Cover image for The fuzzy future : from society and science to heaven in a chip
The fuzzy future : from society and science to heaven in a chip
Kosko, Bart.
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First edition.
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New York : Harmony Books, [1999]

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xiv, 353 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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QA9.64 .K67 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"Who draws the line in the digital age? Those with the most power? Does the digital age even have black-and-white parameters? Where does one country's Internet jurisdiction end and another country's begin? Who owns the ocean or the moon - or even you? Would you be you if a chip replaced your brain?" "Fuzzy logic has been the most explosive new concept in science since chaos theory. Now, Bart Kosko, the leading proponent of this revolutionary worldview, tackles these questions and shows how fuzzy thinking will shape every aspect of life in the digital age, from politics and genetics, to warfare and technology and art, and finally to mortality itself."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Remarkable things happen once you question that Aristotelian logic (A or not A). Kosko, a University of Southern California electrical engineering professor, gave nonprofessionals a look at "fuzzy logic" in Fuzzy Thinking (1993); now he's back, speculating about how far "fuzziness" may take us all. In part 1, he takes on politics, visualizing political opinions as a square, not a spectrum; proposing a fuzzy tax form that allows taxpayers to decide how at least some portion of their taxes are spent; and offering thoughts about the rights of genomes, the rights of whales, and "smart wars." Part 2 samples fuzzy logic in science, with discussions of how computers help scientists guess, the promise of feedback, neural networks, and genetic algorithms. Part 3 moves on to culture, examining "smart art," computer "agents," and questions raised by the possibility that we may one day be able to download our brains onto a microchip. Fairly demanding, but certain to appeal to readers curious about where leading-edge computer types are headed. --Mary Carroll

Publisher's Weekly Review

Kosko's Fuzzy Thinking (1993) explained to laypeople the provenance and uses of "fuzzy logic," a technique of mathematics and engineering that takes into account approximations, half-truths and good guesses about states of affairs that can't be evaluated well in black-and-white terms. Kosko's very readable followup applies "fuzziness" to government, economics and wars ("Fuzzy Politics"); to physics, chemistry and biology ("Fuzzy Science"); and to computers ("Fuzzy Digital Culture"). Sometimes fuzziness, as Kosko explains it, seems mostly an excuse to connect useful, brief explanations of concepts already known by other names. His application of "fuzz" to culture and history, for instance, may strike some readers as coals to Newcastle: a square with four corners (liberal, conservative, libertarian, populist) certainly explains political ideology better than a mere left-right continuum, but is the idea really Kosko's? His explanations of neural networks, entropy and statistical approximation, on the other hand, will give lay readers handy descriptions of important and hard-to-grasp concepts. "Fuzzy logic" in computer science and engineering have helped machines approximate the seat-of-the-pants, rule-of-thumb decision making humans already accomplish. A provocative final chapter promotes the idea that digital networks will be able to hold our own (still-fuzzy) consciousnesses, putting an end to human death: "Biology is not destiny for the minds that will follow us.... Chips are destiny." The breezy, self-assured style of Kosko's chapters contrasts sharply with his meticulous footnotes; readers with some background in areas Kosko covers will want to read both together. Nine b&w illustrations. Author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Kosko's landmark Fuzzy Thinking introduced to the general reader the technology of fuzzy logic and its early applications. In his new book, he explores how this technology will affect politics, science, and culture in the digital age. He predicts that it will change how we define and make social choices ranging from which political ideology we embrace and what taxes we pay to how we deal with obnoxious neighbors and enemies who launch cruise missiles. He provides examples of how fuzzy logic is creeping into a range of applications, including the development of smart cars and nuclear power plants. Finally, Kosko discusses the eventual convergence of smart digital worlds and addresses the age-old question of where it will all end, challenging death with digital immortality. Highly recommended.ÄJoe J. Accardi, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Chicago (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Kosko (Univ. of Southern California) is well known as one of the leading scientists in the field of fuzzy logic and systems, and as the author of the scintillating, popular introduction Fuzzy Thinking (CH, Dec'93). In this new book, written in the same engrossing style, he addresses a much wider field, as indicated by the subtitle. He explores the vast implications for the human condition of what one might call the "fuzzy worldview"--the recognition that almost everything in life is true only to a degree. The book is a cornucopia of interesting thoughts: a fuzzy tax form that will allow taxpayers more rights as to the disposition of tax revenues; the insights into learning one gets from the disciplines of neural networks and genetic algorithms; the possibility of one's being reborn, so to speak, by having the essence of one's mind embedded in a chip; digital art and music; and many, many more such ideas. This is definitely a book that will give pleasure to readers and also stimulate them to explore further. All levels. R. Bharath; Northern Michigan University



Chapter One Fuzzy Politics A new science of politics is needed for a new world. Alexis De Tocqueville Democracy in America Habit is the only thing which imparts certainty. JOHN STUART MILL Utilitarianism There is a real tendency amongst people for degree of belief to approach to certainty. Doubt and skepticism are for most people unusual and, I think, generally unstable states of mind. Robert H. Thouless "The Tendency to Certainty in Religious Belief" British Journal of Psychology Volume 26, number 1, 1935 Politics is the daily example of how our fuzzy worlds clash with the black and white lines that run through them and through us. The lines tell us when it is legal to vote or drive or smoke or drink or leave a country. The rub is that someone else draws the lines.     Politics always comes down to someone or the state or the judge drawing hard lines through the gray fuzz of our right to act or speak or own or sit still. The hard lines give the borders that define our rights.     The hard lines not only define power in politics. The hard lines are power.     The five chapters in this first part look at this fuzzy conflict with an eye to how a fuzzy view can both blur the lines and offer more choices.     Chapter 3 starts with how we define ourselves on the political landscape. It explores the old labels of left and right in politics. The labels make up a fuzzy spectrum but one that has little meaning. The left-right line embeds in a fuzzy cube if the line connects two cube corners and passes through the cube center. A square gives the simplest form of a fuzzy cube of more than one dimension.     Social scientists have found that a fuzzy square better describes the fuzzy patterns of politics than does a simple left-right line. More complex analyses require more complex fuzzy cubes.     Chapter 4 looks at social choices and puts forth a fuzzy tax form as a means to help make them. A fuzzy tax form can work at the federal or state or local level. The lone taxpayer gets to tell the state where part of his taxes go and to what degree. This gives more say to those who pay and can help fund research bounties. You get more research breakthroughs if you pay for them. It could also help endow the state and over time reduce the total tax burden.     Chapter 5 explores to what degree you own yourself. You begin as a unique gene print or genome and grow by degrees into a sentient being with legal rights and complaints. The state draws hard lines through the fuzz of where your self ends and where the non-self world around you begins just as it draws a hard line of life and death through the legal fuzz of a growing fetus. But the fetus still grows smoothly from not-alive at conception to fully alive at birth. The issues get more complex if you have the power to change your genes and thus the power to change your self to some degree.     Chapter 6 shows how fuzzy property rights blur the lines between mine and thine. This fuzz tends to hurt more than help. A fuzzy theorem of sorts lies behind what happens when someone blows smoke in your face or blasts the stereo next door or drills for oil beneath your house. Behind these issues lies the still deeper issue of the degree to which a theory matches fact.     Future social experiments at sea and in space may someday test this matching. These experiments will require explicit defuzzification schemes.     Chapter 7 deals with war. Politics often ends in war. And in some sense it trades in shadow wars of state against state or state against man or any of hundreds of groups against one another. Information attacks will make it harder to draw the line between an act of war and not-war. Should Turkey declare war on Greece if Greek hackers in Athens bring down the Turkish stock exchange?     Future "smart" wars may differ in kind from the wars and battles of the past just as nuclear weapons changed the structure of war in the 20th century. Fuzzy and other smart systems will help boost the machine IQs of cruise missiles and other smart weapons that will become ever harder for a foe to shoot down. The result will be a shift in the structure of warfare: For the first time in military history it will be cheaper to attack than to defend.     What holds for politics holds for war. The battlefield of the future will be fuzzy as well as digital. Chapter Two Left and Right and Neither: The Fuzzy Political Square Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Lord John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton: 3 April 1883 The fundamental concept in social science is Power in the same sense in which Energy is the fundamental concept in physics. Bertrand Russell Power Power wins not by being used but by being there. Joseph Schumpeter Power never takes a step back--only in the face of more power. Malcolm X The Melians said to the Athenians: "We see that, although you may reason with us, you mean to be our judges; and that at the end of the discussion, if the justice of our cause prevail and we therefore refuse to yield, we may expect war; if we are convinced by you, slavery." Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War The power of a man is his present means to obtain some future apparent good. Thomas Hobbes Leviathan Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. Mao Zedong Government is the use of power to punish. B. E Skinner Science and Human Behavior The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. John Stuart Mill On Liberty The extent of my social or political freedom consists in the absence of obstacles not merely to my actual but to my potential choices to my acting in this or that way if I choose to do so. Isaiah Berlin Four Essays on Liberty A quarter century of genetic studies has consistently found that for any given region of the genome, humans and chimpanzees share at least 98.5% of their DNA. Ann Gibbons "Which of Our Genes Make Us Human?" Nature : volume 281, 4 September 1998 The ultimate power is to set the agenda. Anonymous What Is Power?     Power is the ability to make things happen. That is what 17th-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes meant when he said that your power is your present means or ability to achieve future ends. That is what 20th-century English philosopher Bertrand Russell meant when he defined power in his book Power as "the production of intended effects." You have power if you can get what you want or intend. And that is what people mean when they claim that God is all-powerful or omnipotent. He has total or even infinite power. He can make anything happen.     Political power is more personal. It is the state's ability to get things done by force or coercion and get away with it. Political power lets those who wield it reward and punish with impunity. It is what Mao said grows from the barrel of a gun. This often takes the form of a legal system. Scholars even define the legal system as governmental social control. So political power limits our choices. It creates a zero-sum game with social power or our freedom to act as we choose. Political power grows as social power falls and vice versa.     Fuzz gives choices. We can pick and choose from the shades of gray that define fuzziness. More degrees mean more options. This can increase either social power or political power. It depends on who gets to make the choices. And more degrees mean we have more doubt about how we or someone else will choose. Some people want to use force to reduce other's choices and thus reduce the doubt about how they will choose.     The result is politics.     Politics has always been about using power to limit choices and set agendas. The extreme case is pure tyranny. We do just what the tyrant tells us to do. We obey each decree. Society chooses something if and only if the dictator chooses it. There is no fuzz because there is just one choice.     Next comes the binary choice. You break the law or you don't. You sign the contract or you don't. You show your ID or you don't. Politics tends to lay force behind one of the two options. So they are power decrees after all. Only a fair vote gives you a real choice between two opposites. Members of democracies pride themselves on letting their members vote without pressure even if they can vote for only two candidates.     Fuzziness gives a type of anarchy of choice in the political world just as it gives an anarchy of concepts in the mental world. It is hard to pressure someone to pick any one degree like 83% or 20% when they can choose from the whole spectrum. So more often than not we simply don't let them indulge in fuzzy choices. We have the state draw a hard line for them and then force them to use it.     One famous case is the U.S. electoral college. Most Americans think they elect their president and vice president by a simple winner-take-all vote. John runs against Jane and the one who gets the most votes wins. This is not how it works. And Americans would have to amend their Constitution to change or abolish it. Many have tried to do so for almost 200 years.     Each state has a fixed number of electoral votes. Each state holds in effect its own winner-take-all vote in the so-called general ticket system. If John gets more votes than Jane in Texas then John wins all the electoral votes in Texas. So we round off the vote in each state and ignore the voting choices of those who voted for the lesser candidate.     The next president need not be the one who gets the most votes. The winner is the one who gets the most electoral votes. John could in theory lose to Jane if John got more votes than Jane but got them in states where Jane got few votes. John would win these states but might lose the rest to Jane. Jane's binary round-offs could add up to more than John's. Such an outcome would no doubt lead to a quick end to the electoral system.     Politics contains many other conflicts between fuzzy choices and binary rules. Indeed the logic of politics is just that conflict: The state draws public black-white lines through private gray choices . And it backs them up with force.     This makes a good rule of thumb outside of science: If you find a binary line in your social life then the odds are a politician drew it. And of course parents draw lines for their children just as teachers draw them for their students. No one forgets the sting of falling short of the line between passing and failing. Parents and teachers act as local quasi-governments when they draw and enforce these lines.     The state draws the big lines for us. The state tells us when we have become an adult or a divorcée or a felon. You can pay a fine or lose a license or even go to jail over a mere matter of words and how the state defines them. Your car can wiggle only so much in its lane before a traffic cop draws a "discretionary" line and sees it as weaving or reckless driving. And you have to hope for the best each time you file your taxes.     The conflict between fuzzy and binary choices runs still deeper than this in politics. It affects the way we define ourselves on the political landscape. And most of all it affects how others define us and draw lines through us or through our beliefs and actions.     Here begins the theory of fuzzy cubes. The Left-Right Spectrum: The 1-D Fuzzy Cube Are you left or right? Are you liberal or conservative? These terms run through almost all modern political discourse. The left and the right define the poles of our political thought. They lie opposite the primal line that cuts political ideology into two pieces. And they give a simple debate format to TV talk shows and newspaper op-ed columns.     But what do they mean?     We learn to use the left-right terms by example. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were right. François Mitterrand and Mikhail Gorbachev were left. Clint Eastwood and Arnold Schwarzenegger are right. Robert Redford and Warren Beatty are left.     Political scientists sometime say that the left wants change and the right does not. That may have described many congresses and parliaments during the 1930s in the days of the New Deal and later in the 1960s during the days of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. Today it may be the reverse in the United States and South America and elsewhere. The right tends to be more "radical" if not more "progressive" in its proposed market-based policies to privatize some state functions and abolish others.     Legend has it that the left-right terms came from the period of the French Revolution. The radicals of 1789 sat to the left of the presiding officer of the French National Assembly. The name stuck and French intellectuals from Charles Fourier to Jean-Paul Sartre have claimed it ever since and have seen themselves as champions of the politically weak.     Conservatives often cite the 18th-century British statesman and writer Edmund Burke (1729-1797) as a founding father of the right even though he was something of a liberal in his day. Burke made his mark in conservative history when he questioned the goals and values of the French Revolution in his 1790 book Reflections on the Revolution in France . The American Thomas Paine wrote his 1791 book The Rights of Man to rebut Burke.     The modern left can take much of the credit and blame for the welfare state. It can point to programs from Social Security to Medicare to food stamps as examples of the will of the left in action to help the poor. The modern right can take credit and blame for often opposing those programs and the increased spending and borrowing that tends to fund them.     The right can also point to its own legal gift to modern politics: the victimless crime. Some now call this a "consensual" crime.     The right has outlawed private pleasures from drugs to gambling to prostitution to pornography in almost all countries that have an active right-wing party. These laws find their roots in the prohibitions of whichever religions the right supports or has supported in the past. The United States leads the modern world with well over 1 million persons in jail or prison. Over half of them are there because of drug prohibition. Six percent of the British use outlawed drugs compared with something like 12% of Americans or almost 6 million citizens who spend almost $49 billion a year on black-market drugs. Americans spend about $50 billion a year on legal tobacco products.     There is still the question of what the left-right terms mean.     People may not be sure what the terms mean but they are sure the terms are fuzzy. You first learn the map of politics by learning who is more left or more right than you. The far left shades into socialism or communism. The far right shades into fascism or Hitler-style national socialism. We address this strange claim below. Somewhere between these extremes lies the centrist or moderate creed. The left-right spectrum sets and limits the agenda for political debate and thought.     Fuzzy sets capture the segments of the left-right spectrum. Far-left socialists overlap to some degree with liberals. These overlap with moderate liberals. And these overlap with moderates and so on out to far-right fascists. The sets are fuzzy because people belong to them only to some degree. So they also do not belong to them to some degree. Few people are pure liberals or conservatives or pure moderates.     The next figure draws these fuzzy sets as overlapping triangles or trapezoids and hence as partial subsets of the left-right spectrum:     Each fuzzy set is vague and relative. People are liberal and not liberal to some degree. And different people draw the liberal fuzzy set in different ways. Some might want to draw the set wider or more narrow or more to the left or to the right. We could also add or delete some fuzzy concepts. We could add ultra-conservative to the right of conservative. Or we might widen the sets and limit them to only liberal and moderate and conservative.     Fuzzy concepts help flesh out the left-right spectrum but they still do not explain what the left and right terms mean. They just help show the circular nature of the concepts that underlie the left-right spectrum.     What is a liberal or a democrat? Someone who is left. Who are left? Liberals and the non-right are left. What is a conservative or a republican? Someone who is right and not left. And round and round goes the logic. To say that someone is a liberal because he is left-wing says no more than that he is liberal. It does not explain what the term means. The same holds for the terms moderate and conservative. We define them in terms of one another and do not tie them to other concepts or variables. But you define a term if and only if you replace it with other terms (if and only if you replace the definiendum with the definiens). In the best case we replace the term with other terms or variables that we can measure.     The problem lies in the label of the left-right axis: It does not have one. What quantity or quality varies from left to right or from low to high? What does it measure? The left-right spectrum does not tell us. It does not give us a way to reduce or replace its terms in favor of simpler terms that define them.     Some have proposed the size of the state as a measure. Liberals want more government and conservatives want less. That may hold in some cases of social spending. It does not hold in many cases of defense spending or in granting farm subsidies or in waging war on victimless crimes. Both sides accuse the other side that they want to spend too much on some things and not enough on others.     So we arrive at a simple but startling conclusion. We often do not know what we mean when we talk about modern politics.     The left-right spectrum is fuzzy but its terms are circular. It favors name calling far more than it explains social behavior or helps group ideas into a logical taxonomy. It also reflects much of the sense of upheaval in the field of political science itself. No wonder so many Americans want a third party.     Yet we do see a pattern in those we call left or right. The neural networks in our brain cluster these people and belief systems into groups. We cluster like with like and end up with at least two clusters. That much is empirical fact. We find political pattern A and political pattern B . People of pattern A tend to call for the same kinds of changes and oppose the same kinds of changes. This also holds for people of political pattern B . They tend to claim that some issues are the key ones and they use similar language and slogans to defend their claims.     The issue is whether the two patterns define logical opposites. We know only that the patterns A and B differ. This restates what we mean when we group them as distinct patterns A and B rather than as the same pattern. It takes much more to show that pattern B depends on A in the polar sense that B is not-A and vice versa. A black crow differs from a white duck but the two bird types are not polar opposites. Their feather colors may lie on opposite ends of a gray-scale spectrum but they share many other design features. A crow is not an anti-duck in the sense that day is the opposite of night or that on is the opposite of off.     The left and right have far too much in common to count as pure opposites. They both support markets and national defense and police protection to some degree. They differ on only a subset of issues or differ only in their degree of support for issues. Debate focuses on these issues and tends to ignore the common ground. TV screens and op-ed columns focus the debate still further on the points on which the two sides disagree. The media demand for sound bites that really bite gives both sides reason to use language that exaggerates their differences.     We need to map out the common ground and the contested ground. Politics is too complex to reduce to one variable. It needs at least two. It needs a bigger concept space.     The left-right line needs a plane. The Fuzzy Political Square: Multidimensional Ideology We can embed the left-right spectrum in a fuzzy square. A square consists of infinitely many line segments from left to right or from top to bottom. We won't use these lines. We will use instead one of the two long diagonals that crisscross each square.     The square itself is a type of fuzzy cube. Each point in the cube stands for how much the two objects or patterns A and B belong to it. The points in our case will stand for degrees of two types of freedom. The four corners stand for the four binary or all-or-none cases. The points have fuzzy values or percentages only if they lie inside the cube. It turns out that the theory of fuzzy sets is a theory of cubes.     A line segment is the simplest "cube." The percentages from 0% to 100% define a cube of one dimension. It measures the values of one fuzzy variable. The left-right spectrum is such a 1-D fuzzy cube even though it does not state what the lone axis measures. Two fuzzy variables lead to a fuzzy square or 2-D fuzzy cube. Three lead to a solid cube or 3-D fuzzy cube and so on. The next chapter casts social choices as points in fuzzy cubes that may have dimension 10 or higher. We cannot picture these high-D fuzzy cubes in our mind's eye because we cannot picture how four distinct line segments can all be mutually perpendicular. But the notation of math lets us work just as easily with cubes that have a million dimensions as those that have just two or three. This becomes crucial in chapter 11 where a fuzzy cube that describes the universe as a point in it has more dimensions than there are atoms in the universe.     We focus now on just the two variables that define a fuzzy 2-D cube or fuzzy solid square. The variables measure two types of freedom and we now define them. That begins with how we define freedom itself.     What is freedom?     Pop singer Janis Joplin claimed in an iconic Baby-Boomer song that freedom means having "nothing left to lose." That slogan may describe the risk profile of a condemned man. And it points out that we may have more options for future action if we remove a constraint on our behavior like acting to preserve our wealth. But the slogan's focus on options is too broad. It also suggests that political freedom is any type of freedom like being free for the day or free to speak or free of a headache. The freedom we argue and sometimes fight about is political freedom. It deals with "legal" force.     Freedom is a negative concept in the sense that it is the absence of nonfreedom. It is the absence of restraint. And political freedom is a special case.     Political freedom is the absence of state restraint. You are free just to the degree that the state does not force you to act in some way or does not use force to keep you from acting in some way. Political freedom or liberty ends where state coercion begins.     Such freedom does not mean that you have the means or the power to act as you choose. Your power again is your ability to make things happen or your present means to achieve future ends. Janis Joplin's slogan of "nothing left to lose" is a good description of having no power. The bankrupt prisoner can have no power in this sense and still have little or no political liberty.     Robinson Crusoe is free to do as he wants on his island. He does not have the means or power to use some freedoms. He can fish and hunt and crack clamshells and swear all day at the top of his lungs. But he has no way to watch the news or to blast through rock or to fix an abscessed tooth.     Power gives more choices or options. Freedom lets you use what options you have. So more choices or options create more opportunities for coercion. The more freedom you have the more choices the state allows you to make without punishing you. And we can in theory avoid mental terms here and cast talk of choices and such in behavioral terms. You reveal your choices or your preferences by how you act or fail to act. Actions in space-time speak louder than thoughts in neural circuitry.     Governments sometimes play with words to confuse the brain act of choice with the body act of choosing. Thus the U.S. government claims that the Social Security tax is a "voluntary contribution." It claims that the Internal Revenue Service depends on "voluntary compliance." Citizens can choose freely not to pay such taxes in their minds only. The state will punish them if they do not pay their taxes in the flesh. This is the same "voluntary compliance" that the classroom bully depends on when he asks a child to hand over his lunch money or his flip phone: Pay or else.     Freedom does not depend on whether the agent has a "free will." This is less controversial than it sounds.     A robot is free to the extent that it can act on the desires that someone has programmed into its chip brain. We might add a random seed to its choice logic to make it harder for us to predict its choices and actions. We can add nonlinear dynamics that make it still harder for us to predict its behavior because then not only will similar inputs not always lead to similar outputs but the same input will often lead to different outputs.     A free robot can do as it pleases but it cannot please as it pleases.     The same is true of "bio-robots" such as ourselves. Other forces control what the robot pleases just as to some degree genes and the world outside our skin control us. That does not affect our political liberty. Modern philosophers have been careful to sort out these issues and avoid the apparent dichotomy between free will and determinism. Harvard philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine sums up hundreds of years of analysis on this issue: Like Spinoza, Hume, and so many others, I count an action as free insofar as the agent's motives or drives are a link in its causal chain. Those motives or drives may themselves be as rigidly determined as you please. Quine's "agent" can just as well be a self-programmed robot as a post-hominid political subject.     Freedom splits into at least two fuzzy sets of freedoms or free actions. This means freedom is multidimensional. You can be free in one way to some degree and not free in some other way to some other degree.     Civil liberties make up the first broad fuzzy set of free actions. Most of these have to do with going to hell in your own fashion. They range from issues of what you can say or write to when the police can search you or tap your phone to whether you can buy or sell sex or drugs or alcohol or poker chips. Many deal with how far the state will allow you to pursue your religious beliefs. Most countries have few professed gay atheists in office. Some Muslim countries outlaw atheism and agnosticism as most Western countries did at one time. Saudi Arabia demands that even non-Muslim tourists fast during the day in the month of Ramadan.     Civil liberties also deal with what information the state will let you see or send. Sweden forbids adult TV before 9 P.M. and will not let firms run ads during kids' shows. Great Britain forbids adult TV before 9:30 P.M. France forbids adult TV from 6 A.M. to 10:30 P.M. while Germany forbids it before 11 P.M. Each state draws its own hard lines between the fuzz of the obscene and the non-obscene. The National Security Agency forbids American citizens and firms to encrypt some of their software with some math schemes. The NSA does this even though you can find the math schemes in the open literature and even though most other countries allow their use.     Economic liberties make up the other broad fuzzy set of free actions. They fall with a rise in taxes or tariffs or regulations. They also fall in the face of forced rent controls or minimum wages or forced health care or just about any other intrusion of the state into the economy. They reach their lowest point in a command economy. The early Soviet Union tried to achieve such a state with its forced five-year plans but fell far short of the ideal of central planning. It allowed workers to switch jobs largely at will and allowed some to grow produce for market on small plots of land. Today the U.S. military is the closest thing the world has to a large pure command economy.     State spending gives a rough measure of economic freedom. The more it spends the more it takes in taxes and so the less the economic freedom. The state in Sweden spends about 68% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on social programs. Germany spends about 49% of its GDP. The U.S. federal government spends about 33% of its GDP. Singapore spends about 20% of its GDP. State spending on defense also limits economic freedom to some degree. So does outlawing mail on Sunday.     The fuzzy political square has two axes. It lists civil liberties from 0% to 100% along the vertical axis. It lists economic liberties from 0% to 100% along the horizontal axis.     Each point in the square defines a simple fuzzy set. The point measures both the degree to which you are a civil libertarian and the degree to which you are an economic libertarian. To be a civil libertarian is to favor more civil liberty than not. To be an economic libertarian is to favor more economic liberty than not. A liberal is a civil libertarian but not an economic libertarian. A conservative is an economic libertarian but not a civil libertarian. A populist is neither. A libertarian is both.     The next figure shows a fuzzy political square with the names of the four patterns in its four quadrants. The quadrants include the names of some of their recent spokesmen in the U.S. media:     Note the dashed line that runs from the upper-left corner to the lower-right corner. It forms one of the square's two diagonals since it passes through the midpoint of the fuzzy square. It is a theorem that this diagonal connects the two binary vertices of pure civil libertarianism with pure economic libertarianism. And so we get as a corollary that the dashed line is the old left-right spectrum embedded in a 2-D fuzzy cube.     The left-right extremes are still opposites and the left and right still meet in the middle. Conservatives such as radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh still lock horns with liberals such as President Bill Clinton and disagree on most social issues much as the largely conservative states of Germany and Japan differ from the largely liberal states of Sweden and Canada. The fuzzy square charts their conflict in terms of how much of which freedoms they trade for state control. The advance here is that this left-right line falls out of the fuzzy square as a type of theorem. It follows from the geometric structure of the fuzzy political square.     And the fuzzy square's two variables avoid the circularity that plagues the lone left-right spectrum. Each point on the diagonal is a special weighted average of pure civil and economic libertarianism. If a liberal on this line is a civil libertarian to degree 60% then the liberal is also an economic libertarian to degree 40%. The two percentages sum to 100% if and only if the political position lies on the diagonal. This is the zero-sum structure that polarizes the left and right political positions. But we do not define liberal as simply non-conservative and we do not define left as non-right and then go on in a circle to define conservative as non-liberal and right as non-left. We instead define liberal and conservative by how they combine the two independent variables of civil and economic liberty.     The fuzzy square shows four fuzzy patterns and two pairs of opposites. Liberals oppose conservatives and a diagonal shows their opposition. Populists oppose libertarians and the other diagonal shows their opposition. The four patterns all oppose one another to some degree but not always over the same issues. Liberals and libertarians largely agree on issues of civil liberties. They disagree with populists and conservatives on these issues. Conservatives and libertarians largely agree on issues of economic liberties. They disagree with liberals and populists on these issues.     The fuzzy square shows how the left-right spectrum defines these third parties out of existence.     It further shows that the "third party" vote consists not just of one response to the left-right dogma but of the two opposing views of libertarianism and populism. This helps explain why no single third party has emerged that stands for the large number of voters who do not support the left-right choices of liberalism and conservatism. Libertarians and populists differ even more from each other than they differ from either liberals or conservatives.     The fuzzy square defines libertarians as both civil libertarians and economic libertarians. This is the formal definition of limited government. Many libertarians prefer the older term "classical liberal" or the newer term "market liberal." The term "liberal" still tends to mean libertarian outside the United States and inside scholarly journals where it refers to constitutional liberalism. Historian Francis Fukuyama gave a typical definition of political constitutional liberalism in his controversial book The End of History : "Political liberalism can be defined simply as a rule of law that recognizes certain individual rights or freedoms from government control." John Stuart Mill and other British radicals began the Liberal Party in England in the early 1880s. They derived their platform of civil liberties from the British empiricist philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke and from the common-law tradition in England that stretches back even before the barons in the plain of Runnymede forced King John to sign the Magna Carta on 15 June 1215. The Liberals derived their platform of laissez-faire economics from the market economics of Adam Smith and David Ricardo.     A 1994 Gallup poll found that 22% of Americans are libertarian. Most vote as Democrats or Republicans.     The most famous libertarian American was Thomas Jefferson or rather his philosophy that "that government is best which governs least." Jefferson was hardly the champion of liberty as a slave owner. He clearly said one thing and did another. DNA evidence has shown that he likely had at least one child with his quadroon slave Sally Hemings. Hemings was also the half sister of Jefferson's wife. Jefferson may also have fathered other of her seven children. He was at home at Monticello nine months before all but one of them was born. Jefferson's hypocrisy was brutal and studied. That does not affect the strength of his arguments for severely limited government. But it does make their espousal look like special pleading: How can a champion of liberty own and sell other men and let his wife and children live as slaves? Benjamin Franklin also owned slaves for many years but at least in his old age he became an abolitionist.     The world has changed so much in 200 years that the great statesman and writer Jefferson now finds his modern libertarian successor in the millionaire radio shock-jock Howard Stern. Stern ran for governor of New York on the libertarian ticket in 1994. He dropped out of the race over something of a libertarian issue of privacy. The state required that he reveal his finances and he refused to do so.     Howard Stern's place in the fuzzy square reflects what Rolling Stone and other news sources see as a libertarian trend among the 130 million or so Americans under the age 35 and the still younger Generation X. Political scientists have long observed that a person's ideology tends to form when she comes of legal age. Today's young tend to see government as a tool of the old and graying. Many if not most young people doubt that they will ever get a Social Security check. One 1994 study found that the state pays a 72-year-old in her lifetime $98,600 more in benefits than she ever paid to the state in taxes. But a 27-year-old will pay $203,000 more in taxes in his lifetime than he will get in state benefits. Your place in the fuzzy square may depend to a large degree on such crude measures of state costs and benefits.     The square defines populists as the opposites of libertarians.     Populists are neither civil nor economic libertarians. Their motto seems to be "Someone should pass a law" and in most cases someone already has. The U.S. Federal Register grows by more than 1,000 pages of new or revised federal rules and regulations each week. Populists favor the military draft and some forms of censorship. They may favor laws that ban or limit certain sex acts or lifestyles. They share with liberals the support of taxes and business regulations and the forced licensing of doctors and lawyers and other professionals. They strongly oppose open immigration and ending drug prohibition.     The best-known populist was the Archie Bunker character on the 1970s TV sitcom All in the Family . He liked no one except a large and intrusive government that would pass and enforce his laws and wage his wars.     Billionaire Ross Perot is something of the modern patriot populist. He is a moderate or centrist populist but still a populist. His Reform Party counts as a centrist populist party. Perot does not like free trade or drugs or foreign oil or tax breaks or big salaries for executives and congressmen. He likes public spending on roads and cities and small firms and computer research. Perot also likes higher income taxes to pay off' the national debt and likes higher gas taxes and oil taxes and a strengthened Internal Revenue Service to better collect these and other federal taxes.     Former wrestling champ Jesse "The Body" Ventura ran on the 1998 Reform Party ticket for governor of Minnesota and won. Ventura called for more economic freedom in terms of lower taxes and less regulation and for more civil liberty. He expressed sympathy for ending state prohibition of drugs and prostitution. Thus his position was more libertarian than populist. Most Reform Party populists support Ross Perot's call for more and not less drug prohibition.     Extreme populism shades into totalitarianism just as extreme libertarianism shades into minimal-state "minarchy" or even free-market anarchy. Those extremes make up the two binary corners of the 2-D fuzzy cube and lie at opposite ends of a diagonal. They reflect the old joke in political science that the only consistent political positions are totalitarianism and anarchy. They also show how market or individualist anarchy differs from the more popular communist or collectivist anarchy. The individualist anarchist wants no government. The collectivist anarchist wants a big or even totalitarian government to enforce no government.     Fascism was just a shorter name for totalitarianism. The Columbia Encyclopedia defines fascism as a "totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life." Italian fascist Benito Mussolini made this clear in his book Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions and even called out the polarity between fascism and modern libertarianism (or classical liberalism): "[Classical] liberalism denied the State in the name of the individual. Fascism reasserts the rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual."     Hitler and Mussolini and Franco suppressed economic liberties as much as they suppressed political liberties. They share their place in the fuzzy square with Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong and Muammar Qaddafi and Saddam Hussein and dozens of other dictators who had enough power to truly run their countries. Modern China has since moved into the conservative quadrant as it has pursued free markets but not lessened its grip on civil liberties. This has happened with many countries in Southeast Asia from South Korea to Singapore.     Putting fascism on the far right of the left-right spectrum always had more to do with name calling than with logic. The fuzzy square shows that fascism depends as much on ideas from the extreme left as from the extreme right. The old left-right spectrum would have us believe that the left and right end in totalitarianism.     But then where would we put anarchy? The people of Iceland lived in anarchy with a private or "consensual" government until they voted to accept the king of Norway as their king in 1263. The people met to hold public "things" and "all-things" that came up with laws and tried disputes. Their decentralized government had a legislative and judicial branch but no executive branch. They had the luxury of such anarchy in part because they faced no threat of foreign invasion. Ireland has also known calm periods of anarchy in its bloody history.     Some form of the fuzzy square has been around for at least a quarter century and many have come to call it a Nolan chart. Both economists and political scientists have used it though none of them saw the formal tie to fuzzy logic. Nobel laureate economist Paul Samuelson used the fuzzy political square in the final chapter of his popular 1970s college text Economics . But the openly liberal Samuelson chose to define the conservative quadrant as fascist and the populist quadrant as "serfdom." This was not standard use of language or the political square.     Political scientists William Maddox and Stuart Lilie used the political square to study the structure of American politics in the 1970s with questionnaires that evoke one's place in the fuzzy square. Should the government control content on TV or radio or the Internet? Should we legalize prostitution or gambling or drugs? Should we repeal the income tax or minimum wage laws or farm subsidies? Should the United States pay for the defense of Europe or Asia?     Maddox and Lilie found that in 1980 about half of Americans fall under a "third party" ideology. Populists led with 26% of voters. Liberals followed with 24% of voters and libertarians with 17%. Conservatives trailed with 17% of voters. The other 15% had no opinion or fell in the middle of the square.     That raises a quintessential fuzzy question: What lies in the middle of the square?     The political center lies in the midpoint. And it shades off in degrees on all sides. The midpoint is the fuzziest point of all in a fuzzy cube. The midpoint is unique in this sense. It lies the same distance from each binary corner. No other point in a cube has this property. The value 1/2 lies the same distance from 0 and 1 in a 1-D fuzzy cube or in the left-right spectrum. The same holds for a fuzzy square or cube of any dimension. The cube midpoint has no counterpart in binary logic or math. It accounts for the unripe lemon that is as much yellow as not and for the fully neutral voter.     The cube midpoint runs still deeper than this. It accounts for the "paradoxes" that have plagued binary logic since at least the time of the ancient Greeks. Does the Cretan lie if he says that all Cretans lie? If he tells the truth then he lies and so he does not tell the truth. But if he lies then he tells the truth. This forces us to conclude that the Cretan both lies and he does not lie at the same time. That is impossible in binary logic. But it is fine in fuzzy logic if he both lies and tells the truth to midpoint degree 50%.     The same fuzzy logic holds for the person who sees himself on the 1-D fuzzy line as both a liberal and conservative or who sees himself in terms of the 2-D fuzzy square as not just a liberal and a conservative but also as a populist and libertarian. These "paradoxical" positions land him in the cube midpoint or political center. He also lands in the center if he sees himself as neither a liberal nor conservative on the 1-D fuzzy line or if he sees himself as not only neither a liberal nor conservative but also as neither a populist nor a libertarian.     This analysis does not stop at two dimensions.     We can add other variables to the fuzzy square and increase the dimensions of political analysis. More dimensions make the cube more realistic. They may also make analysis unwieldy or hard to test. What would make a good third variable? What view or concept would help split each quadrant? The third variable can be anything that we can measure or test with a questionnaire or with any other tool.     Abortion might make a good third variable. Are you pro-life or pro-choice? Those two extremes define their own choice spectrum from 0% to 100%. They would turn the fuzzy square into a proper 3-D fuzzy cube with 8 quadrants. Most conservatives are pro-life and so are a good many populists. Most liberals and libertarians are pro-choice. But there are still enough who are not to fill out the 8 quadrants. This holds even more so on the issue of late-term or "partial birth" abortions.     There are enough exceptions that it might make sense to treat the abortion issue as a third axis. Or we can just lump it in with civil liberties. Either approach improves on the simple 1-D left-right spectrum that has held sway for over a century in political debates and humanities courses and newspaper op-ed columns. (Continues...) Copyright © 1999 Bart Kosko. All rights reserved.