Formal logic can’t distinguish between the per se and the per accidens, especially when the accidental is said of all. So velocity is both d/t and p/m, and whenever one has v, d/t or p/m he can always substitute any for the other, but universal substitutability doesn’t make any two things related per se. v is d/t per se and anything else per accidens.

Plato was the first to figure out that sophistry trades in the per accidens and he demonstrates again and again how it can trick even the wise. The distinction is Trasymachus’s undoing even though he proposes it first: if leadership is a skill then a leader never makes mistakes qua leader but he also never works for his own advantage, and he will always agree with the exercise of the skill that he finds in others as opposed to seeing to outdo them. The platonic project is defined in opposition to sophistry as the search for the “thing itself” (perseity) in its opposition to the accidental, even if (and perhaps especially when) the accidental is said of all and convertible with it.

But AI only goes as far as formal systems do, and so the anticipated “singularity” would be an intelligence that never distinguished the per se from the per accidens. At the summit of human-created intelligence we therefore get an artificial sophist. Not quite, however, since sophists only come from the ranks of those who know the accidental, which is a fog that the AI can neither fall under nor dispel.


%d bloggers like this: