[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] open knowledge

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2010 10:18:43 -0500
Message-id: <4CED2CD3.8010606@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 11/24/2010 1:47 AM, FERENC KOVACS wrote:
> Yesterday I attended a very exciting talk on "open knowledge",
> given by Levi Spectre, who does not seem to publish his very
> convincing new ideas.    (01)

Those are great ideas, but there's nothing new in them.  Peirce
and Whitehead are two pioneers in logic who were preaching them
and publishing them a century ago.    (02)

Frege and Russell were two logicians who were technically as
good as Peirce and Whitehead, but they were hopelessly misguided
about the nature of language and the way logic, language, and
the world are related to one another.    (03)

Wittgenstein was another brilliant logician who was suckered in
by Frege and Russell, and he had to spend the second half of his
life digging his way out of the hole they pushed him into.    (04)

Some comments about Spectre's abstract:    (05)

> The principle of closure in epistemology is the idea, roughly,
> that whenever one knows that p and one knows that if p, then q,
> one knows that q. I argue that epistemological fallibilists
> should reject this intuitive and widely endorsed principle.    (06)

That is certainly not an intuitive principle, nor is it one that
any sensible epistemologist would accept.  Mathematicians don't
believe such nonsense -- they know very well that proving theorems
is hard.  (Definition of a mathematician:  a machine for turning
coffee into theorems.)    (07)

I recommend Clarence Irving Lewis as an epistemologist who was
trained by two of Peirce's buddies, William James and Josiah Royce.
When he returned to Harvard as a professor, he spent two years
browsing through the manuscripts that Peirce's widow had donated
to Harvard.  After reading those papers, Lewis began to call
himself a conceptual pragmatist.    (08)

Following is a comment Lewis made about the state of philosophy
in 1960:    (09)

> It is so easy... to get impressive "results" by replacing the
> vaguer concepts which convey real meaning by virtue of common
> usage by pseudo precise concepts which are manipulable by
> "exact" methods -- the trouble being that nobody any longer knows
> whether anything actual or of practical import is being discussed.    (010)

Back to Spectre's abstract:    (011)

> First, I will present an argument that shows why the issue
> of fallibilism is critical for the debate concerning closure
> and relate this argument to issues regarding rational belief,
> justified belief and rational acceptance.    (012)

Fallibilism is the fundamental assumption of all empirical sciences.
Peirce called himself a fallibilist, and he went around the world
doing experimental physics.  He was the first American to be invited
to speak at an international scientific conference in Europe -- and
that was for his research on improved methods for measuring gravity.    (013)

After publishing his first book, Wittgenstein went to teach elementary
school in an Austrian mountain village, where he discovered that
children don't think and learn the way Frege and Russell preached.    (014)

> Second, I argue that even very weak closure principles cannot
> be accepted on a fallibilist understanding of knowledge. Finally
> I comment on why living without closure is not as bad as it sounds.    (015)

Of course.  There is a simple word for the state of living without
closure:  *life*.  The only closed state is death.    (016)

Following is a short article, in which I discuss these issues and
include some references:    (017)

    Responses to five questions on epistemic logic    (018)

John    (019)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (020)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>