Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page


In fallibilism, fideism on 19/11/2011 at 12:19 pm

If a problem is compared to a maze, one could “solve” it by walking around its border without ever entering, if the relevant rules did not forbid it. To some that would be the height of intellectual dishonesty. They would call this ‘cheating’. Maybe they are right, but we should not think the “solution” a cheat if the maze has no exit, for it is a solution to a different problem, namely that of progressing from point A to B, rather than traversing a maze. It is an optimum in a different context. In other words, if one sees that the maze has no exit, is therefore unsolvable by traditional methods besides walking around or knocking down walls.



In critical rationalism on 19/11/2011 at 7:05 am

As I was sitting in my chair,
I knew the bottom wasn’t there,
Nor legs nor back, but I just sat,
Ignoring little things like that.

How apt at describing most justificationist programs and their belief that all will be resolved. Acting as if some hypotheses are to be preferred is indispensable to the conduct of ordinary life, but they are a matter of convention, and to believe that one may reliably choose the right properties is a belief without warrant. Therefore, they do not follow their own proposed procedure.


Woe to Induction

In critical rationalism, induction on 18/11/2011 at 8:01 am

Łukasiewicz’s argument against inductive inference is simple: under any objective interpretation of the probability calculus, the probability that a single hypothesis is true where m is the set of logical consequences of the hypothesis and if n events are taken to possess property P is m / (m+n). Thus, m is always greater than n, so that the probability of the hypothesis cannot be greater than ½. Moreover, since scientific theories are often universal, m approaches infinity and the probability of the scientific theory approaches 0. Carnap rediscovers this argument after attempting to produce an objective inductive logic and is shaken to the core.

Łukasiewicz, Jan. 1909. On Probability of Inductive Conclusions, Przeglad Filozoficzny, 12, 209–210.

Carnap, Rudolph. 1950. The Logical Foundations of Probability. 2nd ed., Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 572.


Philosophy and Self-Help

In Uncategorized on 11/11/2011 at 12:42 am

Inside David Foster Wallace’s Private Self-Help Library


You Just Don’t Understand …

In fideism on 09/11/2011 at 12:52 am

There’s an excellent article, ‘You just don’t understand my religion’ is not good enough, on the vagueness of central commitments of religion — it’s applicable to non-religous commitments as well.


Lecture on the Open Society

In popper on 09/11/2011 at 12:15 am