t know but we can think about the
  world in itself.
• > It could be multidimensional

Thinking about Reality

     Multidimensional universe?
• Traditional religious views of Christianity,
  Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism …
  – Heavens: realms of bodiless beings
  – Earth: body and soul, desire and duty
  – Hells: realms of soulless beings
• Morality requires multidimensionality
  – Duty does not arise out of sensuous experience of
    desires and interests, but contradicts these
  – Where then does the sense of duty come from?

         Kant’s early cosmology
• Begin with a gaseous cloud made of
  fundamental elements of different densities
• Heaviest densities attract each other most
  – Gravitational attraction > centers of gravitation,
    heating up of elements, explosion outward of
    spiral galaxies
• > Series of galaxies or universes from densest
  to lightest
  Spirit side of body-mind relation
• Begin in mental darkness, ignorance
• Appropriate bodies: dense universes of heavy
• As spirit evolves from ignorance to knowledge
  lighter bodies are required: rebirth in higher,
  lighter universes
• Kant: perhaps Jupiter, a gaseous planet, will be
  the home of the next level of evolution
   – Compare Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001”
      • Human is reborn on a moon of Jupiter
   – (Why is The Matrix set in 1999?)

         Humans in the middle
• We are not completely governed by instincts,
  passions, drives
• But neither are we wholly governed by truth
  and higher duty
• We are somewhere in the middle of the
  spectrum – striving to raise ourselves to
  higher levels of being (by the power of duty)

     Separation of time and space
• Different universes are separate in time and
• 1) Temporal evolution of higher beings.
• 2) Continual generation of earlier, denser
• 3) At a time of late evolution there would be a
  spectrum of beings from dark and heavy,
  “demonic,” to light, “angelic.”

 Argument for immortality of the soul
• 1) There is a great range of possibility of
  knowledge from ignorance to highest science
• 2) This is correlated to a range of practical
  – from instinctive, passionate, unreflective,
  – to activity governed by the highest understanding,
    moral and aesthetic intelligence.

• 3) The soul, consciousness, has all these
  possibilities within it.
• 4) To reach the higher possibility the soul must
  go through the lower ones
  – Phylogeny: evolution suggests that consciousness
    doesn’t begin at a middle or high level, but at the
    lowest level,
     • like babies (eating and peeing)
  – Ontogeny repeats phylogeny
• 5) In one lifetime, the soul goes through a very
  limited span of its inherent potential
   – Most adults usual reach some point above the
     lowest level
• 6) To realize its potential, the soul, the inner
  principle of consciousness, should be
   – This is Plato’s theory of reincarnation brought into
     relation to modern science of cosmic evolution
   – This is Kant’s third postulate of morality
 From precritical to critical standpoint
• Kant’s early cosmology: “precritical” or
  speculative metaphysical argument
• Supposes the great power of pure reason to
  generate objective truth
• Kant later gives his “critique of pure reason.”
• Possibilities of reason are limited by empirical
  data (Hume’s empiricism)

  Implicit problem within Kant’s early
• Kant’s cosmology is the viewpoint of a human
  “in the middle.”
• It is therefore affected by the way humans
• How can Kant’s cosmology be objectively
  – E.g., it supposes that the way we humans think of
    time and space is objectively true
  – and yet argues that our knowledge is relative to
    our place in the spectrum of evolution
Implications for Kant’s early cosmology
• Time and space are our human, middle-world
  ways of organizing experience.
• We are limited to this world of human
• But other universes could exist
  – Not merely as spatially separate as in Kant’s
  – but simultaneously with our own dimension, as in
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Current physics on multidimensionality
• Problem of the Grand Unified Theory
  – 4 forces: Electromagnetic, Weak, Strong, and Gravitational
  – Gravity is exceptionally weak by comparison
  – A multidimensional theory of gravity would account for this
    relative weakness: String theory of 10 or 11 dimensions
  – Place of our universe in larger scheme?
• Mechanism of influence between universes
  (or dimensions): Quantum Mechanical
  – Portal in basement of Sunnydale High

Two approaches in theory and modern
• 1) (Early modern) Scientific approach > causal
  necessity regarding appearances
• 2) Moral approach > free will is possible in
 3) But quantum mechanics? (Giles, in episode
  re invisible girl)
     Girl who is scorned or ignored by others becomes invisible
     And then she gets her revenge on the bullies and elites

   Reality is shaped/created by …
• Xander: “What, she turned invisible because
  no one noticed her?”
• Giles “Of course! I’ve been investigating the
  mystical causes of invisibility when I should
  have looked at the quantum mechanical!
  Physics. It’s a rudimentary concept that reality
  is shaped, even created, by our perception.”
  – Recall Morpheus on “reality”


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