Home > Uncategorized > A reminder from Berlin

A reminder from Berlin

from Peter Radford

Sorting out my old bookshelves I came across an old Isaiah Berlin Essay “The Pursuit of the Ideal”.  At the risk of being boring here is a very long extract, he begins the essay this way:

“There are, in my view, two factors that, above all others, have shaped human history in this century.  One is the development of the natural sciences and technology, certainly the greatest success story of our time — to this, great and mounting attention has been paid from all quarters.  The other, without doubt, consists in the great ideological storms that have altered the lives of virtually all mankind: the Russian Revolution and its aftermath — totalitarian tyrannies of both right and left and the explosions of nationalism, racism, and, in places, of religious bigotry, which, interestingly enough, not one among the most perceptive social thinkers of the nineteenth century had ever predicted.

When our descendants, in two or three centuries’ time (if mankind survives until then), come to look at our age, it is these two phenomena that will, I think, be held to be the outstanding characteristics of our century, the most demanding of explanation and analysis.  But it is as well to realize that these great movements began with ideas in people’s heads: ideas about what relations between men have been, are, might be and should be; and to realize how they came to be transformed in the name of a vision of some supreme goal in the minds of the leaders, above all the prophets with armies at their backs.  Such ideas are the substance of ethics …”

Yes indeed.

The substance of ethics.

The ideas that have dominated the minds and actions of our leaders over these past few decades, those that produced the day-to-day world we live in, those that resulted in the inequality and inequity of our modern western societies, those that created a giant rift in society between the mass and the few, and those that now need urgent reconsideration and change, those ideas are in sore need of an ethical reckoning.

High on the list of those ideas are those that came to dominate economics starting in the mid-twentieth century.

The pursuit of logic for the sake of formal clarity allowed economics to shed the social part of its social science designation.  Economics, as it attempted to emerge from its older “political economy” roots, found, that in order to do so, it had to dissociate itself from considerations and arguments about socially ethical questions.  It failed.  So it erected its own technocratic version.  Ethical virtue became synonymous with things such as efficiency and optimization.  Social morality was re-modeled to fit neatly whatever the most elegant formalization appeared to be.  The social was tossed aside as a source of inefficiency.  The market was lauded as the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong.  No matter what the consequences were.

That this allowed our leaders to pursue policies leading to the hollowing out of the post-war middle class, stagnation of living standards, and to the advance of extreme politics threatening democratic governance, was side-stepped as beyond the purview of economists.  Those economists engaged in public argument either defended the market as a source of all things virtuous or they slid uneasily back to retrofit older ideas within the mainstream view as if these ideas were somehow consistent with the relentless market logic they taught elsewhere.

After the mid-century turn in ideology, given so much intellectual heft by its economist enablers, the state became an object of derision and suspicion.  The question of state efficacy was always couched within a comparison with the supposed virtues of the market.  Never was there a sophisticated discussion of the ethical values being represented in that comparison.  Whole swathes of social-economic decision making, the very stuff of democratic oversight, were thus thrown over the side into the willing hands of the private sector.

The disconnect between the market as modeled and the economy as experienced  was never allowed to intrude into the sanitized versions of economics that dominated the entire period.  The private sector was assumed to conform to the absurd restrictions the economists imposed on their models to make them tractable.  That most practicing economists realized this gap between their theory and reality existed, and yet failed to create a newer more realistic economics, is a damning comment about the ethics of an entire generation of them.

The private sector is nothing like that modeled in economics.  Nothing like it.  In many respects it is the living disproof of economic theory.  That we have allowed,  for the best part of a generation, major social decisions to be made without democratic input or oversight is the fact of democratic demise that I think needs reaction.  It is the central fact of recent history.

Somewhere in the future people will ask how it was that the social cohesion and modest prosperity of the immediate post-war years was allowed to slide so precipitously.  The ideas of economics will have to be reviewed for culpability.

Berlin is right: it is a question of ethics.  Where is it?

  1. Meta Capitalism
    January 23, 2021 at 3:32 am

    The Boundaries of Science

    Let us return now to our original questions. What is science? What is not science? What may be expected from science? (Weaver 1948, 542)

    Science clearly is a way of solving problems—not all problems, but a large class of important and practical ones. The problems with which science can deal are those in which the predominant factors are subject to the basic laws of logic, and are for the most part measurable. Science is a way of organizing reproducible knowledge about such problems; of focusing and disciplining imagination; of weighing evidence; of deciding what is relevant and what is not; of impartially testing hypotheses; of ruthlessly discarding data that prove to be inaccurate or inadequate; of finding, interpreting, and facing facts, and of making the facts of nature servants of man. (Weaver 1948, 542)

    The essence of science is not to be found in its outward appearance, in its physical manifestations; it is to be found in its inner spirit. That austere but exciting technique of inquiry known as the scientific method is what is important about science. This scientific method requires of its practitioners high standards of personal honesty, open-mindedness, focused vision, and love of the truth. These are solid virtues, but science has no exclusive lien on them. The poet has these virtues also, and often turns them to higher uses. (Weaver 1948, 542-543)

    Science has made notable progress in its great task of solving logical and quantitative problems. Indeed, the successes have been so numerous and striking, and the failures have been so seldom publicized, that the average man has inevitably come to believe that science is just about the most spectacularly successful enterprise man ever launched. The fact is, of course, that this conclusion is largely justified. (Weaver 1948, 543)

    Impressive as the progress has been, science has by no means worked itself out of a job. It is soberly true that science has, to date, succeeded in solving a bewildering number of relatively easy problems, whereas the hard problems, and the ones which perhaps promise most for man’s future, lie ahead. (Weaver 1948, 543)

    We must, therefore, stop thinking of science in terms of its spectacular successes in solving problems of simplicity. This means, among other things, that we must stop thinking of science in terms of gadgetry. Above all, science must not be thought of as a modern improved black magic capable of accomplishing anything and everything. (Weaver 1948, 543)

    Every informed scientist, I think, is confident that science is capable of tremendous further contributions to human welfare. It can continue to go forward in its triumphant march against physical nature, learning new laws, acquiring new power of forecast and control, making new material things for man to use and enjoy. Science can also make further brilliant contributions to our understanding of animate nature, giving men new health and vigor, longer and more effective lives, and a wiser understanding of human behavior. Indeed, I think most informed scientists go even further and expect that the precise, objective, and analytical techniques of science will find useful application in limited areas of the social and political disciplines. (Weaver 1948, 543)

    There are even broader claims which can be made for science and the scientific method. As an essential part of his characteristic procedure, the scientist insists on precise definition of terms and clear characterization of his problems. It is easier, of course, to define terms accurately in scientific fields than in many other areas. It remains true, however, that science is an almost overwhelming illustration of the effectiveness of a well-defined and accepted language, a common set of ideas, a common tradition. The way in which this universality has succeeded in cutting across barriers of time and space, across political and cultural boundaries, is highly significant. Perhaps better than in any other intellectual enterprise of man, science has solved the problem of communicating ideas, and has demonstrated the world-wide cooperation and community of interest which then inevitably results. (Weaver 1948, 543)

    Yes, science is a powerful tool, and it has an impressive record. But the humble and wise scientist does not expect or hope that science can do everything. He remembers that science teaches respect for special competence, and he does not believe that every social, economic, or political emergency would be automatically dissolved if “the scientists” were only put into control. He does not—with a few aberrant exceptions—expect science to furnish the yardstick for measuring, nor the motor for controlling, man’s love of beauty and truth, his sense of value, or his convictions of faith. There are rich and essential parts of human life which are alogical, which are immaterial and non-quantitative in character, and which cannot be seen under the microscope, weighed with the balance, nor caught by the most sensitive microphone. (Weaver 1948, 543-544)

    If science deals with quantitative problems of a purely logical character, if science has no recognition of or concern for value or purpose, how can modern scientific man achieve a balanced good life, in which logic is the companion of beauty, and efficiency is the partner of virtue? (Weaver 1948, 544)

    In one sense the answer is very simple: our morals must catch up with our machinery. To state the necessity, however, is not to achieve it. The great gap, which lies so forebodingly between our power and our capacity to use power wisely, can only be bridged by a vast combination of efforts. Knowledge of individual and group behavior must be improved. Communication must be improved between peoples of different languages and cultures, as well as between all the varied interests which use the same language. A revolutionary advance must be made in our understanding of economic and political factors. Willingness to sacrifice selfish short-term interests, either personal or national, in order to bring about long-term improvement for all must be developed. (Weaver 1948, 544)

    None of these advances can be won unless men understand what science really is; all progress must be accomplished in a world in which modern science is an inescapable, ever-expanding influence. (Weaver 1948, 544)

    (Weaver, Warren. Science and Complexity. American Scientist. 1948; 36(4):536-544.)

  2. Meta Capitalism
    January 23, 2021 at 5:26 am

    When they recast their evangelical language in a more secular form, the economic progressives fashioned a discourse of an ethical science in the service of society. But even as they secularized their Christian idiom, they did not abandon the evangelical idealism driving their reform mission. Instead, they reconstituted it, making the social gospel into what historian David Hollinger has called the “intellectual gospel.” The intellectual gospel represented scientific inquiry as itself a kind of religious calling, found religious potential in science, celebrated science in a religious idiom, and believed that “conduct in accord with the ethic of science could be religiously fulfilling.” (Leonard, Thomas C.. Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era (p. 16). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.)

  3. pfeffertag
    January 23, 2021 at 11:06 am

    “The question of state efficacy was always couched within a comparison with the supposed virtues of the market. Never was there a sophisticated discussion of the ethical values being represented in that comparison.”

    “The Road to Serfdom” is actually all about ethics. A left-wing historian has recently published a book on the Mont Pèlerin-liberal movement. See the “look inside” at

    • Meta Capitalism
      January 23, 2021 at 1:07 pm
    • Meta Capitalism
      January 23, 2021 at 1:10 pm
      • pfeffertag
        January 29, 2021 at 10:29 am

        I had a look at The Road from Mount Pèlerin (the Amazon “look inside”). It is a tract, albeit well written and informative. Neoliberalism, it isays, is not in any way an ideology. Judge by this from page 438:

        “Inequality is not only the natural state of market economies, but it is actually one of its strongest motor forces for progress. Hence the rich are not parasites, but (conveniently) a boon to humankind. People should be encouraged to envy and emulate the rich. Demands for equality are merely sour grapes of the losers, or at a minimum, the atavistic holdovers of old images of justice the must be extirpated from the modern mindset. … The vast worldwide trend toward concentration of incomes and wealth since the 1990s is therefore the playing out of the neoliberal script.”

        The next para praises monopoly and explains how corporations can do no wrong. It is a surprise to me to see such views so bluntly and earnestly stated. Much effort goes into distinguishing neoliberal from classical liberal.

        There is quite a lot of information just in the Amazon excerpt and worth a look just to know thine enemy. It is more informative, I think, than the history book by Jessica Whyte, and much more stimulatingly written.

  4. pfeffertag
    January 23, 2021 at 11:23 am

    Thank you Meta, for those Weaver quotes about science.

    “the predominant factors are subject to the basic laws of logic, and are for the most part measurable”

    (a) I don’t know what it would be that is not subject to logic. Values? There is a mountain of logical discussion of values. (b) I do not think there is ANY natural science theory that contains any concept that is not measurable.

    “The essence of science is not to be found in its outward appearance, in its physical manifestations; it is to be found in its inner spirit.”

    Drivel. The essence of science is theory. A science theory expresses a relationship between idealised entities. The concepts are measurable quantities (not counted quantities).

    “scientist insists on precise definition of terms”

    Dead wrong. The concepts interrelated in a science theory are not defined. For example, all the sciences are founded on the concepts of mass, time, and space. There is no agreed definition of mass, no one can say what time is, and no one can define distance.

    “science is an almost overwhelming illustration of the effectiveness of a well-defined and accepted language”

    Complete rubbish. Science is an overwhelming illustration of the power of idealised—and therefore commonly understood—theory.

    “None of these advances can be won unless men understand what science really is.”

    Understanding will be hurt, not helped, by reading Weaver.

    • Meta Capitalism
      January 23, 2021 at 12:53 pm

      Your welcome pfeffertag, a bit of history. I make no personal comment on the content by posting it, only did so for some historical content.

      • Meta Capitalism
        January 23, 2021 at 12:59 pm

        Addendum: Another reason I read it in the first place was following Shiozawa’s citations (Hayek who cited Weaver) and repeatedly I find anachronistic outdated mid- nineteenth century science he tries to use in his empty appeals to outdated science as authority for his book.

    • February 14, 2021 at 7:09 pm

      Pfeffertag,

      have you read the whole of Weaver’s paper? You can read it here, free of charge. There are several typos, but you can read it without problem.

      Above series of citations cover only two and half pages of a paper that counts 11 pages. You cannot understand what Weaver wanted to say by reading only the last part of the paper. Please reread again from the start. I believe you change your opinion. The most important section is that of “Problems of Organized Complexity”. This was a clear manifesto to start sciences of complexities, but 30 years too earlier. Weaver’s program came to be implemented only in 1970’s but the search for a “third great advance” is still going on. I do not claim that Weaver was perfectly right. One of his manifest errors was his excessive expectations on Operations Research (“operation analysis” in Wearver’s expression). As Robert Locke contends, OR might be a failed science. However, the idea of mixed team is still valid as it is widely employed as a part of strategic management for research institutes which seek to achieve breakthroughs.

  5. January 23, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    “The disconnect between the market as modeled and the economy as experienced was never allowed to intrude into the sanitized versions of economics that dominated the entire period. The private sector was assumed to conform to the absurd restrictions the economists imposed on their models to make them tractable. That most practicing economists realized this gap between their theory and reality existed, and yet failed to create a newer more realistic economics, is a damning comment about the ethics of an entire generation of them.”

    I would change ‘the market’ to ‘the economy’ in this first sentence.

    There are three major structural problems with extant theory:

    1. the failure of economists generally to understand how the accidental invention of money changed economic activities from limited production for use to ‘for-profit’ production, a shift which led to the rise of commerce –I.e., for-profit markets and marketing– with profits becoming the primary means of allocating social and economic resources while, also, the possession of money {income and wealth measured in terms of money} as the means of maintenance of economic agents led to social stratifications within populations.

    2. the transformation of economic ‘Utility’ from objective benefits from use into solely subjective pleasures/satisfaction. As benefits from use became transformed,into subjective utility alone, economics completely lost its footing in the real world, for the ‘consumer’ became detached from any life form, including ourselves. The Theory of the Consumer is so constructed to have removed all matters associated with maintaining themselves as people from analysis, meaning that the ‘offer or demand’ curve of the ‘Consumer’ and the ‘Welfare of the Consumer’ and the ‘Consumer Surplus’ of the Consumer are solely imaginary constructions bearing no relationship to the ‘demands’ of people for goods or to their ‘welfare’ as human beings.

    3. The notion and measures of ‘Aggregate Demand’ imply the real existence of Demand Curves in Economics with possible equibria for consumers and in markets. Such demand curves do not exist as such either for consumers or within markets. Indeed, economists only have data about completed sales, not Consumers’ Demand at different prices. That there appears to be a downward sloping ‘demand curve’ is the result of two things. In order of there importance these are: 1. as producer-distributer prices fall, more people will be able to afford a product they either need or want; 2. some people who could afford to buy fewer (including only one) at initial, earlier higher prices of the product MAY purchase more of it, not WILL purchase more of it as extant mainline neoclassical and Austrian school theoretics suggest

    Consequently, structural changes in the foundations (at both ‘micro’ and ‘macro’ levels) must be introduced for economics to move from an imaginary theory about imaginary entities which do not have to maintain themselves in any manner to a becoming scientia about peoples’ activities as economic agents who use goods to achieve purposes. By so doing, economics will move from serving ideological purposes to serving human ones.

    Whereas Yoshinori Shiozawa has approached some of what I am saying though his and his colleagues’ appraisal of the shortcomings and mis-directions of the microfoundations of economic theory pertaining to production activities, I do so with respect to producers-who-consume who are ALL agents of economic activity, thereby replacing ‘consumers’ and ‘producers’ with economic agents [people and ‘firms’ run by people] which have to be able to ‘break-even’ (at least) if they are to ‘survive’ either as people or as ‘firms’.

    I hope to have completed an initial draft within a week or two. Then I will post a link to it here at RWER. Since I am writing it for both economists and non-economists (the more general public, including scientists as such), it is taking more time to write than I’d planned.

    See you all soon.

  6. January 23, 2021 at 7:06 pm

    Re prior post: The first para line ending with “the possession of money {income and wealth measured in terms of money} as the means of maintenance of economic agents led to social stratifications within populations” needs an EDIT. It should read “the possession of money {income and wealth measured in terms of money} becomes the means of maintenance of economic agents led to social stratifications within populations.”

    I’ll add: “As time passes, monies also effectively become permission slips needed for survival. This means that the distribution of money determines not only the path which economies are on –money is NOT neutral– but that this distribution is inseparable from the physical, social and economic welfare of populations within monetary economies.

    Oh, and there is a ‘there’ which should be ‘their’. (Typos are a bane of my existence.)

  7. January 24, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    Isaiah Berlin’s all too apt warning, “(if mankind survives until then),” was given a hopeful turn in today’s church readings, which recalled Jonah preaching “‘Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.’ And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least. God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour. And God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.”

    He says again: “It is as well to realize that these great movements [scientific technology, ideology] began with ideas in people’s heads: ideas about what relations between men have been, are, might be and should be [Bacon’s science “for the glory of God and the relief of man’s estate”]; and to realize how they came to be transformed in the name of a vision of some supreme goal in the minds of the leaders, above all the prophets with armies at their backs” [Hume’s replacement of the Christian ethic with sentimental morality and democratic law, much as noted in Meta Capitalism’s quote from Leonard].

    Meta quotes the Weaver in 1948. It is interesting to see how enthusiastic Weaver had become by 1949 about Shannon’s “Mathematical Theory of Communication”, from the 1948 Bell System Technical Journal. Distinguishing three levels of relevance, he says “One would be inclined to think Level A [accuracy of communication generally, not just in words] is a relatively superficial one, involving only the engineering details of a good design of communication system; while B [the semantics] and C [the effectiveness] seem to contain most if not all of the philosophical content of the general problem of communication. … But the theory has I think, a deep significance which proves that the preceding paragraph is seriously inaccurate. Part of the significance of the new theory comes from the fact that levels B and C, above, can make use only of those signal accuracies which turn out to be possible when analysed at Level A. Thus any limitations discovered in the theory at Level A necessarily apply to levels B and C. But a larger part of the significance comes from the fact that the analysis at Level A discloses that this level overlaps the other levels more than one could possibly naively suspect”.

    Let me take that thought on to pfeffertag being as literal-minded and objectionally dogmatic as gbholtham was when disputing that “everything we know about economics is wrong”. His first comment praised a Hayek (prophet of Thatcher and Reagan) who misrepresented Belloc’s “The Servile State”, which actually said not just the Socialism was wrong but that Capitalism was as bad. His second attacks Weaver’s 1948 views on logic, but then uses them himself, reflecting as they do only left-brain (unchanged word) and not right-brain logic (deducing intuitively from observed changes in reality). That takes us back to Shannon’s communication theory: a left-brained thinker cannot fit right-brained observations into a pot of words.

    Pfeffertag may be right that the concepts of natural science may be measurable, but he does not see that in Hume’s refuted but still used positivist methodology the measurements are democratically agreed by counting votes. As to whether the “inner spirit” is an intelligible figure of speech or “drivel”, he himself defines science as theory, leaving out the testing of it and those who at one moment are trying things out, in the next theorising and in the one after that testing the theories. As a scientist that, anyway, was my experience. “Dead wrong” that scientists insist on precise definition of terms? That may be true about the majority of those who label themselves scientists (particularly those in the so-called social sciences), but it certainly was not true of the scientists and mathematicians I knew. The point of developing Algol68 was to ENABLE scientists to define their terms precisely, even if in practice they might not. What pfeffertag seems to be thinking of as independent measurable concepts are actually relationally defined, being agreed on as axioms because they not only work but are analytically separable (i.e can be represented differentially or in circular measurement as at right angles).

    It seems to me this not only confirms but explains much of what Larry Motuz is saying.

  8. Ken Zimmerman
    February 14, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    Ideas about ethics and ‘rules of the road’ are one of the many things that humans can weave together to add to whatever ‘social skills’ they have been taught growing up with a culture to render their daily interactions more durable and stable. That is to create a society. The list of the things that humans can use is extensive. Including many sorts of documents and accounts (books, articles, reports, forms, charts, and statistics, etc.), physical buildings, gods, the psyche, humor, politics, emotional forms, war, economics, etc. Social scientists attempt from a situation of relative stability to examine how and why humans choose the things to organize their groups (societies), the successes and failures of those efforts, and the consequences of these successes and failures. Recognizing that the efforts will eventually breakdown and the group collapse. Berlin certainly recognizes these results and consequences. Though not a social scientist. Sometimes ethics may be an essential part of this work. Sometimes ethics might serve a minor or moderate role. Sometimes it may not be utilized at all. Only our examination of the work can answer this question. What I am saying is that you might have the order of things use and results backwards. We should not assume a priori that ethics is essential in societal construction. That conclusion can only come from observation of the actual work involved in the construction.

  9. pfeffertag
    February 16, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    Reply to Yoshinori at February 14.

    Thank you for the link to Weaver’s 1948 paper. I was reluctant to read it for if an author can be so utterly wrong on a simple point of fact (that science depends on definitions) I think I have good grounds to ignore him. Still, I took a look. It is an interesting historical document (only men did science in 1948) with his forecast for the next 50 years. He is mostly wrong.

    He advocates treating complex problems statistically. Wrong. Being 1948 perhaps he has an excuse but this is THE major fault with social science. The social scientist who substitutes statistics for theory is forsaking his or her scientific duty, namely to posit a hypothesis, make a deduction from it, and test it. (The test should be with a view to falsifying it but in the social science of the last 50 years, that is fantasy.)

    To put data through a statistics program tests nothing at all because the mathematics takes no account of the real relationships between the (alleged) variables which it correlates. Since computers became widely available in the 1970s, the social sciences have been churning out statistics papers. Millions by now. The result? Nothing.

    In statistics, whatever occurs often is significant and whatever is rare is not. If geologists took this approach they would tell us the earth is made of soil and rock and that gold and diamonds are insignificant. Statistics are essential for administration but they don’t lead to theory, they don’t lead to real understanding. The maxim “correlation is not cause” is emphasised to every stats learner—and then ignored.

    “The entire structure of modem physics, our present concept of the nature of the physical universe, and of the accessible experimental facts concerning it rest on these statistical concepts.”

    No it doesn’t. Physics rests on relationships like F=ma. Nothing statistical about it. Newton didn’t count the number of apples that fall, the number of moons that orbit. Statistics are irrelevant.

    Weaver waxes enthusiastic about complexity (I didn’t know the concept occurred so early). As it happens, I have just finished reading John Horgan’s “The end of science” (1997). Horgan, a writer for Scientific American, interviewed every major figure in chaos and complexity and basically decided the concepts were arid. That’s back before 1997. Twenty-four years later, we can say he was right.

    Weaver: “A revolutionary advance must be made in our understanding of economic and political factors.”

    Yes—and 73 years later, it hasn’t happened. One reason is the dead-end obsession with statistical processing.

    • February 17, 2021 at 10:56 am

      Pfeffertag: “if an author can be so utterly wrong on a simple point of fact (that science depends on definitions) I think I have good grounds to ignore him”. Wrong in Pfeffertag’s judgement? Well, apart from his misquoting Weaver and suggesting Shannon was a social scientist rather than a mathematician, that judgement looks suspect. In ridiculing Shannon’s use of statistics has so bemused himself with the mathematical “proof” that he has not noticed its practical conclusion. What he attributes to Weaver (“A revolutionary advance must be made in our understanding of economic and political factors” more likely came from myself, and 73 years after Weaver it hasn’t happened because of the dead-end OPPOSITION to statistical reasoning (irrespective of context) of people like Pfeffertag.

      The physicist Newton, incidentally, defined F=ma, then went to a great deal of trouble to show that it worked. Shannon’s definition of “information capacity” cut across the complications of “meaning” to reveal the mere complexity of information processing, i.e. needing to provide enough capacity, the possibility of eliminating repeats, meanings depending on what came before, and errors only arising after the event. (Proverbially, “Those who never made mistakes never made anything”). Another reason the needed intellectual “revolution” hasn’t happened is that journalists, economists and social scientists also use definitions, but often without declaring them and usually not taking the trouble to see how they work out in practice.

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