Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rough Sleeping and # 31 Rationalism

An allotment shed but a home for someone.
I Know I go on about my allotment but this is about more than this. Yesterday following an e-mail from our Allotment site manager a group of  us met up with her and had a walk around the site. The Plan was to agree priorities and next steps to improve the use and state of the site. A number of plots are available for new plotholders and there is a waiting list of over 100 who are interested in taking on a plot. As well as people no longer able to look after their allocation or having moved on to new locations there are some who feel unsafe on the site.
One of the reasons for this is that there are 'rough sleepers' who take up residence in sheds there (see picture), during our walk such a person was discovered and asked to move on (they were told they were expected to have gone within 10 days).
The fact that in 2013 someone is living in a shed in winter in a fairly affluent area of London raises many questions- is it safe? Is the person here legally? Do we all share responsibility for this? One of the others in our group put forward to me the possibility that this person was able to save on rent sand send home money for their family - perhaps this is the case, but is this person living the off the grid with no NI, or status in the UK? The site has no electricity or toilets and running water is off  during the winter.
Even if they are doing this partly by choice, it doesn't seem too good a life, and how many of these IIs (if that's what they are)  live here in London? I saw in this Guardian article here that this way of life is not just chosen by those whose legal status in UK is questionable.

Anyway that sort of leads me on to #31 Rationalism

Crofton writes how Descartes arrived at this through  (I would say) rabid reductionism - looking at the pone thing he could be sure of  which was that he was thinking - thus Cogito Ergo Sum - pretty amazing!
This view was disputed by the empiricists  their catchphrase was not so good 'knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience' not sure how Roy Walker would manage this one.
Anyway here's a summary of rationalism