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A solution to the problem of induction.

Kinesis
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2/5/2013 3:02:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Those of you familiar with philosophy will be aware of the scandal among philosophers that induction - a hugely important technique in science and the root of the way we live our lives - appears to be unjustifiable. You can't justify it inductively because that would be circular and you can't justify it deductively because deductive arguments contain the same information in the premises as the conclusion - i.e. it's also circular.

Induction is basically either saying that because a particular observation (e.g. the law of special relativity) has been confirmed via experimentation numerous times in the past, it will probably continue to hold in the future. Or alternatively, that because a limited set of observations (e.g. metals expand when heated) have held for some particular thing, they probably hold for all things of that type.

I'm considering a potential solution to the problem. It doesn't show that the inductive principle is true, but it does show that it is the best method possible - that is, if anything works induction does. So we may as well use it.

So, either reality is uniform or it is not. If it is, induction will work. If it is not, induction will fail. But so will every other method. If there were some method we could use to predict the future, that would be a regularity that could be exploited by induction. So, if Newton's Law of Motion was true at one point but constantly fluctuated between different values, and these values could be predicted by a crystal ball gazer, we could use induction to infer that because of the ball gazer's previous successes he will continue to be successful in the future.

So, there is no alternative. Since without induction we would be unable to conclude that our next meal probably won't poison us, or that jumping off a skyscraper will probably result in us dying - i.e. we would be screwed without it - we might as well choose, pragmatically, to accept that induction works rather than embrace the alternative, which is nothing.

Anyone have any thoughts?
Noumena
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2/5/2013 3:06:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'm partial to falsificationism. We can't justify induction (i.e., we can't found beliefs on it) but we can do our best to root out when we're wrong by repeated experimentation and scrutiny.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
Kinesis
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2/5/2013 3:12:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:06:16 PM, Noumena wrote:
I'm partial to falsificationism. We can't justify induction (i.e., we can't found beliefs on it) but we can do our best to root out when we're wrong by repeated experimentation and scrutiny.

So, I don't think falsificationism avoids the 'without induction we're screwed' part. It hasn't been falsified, for example, that my submitting this comment will cause me to be sent to hell for all eternity. In fact, without induction there's no reason for you think that pressing the 'add reply' box will cause the site to post your reply to this comment.
Kinesis
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2/5/2013 3:15:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:06:16 PM, Noumena wrote:
I'm partial to falsificationism. We can't justify induction (i.e., we can't found beliefs on it) but we can do our best to root out when we're wrong by repeated experimentation and scrutiny.

Also, falsification has other problems. Is a well corroborated theory preferred to an uncorroborated theory? Popper seemed to think so, and yet there's no resources in falsificationism to justify that.
Stephen_Hawkins
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2/5/2013 3:22:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Instrumentalism, i.e. it's useful.

I agree, though it leaves criticism via Kuhn and Feyerabend quite open.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Kinesis
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2/5/2013 3:27:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:22:04 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Instrumentalism, i.e. it's useful.

I agree, though it leaves criticism via Kuhn and Feyerabend quite open.

I'm not all that familiar with phil of science, although I do intend to read the works of those two at some point. Would you be kind enough to say what you think those two would say in response to my argument?
Noumena
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2/5/2013 3:33:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:12:58 PM, Kinesis wrote:
At 2/5/2013 3:06:16 PM, Noumena wrote:
I'm partial to falsificationism. We can't justify induction (i.e., we can't found beliefs on it) but we can do our best to root out when we're wrong by repeated experimentation and scrutiny.

So, I don't think falsificationism avoids the 'without induction we're screwed' part. It hasn't been falsified, for example, that my submitting this comment will cause me to be sent to hell for all eternity. In fact, without induction there's no reason for you think that pressing the 'add reply' box will cause the site to post your reply to this comment.

Propositional claims can either be falsified or they can't. If they cannot be then we're kinda screwed. If they can be then I don't see where the problem is. I can't inductively presume that my clicking 'add reply' will post this but I can put it to the test of falsification.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
Noumena
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2/5/2013 3:34:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:15:39 PM, Kinesis wrote:
At 2/5/2013 3:06:16 PM, Noumena wrote:
I'm partial to falsificationism. We can't justify induction (i.e., we can't found beliefs on it) but we can do our best to root out when we're wrong by repeated experimentation and scrutiny.

Also, falsification has other problems. Is a well corroborated theory preferred to an uncorroborated theory? Popper seemed to think so, and yet there's no resources in falsificationism to justify that.

I don't know how full fledged falsificationists (if they even exist) would respond to that. I just like it as a response to induction. Whether it needs tweaking (for instance in respect to the problem you raised) is another matter.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
Kinesis
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2/5/2013 3:43:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:33:57 PM, Noumena wrote:
Propositional claims can either be falsified or they can't. If they cannot be then we're kinda screwed. If they can be then I don't see where the problem is. I can't inductively presume that my clicking 'add reply' will post this but I can put it to the test of falsification.

You clicked the 'add reply' button expecting the site to post your reply. You didn't punch the nearest wall expecting that to cause the site to post your reply. Either way would have put the proposition 'doing this will cause my reply to be posted' to the test of falsification. But you chose to do the former, because you inferred inductively that clicking that button would be the most likely way to post your reply. Am I wrong?
Stephen_Hawkins
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2/5/2013 4:05:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:27:44 PM, Kinesis wrote:
At 2/5/2013 3:22:04 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Instrumentalism, i.e. it's useful.

I agree, though it leaves criticism via Kuhn and Feyerabend quite open.

I'm not all that familiar with phil of science, although I do intend to read the works of those two at some point. Would you be kind enough to say what you think those two would say in response to my argument?

These are the times I need a scanner.

Remind me about this at some point tomorrow and I will give you a detailed version, but right now I am busy doing other work while procrastinating on DDO.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Cody_Franklin
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2/5/2013 8:37:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:02:28 PM, Kinesis wrote:
Those of you familiar with philosophy will be aware of the scandal among philosophers that induction - a hugely important technique in science and the root of the way we live our lives - appears to be unjustifiable. You can't justify it inductively because that would be circular and you can't justify it deductively because deductive arguments contain the same information in the premises as the conclusion - i.e. it's also circular.

Induction is basically either saying that because a particular observation (e.g. the law of special relativity) has been confirmed via experimentation numerous times in the past, it will probably continue to hold in the future. Or alternatively, that because a limited set of observations (e.g. metals expand when heated) have held for some particular thing, they probably hold for all things of that type.

I'm considering a potential solution to the problem. It doesn't show that the inductive principle is true, but it does show that it is the best method possible - that is, if anything works induction does. So we may as well use it.

So, either reality is uniform or it is not. If it is, induction will work. If it is not, induction will fail. But so will every other method. If there were some method we could use to predict the future, that would be a regularity that could be exploited by induction. So, if Newton's Law of Motion was true at one point but constantly fluctuated between different values, and these values could be predicted by a crystal ball gazer, we could use induction to infer that because of the ball gazer's previous successes he will continue to be successful in the future.

So, there is no alternative. Since without induction we would be unable to conclude that our next meal probably won't poison us, or that jumping off a skyscraper will probably result in us dying - i.e. we would be screwed without it - we might as well choose, pragmatically, to accept that induction works rather than embrace the alternative, which is nothing.

Anyone have any thoughts?

I don't, but you might want to talk to Hume. I think he called dibs on that argument shortly after presenting the problem.
TSH
Posts: 260
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3/1/2013 2:04:17 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:02:28 PM, Kinesis wrote:
Those of you familiar with philosophy will be aware of the scandal among philosophers that induction - a hugely important technique in science and the root of the way we live our lives - appears to be unjustifiable. You can't justify it inductively because that would be circular and you can't justify it deductively because deductive arguments contain the same information in the premises as the conclusion - i.e. it's also circular.

Induction is basically either saying that because a particular observation (e.g. the law of special relativity) has been confirmed via experimentation numerous times in the past, it will probably continue to hold in the future. Or alternatively, that because a limited set of observations (e.g. metals expand when heated) have held for some particular thing, they probably hold for all things of that type.

I'm considering a potential solution to the problem. It doesn't show that the inductive principle is true, but it does show that it is the best method possible - that is, if anything works induction does. So we may as well use it.

So, either reality is uniform or it is not. If it is, induction will work. If it is not, induction will fail. But so will every other method. If there were some method we could use to predict the future, that would be a regularity that could be exploited by induction. So, if Newton's Law of Motion was true at one point but constantly fluctuated between different values, and these values could be predicted by a crystal ball gazer, we could use induction to infer that because of the ball gazer's previous successes he will continue to be successful in the future.

So, there is no alternative. Since without induction we would be unable to conclude that our next meal probably won't poison us, or that jumping off a skyscraper will probably result in us dying - i.e. we would be screwed without it - we might as well choose, pragmatically, to accept that induction works rather than embrace the alternative, which is nothing.

Anyone have any thoughts?

"So, either reality is uniform or it is not. If it is, induction will work. If it is not, induction will fail. But so will every other method. If there were some method we could use to predict the future, that would be a regularity that could be exploited by induction."

So, induction is defined to be the same as that other method? I am not fully convinced this is always possible.

"So, there is no alternative"

Wouldn't that other method qualify as an alternative?

I consider induction to be intuition (note: intuition is subjective). The reason why is that "induction" is only used when it coincides with one's intuition. Consequently, it is justified so long as intuition is justified. Intuition is justified for obvious reasons (namely, natural selection).

Consider the following example: Both days you wore a red shirt, the dow jones industrial average increased. Therefore, by induction, wearing a red shirt should increase the dow jones industrial average. Intuitively, this conclusion is incorrect.

I think the above reasoning also resolves the problem and provides a justification for "induction" (as long as it agrees with intuition).

On an unrelated note, this is why science is based upon consensus.
~tsh
Apeiron
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3/1/2013 2:42:20 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:02:28 PM, Kinesis wrote:
Those of you familiar with philosophy will be aware of the scandal among philosophers that induction - a hugely important technique in science and the root of the way we live our lives - appears to be unjustifiable. You can't justify it inductively because that would be circular and you can't justify it deductively because deductive arguments contain the same information in the premises as the conclusion - i.e. it's also circular.

Induction is basically either saying that because a particular observation (e.g. the law of special relativity) has been confirmed via experimentation numerous times in the past, it will probably continue to hold in the future. Or alternatively, that because a limited set of observations (e.g. metals expand when heated) have held for some particular thing, they probably hold for all things of that type.

I'm considering a potential solution to the problem. It doesn't show that the inductive principle is true, but it does show that it is the best method possible - that is, if anything works induction does. So we may as well use it.

So, either reality is uniform or it is not. If it is, induction will work. If it is not, induction will fail. But so will every other method. If there were some method we could use to predict the future, that would be a regularity that could be exploited by induction. So, if Newton's Law of Motion was true at one point but constantly fluctuated between different values, and these values could be predicted by a crystal ball gazer, we could use induction to infer that because of the ball gazer's previous successes he will continue to be successful in the future.

So, there is no alternative. Since without induction we would be unable to conclude that our next meal probably won't poison us, or that jumping off a skyscraper will probably result in us dying - i.e. we would be screwed without it - we might as well choose, pragmatically, to accept that induction works rather than embrace the alternative, which is nothing.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Versions of foundationalism have apparently weakened this problem. But, interestingly, since it fundamentally lies in the Gettier problems for knowledge, I do believe this problem has been solved,

http://secure.pdcnet.org...

A weak foundationalist path is needed in my opinion, together with an internalist view.
In this way you're beliefs that are basic are Prima Facie Justified if there's no reason to think sufficient defeaters exist. This isn't a claim to epistemic immunity either, for properly basic beliefs are grounded in a way that receives positive epistemic support This entails a "basic to non-basic asymmetry" ... not a degree of strength of basic beliefs. So we can genuinely scratch the the intellectual impetus of Cartesian Anxiety, that quest for epistemic certainty.

For the Weak Internalist / Externalist, the conditions grounding basic beliefs are often internal to the knower. But sometimes beliefs are reliably produced in a certain way that involves external conditions. Thus some justifying factors are internal, and some are external to the knower. The important step is that internalism keeps a "justified-true-belief" view of propositional knowledge as mere necessary conditions for knowledge. But then there's rationality and the "epistemic value connection" where a justified belief is something of "intellectual worth."

If this is true, then even a Non-Deontological view of Justification, where there are no rules but rather an exemplification of certain intrinsically valuable states of affairs, will result in justification simply the forming / maintaining / structuring of a belief that embodies certain states of affairs that's impressed upon the knower at the time the belief is formed. There"s no duty that says "form belief in a reliable method" rather there's States of Affairs Governing Reason:

1) Beliefs are formed by reliable methods or caused by the thing believed
2) Hold more true than false beliefs
3) Forming & maintaining beliefs by means of properly functioning sensory / intellectual
faculties in an environment for which they were designed
4) Having coherent beliefs, etc

Rationality is therefore connected to intellectual value: States of Affairs in forming / maintaining beliefs. The important thing to note is that the degree of Justification can change over time, defeaters change the degree of Justification by removing justification. Forming beliefs then involve rebutting defeaters, which attacks conclusions, or refuting defeaters, which attacks reasons for conclusions.

That's my take on the matter, also a cognitivist-particularist view I think is also required in answer the criterion problem. But check out that journal, I don't know how yet but the Gettier problem has been solved by epistemologists.
Pwner
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3/1/2013 3:45:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Great point OP. In response to William Clifford's claim that it's wrong always, everywhere and for anyone to believe something on insufficient evidence, William James wrote The Will To Believe, which argues that in some cases we can be justified on pragmatic grounds, even without evidence. I think that's up your alley. I also agree with Apeiron's response and would just add that the default and challenge model of justification--where a belief comes justified by default, and remains as such until adequately challenged--is the only thing standing between us and the Agrippan trilemma.
Noumena
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3/1/2013 8:03:59 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:43:37 PM, Kinesis wrote:
At 2/5/2013 3:33:57 PM, Noumena wrote:
Propositional claims can either be falsified or they can't. If they cannot be then we're kinda screwed. If they can be then I don't see where the problem is. I can't inductively presume that my clicking 'add reply' will post this but I can put it to the test of falsification.

You clicked the 'add reply' button expecting the site to post your reply. You didn't punch the nearest wall expecting that to cause the site to post your reply. Either way would have put the proposition 'doing this will cause my reply to be posted' to the test of falsification. But you chose to do the former, because you inferred inductively that clicking that button would be the most likely way to post your reply. Am I wrong?

Kind of yeah. Falsificationism merely puts claims to the test. Prior to experimentation or whatever no justificatory claims can be made. And even then you can't really make them since falsificationism is inherently anti-justificatory. I might think pushing the button will add my reply but epistemically speaking I don't know. The problem your raising is really with the presumptions implicit in action than with any epistemology per se.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
Anaxa
Posts: 41
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3/1/2013 9:46:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 8:03:59 AM, Noumena wrote:
At 2/5/2013 3:43:37 PM, Kinesis wrote:
At 2/5/2013 3:33:57 PM, Noumena wrote:
Propositional claims can either be falsified or they can't. If they cannot be then we're kinda screwed. If they can be then I don't see where the problem is. I can't inductively presume that my clicking 'add reply' will post this but I can put it to the test of falsification.

You clicked the 'add reply' button expecting the site to post your reply. You didn't punch the nearest wall expecting that to cause the site to post your reply. Either way would have put the proposition 'doing this will cause my reply to be posted' to the test of falsification. But you chose to do the former, because you inferred inductively that clicking that button would be the most likely way to post your reply. Am I wrong?

Kind of yeah. Falsificationism merely puts claims to the test. Prior to experimentation or whatever no justificatory claims can be made. And even then you can't really make them since falsificationism is inherently anti-justificatory. I might think pushing the button will add my reply but epistemically speaking I don't know. The problem your raising is really with the presumptions implicit in action than with any epistemology per se.

I've always seen falsificationism and justificationism to be two sides of the same coin myself. In fact I see nothing inherent in weak falsificationism that would be incompatible with weak justificationism.
"The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic." -Darwin
mattrodstrom
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3/1/2013 10:02:18 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:02:28 PM, Kinesis wrote:
So, there is no alternative. Since without induction we would be unable to conclude that our next meal probably won't poison us, or that jumping off a skyscraper will probably result in us dying - i.e. we would be screwed without it -

he he he... we would Seemingly (due to our induction based ideas) be screwed without it.

we might as well choose, pragmatically, to accept that induction works rather than embrace the alternative, which is nothing.

Well, induction-based ideas seem to (inductively) get us to better be able to access good-feelings.

We naturally tend to notice patterns in this way, and it naturally seems to work to us... If/when we don't notice or ignore these patterns we (inductively) notice that the world pairs up together in manners we might not like as much..

so, does it absolutely work? Couldn't say.. Does it Very much seem to help get at good feelings? Yeppers.

As to Hume, I kind of thought his disappointment at the existence of this "problem" of the limits of induction was a bit much, and Despite the fact that he Clearly embraced inductive-based ideas and such I didn't think he spelled out explicitly why it's not really a problem at all..

He said it was Habit...
Which I would, tentatively (based upon induction), call our Nature.

He pretty much just said we go with Habit b/c we do..

but, I think we can justify it, as you do, b/c of Pragmatically (using what's available) doing what seems most effective at geting at good feeling...
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Kinesis
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3/1/2013 10:23:36 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 8:03:59 AM, Noumena wrote:
Kind of yeah. Falsificationism merely puts claims to the test. Prior to experimentation or whatever no justificatory claims can be made. And even then you can't really make them since falsificationism is inherently anti-justificatory. I might think pushing the button will add my reply but epistemically speaking I don't know. The problem your raising is really with the presumptions implicit in action than with any epistemology per se.

I'm not really sure we disagree about anything then. I'm saying we can't discard induction, and that you (and everyone) employ induction all the time. Whether induction is an epistemology or a 'presupposition implicit in action' it's something that discarding isn't feasible. Whether it's 'justified' or not. And if we can't discard it in everyday life, it's not obvious why we should discard it when making claims about broader reality e.g. the laws of physics.
Eitan_Zohar
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3/1/2013 1:00:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:06:16 PM, Noumena wrote:
I'm partial to falsificationism. We can't justify induction (i.e., we can't found beliefs on it) but we can do our best to root out when we're wrong by repeated experimentation and scrutiny.

Where did that concept come from/who invented it? Was it Karl Popper? Or was it around in Hume's time?
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
Apeiron
Posts: 2,446
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3/1/2013 6:56:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 1:00:37 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
At 2/5/2013 3:06:16 PM, Noumena wrote:
I'm partial to falsificationism. We can't justify induction (i.e., we can't found beliefs on it) but we can do our best to root out when we're wrong by repeated experimentation and scrutiny.

Where did that concept come from/who invented it? Was it Karl Popper? Or was it around in Hume's time?

The former, he used it to try to solve the demarcation problem of science. Also Historian and philosopher Kuhn had major contributions as well.
RobDeSenelstun
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3/5/2013 3:02:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/5/2013 3:22:04 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Instrumentalism, i.e. it's useful.

I agree, though it leaves criticism via Kuhn and Feyerabend quite open.

The problem with Kuhn & Feyerabend is that only they take their philosophy seriously. I mean even by their own lights their philosophy can only be taken seriously by themselves.

These folks still haven't realised that reality is objective.
RobDeSenelstun
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3/5/2013 3:11:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I agree, although I go one step further; even deduction requires induction. Afterall deduction is simply the restatement of the law identity. Recognition of the law of identity requires induction. So, when we say Socrates is a Philosopher, and all Philosophers are mortal, we must must first acquire meaning for the concepts Socrates, Philosophers and mortality. How can we do this without accepting the induction our minds have become accustomed to while we learn by experience?
Noumena
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3/12/2013 1:44:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/1/2013 10:23:36 AM, Kinesis wrote:
At 3/1/2013 8:03:59 AM, Noumena wrote:
Kind of yeah. Falsificationism merely puts claims to the test. Prior to experimentation or whatever no justificatory claims can be made. And even then you can't really make them since falsificationism is inherently anti-justificatory. I might think pushing the button will add my reply but epistemically speaking I don't know. The problem your raising is really with the presumptions implicit in action than with any epistemology per se.

I'm not really sure we disagree about anything then. I'm saying we can't discard induction, and that you (and everyone) employ induction all the time. Whether induction is an epistemology or a 'presupposition implicit in action' it's something that discarding isn't feasible. Whether it's 'justified' or not. And if we can't discard it in everyday life, it's not obvious why we should discard it when making claims about broader reality e.g. the laws of physics.

The problem inheres in equivocating what we do in our everyday goings on and what we do when we actually try to "philosophize". It reminds me of my cosmological debate with Philochristos where he seemed to try to justify induction (or at least disqualify questioning its soundness) by reference to the fact that we always use it. That's true but the point is akin to me making a prescription in support of murder just because people always do it. There's no justificatory (pardon the phrasing in relation to the discussion at hand but I can't think of anything that fits better) reason to suppose that our natural habits are philosophically valid.

On another note the issue reminds me of the old school epistemological debate between the Empiricists and Rationalists. It always seemed to me like they were more debating psychology than philosophy in regards to knowledge. Locke would say we learn things by experience, Descartes would say by intuition or by naturally ingrained concepts. Kant even with the transcendental spin on epistemology moreover seemed to just be reworking how it is that we think rather than how we can possibly justify knowledge. I don't know. It feels like I'm rambling now. I'll be quiet.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.