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Yes or No Philosophy Discussion with Andrew Crawshaw

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Alan Forrester: https://curi.us/1963-can-winwin-solutions-take-too-long

Assigning weights to ideas never really fitted very well with critical rationalism. Evolution doesn't assign points to genes: they either survive and get copied or they don't. The same is true for an idea: it either solves a problem or it doesn't. This post is relevant to whether there is always a solution to a problem or if we have to weigh ideas to avoid throwing away conflicting ideas that might be okay.

BC: "The same is true for an idea: it either solves a problem or it doesn't." quote

Well who determines whether a problem is solved or not or even what is the problem? The problem of the basis, empirical or otherwise? The search for the algorithm to end all algorithms?

Elliot Temple: problems are solved, or not, in objective reality. people try to understand this with guesses and criticism, as always. there's no authorities. "who determines...?" is begging for an authoritarian answer just like "who should rule?"

BC: "A problem is perceived as such when the progress to a goal by an obvious route is impossible and when an automatism does not provide an effective answer." (W D Wall) What determines the goal?

Elliot Temple: people are free to determine their own goals, by thinking (guesses and criticism).

BC: So what point is being made?

Elliot Temple: you asked tangential questions. i answered. it was your responsibility for them to have a point.

Andrew Crawshaw: I think, Bruce, that the point is is that CR should be about either or claims about truth and falsity. What I don't understand is why this would be incompatible with measures of verisimilitude. I do not know if either Forrester or Temple are averse verisimiltude per se. I think they are critical of the idea that we can build a theory of critical preference on top of this, which was Popper's hope.

Am I right in suggesting, Elliot, that you think that we should only act under the circumstance that there is a single exit strategy, as it is called, and if there is not a single exist strategy that there are ways of making the circumstance such that there is a single exit strategy, therefore getting rid of the need for critical preferences.

Elliot Temple: Ideas either solve a problem or they don't solve it. A criticism either explains why an idea doesn't solve a problem, or fails to. There's no room here for amounts of goodness of ideas, which is a core idea of justificationism. Yes I think critical preferences are a mistake. See:

http://fallibleideas.com/essays/yes-no-argument

http://curi.us/1585-critical-preferences

http://curi.us/1917-rejecting-gradations-of-certainty

Andrew Crawshaw: Yes, I have read that. Are you saying that, given that I have a cold, and that there are two ways of alleviating it but they are incompatible solutions to alleviating this cold, ie they cannot be taken together. Say they are both to hand and both are explained as being effective by the scientific theories we have at our disposal. Would you say then that it is not right to take either?

Elliot Temple: What does "that" refer to? I gave 3 links.

Elliot Temple: > Would you say then that it is not right to take either?

no. i don't know where that's coming from.

Andrew Crawshaw: There is only one link showing. And it says Fallible ideas - Yes or No Philosophy.

Elliot Temple: all 3 links are showing, please look in the text of the post.

Andrew Crawshaw: Okay, I was just clearing up whether I might have misinterpreted you. So your theory applies only to what theories we should act on?

Elliot Temple: No. I don't know where you're getting that interpretation either. I think it would help if you quoted the text you're talking about

Andrew Crawshaw: I am responding to your reply to my comment. I asked about single exit strategies, the scenario I gave was not a single exist strategy, I was wondering how you would answer it.

Elliot Temple: Come up with a theory about what to do that you don't have a criticism of. E.g. "I should take medicine A now b/c i don't have a better idea and it's way better than nothing and it's not worthwhile to spend more time deciding". You can form an idea like that and see if you have a criticism of it or not.

Andrew Crawshaw: But you could substitute Medicine B in your theory and the situation would still be symmetrical.

Elliot Temple: So what?

Elliot Temple: If your theory is that it's best to take one medicine, but not both or neither, and it doesn't matter which one then it's ok to choose arbitrarily or randomly. you don't have a criticism of doing so.

Andrew Crawshaw: Now, you might think my question peculiar. Say I have medicine A and medicine B, everything is exactly the same as it is in the previous scenario, except that medicine B is in the bathroom and medicine A is to hand. Could this be part of preferential decision in favour of A? Even though it's not a criticism of it as a solution?

Elliot Temple: Yes. "Why would I want to go walk to the bathroom for no reason?" is a criticism. Everything else being equal (which it usually isn't), in general I'd rather not go walk to get something.

Andrew Crawshaw: But there is a difference between the two types of criticism, one is of the solution whether it would actually solve it if carried out and the other to do with whether there are other factors. The other factors being about preference.

Elliot Temple: The idea "medicine B as a solution to problem 1" and "medicine B as a solution to problem 2" are different ideas. A criticism may apply to only one of them. The criticism that i don't want to walk and get B doesn't matter for B as a solution to problem 1 (cure my illness), but does criticize choosing B for problem 2 (what action should i take in my life right now, with the situation that A and B medicines are equally good, and the only difference is one is further away and i'd rather not go get it).

This is explained at length in my Yes or No Philosophy.

Andrew Crawshaw: Isn't it slightly unhelpful to add your preference to the formulation of the problem. I mean, in otherwords, that you can just keep extending the formulation of the problem as you think about to carry it out. it seem to me no different than weighing up preferences.

Elliot Temple: Preferences need to be dealt with by critical thinking, not weighing. Weighing doesn't work. Also explained in my Yes or No Philosophy.

Elliot Temple: Weighing is also criticized in BoI and in various blog posts. Did you read the 3 I linked you? You can find more relevant posts e.g. here which is linked at the bottom of a link i gave you: http://curi.us/1595-rationally-resolving-conflicts-of-ideas

Andrew Crawshaw: Maybe I did not communicate properly. The problem is that I want to administer medicine. I have a preference...I would rather not walk. Therefore I go for medicine A. What's changed by reformulating the problem to contain the preference?

Elliot Temple: The point isn't where you notionally put the preference – it's part of the situation in any case. The point is you have a criticism of one option (walking is too hard) and not the other.

Elliot Temple: So one always can and should act on a single, non-refuted idea.

Elliot Temple: You never have to act on a refuted idea, or try to choose between non-refuted ideas by a method other than conjectures and criticism. Such an alternative method would actually be a huge problem for epistemology and basically destroy CR.

Andrew Crawshaw: The administering of medicine B has not been refuted qua alleviating my headache.

Elliot Temple: Right, I said that too.

Andrew Crawshaw: I am not sure of the difference between critical preference and your theory. Seems to be the same theory redescribed. I will have to think about it a little.

Andrew Crawshaw: Thanks for the links, I will read them more carefully over the next week.

Andrew Crawshaw: Oh, Elliot, could you give me the chapter of BoI, where weighing is criticised.

Elliot Temple: 13. Choices

Andrew Crawshaw: Thanks


Elliot Temple on October 8, 2017

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