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The Jorge against scientism

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  • #31
    Originally posted by phank View Post
    Again, we assign all knowledge some sort of error bars, whose magnitude we decide for ourselves. I would say that NO knowledge can be complete, but that some knowledge can be so seriously incorrect as to be ludicrous. It's not just that we can't feasibly verify everything, it's that we cannot exhaustively verify anything.
    I'm not certain what you mean by "all knowledge." Suppose one offers a statement in a way that it can be regarded as a truth claim. It is empirical if
    1) It is general or abstract and
    2) it makes a prediction that can be compared for truthfulness to observation of the universe (or the world) or experimental results. Please bear in mind we are discussing logical positivism, which does not concern specific statements, such as, "I am one year and seven months old" (false). Again, A and B are general, abstract terms (see my previous postings).

    Perhaps you now know enough to explain what you mean so that we can see more clearly the difference between our positions.
    The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

    [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
      ... A better example of an apriori claim would be, "You can't have your cake [finished eating it] and eat it too!"
      I think you have fundamentally misunderstood this important aphorism or at least I have always understood it very differently. I always thought it meant that you cannot keep your cake and still have it if you eat it. Once you've eaten your cake, it's gone; you don't have it any more. Try it and you will see what I mean. So much for a priori claims!
      βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον∑
      ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

      אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
        There's some truth to that, but I doubt anyone has tried to measure the amount of scientific thinking in the general population.
        It's been done fairly often.

        Possibly until my last post here, the one to pancreasman, you and pancreasman have yet to agree that some knowledge can be apriori, contra logical positivism. I have not yet presented fully Hans-Hermann Hoppe's argument. Indeed, I'm afraid I have made a bad start in this thread.
        I don't understand what you mean by a priori knowledge. How is this different from Making Stuff Up?

        In other posts, you seem to be claiming that applying rules of inference to empirical observations, can lead us to conclusions themselves not directly observed. And while I agree (I think?) that our logical rules of inference are formal and axiomatic, and operate to eliminate contradictions, the conclusions reached using those formal rules are hostage to the quality of the empirical observations the rules are applied to. With formal logic, GIGO is in full-blown operation.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by robrecht View Post
          I think you have fundamentally misunderstood this important aphorism or at least I have always understood it very differently. I always thought it meant that you cannot keep your cake and still have it if you eat it. Once you've eaten your cake, it's gone; you don't have it any more. Try it and you will see what I mean. So much for a priori claims!
          I guess your explanation is better.
          The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

          [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by phank View Post
            It's been done fairly often.
            Maybe what is really measured is the lack of scientific training and lack of knowledge of what is believed to be empirically established. I think most people do have native ability to think scientifically.



            I don't understand what you mean by a priori knowledge. How is this different from Making Stuff Up?
            Sometimes someone will be accused of trying to eat his cake and then still have it. Do you really consider such accusations Making Stuff Up?



            In other posts, you seem to be claiming that applying rules of inference to empirical observations, can lead us to conclusions themselves not directly observed.
            Exactly where did I say that? I think you misunderstood my posts. Usually in the history of science someone like Einstein would formulate a theory NOT using induction from a series of observations or experiments. To test the theory, one would think of possible experiments. For them, generate predictions mathematically from the theory. A romantic example is the bending of light in a gravity field. This is a report
            http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1920RSPTA.220..291D
            of results that were obtained from a famous scientific expedition, confirming that the Sun's gravity field "bends" light as predicted.



            And while I agree (I think?) that our logical rules of inference are formal and axiomatic, and operate to eliminate contradictions, the conclusions reached using those formal rules are hostage to the quality of the empirical observations the rules are applied to. With formal logic, GIGO is in full-blown operation.
            Yes, if any one of the premises of a logical argument is false, the conclusion of the argument may be false also.
            The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

            [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by robrecht View Post
              Try [eating a cake and still have it] and you will see what I mean. So much for a priori claims!
              Oh, sure, you or someone else can try to eat an infinity of cakes and still have them, if you are that nuts. Better not have cakes with nuts or you'll get a humungous belly ache.
              The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

              [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

              Comment


              • #37
                Here's an interesting example of a priori reasoning
                Originally posted by Kelp(p) View Post
                According to my crap knowledge of physics, there is no such thing as "nothing" scientifically speaking. What we call empty space is still full of fields and infinitesimal quantum particles popping in and out of existence (or is that arising from and going back into the background field? Depends on one's view of quantum mechanics?) Philosophically, I've been told that "Why is there something rather than nothing?" is a nonsense question because we cannot conceive of true nothingness and thus have no reference point from which to talk about it.
                If you disagree it is a priori reasoning, would you please explain why not?
                The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                  Here's an interesting example of a priori reasoningIf you disagree it is a priori reasoning, would you please explain why not?
                  What are you assuming a priori? The notion that 'there is no such thing as nothing as far as science is concerned'? If that's it, it's not a priori. Kelp is confusing 'vacuum' with 'nothing'. That there is no such thing as a pure vacuum is an extrapolation from experiment and theory.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                    What are you assuming a priori?
                    What I am assuming? Well, let me just say that people certainly can make apriori assumptions. For example, someone may be trying out several scientific explanations for certain phenomena, trying to hit upon a promising explanation.

                    But, that is not what I am struggling to explain. An implication of logical positivism is that there can be NO apriori argument that we know to be true--or at least be NOT refutable without self-contradiction. But logical positivism has been shown to be self-contradicting. How was that shown? Apriori reasoning!

                    What I am struggling to think up now is to think of an illumining example of apriori reasoning. I already have something in mind what I call the Action Axiom, but for some reason I'd rather start with a simpler example or something that is somewhat easier to understand.

                    But let me say this: There is at least one proposition (the Action Axiom) such that any attempt to refute it only confirms it.
                    The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                    [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                      What I am assuming? Well, let me just say that people certainly can make apriori assumptions. For example, someone may be trying out several scientific explanations for certain phenomena, trying to hit upon a promising explanation.

                      But, that is not what I am struggling to explain. An implication of logical positivism is that there can be NO apriori argument that we know to be true--or at least be NOT refutable without self-contradiction. But logical positivism has been shown to be self-contradicting. How was that shown? Apriori reasoning!

                      What I am struggling to think up now is to think of an illumining example of apriori reasoning. I already have something in mind what I call the Action Axiom, but for some reason I'd rather start with a simpler example or something that is somewhat easier to understand.

                      But let me say this: There is at least one proposition (the Action Axiom) such that any attempt to refute it only confirms it.
                      O ..... kay.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                        O ..... kay.
                        Perhaps I should point out that I think logical positivism is only about scientific theories. They should be abstract and universal, that is, their terms should be abstract and universal. Examples: photons, gravity fields, mass, energy, acceleration, stars, angular displacements. Predictions derived from a theory can be somewhat more specific, though, but --. Here I have to explain that I am discussing a lecture by someone called Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Now, he is discussing apriori scientific theories, if I can put it that way, versus empirical scientific theories. In both cases, they are supposed to be abstract and universal. At least that's how I understand his lecture.
                        The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                        [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                          Perhaps I should point out that I think logical positivism is only about scientific theories. They should be abstract and universal, that is, their terms should be abstract and universal. Examples: photons, gravity fields, mass, energy, acceleration, stars, angular displacements. Predictions derived from a theory can be somewhat more specific, though, but --. Here I have to explain that I am discussing a lecture by someone called Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Now, he is discussing apriori scientific theories, if I can put it that way, versus empirical scientific theories. In both cases, they are supposed to be abstract and universal. At least that's how I understand his lecture.
                          Okay, but I still don't understand how a scientific theory can be a priori. I'd need an example.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                            Maybe what is really measured is the lack of scientific training and lack of knowledge of what is believed to be empirically established. I think most people do have native ability to think scientifically.
                            I would say it's an ability that requires training. Children do not think scientifically, they think teleologically. When they ask why the sky is blue, they are NOT asking about Rayleigh scattering, they are asking for the PURPOSE that being blue serves. All "why-type" questions children ask, ask for the purpose behind something, not the mechanisms involved. It takes careful training to discard teleological thinking.

                            Sometimes someone will be accused of trying to eat his cake and then still have it. Do you really consider such accusations Making Stuff Up?
                            No, I consider them empirical. Such people, by experience, want to eat their cake and have yours. A similar aphorism teaches us that there's no such thing as a free lunch, but there IS such a thing as a stolen lunch.

                            Exactly where did I say that? I think you misunderstood my posts.
                            Quite possible. I was trying to understand what you mean by a priori.

                            Usually in the history of science someone like Einstein would formulate a theory NOT using induction from a series of observations or experiments.
                            I agree. The greatest scientists seem able to leap from unjustified assumptions to foregone conclusions without traversing the space between, and THEN spending years backfilling in that space. We look at that as a combination of intuition, inspiration, and luck. Nothing empirical involved in the process, but the result is not knowledge, it is a set of predictions. I read somewhere that 90% of scientific hypotheses fail the testing. That is, they are wrong. So I'm distinguishing here between knowlege and untested claims. Those untested claims MIGHT be true, but pending the tests, they are not knowledge.

                            Yes, if any one of the premises of a logical argument is false, the conclusion of the argument may be false also.
                            And thus we cannot say that because the logic is sound, the conclusions are correct. Earlier, you seemed to be saying that logical conclusions are not empirical, because the rules of inference are axiomatic and not empirical. I guess we agree here that logic does not guarantee correct conclusions, only logical conclusions. For them to be correct, you gotta do the legwork and that's all empirical.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                              Okay, but I still don't understand how a scientific theory can be a priori. I'd need an example.
                              I read about something many months ago that would serve as an example, but so far I can't recall the details. Actually, theories in the physical sciences are not a priori but rather empirical. (Now, "empirical" here means only abstract and universal hypotheses such as in physics.)

                              If I can't remember that darn thing, I will explain praxeology (science of human action), which includes economics (not Keynesianism!) Praxeology proceeds from what I mentioned before, the Action Axiom.
                              The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                              [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by phank View Post
                                I would say it's an ability that requires training. Children do not think scientifically, they think teleologically. When they ask why the sky is blue, they are NOT asking about Rayleigh scattering, they are asking for the PURPOSE that being blue serves. All "why-type" questions children ask, ask for the purpose behind something, not the mechanisms involved. It takes careful training to discard teleological thinking.
                                I am skeptical about teleological thinking by kids, but I think it is at least plausible.



                                No, I consider them empirical. Such people, by experience, want to eat their cake and have yours.
                                No, that's not what the saying means.
                                A similar aphorism teaches us that there's no such thing as a free lunch, but there IS such a thing as a stolen lunch.
                                Well, yeah. Some "free" lunches are possible only because their existence was forced. E.g., wealth transfers from Joe to Moe enforced by our wonderful Sugar-daddy government. However, work must always be done to bring forth every lunch. The saying is a rejoinder to calls for government welfare.
                                The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                                [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                                Comment

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