i am bored

It is untrue that "science will eventually discover all systematic details and answer all questions"

Underdetermination of Scientific Theory


An especially pertinent section quoted below:

2.1 Holist Underdetermination: The Very Idea

Duhem's original case for holist underdetermination is, perhaps unsurprisingly, intimately bound up with his arguments for confirmational holism: the claim that theories or hypotheses can only be subjected to empirical testing in groups or collections, never in isolation. The idea here is that a single scientific hypothesis does not by itself carry any implications about what we should expect to observe in nature; rather, we can derive empirical consequences from an hypothesis only when it is conjoined with many other beliefs and hypotheses, including background assumptions about the world, beliefs about how measuring instruments operate, further hypotheses about the interactions between objects in the original hypothesis' field of study and the surrounding environment, etc. For this reason, Duhem argues, when an empirical prediction turns out to be falsified, we do not know whether the fault lies with the hypothesis we originally sought to test or with one of the many other beliefs and hypotheses that were also needed and used to generate the failed prediction:

A physicist decides to demonstrate the inaccuracy of a proposition; in order to deduce from this proposition the prediction of a phenomenon and institute the experiment which is to show whether this phenomenon is or is not produced, in order to interpret the results of this experiment and establish that the predicted phenomenon is not produced, he does not confine himself to making use of the proposition in question; he makes use also of a whole group of theories accepted by him as beyond dispute. The prediction of the phenomenon, whose nonproduction is to cut off debate, does not derive from the proposition challenged if taken by itself, but from the proposition at issue joined to that whole group of theories; if the predicted phenomenon is not produced, the only thing the experiment teaches us is that among the propositions used to predict the phenomenon and to establish whether it would be produced, there is at least one error; but where this error lies is just what it does not tell us. ([1914] 1954, 185)

Duhem supports this claim with examples from physical theory, including one designed to illustrate a celebrated further consequence he draws from it. Holist underdetermination ensures, Duhem argues, that there cannot be any such thing as a “crucial experiment”: a single experiment whose outcome is predicted differently by two competing theories and which therefore serves to definitively confirm one and refute the other. For example, in a famous scientific episode intended to resolve the ongoing heated battle between partisans of the theory that light consists of a stream of particles moving at extremely high speed (the particle or “emission” theory of light) and defenders of the view that light consists instead of waves propagated through a mechanical medium (the wave theory), the physicist Foucault designed an apparatus to test the two theories' competing claims about the speed of transmission of light in different media: the particle theory implied that light would travel faster in water than in air, while the wave theory implied that the reverse was true. Although the outcome of the experiment was taken to show that light travels faster in air than in water,[3] Duhem argues that this is far from a refutation of the hypothesis of emission:

in fact, what the experiment declares stained with error is the whole group of propositions accepted by Newton, and after him by Laplace and Biot, that is, the whole theory from which we deduce the relation between the index of refraction and the velocity of light in various media. But in condemning this system as a whole by declaring it stained with error, the experiment does not tell us where the error lies. Is it in the fundamental hypothesis that light consists in projectiles thrown out with great speed by luminous bodies? Is it in some other assumption concerning the actions experienced by light corpuscles due to the media in which they move? We know nothing about that. It would be rash to believe, as Arago seems to have thought, that Foucault's experiment condemns once and for all the very hypothesis of emission, i.e., the assimilation of a ray of light to a swarm of projectiles. If physicists had attached some value to this task, they would undoubtedly have succeeded in founding on this assumption a system of optics that would agree with Foucault's experiment. ([1914] 1954, p. 187)

From this and similar examples, Duhem drew the quite general conclusion that our response to the experimental or observational falsification of a theory is always underdetermined in this way. When the world does not live up to our theory-grounded expectations, we must give up something, but because no hypothesis is ever tested in isolation, no experiment ever tells us precisely which belief it is that we must revise or give up as mistaken:

In sum, the physicist can never subject an isolated hypothesis to experimental test, but only a whole group of hypotheses; when the experiment is in disagreement with his predictions, what he learns is that at least one of the hypotheses constituting this group is unacceptable and ought to be modified; but the experiment does not designate which one should be changed. ([1914] 1954, 187)

The predicament Duhem here identifies is no rainy day puzzle for philosophers of science, but a methodological challenge that constantly arises in the course of scientific practice itself. It is simply not true that for practical purposes and in concrete contexts a single revision of our beliefs in response to disconfirming evidence is always obviously correct, or the most promising, or the only or even most sensible avenue to pursue. To cite a classic example, when Newton's celestial mechanics failed to correctly predict the orbit of Uranus, scientists at the time did not simply abandon the theory but protected it from refutation by instead challenging the background assumption that the solar system contained only seven planets. This strategy bore fruit, notwithstanding the falsity of Newton's theory: by calculating the location of a hypothetical eighth planet influencing the orbit of Uranus, the astronomers Adams and Leverrier were eventually led to discover Neptune in 1846. But the very same strategy failed when used to try to explain the advance of the perihelion in Mercury's orbit by postulating the existence of “Vulcan”, an additional planet located between Mercury and the sun, and this phenomenon would resist satisfactory explanation until the arrival of Einstein's theory of general relativity. So it seems that Duhem was right to suggest not only that hypotheses must be tested as a group or a collection, but also that it is by no means a foregone conclusion which member of such a collection should be abandoned or revised [My note: i.e. where we arrive at the new theory e.g. Einstein's General Relativity]in response to a failed empirical test or false implication. Indeed, this very example illustrates why Duhem's own rather hopeful appeal to the ‘good sense’ of scientists themselves in deciding when a given hypothesis ought to be abandoned promises very little if any relief from the general predicament of holist underdetermination.

As noted above, Duhem thought that the sort of underdetermination he had described presented a challenge only for theoretical physics, but subsequent thinking in the philosophy of science has tended to the opinion that the predicament Duhem described applies to theoretical testing in all fields of scientific inquiry. We cannot, for example, test an hypothesis about the phenotypic effects of a particular gene without presupposing a host of further beliefs about what genes are, how they work, how we can identify them, what other genes are doing, and so on. And in the middle of the 20th Century, W. V. O. Quine would incorporate confirmational holism and its associated concerns about underdetermination into an extraordinarily influential account of knowledge in general. As part of his famous (1951) critique of the widely accepted distinction between truths that are analytic (true by definition, or as a matter of logic or language alone) and those that are synthetic (true in virtue of some contingent fact about the way the world is), Quine argued instead that all of the beliefs we hold at any given time are linked in an interconnected web, which encounters our sensory experience only at its periphery:

The totality of our so-called knowledge or beliefs, from the most casual matters of geography and history to the profoundest laws of atomic physics or even of pure mathematics and logic, is a man-made fabric which impinges on experience only along the edges. Or, to change the figure, total science is like a field of force whose boundary conditions are experience. A conflict with experience at the periphery occasions readjustments in the interior of the field. But the total field is so underdetermined by its boundary conditions, experience, that there is much latitude of choice as to what statements to reevaluate in the light of any single contrary experience. No particular experiences are linked with any particular statements in the interior of the field, except indirectly through considerations of equilibrium affecting the field as a whole. (1951, 42–3)

One consequence of this general picture of human knowledge is that any and all of our beliefs are tested against experience only as a corporate body—or as Quine sometimes puts it, “The unit of empirical significance is the whole of science” (1951, p. 42).[4] A mismatch between what the web as a whole leads us to expect and the sensory experiences we actually receive will occasion some revision in our beliefs, but which revision we should make to bring the web as a whole back into conformity with our experiences is radically underdetermined by those experiences themselves. If we find our belief that there are brick houses on Elm Street to be in conflict with our immediate sense experience, we might revise our beliefs about the houses on Elm Street, but we might equally well modify instead our beliefs about the appearance of brick, or about our present location, or innumerable other beliefs constituting the interconnected web—in a pinch we might even decide that our present sensory experiences are simply hallucinations! Quine's point was not that any of these are particularly likely responses to recalcitrant experiences (indeed, an important part of his account is the explanation of why they are not), but instead that they would serve equally well to bring the web of belief as a whole in line with our experience. And if the belief that there are brick houses on Elm Street were sufficiently important to us, Quine insisted, it would be possible for us to preserve it “come what may” (in the way of empirical evidence), by making sufficiently radical adjustments elsewhere in the web of belief. It is in principle open to us, Quine argued, to revise even beliefs about logic, mathematics, or the meanings of our terms in response to recalcitrant experience; it might seem a tempting solution to certain persistent difficulties in quantum mechanics, for example, to reject classical logic's law of the excluded middle (allowing physical particles to both have and not have some determinate classical physical property like position or momentum at a given time). The only test of a belief, Quine argued, is whether it fits into a web of connected beliefs that accords well with our experience on the whole. And because this leaves any and all beliefs in that web at least potentially subject to revision on the basis of our ongoing sense experience or empirical evidence, he insisted, there simply are no beliefs that are analytic in the originally supposed sense of immune to revision in light of experience or true no matter what the world is like.

Quine recognized, of course, that many of the logically possible ways of revising our beliefs in response to recalcitrant experiences that remain open to us strike us as ad hoc, perfectly ridiculous, or worse. He argues (1955) that our actual revisions of the web of belief seek to maximize the theoretical “virtues” of simplicity, familiarity, scope, and fecundity, along with conformity to experience, and elsewhere suggests that we typically seek to resolve conflicts between the web of our beliefs and our sensory experiences in accordance with a principle of “conservatism”, that is, by making the smallest possible number of changes to the least central beliefs we can that will suffice to reconcile the web with experience. That is, Quine recognized that when we encounter recalcitrant experience we are not usually at a loss to decide which of our beliefs to revise in response to it, but he claimed that this is simply because we are strongly disposed as a matter of fundamental psychology to prefer whatever revision requires the most minimal mutilation of the existing web of beliefs and/or maximizes virtues that he explicitly characterizes as pragmatic. [My note: Every single adjustment is thus BIASED toward what we mentally deem expedient to the solution] Indeed, it would seem that on Quine's view the very notion of a belief being more central or peripheral or in lesser or greater “proximity” to sense experience should be cashed out simply as a measure of our willingness to revise it in response to recalcitrant experience. That is, it would seem that what it means for one belief to be located “closer” to the sensory periphery of the web than another is simply that we are more likely to revise the first than the second if doing so would enable us to bring the web as a whole into conformity with otherwise recalcitrant sense experience. Thus, Quine saw the traditional distinction between analytic and synthetic beliefs as simply registering the endpoints of a psychological continuum ordering our beliefs according to the ease and likelihood with which we are prepared to revise them in order to reconcile the web as a whole with our sense experience.

Катехон-ТВ: "Влияние либеральной интеллигенции на революцию 1917 года"

Оригинал взят у arkadiy_maler в Катехон-ТВ: "Влияние либеральной интеллигенции на революцию 1917 года"

В программе Катехон-ТВ выступает - Федор Александрович Гайда, историк, публицист, кандидат исторических наук, доцент исторического факультета МГУ.

Тема - "Влияние либеральной интеллигенции на революцию 1917 года".

- либералы и левые: различия и сходства
- либерализм радикальный и консервативный
- от Герцена и Чичерина до Милюкова и Струве
- октябристы, кадеты, эсеры, эсдеки
- Веховцы и Февральская революция
i am bored

Agnostic instrumentalism toward metaphysical models

No proof can be offered to any particular metaphysical model via any means. It’s a matter of practical efficacy, not metaphysical truth. Neither paucity nor abundance of imagination points to such truth, i.e. “I can / can’t imagine it being any other way, therefore it is true / false.”

Metaphysical models are not for obtaining the actual state of affairs of the metaphysical world. They are tools. The only thing that could be done is ascertaining how useful a metaphysical model is via gauging its practical utility by thinking and acting as if the model is true.
i am bored

The pseudoscience of memetics

Memetics is a sham model. It does not reflect reality. Memetics assumes boundaries around memes where there is NONE. There is no real boundary because how each supposed meme is "seen" by each mind is subjective in nature. Pseduoscience. "Memeticists" can pump out all kinds of numbers based on this sham model.
i am bored

Flying spaghetti monster and other invalid parallels

The problem with using an article of disbelief as an article of faith is just that.

In the act of assigning the belief condition of non-existence to an article such as FSM, it couldn't then be used again in a capacity which opposes this very belief condition.

Plain English version:

Let's say that I've came up with the Teleporting Giant Unicorn. I would say that it eats FSM for lunch because instead of flying, it teleports super fast and TGU would just gobble FSM up before FSM could fly anywhere.

Unfortunately, I can't convert anyone from the Church of the FSM to the Church of the TGU because

One, I don't even believe in TGU- I just made it up as a parody of FSM and

Two, people in the supposed Church of FSM don't really "believe" in FSM in the same way for pretty much the same reason so it's not like a conversion of faith anyways (unless they've managed to extend intellectual dishonesty and ignorance so far as to claim to not know the parody status of FSM)

As such, you can't compare something like FSM or TGU to something someone actually believes in the full metaphysical existence of.
i am bored

Addressing the immortality wing of the Transhumanist cult

Inside the cult of transhumanism lay the cult of machine-aided immortality. They think that they could somehow transfer their consciousness into a machine and live forever that way.

Just about all of their arguments in favor of such silliness involve some kind of smoke-and-mirrors trickery. Usually it involves throwing out a highly technical term like quantum entanglement and then hand wave their way around it.

Let's be charitable and for the sake of argument take their argument for granted, without an in-depth examination of the technicalities. You take some artificial copy of yourself, "entangle" the two, and voila! Your consciousness is now in the copy.


You've made a "copy" (again, ignoring the full implications of that, again for the sake of argument) but when it comes time to switch off your own continuity, you still die. All you would be doing is making another mechanized continuity, of which you wouldn't be experiencing because one, you'd be dead on your side even if it's conscious on the other and two, there is no consciousness in the AI on the other end. The entanglement doesn't place your consciousness on both ends- It constructs what is a simulated consciousness on the other end i.e. an artificial system that shows all the signs of consciousness yet contains NONE.

The trickery doesn't stand. Immortality Transhumanists are seeking to make a dead world out of p-zombies.


Оригинал взят у arkadiy_maler в Дехристианизация
Дехристианизация - на сайте Богослов.ру

История политических идеологий Модерна – это история неуклонной секуляризации тех ценностей, на которых они были основаны. Поэтому сегодня можно констатировать, что если возможна какая-то новая христианская метаидеология, способная адекватно ответить на все вызовы современности, то она должна слагаться из идей всех трех христианских субидеологий – христианского либерализма, христианского социализма и, разумеется, христианского консерватизма, который будет играть в этом процессе ведущую роль. Этим синтетическим путем шла христианская социальная философия XX века в целом и русская религиозная философия в частности, накопив огромные наработки в этой сфере, так и оставшиеся до сих пор достоянием архивов и специалистов. (При этом нужно четко различать чисто светские идеи этих авторов и их богословские поиски, нередко входящие в противоречие с православным догматическим вероучением). Одно глобальное обстоятельство способствует этому возникновению – это очевидный конец эпохи Модерна, реабилитация религиозного мировоззрения в Постмодерне и затянувшийся кризис последнего. Мы вступаем в постсекулярную эпоху, которую предрекал Николай Бердяев, назвав ее «Новым Средневековьем» и, одновременно, в эпоху нового подъема России, бывшей в XX веке главным оплотом секуляризма в мире, а теперь ставшей последним оплотом консервативных ценностей в Европе. Главной идейной интригой ближайших лет будет вопрос о том, какая версия русского консерватизма окажется доминирующей и определяющей лицо России в XXI веке. См. весь текст

What is philosophy?

What is philosophy?

It is certainly not best characterized by the contemporary academic "discipline" known as Philosophy.
The "disciplines" are bureaucratic constructs, each with their own ideological blinders.
This can be seen clearly through the lens of philosophy, but not of Philosophy, which categorically restricts its own potential self-awareness.

philosophy is the impulse towards transcendence. Nothing more or less.

This is no more apparent than when the philosopher denies the possibility of transcendence. For example, by a total embrace of an atheistic physicalism. "That's it! I've settled the question! There is nothing left to transcend!" And so, they've transcended, and do so, again and again, every time doubt creeps in.

The doubt creeps in because, of course, atheistic physicalism is an absurd position because it negates everything that cannot be negated: consciousness, life, civilization, God.

A moment's consideration (perhaps a long moment) reveal that exactly the opposite is the case. The world as it appears, the sensuous world, is a distortion. It is not an illusion in the sense that one sees what isn't there, or even that one isn't seeing what's really there. But the world of the senses is a distortion in the same way that your dreams are a distortion of reality. They are connected to reality by your real, waking life. They are meaningful representations of some greater, more comprehensive, more coherent Reality. But they are disconnected and out of order, full of anxieties that mean nothing because, upon waking, you will understand immediately that it was all just a dream.

Again and again in this great dream we encounter philosophy. We read it, we hear it, we think it ourselves. It is an active, impersonal force in our great collective dream. It is waking up.
  • Current Music
    Rebellion - Arcade Fire
i am bored

It is not possible to have a conscious AI

The Chinese Room demonstrates that outward appearance of an understanding of meaning is by no means an actual indicator of understanding.

Bona fide understanding is a main feature of conscious thinking. If something is not conscious, it is not possible for it to understand.

What goes on inside the Chinese Room is an analog of programming. AI is dependent on programming.

Thus, what AI accomplishes in fooling someone in thinking that it has any sort of comprehension of meaning, is a demonstration of a mere appearance of comprehension. It would only appear to be sentient, while being as non-sentient as any program.

The only way for anyone to demonstrate the possibility of consciousness in an AI is to demonstrate independence from programming.

There is no such demonstration. Bottom-up AI, including experiments showing the purported evolution of bottom-up AI, still requires programming.