The problem of inductive reasoning

It was David Hume that brought forth the Problem of Induction in the 1700’s. Philosophers have tried to solve it for centuries. The problem of induction is the philosophical question of whether inductive reasoning leads to knowledge. That is, what is the justification for either:

  1. generalizing about the properties of a class of objects based on some number of observations of particular instances of that class (for example, the inference that "all swans we have seen are white, and therefore all swans are white," before the discovery of black swans) or
  2. presupposing that a sequence of events in the future will occur as it always has in the past (for example, that the laws of physics will hold as they have always been observed to hold). Hume called this the Principle of Uniformity of Nature.

If Hume’s conclusion that science is irrationally grounded in custom and habit is correct, then we have to explain how scientific knowledge can be rational given the fact that it cannot be rationally justified. 

 

Karl Popper sought to resolve the problem of induction in the context of the scientific method. He argued that science does not rely on induction, but exclusively on deduction, by making the Modus tollens argument form the centerpiece of his theory. (If X is true then Y is true.Y is false. Therefore X is false.  Modus Tollens is the root of falsification, as proposed by Karl Popper and since used as the cornerstone of scientific proof.)  He claimed that knowledge is gradually advanced as tests are made and failures are accounted for. This, in a nutshell, was Popper’s problem. In order to solve it, Popper had to first offer an alternative to the view that science is distinguished from non-science by its inductive method, and then an alternative to the view that the rationality of a belief depends upon its justification. He had, in other words, to offer an alternative to the view that science is both science and rational because it justifies its theories through sense experience.

It was Karl Popper who redefined the problem and offered criticism as the rational approach to knowledge.  He approached the problem from a completely different angle. Popper “cut the Gordian knot” by arguing that scientif­ic knowl­edge cannot, and need not, be justified at all—and by saying that it is rational not because we have justi­fied it, but because we can criticize it.

Inductive reasoning will never prove a theory. It can’t because we can never exhaust all the possibilities that may exist in the universe. So we can’t know with certainty if a theory is true or not. We can however prove a theory is false. And that brings us closer to the truth by a process of elimination. We do that through Deduction. Inductive reasoning is used almost exclusively by conservatives as has been shown in examples by Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. They use it in order to attempt to prove their theories of rationality can predict outcomes. They cite specific instances in order to make a generalization and then claim that the generalization is a fact.You can trace the lunatic mutterings of Sarah Palin as well. The claim is always, this leads to that, which leads to Death Camps, or whatever horror show they can come up with to deny progress in this country.

Induction is impossible to use for the purposes of criticism. I think that induction actually brings a person to conservatism. It’s the process that leads from the specific to the general in making claims. They will add up specific facts in order to produce a broad sweeping generality that they assume as true.  Each fact, they assume, adds weight to their argument and justifies their generalized conclusion. It’s the reasoning used to make the claim that “All Swans are White”.  It was also the argument for WMD as a justification for attacking Iraq. That argument reached new heights of irrationality when it was demanded that Saddam Hussein prove that he didn’t have any WMD requiring  him to prove a negative. Where do you go to satisfy the demand that you prove that you don’t have something? Granted Saddam was a bad guy, but the argument that we used to justify invading Iraq at a cost of over 4000 American lives was appalling.  What may be even more appalling is that the American public never applied any degree of critical thinking to the reasoning used to justify the war, and that very few members of congress objected. More than likely it was out of fear of being branded a sympathizer to Saddam and to terrorists. The authorization for the war resolutions came up shortly before the mid-term elections.

Politics played a heavy hand in the decision to go to war. Reason was manufactured.  Clearly there is a danger in abandoning critical thinking. By standing back and allowing inductive reasoning to have its way as a positive methodology for the justification of the sending of our country into a war, we run the enormous risk of inflicting needless death and destruction on our own troops as well as whomever it is that we’re at war with.

You can make a case for anything using induction. If you want to make a point, there is no limit to the bits of anecdotal evidence to support your assertion for what it is you’re attempting to prove. But none of it actually proves your point. In the run up to the war with Iraq, we made a number of claims. The procedure that was employed was that all the intelligence agencies were instructed to give the administration “everything” they had on Saddam. The conflicting evidence that contradicted the claim was dismissed and discarded and only the damning evidence was used to support the case. They literally “cherry picked” what they wanted to make their case for war. This is the positive methodology at work. It’s an additive process which is employed to build a case. They drew from specific incidents to present a generalization and assumed the truth of that generality. It’s basically saying, we have this and this and this and this..and the only possible conclusion can be this. Voila! War. In a matter of this importance, the procedure should have been can we find something that disproves our conclusion. Is there evidence that contradicts what we are saying. Remember, in deduction, it only takes one thing to disprove an argument. We didn’t do that. All such evidence was dismissed. That’s because the decision to go to war had already been made long before the issue was brought to the public attention. Once the decision was made, the selling of the war was necessary to gain public support and to apply pressure on congress to agree with the decision. That of course would take the sole responsibility for any mistakes off of the shoulders of the administration and spread it out into congress. They could spread the blame for their mistake and once again justify themselves by saying, “everyone got it wrong”.  It’s a slight variation of the tu quoque fallacy. The tu quoque fallacy is committed when it is assumed that because someone else has done a thing there is nothing wrong with doing it. This fallacy is classically committed by children who, when told off, respond with “So and so did it too”, with the implied conclusion that there is nothing wrong with doing whatever it is that they have done. This is a fallacy because it could be that both children are in the wrong, and because, as we were all taught, two wrongs don’t make a right. So, since “everyone” got it wrong, it’s ok that the administration got it wrong. And therefore everything is ok. And the American public accepted that reasoning. Well, perhaps not entirely. The conservatives certainly did. They were the ones pushing for the war and they didn’t want that albatross hanging from their neck. So, when the reasoning was more closely examined, the conservative media which included Fox News, and the various radio talking heads and some major newpapers  put their spin on the subject as loudly and as often as it took to defuse the issue. They took the aggressive posture of attacking those that would dare to question the motives of the administration.

Later as it was revealed that we were engaging in torture of prisoners, the most astonishing thing I have ever seen took place. Something that I thought I would never see in my lifetime. We justified torture. Dick Cheney actually applied a euphamism calling it “enhanced interrogation techniques, and therefore…presto..no torture. See how simple it was. Poof! All gone. But what transpired was something that I’ll never understand. We began to debate the ethics of torture in this country. The torturing of prisoners is something that is forbidden. This goes back to George Washington. It’s probably safe to say that the father of our country may have known something about the values that this new country would adhere to. Torture was distinctly anti-American. In fact he stated in an address to the troops that anyone that engaged in that would be subject to execution. This might be the tactics of our enemies, but it is not part of the American way. It contradicts American values as stated by no less an authority than Washington himself.

When former Assistant Secretary of Defense; Frank Gaffney, said that it's more important to take measures that will save thousands of American lives than holding onto to some abstract value. I was stunned. A conservative willing to compromise his values? Well, maybe they weren’t his values after all. They were American values. Conservatives claim that their values are American values. However, they seem to put the cart before the horse here, and re-write history. The values of this country preceded the conservative movement in this country by about 200 years. Maybe they mean that their values are consistent with American values. (somehow I doubt that. They’ll probably insist that American values are the result of conservative values) If that’s the case then torture is obviously a conservative value. But Washington didn’t see it that way.

“Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.- George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775

Washington is on Mt Rushmore. There is a big monument in the capital city that bears his name. His picture is on our currency. A state is named after him. Towns, counties, and a national park is named after him.  I think the jury is in on Washington. His values are literally set in stone.  For Frank Gaffney to try and dismiss as some abstract value, this particular value that is a cornerstone of what America is about as addressed by the father of the country, is an example of the hypocrisy of conservatism which never hesitates in making the claim that it’s values are American values and are never compromised. Clearly there are times when the conservative will indeed compromise his values and yet continue to claim that his values are American values. That is, until they are compromised again to further some other self-serving motive.

 

We are Americans. We don’t torture. To make excuses and call it something else is transparent not only to those of us that still have the capacity for critical thinking, but also to the rest of the world.  Gaffney’s argument does however raise questions that we must face. What kind of people do we want to be? What kind of nation are we? Being an American isn’t as easy as some may think. Living in a free and open society actually comes with a cost. Gaffney asks do we torture this one person in order to save the lives of thousands? Most if not all conservatives will enthusiastically say, “hell yeah”. But there are consequences to every action. A ripple effect that they ignore for the momentary satisfaction of inflicting agony on a prisoner in order to hopefully save American lives. Is the prisoner telling you what you want to hear in order to make the torture stop?  As Jesse Ventura said; give me Dick Cheney and an hour of waterboarding and I’ll get him to confess to the Sharon Tate murders”.  The information you get under that kind of coercive technique is completely unreliable. So, what do we gain, and at what cost? Most likely as was the case with Ibn al Libi, we gain false information that is extracted to justify launching a war. After nearly beating a man to death, waterboarding him, and then stuffing him into a box  for 17 hours in a mock burial..he’ll admit to anything. He’ll say whatever you want him to say. He’ll even give you the reasons you need to justify a war. Colin Powell used that confession to make the case for war at the UN. To this day he says it was the lowest moment in his professional career. The cost to us as a nation that the world looks to for justice and reason, two elements that are at the root of our founding, is far too high. It sends our sensibilities back into the dark ages. To a time before critical thinking was the accepted practice. When prisoners were required to prove their innocence rather than the accuser required to prove his case against the accused. When you were required to prove you were not a witch. When you could be accused of anything, and then required to prove that you weren’t what you were being accused of and if you couldn’t you could forfeit your life. When you were required to prove a negative. When prisoners were tortured to get confessions and once they were given, were used as evidence against the prisoner to render a guilty verdict and justify executing them. We are supposed to be better than that. It’s what separates us from the brutal history of other nations around the world. People from around the world came to America to escape that kind of sanctioned brutality. Now they see it infect the soul of America.

We find ourselves in a battle of the mind today. A civil war that is less than civil. On one side we have a reliance on faith, on the other a reliance on reason. One side employs inductive reasoning to attempt to prove a generality. It is logically inpossible to do, and is irrational. The other side employs deduction to prove what is false and thereby reveal truth as the remainder. 

 

Emerson said, “the basic difference was between the party of the past and the party of the future, between the party of memory and the party of hope. If truth is what we seek, then you must decide what is the best way of getting to it. Do you simply accept some theory of rationality which decides what is truth for you? A positive methodology will not bring you there. A negative methodology however just might. We can approach the truth primarily by trying to understand new ideas, letting these new ideas come into conflict with previously held ideas, subject them to criticism, and thereby making adjustments and weeding out the error, which bring us closer to the truth.

When a conservative claims that you don’t stand for anything, tell him you stand for Truth. What can be more important than that?

 

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Comments 54 comments

HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Conservatives are very adept at re-writing facts and making them fit their ideology. I wrote a Hub about whether consevative judicial restraint existed or was merely a myth. They preach constitutional constructionism except where it is inconvenient such as Bush v. Gore or the terror detainees. In this case due process is thrown out the door. The Bush administration re-wrote all of these laws in response to 9/11. Their lawyers wrote it and they pronounced it as law. Then of course the Far Right go out and scream that the Obama administration is stealing their country and Constitution. Hypocrisy at it's greatest. Great Hub Adagio. I totally agree.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 6 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

HS...you really hit everything in a brief concise way. I'm pretty much fed up with the state of affairs in this country and the complete manipulation of the public by the media. Critical thinking is gone in this country, and we are where we are because of it.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

I never thought anyone could connect Humean epistomology to the "Fox Network" and the Middle East - good job....

One thing Hume was right about, was that we cannot perceive or know the future exists, because we're always living in the present....

Take care

John


Zaq 4 years ago

Look up "Bayes' Theorem" for a mathematical underpinning ot induction.

Simply put, if I havea box of 100 socks, and I pull out a red sock, this increases the probability of the hypothesis "all the socks are red" compared to the hypothesis "only one of the socks is red." If I keep on pulling out only red socks, eventually the probability of the hypothesis "all the socks are red" begins to trump all the other hypotheses.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

Induction gives you odds and probability. But it never proves that every sock you pull out of the drawer will be a red one. It's the "All Swans are White" argument. They're all white until we find one that isn't. They found black swans in Australia. My son is in the military. They operate on inductive reasoning almost all the time. They weigh probability based on as many situations as they can think of. They do this of course to try and predict the outcome of an operation. However, they can never know with absolute certitude that the operation will go exactly as planned. There is always a back-up plan, and often a back-up to the back-up. The raid on bin Laden's compound had to be scrapped when one helicopter went down. The back-up went into effect, and the mission was completed successfully. Many things could have gone wrong. The very idea that bin Laden would even be there was a calculated risk. There was no certainty that he was even there. It was decided that boots on the ground was vital to the mission rather than simply bombing the place. All these decisions are calculated risks based on induction. It often works in our favor, but not always. When it does, we pat ourselves on the back and applaud the brilliance. When it doesn't...we end up with a botched attempt to free hostages in Iran or elsewhere. It's Murphy's Law. Shit happens!


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Hi Anagio,

If we were to conduct a Scientific experiment with two objects, and observed that "The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object. The direction of the force on the first object is opposite to the direction of the force on the second object. " We would have derived to Newton Third Law of motion that for Every Action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. We would have derived to that theory by way of inductive reasoning.

I would prefere not to say that "Inductive reasoning will never prove a theory. It can’t because we can never exhaust all the possibilities that may exist in the universe." I think if scientific data is well observed and examined it can produce factual events that can eventually result into developing a theory that is universally accepted. Nevertheless, that is not to say that this theory will be indefinitely true.

I believe that we observed and manipulate scientific data from a given point of reference among all the knowledge we know as true in our present moment. We classify our theory as being valid base on present day knowledge. When a future event or discovery revealed new information which we did not have, we revaluate our understanding of our theory from the information obtained.

If that new information changes our perception because of new facts it would have also changed our theory. This is why some theories have been considered true for an x number of years until new scientific data proves otherwise.

A list of top 10 most famous Scientific theories that turned out to be wrong .

http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-most-famous-scientif...

James Dubreze


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"We would have derived to Newton Third Law of motion that for Every Action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. We would have derived to that theory by way of inductive reasoning."

Hi Cool. You bring up a good point, but you're arguing from the position of Euclidiean geometry and Newtonian physics. I wrote on your Hub this: "Kant’s attempt to salvage the rationality of science collapsed when Einstein imposed a non-Euclidean geometry and a non-Newtonian physics upon nature. Einstein described a natural world that rational beings before him had never conceived. And his descriptions were then corroborated by the results of the experiments that he conceived in order to test them." Bear in mind, it was Einstein himself that said; "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong." Albert Einstein.

Einstein was a man who always attempted to disprove his own theories. To falsify them.

The success of Einstein’s theory shattered all hopes of explaining the rationality of science in terms of a priori foundations. If Kant could be wrong about the a priori certainty of Newtonian Mechanics and Euclidean Geometry, then how could anyone ever claim to be a priori certain again?

"I think if scientific data is well observed and examined it can produce factual events that can eventually result into developing a theory that is universally accepted."

Until of course it's rejected as a result of new information that we can't possibly know at this time. The information that we have is a result of the visable universe and by that I include mathmatical calculations that postulate those things that we can't physically observe. The ideas are universally accepted...until the are disproven and rejected for new theories. That's the nature of science.

"Nevertheless, that is not to say that this theory will be indefinitely true."

That's the point. Induction cannot give us a theory that is definately true. It's logically impossible. The theory must be falsifiable. It must contain the possibility of being disproven otherwise what you have is metaphysics. You have a belief system.

"I believe that we observed and manipulate scientific data from a given point of reference among all the knowledge we know as true in our present moment."

I don't thinks that's the case. That seems to imply (at least to me) a fundimental dishonesty in the scientific community that is more inclined to producing a desired result. Scientific theories are always subject to peer review and relentless and even ruthless attemts to disprove them. And rightly so. I think that science is always looking for truth and the only way to find that is to get rid of those things that obscure it. Science looks to explain nature. In the process, theories are presented which are subjected to review. Through induction you can always find something to support a theory. Take the argument for the War in Iraq for example. WMD! The Bush administration had a desired goal: Invading Iraq and overthrowing the Saddam Hussein regime. They looked for anything and everything to justify that desire, rather than looking for those things that would falsify the reasoning. They ignored contradictory evidence completely and served us a steady diet of affirmative claims to justify the war. They applied inductive reasoning. As politicians, they weren't inclined to want the theories falsified. They simply wanted to achieve a desired result. The results were a war. However the justification proved false, and of course they then shifted the reasoning to several other excuses.

"We classify our theory as being valid base on present day knowledge. When a future event or discovery revealed new information which we did not have, we revaluate our understanding of our theory from the information obtained."

Right. But I think the idea that you're presenting here may be predicated on the acceptence of present knowledge as temporary truth. (If I'm misreading you, my appologies) This would seem to be based on your previous idea that truth is relative (to prior knowledge). I don't subscribe to the notion of relative truth in any sense.

The observation statements that report our experience never entail the truth of a strictly universal statement (or theory). So universal statements (or theories) cannot be justified (or verified) by experience. But it takes only one genuine counter-example to show that a universal statement is false. So some universal statements (or theories) can be criticized (or falsified) by experience — or, at least, by the acceptance of observation statements that contradict them.

Popper concluded that it is falsifiability, and not verifiability, that distinguishes empirical science from metaphysics. And then, by pointing out that there is a logical asymmetry between universal and singular statements so that universal statements can be falsi-fied, but not verified; and singular statements can be verified, but not falsified, he showed that the distinction between science and metaphysics cannot coincide with the distinction between meaningful and meaningless statements, because if a statement is meaningful then its negation must be meaningful as well.

Philosophers typically present the problem of induction as a problem of justification: as the problem, namely, of whether the premises of an inductive argument justify its conclusion — or, at least, our belief in its conclusion. But the conclusion of an argument and our belief in it are two different things. However, I do not believe that the real problem with inductive arguments has anything to do with justification at all. If the problem of induction were a problem about justification, then there should also be a problem of deduction. For it is well known that valid deductive arguments may have both false premises and false conclusions.

The real problem is that the assumption of the truth of a statement cannot justify anything. If you have to assume the truth of your premises in order to justify your conclusion, then you might as well assume the conclusion itself. I think this is a trap in the idea that a universal statement such "Truth is relative to prior knowledge" falls into.

Neither inductive nor deductive arguments can show that their conclusions are true. If this is what it means to justify a conclusion, then neither inductive nor deductive arguments justify their conclusions. Here, someone might regard inductive arguments as worse in this respect. For valid deductive arguments would justify their conclusions, if we could be certain that their premises were true. Inductive arguments, on the other hand, are not even valid. Their conclusions may be false even if their premises are true. But this does not mean that the premises of deductive arguments are true. It simply means that deductive arguments entail their conclusions. And this fact may be equally expressed by saying that if the conclusion of a deductively valid argument is false, then one or more of its premises must be false as well.

Deductive arguments entail their conclusions and inductive arguments do not. And entailment, I agree, is crucial. But entailment is not enough for justification. It pertains, instead, to validity, or formal implication, which is an entirely different thing. A valid deductive argument entails its conclusion. But it cannot justify its conclusion unless we are certain that its premises are true.

Inductive arguments are one and all invalid. The falsity of their conclusions is entirely consistent with the truth of their premises. And this means that inductive arguments, unlike their deductive counterparts, could not justify their conclusions even if we were certain that their premises were true.

Deductive arguments force us to choose between the truth of their conclusions and the falsity of (one or more) of their premises. Inductive arguments do not. This, in and of itself, does not show that anything is true or false. But if an argument is deductively valid, then we simply cannot, without contradicting ourselves, deny its conclusion unless we also deny (one or more of) its premises. In


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Adagio,

James:Nevertheless, that is not to say that this theory will be indefinitely true.

Adagio:"That's the point. Induction cannot give us a theory that is definitely true. It's logically impossible. The theory must be falsifiable. It must contain the possibility of being disproven otherwise what you have is metaphysics. You have a belief system."

Popper Theory of falsifiability state that a theory is scientific if it contain the possibility of being disproved otherwise it's not scientific. Well, in that sense it is the same as saying that a theory is considered scientific if human development can lead to the possibility of this theory being disproved.

If human evolve technologically the chances are new technological discoveries will enhance the possibility of proven a prior cognition invalid. But the invalidity of that theory is relative to time because it may take 2- 3 hundreds of years before a new discovery disprove a previous theory. Therefore, Every one who lived within the time frame before this theory had been disprove never witness its fallen.

In that sense this theory remain true to them. This theory may seems as a metaphysical because it depends on evolution for its scientific validity, but since the new technological discovery that would have proven this theory to have been scientific had not yet been discovered, according to Popper this theory would not have been recognized as being scientific.

James Dubreze


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

According to Popper's theory of falsifiability, it is very likely for Popper to have qualified a theory as being metaphysical instead of scientific for the reason being that at the particular time when the theory had been evaluated it did not show any sign of being falsifiable because there were no new information available to classify it as being scientific until 1 hundred years later. Therefore, Popper's theory of falsifiability is time sensitive.

James Dubreze


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Adagio,

"The observation statements that report our experience never entail the truth of a strictly universal statement (or theory). So universal statements (or theories) cannot be justified (or verified) by experience. But it takes only one genuine counter-example to show that a universal statement is false. So some universal statements (or theories) can be criticized (or falsified) by experience — or, at least, by the acceptance of observation statements that contradict them."

Here's a universal statement: Knowledge is limitless the only thing that is limited in knowledge is our inability to access it.

Is this statement subjective? does it not entail the truth? Is this statement not justified?

James Dubreze


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Adagio,

"If a statement is meaningful then its negation must be meaningful as well." In another word if a statement is meaningful its denial must be meaningful as well.

Knowledge is limitless. Denial: knowledge is not limitless. Compare and contrast - do we see any meaning in the denial of that statement or is this a statement that possess only meaningful answers. Should we concur that the statement "Knowledge is limitless' as not being meaningful because its denial is not meaningful - you decide.

James Dubreze


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Inductive v. Deductive argument. Inductive arguments take the approach of ascending order while Deductive arguments consider the descending order.

Deductive argument:

Knowledge is limitless the only thing that is limited in knowledge is our inability to access it.

Assessment:

If knowledge is limitless than no one can ever learn enough.

If knowledge is limitless those who cannot access knowledge either because tuition is too high or lack of access to the internet have been limited. Therefore, if knowledge is limitless the only thing that can be limited in knowledge is our inability to access it. Like the many kids in the third world countries who do not have access to the internet. There are examples where people have access to knowledge but too distracted to access it. But one example doesn't disprove the concept as being invalid.

Inductive Argument:

10x - 5y = 20

-5y = 20 - 10x

Therefore y = -4 - 2x

You said "unlike their deductive counterparts, could not justify their conclusions even if we were certain that their premises were true."


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"Well, in that sense it is the same as saying that a theory is considered scientific if human development can lead to the possibility of this theory being disproved."

Well...not quite. I's an issue of Demarcation between what science is and what it isn't. In order to understand Popper’s solutions to the problems of induction and demarcation, it is necessary to understand his problem situation. It is necessary, in other words, to understand why Popper regarded induction and demarcation as the two fundamental problems of epistemology.

This, I suggest, can best be understood as a result of the collapse of foundationalism, which can in turn be best understood as posing a problem regarding the rational authority for our beliefs.

Traditional ‘bedrock’ foundationalism said that knowledge must be justified in order to be rational, and it attempted to justify our knowledge by deriving it from an indubitable and infallible source. Descartes, it is well known, declared that the God-given intellect is such a source, and that whatever we clearly and distinctly perceive with it must be true. But by the eighteenth century, many philosophers had grown sceptical of attempts to ground rational knowledge upon a priori intuition. These philosophers regarded sense experience as the only criterion of truth. They said that our general theories must be inferred inductively from experience. And they demanded that we eliminate beliefs that could not be grounded upon sense experience alone.

But Hume then argued that the attempt to ground our scientific knowledge upon sense experience leads to irrationalism. Hume pointed out that there is no ‘middle term’ that allows us to validly infer future events from past experiences, and that such inductive inferences provide only psychological, as opposed to rational, jus-tification through custom and habit.

Hume thought that our knowledge was, in fact, psychologically justified in just this way, and he said that reason is and ought to be the slave of the passions. Sounds very Republican doesn't it?

I think I pointed to this before, but The success of Einstein’s theory shattered all hopes of explaining the rationality of science in terms of a priori foundations. If Kant could be wrong about the a priori certainty of Newtonian Mechanics and Euclidean Geometry, then how could anyone ever claim to be a priori certain again?

It was in this context that induction and demarcation emerged for Popper as the two fundamental problems of epistemology.

I mentioned this before; We cannot rationally ground science upon a priori cognition because a priori cognition is unreliable, and we cannot rationally ground science upon sense experience because inductive inference is invalid. I think you offered the example of Watt and horsepower, but that isn't a strong example of science grounded on a priori cognition, and I posted why. Watt didn't discover horsepower. He invented it, and did so by basin it upon what he considered to be a "strong horse". His view of what a strong horse is, is completely subjective and can't be demonstrated as definitive.

Popper argued that the growth of science is both empirical and rational. It is empirical because we test our solutions to scientific problems against our observations and experience. And it is rational, because we make use of the valid argument forms of deductive logic, especially the modus tollens, to criticize theories that contradict the observation statements that we think are true, and because we never conclude from the fact that a theory has survived our tests that it has been shown to be true.

Regardless of our human development, there are certain areas that no amount of human development will change. Not all of our questions are scientific. Does God exist? Who can say? God is not a physical entity found in nature that can be empirically tested. God is not of the physical world. Science only deals with the physical universe. Not the metaphysical.

"If human evolve technologically the chances are new technological discoveries will enhance the possibility of proven a prior cognition invalid."

What you seem to be suggesting here is that at some point in the future, that logic itself could change? Since logic has a foundation in Math, I can't imagine that taking place. If that is possible, then why not say that the Prinicple of non-contradiction will fall as well, and that we can be in two places at the same time. Why might hypothesize that the sky will change to red, or north will become south.

"But the invalidity of that theory is relative to time because it may take 2- 3 hundreds of years before a new discovery disprove a previous theory."

In a sense you're right about that. The problem of induction had been around since Hume first brought it up. How do we rationally justify our science when we use an irrational approach? That problem existed because each attempt to justify it resulted in inductive reasoning which pre-supposed the irrationality it was trying to overcome. Popper reasoned correctly that it wasn't about justification. It isn't justification that makes science rational. It's the ability to critize. The theory must be capable of being disproven, not proven. Trying to prove a theory requires induction since you're always looking for something that supports the theory. As Einstein pointed out, it only takes one thing to prove my theories are false.


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adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"According to Popper's theory of falsifiability, it is very likely for Popper to have qualified a theory as being metaphysical instead of scientific for the reason being that at the particular time when the theory had been evaluated it did not show any sign of being falsifiable because there were no new information available to classify it as being scientific until 1 hundred years later. Therefore, Popper's theory of falsifiability is time sensitive."

Cool...I really can't buy that. I think a fundimental question here has to do with whether or not you see the universe itself as finite or infinite. If you see the universe as finite, then it would be theoretically possible to search every nook and cranny of it to prove a theory as true. The likelihood of that, is about equivelent to finding that God is a purple Buffaloe parked on Alpha Centauri. We can't prove God isn't a purple Buffaloe, but do we really want to reduce our thinking to the absurd? Personally I don't see that. I see an infinite universe. That alone makes the idea of searching it to prove a theory, logically impossible. Time is irrelevant. You could search the universe to the end of time if such a thing existed, and still not complete the search for something to prove a theory. I don't see it as realistic. I don't think time will show us that there is a wall around the universe. There can't be space outside of space. That would simply be more space.


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adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"Here's a universal statement: Knowledge is limitless the only thing that is limited in knowledge is our inability to access it. Is this statement subjective? does it not entail the truth? Is this statement not justified?"

Well...look at your statement. You say that knowledge is limitless, and then you tell us that there is a limitation, which is our ability to access it. So...how can it be limitless, and limited at the same time? Clearly in an infinite universe, it's impossible to attain infinite knowledge. If we could, it wouldn't be infinite. The statement has a contradiction within it that can't be resolved. You can't have limitless knowledge and be limited at the same time.


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Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

If human evolve technologically the chances are new technological discoveries will enhance the possibility of proven a prior cognition invalid.

"What you seem to be suggesting here is that at some point in the future, that logic itself could change? Since logic has a foundation in Math, I can't imagine that taking place. If that is possible, then why not say that the Prinicple of non-contradiction will fall as well, and that we can be in two places at the same time. Why might hypothesize that the sky will change to red, or north will become south."

A prior cognition - a prior comprehension - a prior understanding. If a new scientific discovery proves that E=mc2 to have been inaccurate than it may not be the logic that is inaccurate but instead the measurement for M. Therefore, the prior cognition that is invalid is not the logic itself but the measurements that is associate with the logic. This new discovery may require that part of the logic used to calculate E=mc2 to change. Perhaps it would not be E=mc2 anymore may be now E= m2c. This is just a supposition but I'm sure you get the idea by now. I notice that you talked of logic in the general sense when logic can vary depending on the function of scientific data. Although logic is logic it varies depending on its function.

I understand Popper's concept of falsifiability in order for a scientific theory to have been considered valid but how can we factored technology or new discoveries into Popper's theory of falsifiability?

According to Popper's theory of falsifiability, it is very likely for Popper to have qualified a theory as being metaphysical instead of scientific for the reason being that at the particular time when the theory had been evaluated it did not show any sign of being falsifiable therefore it is not scientific. But what if a new discovery comes alone now this theory that was once non-scientific could now be proven falsifiable because of this new discovery. Could we say that Popper never take into consideration that new discoveries or technologies could end up proven a theory that was non-scientific scientific.

It there were no new information available to classify this theory as being scientific until 1 hundred years later this theory may have been classified as a revelation. Therefore, Popper's theory of falsifiability must be time sensitive since a theory that was non-scientific could end up being scientific due to a change in time.

James Dubreze


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adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"Knowledge is limitless. Denial: knowledge is not limitless. Compare and contrast - do we see any meaning in the denial of that statement or is this a statement that possess only meaningful answers."

I think I just did in the response above. Of course there is meaning in the denial. If you are to consider the first statement as meaningful, then you must logically consider it's opposite meaningful as well, or you're simply preaching. The first statement can't be true unless the possibility exists of the second being true.


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Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Hi Adagio

I had a feeling this one would be a concern to you - but that's all good because communication is question bearer it is the fruits of all knowledge. I'm glad to have met you.

"Here's a universal statement: Knowledge is limitless the only thing that is limited in knowledge is our inability to access it. Is this statement subjective? does it not entail the truth? Is this statement not justified?"

Well...look at your statement. You say that knowledge is limitless, and then you tell us that there is a limitation, which is our ability to access it. So...how can it be limitless, and limited at the same time? Clearly in an infinite universe, it's impossible to attain infinite knowledge. If we could, it wouldn't be infinite. The statement has a contradiction within it that can't be resolved. You can't have limitless knowledge and be limited at the same time.

Well, here how I see it. Knowledge is limitless the only thing that is limited in knowledge is our inability to access it. If knowledge is limitless it goes to infinity we can never learn too much. But if the only thing that is limited in knowledge is our inability to access it then that limit in which we talk about cannot be part of limitless knowledge but one of the limited self. In that sense it's not knowledge itself that is limited but instead our inabilities. I tend to use a lot of metaphors in my language . Knowledge is limitless but our inability isn't .

James Dubreze


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adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"Deductive argument:

Knowledge is limitless the only thing that is limited in knowledge is our inability to access it.

OK. As a deductive argument it must follow a syllogism.

premise 1. Knowledge is limitless

premise 2. Knowledge is limited by our access to it.

conclusion: Knowledge is limitless, except when it's limited.

The statement contains a contradiction. In order for the statement to be valid the premises must be true. Clearly premise 1 cannot be true, if premise 2 is true. All dogs can fly. Fido is a dog. Fido can fly.” That is a perfectly valid argument in terms of logic, but this flawless logic is based on an untrue premise. If a person accepts the major and minor premises of an argument, the conclusion follows undeniably by the sheer force of reason. If in an argument, the logic reaches a

conclusion that seems absurd, it behooves you to analyze each sentence separately (to see if each premise is true without exception) and then to analyze the structure of the argument (to see if the reasoning of the argument itself is valid).

"If knowledge is limitless than no one can ever learn enough."

If that is true, then knowledege is in fact, limited. The problem here is that you can't demonstrate the truth that knowledge is limitless. In fact there is no way to. If you could, it wouldn't be limitless. All of our knowledge deals with an infinite universe. To expect infinite knowledge as attainable contradicts the very idea of infinity. If you could gain that, infinity wouldn't be infinity. It would be finite. That would make knowledge itself limited to the limitations of a finite universe.

"Inductive Argument:

10x - 5y = 20

-5y = 20 - 10x

Therefore y = -4 - 2x

You said "unlike their deductive counterparts, could not justify their conclusions even if we were certain that their premises were true."

That isn't an inductive argument Cool. It's deductive. You use deductive reasoning in algebra. When you provide a reason for each step in the process of solving an equation, you are using deductive reasoning. That's what we use to prove the answer. Here is

an example.

Solve the equation for x. Give a reason for each step in the process.

3(2x + 1) + 2(2x + 1) + 7 = 42 ? 5x

3(2x + 1) + 2(2x + 1) + 7 = 42 ? 5x (The original equation.)

6x + 3 + 4x + 2 + 7 = 42 ? 5x Distribute.

10x + 12 = 42 ? 5x Combine like terms.

10x = 30 ? 5x Subtract 12 from both sides.

15x = 30 Add 5x to both sides.

x = 2 Divide both sides by 15.

Inductive reasoning allows you to discover new ideas based on observed patterns. Deductive reasoning can help explain why your conjectures are true.

In your example which is a Linear equation with two variables...you didn't finish the problem. You didn't solve for x.


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Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Adagio,

I like your deductive reasoning methord, below

OK. As a deductive argument it must follow a syllogism.

premise 1. Knowledge is limitless

premise 2. Knowledge is limited by our access to it.

conclusion: Knowledge is limitless, except when it's limited.

Knowledge is limitless the only thing that is limited in knowledge is our inability to access it.

Premise 1. Knowledge is limitless.

Premise 2. Knowledge is limited by our inability to access it.

Conclusion Knowledge is limitless, except by our inability to access it.

Partial truth will always miss the ingredient of reason, the only thing you fail to mention there Adagio is that knowledge is limited by our inability to access it. You said that knowledge is limited by our access to it. That's not even what I said because if we all had access to knowledge all the time than there would not have been an exception. The exception is there because we don't all have access to knowledge. There you have it premise 1. is true while premise 2. is false. I hope this logic satisfied your understanding.

I said "If knowledge is limitless it goes to infinity, we can never learn too much."

And you quote me saying "If knowledge is limitless than no one can ever learn enough."

You said " All of our knowledge deals with an infinite universe. To expect infinite knowledge as attainable contradicts the very idea of infinity." Your argument is reasonable but it doesn't pertain to my original statement because I never argued that infinite knowledge was attainable. My statement clearly state that knowledge was limitless.

Inductive reasoning takes the approach of ascending format, which mean that we are looking to solve the problem via a methord of process of elimination.

10x - 5y = 20 is not the answer we're looking for as a matter fact it is the problem we're trying to solve. -5y = 20 - 10x is the process of elimination y = -4 - 2x is our solution.

Therefore, inductive reasoning start off with the problem to arrive to the solution. Whereas, deductive reasoning start off with the solution to end up with the problem.

Deductive argument would have start off with y = -4 - 2x because in a deductive argument the theory is stated first than we prove how we derived to that theory - you dig? This is why it is referred to as Descending logic.

James Dubreze


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Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Adagio,

In a deductive argument we look to prove that a solution is true ( we look to prove that the theory is true) while in an inductive argument we look to solve a problem ( we arrived at a theory). In your example you proposed a problem and ask to solve using a system of equation. When you finally got to solve for x the answer you got is the solution which mean you must have ascended your way to that answer. To have descended your way to the answer would have required that you prove why x = 2. which mean you would have derived to a theory. Is that how you see it?


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Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Adagio,

"I see an infinite universe. That alone makes the idea of searching it to prove a theory, logically impossible. Time is irrelevant. You could search the universe to the end of time if such a thing existed, and still not complete the search for something to prove a theory. I don't see it as realistic."

Scientists do relavant research for a particular study in that process they may end up discovering something they did not have their minds on at all. In other cases new discoveries happen by accident.

In that sense, when i said that

"it is very likely for Popper to have qualified a theory as being metaphysical instead of scientific for the reason being that at the particular time when the theory had been evaluated, it did not show any sign of being falsifiable because there were no new information available to have classified it as being scientific until 1 hundred years later"

I'm referring to the above mentioned incidents when the discovery may just be a lab experiment or a coincident not one where scientist desperately look for answers to disprove a theory. I think all discoveries that end up disproving a theory happens by accident.


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adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"I notice that you talked of logic in the general sense when logic can vary depending on the function of scientific data. Although logic is logic it varies depending on its function."

I don't think so. Logic is math based and math doesn't change. Logic doesn't vary. It's constant. We don't change logic to fit a problem. We solve problems using logic.

"I understand Popper's concept of falsifiability in order for a scientific theory to have been considered valid but how can we factored technology or new discoveries into Popper's theory of falsifiability?"

It's really pretty solid regarding our approach to new discoveries. In fact Popper's ideas reshaped the scientific method. Science is no longer based on induction, which can't rationally justify our theories, but rather on falsifiability. Scientists are always looking at how to disprove theories. And if you think about it, it's quite logical. We use subtraction to prove our math equations. In our math classes we were always told we had to prove our work. Just getting the answer right wasn't enough. We had to show our work and we did that using deductive reasoning. So we apply a deductive process. Those theories that withstand severe criticism survive. Those that don't, have been falsified and we can discard them as demonstrably false.

"In that sense it's not knowledge itself that is limited but instead our inabilities. I tend to use a lot of metaphors in my language . Knowledge is limitless but our inability isn't."

I do understand where you're going with this, but I have to point out that knowledge doesn't exist other than through human processing. All the knowledge that could exist is contained within an infinite universe, so obviously the more we explore that universe, the greater knowledge we will have of it. But, none of it has any meaning other than our ability to process it and make sense of it. It doesn't exist without human interaction and processing which makes it become knowledge.

"Knowledge is limitless but our inability isn't."

I think you might say that knowledge is limitless but our ability to access it isn't. Our ability does in fact have limits, rather than our inability being limitless. It's a grammatical difference. Unlimited inability sounds like a double negative to me. Nevertheless, let me say again, I admire your sense of discovery. I rarely run into somebody that is as hungry for understanding how we process knowledge as you. I think you mentioned Bertrand Russell earlier. A great logician. One of the best in history. Others who have played important roles in the development of logic include Peter Abelard, William of Occam, Wilhelm Leibniz, Kurt Goedel, and Alfred Tarski. As a math guy, you'll love this stuff.

I think that the thing to recognize regarding induction is that the problem of induction was brought to our attention by David Hume in the 1700's. Philosophers, including Russell, struggled with this problem for centuries. What Popper did was the equivelent of cutting the Gordian knot. The Gordian Knot as you probably know, is a legend of Phrygian Gordium associated with Alexander the Great. It is often used as a metaphor for an intractable problem solved easily by cheating or "thinking outside the box". Popper looked at the problem of induction completely differently. He's sometimes credited with "solving" the problem of induction, but he rejects that idea as one of solving it but rather at looking at it from a different angle. It's not a question justifying our theories, but the ability to criticize them that makes a theory rational. That changed science forever.


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adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"Partial truth will always miss the ingredient of reason, the only thing you fail to mention there Adagio is that knowledge is limited by our inability to access it."

I left that out of the syllogism because it's really irrelevent. I once argued with a guy about his submission to authority. He told me that the only authority that he submitted to was God. I told him that who the authority was didn't matter. It's still a submission to authority. Likewise in this situation, it matters not what causes the limitation. The limitation is there regardless of what causes it. There are no exceptions to a universal statement. Your conclusion is:

"Knowledge is limitless, except by our inability to access it." There are no exceptions to a universal statement. That's why they're called universal statements.

"There you have it premise 1. is true while premise 2. is false. I hope this logic satisfied your understanding."

Even if an exception were permitted to a universal statement (there are no exceptions)there is still a problem. In a deductive syllogism, in order for the logic to be valid, both premises must be true. A deductive argument is one which, if valid, has a conclusion that is entailed by its premises. In other words, the truth of the conclusion is a logical consequence of the premises — if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true. If one or more of the premises are false, then the conclusion is invalid. If on the other hand the premises were true it would be self-contradictory to assert the premises and deny the conclusion, because the negation of the conclusion is contradictory to the truth of the premises.

"My statement clearly state that knowledge was limitless."

I know, and I'm not disagreeing, but in an infinite universe there is no way to access it completely. I don't see knowledge as something seperate from human interaction. It only exists as we assimilate it and bring it into our consciousness. We accumulate knowledge incrementally. It's not some separate entity.

"Inductive reasoning takes the approach of ascending format, which mean that we are looking to solve the problem via a methord of process of elimination."

Well...inductive reasoning doesn't actually solve a problem. It may raise a question but it can't solve a problem because it can never prove it's conclusion is true. That requires deduction. Inductive reasoning, also known as induction, is a kind of reasoning that constructs or evaluates propositions that are abstractions of observations of individual instances of members of the same class. Inductive reasoning contrasts with deductive reasoning in that a general conclusion is arrived at by specific examples. Deduction runs in the oposite direction, from the general to the specific.

The problem of induction is the philosophical question of whether inductive reasoning leads to knowledge. That is, what is the justification for either:

1.generalizing about the properties of a class of objects based on some number of observations of particular instances of that class (for example, the inference that "all swans we have seen are white, and therefore all swans are white," before the discovery of black swans) or

2.presupposing that a sequence of events in the future will occur as it always has in the past (for example, that the laws of physics will hold as they have always been observed to hold). Hume called this the Principle of Uniformity of Nature

The problem calls into question all empirical claims made in everyday life or through the scientific method and for that reason the philosopher C. D. Broad said that "induction is the glory of science and the scandal of philosophy". Although the problem arguably dates back to the Pyrrhonism of ancient philosophy, David Hume introduced it in the mid-18th century, with the most notable response provided by Karl Popper two centuries later.

"10x - 5y = 20 is not the answer we're looking for as a matter fact it is the problem we're trying to solve. -5y = 20 - 10x is the process of elimination y = -4 - 2x is our solution."

You're solving for the y intercept? What is x? I believe it's 2. But it's not inductive. It's deductive.

"Therefore, inductive reasoning start off with the problem to arrive to the solution. Whereas, deductive reasoning start off with the solution to end up with the problem."

Cool...I'm not sure I'm reading you right. If what you're saying is that inductive reasoning leads from the general to the specific...you've got it backwards. Inductive reasoning leads from the specific to the general. Inductive reasoning makes a general observation, and looks for things that support that statement. The classic example is the general statement; "All swans are White". The idea is that every swan you've ever seen is white, so the next swan you see...will be white. The classic philosophical treatment of the problem of induction was given by the Scottish philosopher David Hume. Hume highlighted the fact that our every day habits of mind depend on drawing uncertain conclusions from our relatively limited experiences rather than on deductively valid arguments. For example, we believe that bread will nourish us because it has done so in the past, despite no guarantee that it will do so. Hume argued that it is impossible to justify inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning certainly cannot be justified deductively, and so our only option is to justify it inductively. However, to justify induction inductively is circular. Therefore, it is impossible to justify induction.

Definition of Deductive Reasoning

When we arrive at a conclusion using facts, definitions, rule, or properties, it is called Deductive Reasoning.

Is (x × y) × z the same as (z × y) × x always? Say yes or no. Explain your steps using deductive reasoning.

Choices:

A. Yes

B. No

Correct Answer: A

Solution:

Step 1: (x × y) × z = z × (x × y), using commutative property of multiplication.

Step 2: = z × (y × x), using commutative property of multiplication again.

Step 3: = (z × y) × x, using associative property of multiplication.

Explaining the work is deductive.

Related Terms for Deductive Reasoning

Conclusion

Facts

Definitions

Rules

Properties

I'm not sure if I'm reading you right, but it seems that you're suggesting that solving the problem is an inductive process and it isn't.


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adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"In a deductive argument we look to prove that a solution is true ( we look to prove that the theory is true) while in an inductive argument we look to solve a problem ( we arrived at a theory)"

No. We solve no problems with induction. An inductive argument postulates a theory. It makes an assertion. Inductive reasoning is also known as hypothesis construction because any conclusions made are based on educated predictions. That does not solve a problem. It offers a theory. It's through deductive reasoning that we can determine if the theory makes any sense or can be falsified. In fact we never prove a theory is true. We can prove a theory is false, but we can't prove a theory is true. You cannot prove a theory is true because it requires induction and as David Hume showed in the 18th century it is impossible to justify inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning certainly cannot be justified deductively, and so our only option is to justify it inductively. However, to justify induction inductively is circular reasoning and a logical fallacy. Therefore, it is impossible to justify induction. Trust me on this. The problem of induction plagued philosophers for centuries and as I pointed out, logicians such as Bertrand Russell struggled with this problem. There was no way to rationally justify our science inductively. Again...we cannot prove our theories. It would require induction and induction would require induction to prove itself. You can't use induction to prove induction. We can disprove a theory through deduction, and that's what makes our science rational. We can know what isn't true. And that's an important thing to know. It's far more significant than attempting to prove that you're right. That's a fools errand.

"To have descended your way to the answer would have required that you prove why x = 2. which mean you would have derived to a theory. Is that how you see it?"

No. I haven't derived a theory at all. A problem in the form of an equation asked to be solved. A general equation. Through deductive means we arrive at the specifics (general to the specific) that are the framework that show us the structure. 2+2=4. We can prove our work. 4-2=2. It shows that the equation is valid.


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adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"Scientists do relavant research for a particular study in that process they may end up discovering something they did not have their minds on at all. In other cases new discoveries happen by accident"

Of course. They're happy accidents.

""it is very likely for Popper to have qualified a theory as being metaphysical instead of scientific for the reason being that at the particular time when the theory had been evaluated, it did not show any sign of being falsifiable because there were no new information available to have classified it as being scientific until 1 hundred years later"

Not really. See something that is metaphysical is something that is outside of nature. If something new is discoverd it's because it's been observed or measured through empirical means. Unless you think that we can use physical scientific instruments to allow us to see things that can't be seen with physical scientific instruments, that scenario can't happen. There is a reason why we have subjects called metaphysical. They fall outside the reach of science which only deals with the physical. Is a good reason for why Creationism isn't taught in a science class. It ain't science. It can't be falsified. It's not part of the natural world. It's supernatural. 100 years from now, if something appears on the scene it will be because we can now observe it and it then becomes part of the natural world rather than metaphysical. It can be tested and falsified

"I'm referring to the above mentioned incidents when the discovery may just be a lab experiment or a coincident not one where scientist desperately look for answers to disprove a theory. I think all discoveries that end up disproving a theory happens by accident."

If a discovery takes place in a lab experiment then it's a result of things that are part of the natural world. Popper was a Scientific Philospher. His position was to postulate the wildest theories you can come up with. Then subject them to criticism. Those that withstand relentless criticism are kept, those that can't are dumped. Most theories are under constant assault. If you examine Gallileo I think his experiments weren't accidental but very deliberate. The theory at the time that the sun revolved around the earth was unnacceptable to him, and he very deliberately set out to falsify it. I think that most discovery's happen as a result of creative minds that think outside the box. It's those that question the status quo. Experiments in medicine are quite deliberate. Stem cell research for example. Science is always looking for cures to disease or new ways to generate energy. I see it as positive motivation rather than something benign. It's true that they often may stumble on something new, but I wouldn't say that it's an exclusive method in science.


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Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Adagio,

"Knowledge is limitless, except by our inability to access it." There are no exceptions to a universal statement. That's why they're called universal statements.

Our inability to access knowledge is not part of limitless knowledge it is part of our obstacles. The limited faculty in knowledge is not a limit to limitless knowledge it is a limit to the faculty of those accessing knowledge.

The statement that knowledge is limitless is universal.

The statement that reads "the only thing that limits us access to knowledge is our inability to access it is also universal.

Therefore, knowledge is limitless and that the only thing that is limited in knowledge is our inability to access it must also be true.

The limit does not address limitless knowledge it addresses our limited faculties to knowledge. The "only thing that is limited in knowledge" is a surposition which was not assigned to limitless knowledge but instead to our limited faculties.


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Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Adagio,

"I don't see knowledge as something separate from human interaction. It only exists as we assimilate it and bring it into our consciousness. We accumulate knowledge incrementally. It's not some separate entity."

By saying that knowledge was limitless is not inferring that its out there in the universe. It is meant to imply that knowledge exist in every individual's mind it is not accumulated into one form and it is precisely why knowledge is limitless. A person could be a doctor and not know how to drive a truck. A person may be a lawyer and not be a nutritionist. A person could be a president and not an economist. If you look at it from that sense than you'll have a good idea of what I'm talking about when I say that knowledge is limitless.

"Cool...I'm not sure I'm reading you right. If what you're saying is that inductive reasoning leads from the general to the specific...you've got it backwards."

Well, you are reading me right.

Inductive Reasoning:

OK, here's an example of inductive reasoning from the top of my head. I walked down street X I noticed that authorities chasing a man with a gun, when I came to the intersection of street X i noticed the ambulance, then when I got closer I saw a man laying down on the ground bleeding, everyone around tells me that this man has gotten shot.

Conclusion: The man I saw authorities chasing is most probable the cause of the accident.

Deductive reasoning:

I start off with the proposition that the man I saw authorities chasing must have shot the guy bleeding on the floor. And you said "A deductive argument is one which, if valid, has a conclusion that is entailed by its premises."

Why? I saw authorities chasing a man with a gun. When I got to the intersection of x I saw ambulance and a man bleeding on the floor. Meanwhile the man authorities is chasing may not have been the same man who shot the guy laying on the floor.

"Inductive reasoning leads from the specific to the general" I would say prove it. Inductive - to induce - to make happen - ascending from general to specific as in the example above. Deductive - to deduct - descending from the specific to general as in the example above. An yes inductive reasoning can lead to valuable answers.


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Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

I think we're looking at these two concepts deductive & inductive from a different starting point. I view deductive in the sense that I'm deducting from many to prove a specific which I already have, and that is the general statement which I must prove true.

I view Inductive In the sense of starting from many to arrive at a specific but I never had a specific before where as in a deductive argument the specific is already there its just hasn't been proven yet. In an inductive argument I'm gathering information to derive at a specific. That's how I see it.


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Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

I think we're looking at these two concepts deductive & inductive from a different starting point. I view deductive in the sense that I'm deducting from many to prove a specific which I already have, and that is the general statement which I must prove true.

I view Inductive In the sense of starting from many to arrive at a specific but I never had a specific before where as in a deductive argument the specific is already there its just hasn't been proven yet. In an inductive argument I'm gathering information to derive at a specific, which mean that I'm either producing or gathering information that will lead me to a specific. That's how I see it.


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Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Adagio,

"If something new is discovered it's because it's been observed or measured through empirical means. Unless you think that we can use physical scientific instruments to allow us to see things that can't be seen with physical scientific instruments, that scenario can't happen. There is a reason why we have subjects called metaphysical. They fall outside the reach of science which only deals with the physical. Is a good reason for why Creationism isn't taught in a science class. It ain't science. It can't be falsified. It's not part of the natural world. It's supernatural. 100 years from now, if something appears on the scene it will be because we can now observe it and it then becomes part of the natural world rather than metaphysical. It can be tested and falsified."

Read This Article below and tell me what you think.

http://discovermagazine.com/2011/mar/14-priest-phy...

“You could say the experiment shows that space-time does not contain all the intelligent entities acting in the world because something outside of time is coordinating the photons’ results,” Suarez says.? “Physics experiments cannot demonstrate the existence of God, but this test shows that today’s physics is compatible with all major religious traditions. There is strong experimental evidence for accepting that nonmaterial beings act in the world.”


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

I don't think so. Logic is math based and math doesn't change. Logic doesn't vary. It's constant. We don't change logic to fit a problem. We solve problems using logic."

The area of a circle is ?r2 its Circumference is 2?r.

The area of a rectangle is = w × h

Therefore, as you can see these are two different set of logic used to calculate two different functions.

"I think you might say that knowledge is limitless but our ability to access it isn't."

Yes indeed that does sound good but our inability to access knowledge is a constraint that is placed on ourselves. If what's limiting us from accessing knowledge is our inabilities than that inability could be the result of being disable, helplessness or powerless.

"It's not a question justifying our theories, but the ability to criticize them that makes a theory rational." I totally agree with that statement because I believe it is until one can have his theory criticize that one becomes conscious of the validity of his statement. We must always try to disprove an idea or a theory, it is through the process of trying to disprove a theory that we become conscious of its merit.

I'll have to say Adagio, I'm glade to have met you because I must say, I've never met anyone who knows the history of philosophy as well as you do. The amount of history you through at me within our conversation is enough for be to become a historian. You regurgitated them like you had a stomach virus.

Thanks for all your thoughts.


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

In regard to the inductive reasoning the specific to you is the accumulation of each observation. I view these accumulation of specific observations as a form of many to one. I call the one the specific which is the theory. I derived to this theory by assessing the many observations gathered from the specifics which help me derive to a single conclusion which could become known as the theory.

In the deductive argument I already have the specific which is the theory known as the general statement. In order for me to prove that theory true i must go into the specifics.

It works like this:

A Theory of Election:

Elections are tension reactant; their results are sometimes predictable; it is all depends on the reacting substance present at the start of the reaction that will determine the impact that certain political party will demonstrate throughout the development of the election. However, for a country like the United States, election is affected by Global investors who are often neither Republican nor Democrat. Thus, the basic understandings of the U.S Public on American Election will eventually come to par with how the interest of the Global investor is just as important as their Domestic investors.

Elections Are Tension Reactant:

Elections are tension reactant in the sense that during the course of an election there are many debates among members of the public which at times can change public opinion. And to ensure that these opinions don’t affect the candidates, the parties involved hire experts who can debate their position from an advantage point.

Elections Are Sometimes Predictable:

Elections are sometimes Predictable in many ways. Some of us had predicted that if Obama wins the primary against Senator Hillary Clinton he would stood a great chance of becoming the next U.S president while others predicted that Mc Cain would win for the reason being that he had more experience than Obama. For some of us the result of 2008 election teaches us that experience alone is not what wins elections, but instead one that comes with comprehensive planning of the issues ahead.

The Reacting Substance Present at the Start of the Reaction:

The reacting substance present at the start of the reaction in term of elections can always be looked upon as being the selling ticket to the candidate political view of the current issues. What we mean is that the candidates have had to be consistent throughout the course of the campaign. Whichever position they take towards the issues will remain true throughout the rest of the campaign. However, if throughout the campaign any inconsistency towards a particular issue becomes exposed, than the reacting substance that was present at the start of the reaction would have been temporary or permanently spoiled, which in this case would have revealed the candidate views as “flip flops.”

Elections are affected by Global Investors:

The next president of the United States will be someone who understands the magnitude of global investors on the American economy. He will also be a president who will know when to set out policies to regulate corporate interest to protect the investment of the American people. His role within the United States Government will become more known as the process of balancing the people’s interest with that of corporations. Nevertheless, they are both mutually accepted as being the government body of any society, but the point in which where one overlaps each other is often the failure of the balancing effect which at times are guided by interest.

The interests of the investors are just as important as the interest of the people, there are both tied in together as a package deal. But without proper government, conflict between the investors and the people cannot be suitably managed. The interests of the investors are never discussed during an election, when in fact they are the driven force behind every campaign.

James Dubreze


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

CORRECTION:

In regard to the inductive reasoning the specific to you is the accumulation of each observation. I view these accumulation of specific observations as a form of many to one. I call the one the the theory or the conclusion. I derived to this theory or conclusion by assessing the many observations gathered from the specifics which help me derive to a central proposition which could become known as the theory.

In the deductive argument I already have a central proposition which is the theory known as the general statement. In order for me to prove that theory true i must go into the specifics.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

""Here's a universal statement: Knowledge is limitless the only thing that is limited in knowledge is our inability to access it." "The statement that knowledge is limitless is universal. The statement that reads "the only thing that limits us access to knowledge is our inability to access it is also universal.

Cool...I think you could break this down into two separate sentences. Knowledge is limitless. The only thing that limits knowledge is our ability to access it. If I were your editor that's what I'd suggest. It avoids the contradiction implied in the wording. I use the word ability rather than inability because limited inability confuses the reader. We have limits to our abilities. Not our inabilities. How could you test the limits of your inabilities?? It's like trying to prove what you can't do. That's the idea of proving a negative which we can't do. We test our abilities. Not our inabilities.

"Therefore, knowledge is limitless and that the only thing that is limited in knowledge is our inability to access it must also be true."

I think that the point I'm trying to make here is that by treating your statements as separate sentences, you avoid that need to try to explain the contradiction that is apparent: "knowledge is limitless and that the only thing that is limited in knowledge"... If we have to explain further what we mean, we clearly haven't conveyed the idea as we'd hoped.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"OK, here's an example of inductive reasoning from the top of my head. I walked down street X I noticed that authorities chasing a man with a gun, when I came to the intersection of street X i noticed the ambulance, then when I got closer I saw a man laying down on the ground bleeding, everyone around tells me that this man has gotten shot.

Conclusion: The man I saw authorities chasing is most probable the cause of the accident."

But you are proving my point. The man you saw is most PROBABLY the cause of the accident. And that's the best you have. A probability. Not certainty. You can't know that with complete certainty without corroborating evidence that supports that. Induction provides us with an educated guess. Not absolute certainty or proof of anything. The man laying down bleeding could be a result of another incident. At this point, you really don't know. What you have, is a guess. Evidence will present deductively if this is the guy. Sherlock Holmes always said,"Brilliant deduction Holmes". Not induction. If you want to solve anything you use deduction.

"Inductive reasoning leads from the specific to the general" I would say prove it. Inductive - to induce - to make happen - ascending from general to specific as in the example above. Deductive - to deduct - descending from the specific to general as in the example above. An yes inductive reasoning can lead to valuable answers."

So...let me get this straight..you are rejecting the most well known and well understood forms of reasoning? You're going to tell me that Tarski and Goedel, and Russell, and Ockham..and every logician and philosopher throughout history...are wrong about the difference between inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning?? You're saying that induction works from the general to the specific, and deduction works from the specific to the general?? Is this what you're saying?? In spite of all the examples that I've shown backed by some of the greatest minds in history you're going to reverse the meaining of inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning?

That in spite of Pyrrhonian skeptic Sextus Empiricus who first questioned the validity of inductive reasoning, positing that a universal rule could not be established from an incomplete set of particular instances, when he wrote: "When they propose to establish the universal from the particulars by means of induction, they will effect this by a review of either all or some of the particulars. But if they review some, the induction will be insecure, since some of the particulars omitted in the induction may contravene the universal; while if they are to review all, they will be toiling at the impossible, since the particulars are infinite and indefinite."

In spite of this and all the information that exists on the Internet Machine that contains much of the knowledge that you hope to gain (all you need to do is access it...Google inductive/deductive reasoning) you're going to reverse the poles of reason...and I'm supposed to accept this idea as rational? That's a shame. This was going so well. I think you may want to get back to the drawing board on this. All I can say is...you're thinking is totally wrong on this. I would caution not to look so hard for absolutes. The more you try to prove your theories, the more problems you'll run into. First of all you won't be able to do it. Secondly, if you can see yourself and accept yourself as fallible, you'll realize that you could be wrong. The object of life is to look for where we go wrong, not to look for things that help convince us that we are right.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"I view Inductive In the sense of starting from many to arrive at a specific but I never had a specific before where as in a deductive argument the specific is already there its just hasn't been proven yet. In an inductive argument I'm gathering information to derive at a specific. That's how I see it."

Well, consider that you could be seeing it wrong. Because you are. I think if you could clear this up it would help you enormously. You definitely need to understand the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning. From what you're saying, it's clear that you have things askew.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"Physics experiments cannot demonstrate the existence of God, but this test shows that today’s physics is compatible with all major religious traditions. There is strong experimental evidence for accepting that nonmaterial beings act in the world.”

Well, that's all very interesting. Unfortunately as all scientific theories it must undergo conjecture and refutation. I wonder how you can detect the undetectable? If you could...it's because it isn't undectable in the first place. In other words in spite of his theory, attempts to prove it will fail. It will require induction to prove it. And you can't use induction to prove and inductive argument. That's called circular reasoning and it's logically false. Its also an irrational position to hold if you want to hold it.

I consider myself a rational person. I apply reason and logic in my life. I reject fantasy. I enjoy watching it in a movie. I'm hooked on HBO's Game of Thrones right now, but I'm able to separate fantasy and reality and I enjoy living in the real world. I embrace scepticism in my view of the world. A sceptic would never fly a jet into a building. That takes a true Believer.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"The area of a circle is ?r2 its Circumference is 2?r.

The area of a rectangle is = w × h. Therefore, as you can see these are two different set of logic used to calculate two different functions."

You still seem to be missing the point here. It isn't a different set of logic that's involved. It's different applications of the same thing. We call that a distinction without a difference. It's deductive. It's what we use to solve problems. Think Sherlock Holmes.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"I totally agree with that statement because I believe it is until one can have his theory criticize that one becomes conscious of the validity of his statement. We must always try to disprove an idea or a theory, it is through the process of trying to disprove a theory that we become conscious of its merit."

I'm not sure which one of us said that but I think it's you, and I agree 1000%. If you apply that in everything, you'll find your thinking expanded in ways you never dreamed of. Some people may end up hating you. They don't like having their ideologies questioned. But if you hear a person make a universal claim, just ask him to demonstrate how the claim is true. What's the claim based on. Then...what is the basis for the basis. After all, you're only interest is in the Truth. Not somebody's ideology. An ideology is always based on some foundation which can't justify itself. Once the person begins that justification process, he's in trouble because you can simply continue asking him, what justifies his justification? He ends up being caught in what Tarski and others call the delemma of infinite regress vs. his dogma. He's trapped into a black hole of endless justification and the only way out is to say "it's true because I say it's true". circular reasoning. Game over. What you now know is that his ideology is without a basis which he claims supports his ideology. It's empty. So...you know what doesn't work, and that's a good thing. I think we find truth when we eliminate those things that are false and only serve to obscure the truth. I think Truth is real. I do think that objective truth is real. I simply don't believe that anybody can own it. It's too vast...like the universe itself. We already know and are in agreement that knowledge is limitless. Knowledge is Truth. We can't know everything or own all knowledge, and likewise can't hold truth in our hands, but when we can dump that stuff that we determine is false, we get greater focus on truth. I think of it like the statue that lives inside a block of marble. The sculpture in us must chip away at the marble in order to reveal the form hidden inside. We must tear down the facade to see the truth. If I were asked, "what is truth"? I'd say it's what we have left when we eliminate that which is false.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"I'll have to say Adagio, I'm glade to have met you because I must say, I've never met anyone who knows the history of philosophy as well as you do. The amount of history you through at me within our conversation is enough for be to become a historian. You regurgitated them like you had a stomach virus."

Thanks Cool. I see so much interest on your part in exploring how we think and thats sorely missing in most people. We've disagreed in a few areas, yet I see in you a willingness to communicate and test your ideas without resorting to ad hominem attacks because somebody doesn't agree. My interest is in politics, philosophy, and logic. I applied all of it in my book and I managed to get it published. The one thing I always do is seek out people that I respect in areas that I want to know more about. I'm communicating with Professor Robert C.Smith at San Francisco State who wrote the book Conservatism and Racism and why in America they are the Same. It's an amazing explanation of our history and targets the problems we have in America. I also communicate with Professor Richard Fallon at Harvard. He teaches Constitutional Law and is regarded as the students favorite professor in the Law School at Harvard. Studied at Yale, was a Rhodes Scholor at Oxford, got his JD at Yale and teaches at Harvard. Brilliant guy. I also audited a course in Political Science at Yale with Professor Ian Shapiro. Incredible course that goes back through political ideas such as the Utilitarianism of Jeremy Benthem. The Enlightenment period of John Locke, The Anti-Enlightenment of Edmund Burke who is the father of conservatism. Democracy. James Madison..our constitution. It's what I enjoy. I really do enjoy sharpening my own reasoning skills and grasp of logic. Anyway...here we are.


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Adagio,

"Cool...I think you could break this down into two separate sentences. Knowledge is limitless. The only thing that limits knowledge is our ability to access it. If I were your editor that's what I'd suggest. "

I stand corrected - I think you right "the only thing that limits knowledge is our ability to access it." I 'll make the correction - thank you.

"So...let me get this straight..you are rejecting the most well known and well understood forms of reasoning? You're going to tell me that Tarski and Goedel, and Russell, and Ockham..and every logician and philosopher throughout history...are wrong about the difference between inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning?? You're saying that induction works from the general to the specific, and deduction works from the specific to the general?? Is this what you're saying?? In spite of all the examples that I've shown backed by some of the greatest minds in history you're going to reverse the meaining of inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning?"

Well Adagio you are right about inductive and deductive reasoning. My mistake , I should change the way i view it because i refer to the theory as specific when I should refer to the accumulative info as specific. The confusion is not a matter of reason but instead a matter of association. We can refer to an apple as an orange any you refer to it as an apple but we both know that its a fruit. This doesn't change my pattern of reason it only change name of the fruit.

Thanks for being sever on that one - I needed to rethink that one.


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

"The area of a circle is ?r2 its Circumference is 2?r.

The area of a rectangle is = w × h.

You still seem to be missing the point here. It isn't a different set of logic that's involved. It's different applications of the same thing. We call that a distinction without a difference. It's deductive. It's what we use to solve problems. Think Sherlock Holmes.

Ok, I'll buy that for the reason being that if we were to apply a deductive reasoning to assess a situation, the approach that we would consider would depends on the information at hand. Therefore, different information would call for a different approach but it would still be a deduction way of assessing the situation. As you said different application.

Yes Sir.

What a beautiful thing that is when someone can help shape your thinking by proven your wrong when you're wrong. Even if you were right, if that person could have tried to prove you wrong would still be a good thing. The only way you would have known that your original statement is grounded is when all attempts have fail.

"The one thing I always do is seek out people that I respect in areas that I want to know more about. I'm communicating with Professor Robert C.Smith at San Francisco State who wrote the book Conservatism and Racism and why in America they are the Same. It's an amazing explanation of our history and targets the problems we have in America. I also communicate with Professor Richard Fallon at Harvard. He teaches Constitutional Law and is regarded as the students favorite professor in the Law School at Harvard. Studied at Yale, was a Rhodes Scholor at Oxford, got his JD at Yale and teaches at Harvard. Brilliant guy. I also audited a course in Political Science at Yale with Professor Ian Shapiro. Incredible course that goes back through political ideas such as the Utilitarianism of Jeremy Benthem. "

You have great connections, that's a treasure to be among a bunch of heavy duty scholars, as you are a scholar in your own rights.

I had posted a theory which I develop - I wanted you to prove it wrong but I don't see it. I'll try posting it again.

Thanks for your time.


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

A Theory of Election:

Elections are tension reactant; their results are sometimes predictable; it is all depends on the reacting substance present at the start of the reaction that will determine the impact that certain political party will demonstrate throughout the development of the election. However, for a country like the United States, election is affected by Global investors who are often neither Republican nor Democrat. Thus, the basic understandings of the U.S Public on American Election will eventually come to par with how the interest of the Global investor is just as important as their Domestic investors.

Elections Are Tension Reactant:

Elections are tension reactant in the sense that during the course of an election there are many debates among members of the public which at times can change public opinion. And to ensure that these opinions don’t affect the candidates, the parties involved hire experts who can debate their position from an advantage point.

Elections Are Sometimes Predictable:

Elections are sometimes Predictable in many ways. Some of us had predicted that if Obama wins the primary against Senator Hillary Clinton he would stood a great chance of becoming the next U.S president while others predicted that Mc Cain would win for the reason being that he had more experience than Obama. For some of us the result of 2008 election teaches us that experience alone is not what wins elections, but instead one that comes with comprehensive planning of the issues ahead.

The Reacting Substance Present at the Start of the Reaction:

The reacting substance present at the start of the reaction in term of elections can always be looked upon as being the selling ticket to the candidate political view of the current issues. What we mean is that the candidates have had to be consistent throughout the course of the campaign. Whichever position they take towards the issues will remain true throughout the rest of the campaign. However, if throughout the campaign any inconsistency towards a particular issue becomes exposed, than the reacting substance that was present at the start of the reaction would have been temporary or permanently spoiled, which in this case would have revealed the candidate views as “flip flops.”

Elections are affected by Global Investors:

The next president of the United States will be someone who understands the magnitude of global investors on the American economy. He will also be a president who will know when to set out policies to regulate corporate interest to protect the investment of the American people. His role within the United States Government will become more known as the process of balancing the people’s interest with that of corporations. Nevertheless, they are both mutually accepted as being the government body of any society, but the point in which where one overlaps each other is often the failure of the balancing effect which at times are guided by interest.

The interests of the investors are just as important as the interest of the people, there are both tied in together as a package deal. But without proper government, conflict between the investors and the people cannot be suitably managed. The interests of the investors are never discussed during an election, when in fact they are the driven force behind every campaign.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"I stand corrected - I think you right "the only thing that limits knowledge is our ability to access it." I 'll make the correction - thank you."

;) I think it works now.

"Well Adagio you are right about inductive and deductive reasoning. Thanks for being sever on that one - I needed to rethink that one."

No problem. I think you just had the terms reversed. But it'll help keep you out of trouble in the future with othe people trying to score points in some imaginary game. Just think; induction comes up with a theory. Deduction takes it apart to see if it works. We can't use the theory to prove the theory, and induction is what we used to come up with it in the first place. Don't look for things to support it. Look for things to falsify it. If it can stand up to testing...the theory will stick around. It only takes one thing to prove at theory false. That's why it's dangerous to make universal claims. They have to hold true in every situation. It only takes one contradiction to shoot it down and prove it's false. Hope some of this stuff helps.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"Ok, I'll buy that for the reason being that if we were to apply a deductive reasoning to assess a situation, the approach that we would consider would depends on the information at hand. Therefore, different information would call for a different approach but it would still be a deduction way of assessing the situation. As you said different application."

Bingo! we have a Bingo! Excellent. well said sir.

"What a beautiful thing that is when someone can help shape your thinking by proven your wrong when you're wrong."

This is why I've taken an interest in your writing Cool. You've got something cooking inside your brain that is important. You've also got the right (lack of) attitude which allows you to keep your mind open. A person with an attitude can't learn anything. He's not open to new ideas. Once we close our mind, we're finished. We think we know all there is to know. I'm fallible. I could be wrong about a host of things. I make no claims to being right about everything. I'm always testing my own thinking to see if it holds water.

I can honestly say, you have the brightest mind I've come across on the Hub Pages. Most of the debates I've had are with ideologues that think they know everything there is to know. They are dull and dimwitted. You are a Coolbreeze my friend.

"You have great connections, that's a treasure to be among a bunch of heavy duty scholars, as you are a scholar in your own rights."

Well, I usually try to contact the authors of a book that I may be reading. I just sent off a letter to Richard Fallon at Harvard about a view I have on a constitutional interpretation of the first Amendment.

I have a book out as you can see, so you're doing the same thing right now.

A couple years ago, the shit hit the fan in Wisconsin when the Governor there dismantled the State Union workers right to collective bargaining. It sparked the recall effort that is going on right now. At the time, I saw it as a violation of the 1st Amendment and tried to contact a law professor at Yale. I tried to contact Jonathan Turley who teaches constitutional law at George Washington Univ. I tried the ACLU of Wisconsin. I got no response from anyone. My argument was based on Freedom of Association which is protected under the 1st Amendment's freedom of speech. More specifically the right to petition your govt for redress of grievances. In Wisconsin, the people attempted to stop the law that the Governor was pushing regarding union busting under procedural grounds rather than constitutional grounds. I couldn't understand why they couldn't see the obvious.

Just last month, the law was blocked. Guess what the grounds were??? Violation of the First Amendment. I was doing everything I could to get through to people, and tell them where their argument should rest. Finally somebody got the message. It seemed like a no brainer to me, and I'm not even a lawyer. It just seemed that the Governors law failed the logic test. I tried to tell anyone that would listen about this two years ago.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 4 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

"A Theory of Election:"

This is really good. keep going with it. You've got my interest.


Sanctuary 2 years ago

Adding deductive reasoning is probably a bad example to deductive reasoning. In terms of advertising and conditioning a group of people to rationalization on an agenda it however works. The argument works because it replaces facts with emotions and emotions never care about the problem or long term consequences of poor decisions. When Iraq decided to leave the dollar and to convince OPEC to move to the Euro that little fact was replaced by other words. Weapons of mass destruction, threats to security and the welfare of Iraq's own people. Then if you did not agree you were not a Patriot or even American. We defended democracy and when I last checked we were a Republic under a two party system of already chosen candidates. Deductive reasoning is only being used to create there own facts that are not even facts at all. Advertising has become the new medium and everyone knows that emotional reasoning out sells the facts. The best lie is to claim its cheaper or its going to cost you more. Deductive reasoning only goes as far as the agenda and the profits they hope to achieve. Most illogical is voting on the line you will never share with them. Its easy to send a soldier to die if you our not the soldier. Is maintaining the gold standard called oil got anything to do with patriotism? Did the price of oil come down because of the war or was it the banks crashing and a 17 trillion dollar debt? Does capitalism work when no one can get above the cost of living thanks to low salaries? There is no such thing as reason with out the truth or the facts. We would have to call this the age of deductive manipulation.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 2 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont Author

You lost me with the opening sentence. "Adding deductive reasoning is probably a bad example to deductive reasoning." I have no idea what it is you're saying here. What does this; "The argument works because it replaces facts with emotions and emotions never care about the problem or long term consequences of poor decisions", have to do with deductive reasoning?

" We would have to call this the age of deductive manipulation."

To say that an argument is deductively sound, is to say: The argument is valid and all its premises are actually true. If it's truth that you are after, then a deductively sound argument is what you want. Calling that deductive manipulation is bizarre in my view.


Simon Wellings profile image

Simon Wellings 2 years ago

Dear Adagio,

I have read your posts with great interest and I would like to ask some questions.

I agree in principle with what you have written about induction and deduction and the strength of falsification to home in on the truth of a claim. My query is twofold.

First, I can’t think of a good scientific example where that happens in practise. There must be one but I can’t think of one. Generally, hypotheses are verified with data from machines rather than falsified – the most recent example that springs to mind is the discovery of the Higgs Boson to a statistical accuracy of 5 Sigma. Even when I measure the length of my laptop, say, and do it several times I have a result plus or minus an error. The more readings I take, the less the error in the measurement.

Second, when you speak of knowledge being limitless, how then can we know anything, because any finite number divided by infinity is zero! Is it possible that knowledge is finite?

Thanks for considering my questions.


Johnd387 2 years ago

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Adagio 2 years ago

HI Simon. Even with regards to the Higgs Boson discovery, the information that leads us to that, can and is, empirically tested. If it can be shown through tests that it can withstand scrutiny, then we accept the data as accurate. But that's still going to be conditional, because we don't know what kind of tests we may come up with 100 years from now, that show us something else. It's not only the results that we look at, but the methodology used to get the results. We can do any number of tests that would add to the evidence that something is true. But we can never exhaust the number of tests that could be applied. It's not verification that we seek. You can make a case for almost anything, but that doesn't make the outcome true. All it takes is one test to demonstrate why it's false to send a theory into the dumpster. We never prove something is true. We can prove something is false. Every theory, even evolution is seen as conditional and open to falsification. Einstein said that all the tests in the universe will never prove my theories are true, but it just takes one to prove they are false.

As for knowledge being limitless, and how can we know anything; it is. And we can't truly KNOW anything. Let me rephrase that: We can know when something is false. We can demonstrate why something is false, but no single test proves anything to be true. Our knowledge of the universe is limited to the observable universe. We can't know anything beyond that. Of course, that will change in time and we'll see more than we do today. I don't see knowledge as finite at all. We know more than we did before, because we know what to rule out.

I think that truth is found when we eliminate that crap that obscures it from our sight. When we subtract the bullshit, the truth is the remainder. It's what is left. There's a saying that if you want to see a mans face; first remove his mask.

We can apply this to our political views as well. When somebody tells you that "this" will lead to "that"...I would never accept that line of thinking. I would ask for the politician to demonstrate for me why one thing must lead to the next. That's historicism and I reject that line of thinking. It's pure Marx, and oddly, those that push this line of reasoning are the most adamantly opposed to Marx. Many of our politicians are filled with over the top hyperbole designed to scare the public, rather than present a logical argument. They rely on inductive reasoning and constantly show that they have "connected the dots", and therefore...THIS will be the outcome of whatever the issue may be. Of course these same politicians have been proven wrong in their predictions over and over again, but that doesn't stop them from applying induction to every argument they make.


Simon Wellings profile image

Simon Wellings 2 years ago

Hi Adagio,

Thank you for your response. I mostly agree with what you say about knowledge (which in some philosophical circles is defined as justified true belief). Strictly speaking knowledge is a double negative. We can only know what’s false, is I think what you are saying. Although that does open up other issues like how do we justify falsification, how do we know that our senses give us generally reliable data about reality, etc. but that’s a separate topic I suppose?

You have likened truth quite nicely to the statue that lurks undiscovered beneath a block of marble. It has been argued by some that truth is circular. I don’t think it is. I would define truth as reality accurately conceptualised using language.

Is there nothing that you know other than what is false? I for instance would claim to know a few simple things without requiring falsification:

1. My name label is Simon Wellings.

2. 1 + 1 = 2 (by definition)

3. I, as a thinking entity, exist

4. The logical absolutes must be true.

In the case of point 4, the reason the laws of logic may be taken as axiomatic, is that they are self-proving. In other words, you need the law of identity to be true to argue that the law of identity is false. This is the justification for accepting it without additional justification.

This is because the contrary position is impossible. If I believed that I didn’t exist, this statement assumes my very existence. Denying the laws of logic automatically pre-supposes them. If I were to say that “The law of non-contradiction is false” this by necessity uses said law. Denying the laws of logic is self-refuting.

Not sure what you think about the above – whether axioms/ bedrock assumptions can ever be falsified?

Your other point about politicians should be using deduction instead of induction is quite interesting. I’m not sure how this would work in practice. Imagine the Manifesto promises!

“Bush and Obama have been falsified - so vote for the party who stands for everything they don’t!”

Not sure it’ll catch on. Just a thought.

Nice talking to you.


Simon Wellings profile image

Simon Wellings 2 years ago

Hi Adagio,

I realised I used clumsy language when I wrote that your argument was that “knowledge was a double negative.” A more accurate thing to have written would have been to simply restate what you said that we can only know what is false – what’s left must contain a greater concentration of truth, by definition.

A criticism I have encountered (and it’s probably just word games) is that you need to be omniscient if you claim you can use deductive logic, i.e. how do you know when something is false? It’s an approach beloved of christian presuppositionalists. This can lead to a solipsistic argument where the antagonist might ask you:

• “Tell me one thing you know that is true and how do you know that to be true?”

• “Could you be wrong about everything you claim to know? If the answer is yes, then you can’t possibly know anything with certainty”

• “How do you account for the laws of logic?”

• “If the laws of logic stopped working in 5 seconds from now, how would you know?”

• “How do you know you’re not living in The Matrix?”

This can result in slightly unsatisfying counter arguments such as “I know that I am not all-knowing.”

The above approach by the antagonist tries to exploit Munchhausen’s Trilemma about how we can know what we say we know. I think Karl Popper’s idea of scientific falsification neatly side-steps all this shenanigans and provides an epistemological argument of tremendous power.

My comment about politicians might have come across as a bit snarky but I was genuinely amused by the notion that a politician might be interested in truth. They all seem to be professional liars!

Take care.

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