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16
The following form of epistemic closure, common lore has it that, is suceptible to skeptical arguments.
If S knows O(a, t1), and  S knows that  if O(a, t1) then ◊ (a,tn) , then, S knows that ◊ O(a,tn)

An attempt to provide a principle of epistemic justification that avoids the same issues , purportedly suffered by epistemic closure principles might be of the following form.

 S knows O(a, t1), and  S knows that  if O(a, t1) then ◊ O(a,tn) , and,  S knows that ◊ O(a,tn) on the basis of S knowing O(a, t1), and  S knowing that  if O(a, t1) then ◊O (a,tn).

S knows that ◊ O(a,tn), on the basis of, S knowing O(a, t1),
 and  S knowing that  if O(a, t1) then ◊O(a,tn),
iff
S knows ◊  (O(a,tn)  due to  no other epistemic accessible state of affairs, and,
if S hadn´t known that O(a, t1), and S hadn´t known  that,
if O(a,t1) then ◊  (O(a,tn) ,
S would not know that ◊  (O(a,tn)

O(x,tm)  is of not much relevance, on the subject, it is just a predication of a, at some time tm, where tm can even be null, for timeless true or false predications.

17
Apologetics and Theology / LOVE IS IN THE AIR
« on: October 03, 2016, 03:26:59 pm »
Once we estipulate that the following propositions are true

(1) in W1, God has the will to create the universe

(2) in W2, God has the will to create nothing at all

Where Wn, W1, and, W2 are possible worlds.

In which possible worlds (Wn) is it false that (1), that in W1, God has the will to create the universe  is not true?


In which possible worlds (Wn) is it false that (2), that in W2, God has the will to create the universe is not true?


NOTE: The exercise can be done by initially estipulating that  (1) and (2) are false, and, changing the form of the questions to "in which ...is it true that (1), ...is not FALSe?".

18
Apologetics and Theology / Does anyone benefit?
« on: September 30, 2016, 07:21:49 am »

Does anyone currently benefit, positively, with my participation  ?

In spite, of many considerations (positive and some very negative) about myself and my interactions, here, this has always been a worry, that impulses my participation, and shapes my approach, here.

Well?

19
I´m on my daughter´s house, the night was cold, so, I stayed and slept on the spare bed.

I woke up at 4 am ,and since I could not sleep, I connected to my employeers network and started working with the personal in India, instead of them waiting till late, for my feedback and instructions , I worked with them directly. They were very happy about that.

Finally, some tiredness set in and I slept for an hour till 7:30am.

I Woke up, prepared a Method of procedure, for a late night job, next monday, and I sent it for the client´s approval.

I  took my daughter to class, and, I´m now, back home, checking my e-mails.


A Somewhat normal day, so far.

20
Apologetics and Theology / .The what should we make this post about post
« on: September 27, 2016, 02:11:04 pm »
..

21
Human beings reasoning capacity defined, roughly, as the ability to follow, construct and evaluate arguments is among one of the defining traits of our specie, providing us with a comparative unlimited arrange of possible options, and possibly constituting the sole most important reason of the success of man in considerably controlling the conditions of his own existence.


Aside from describing in more detail the phenomenon of reasoning, there is also the attempt to explain how it  came to be the case. One research area that tries to provide such explanation is Evolutionary Psychology, that has as its core principle the assumption that this is a trait evolved because it should provide some key benefit, in the sense of improving the likelihood of reproduction and survival.


One hypothesis, from Evolutionary psychology, for instance, seems to offer itself quite intuitively, namely, humans evolved their reasoning skills because such ability provides a straight forward possibility of improving one’s decisions quality, which should improve the prospects for reproduction and survival. The basic objection is that in reality, human beings, on many situations and instances (plausibly, many more that we would care ourselves to admit) seem to be really bad at reasoning, which seems to contradict a key prediction of the hypothesis that good reasoning should be the prevailing observation.


A hypothesis that has gained comparatively good favor and consideration is the hypothesis that human beings have developed their reasoning skills as a tool for convincing others, by primarily focusing on and offering confirming reasons, while being moderately opened to be convinced themselves, by initially resisting some disconfirming reasons, but allowing for eventually -ideally - some of the stronger reasons and arguments, to win the day. This theory is called the “Argumentative” theory of reason.


One of the perks of the theory is that it further explains the ever present phenomenon of confirmation bias, by, providing the role of convincer as one that is fundamentally one of a arguer focused on confirming reasons (for the arguer´s views), every time, the convincer´s objective is best fulfilled by the said strategy, as well as the role of convincee, best fulfilled by an attitude of “moderate dogmatism”, when selectively ignoring or resisting disconfirming evidence and reasons is the expected position, in essence, the theory is able to offer, an additional complete description of an all-around confirmation bias dynamics.


Some conclusions from the said model are that even though our reasoning capacities are not directly developed for providing high quality of decision making and understanding, certain strategies might harness those capabilities towards the desired objective.


Some of the strategies that seem to be coherent with the model, in the sense of giving answer to the limitations and needs suggested, by it, with respect to reliable formation of knowledge through reasoning, are what are known as epistemic humility, and, Knowledge creation in groups.


Knowledge creation one can explain in terms of cognitive diversity, which consists in taking advantage of different types of knowledge possessed by different individuals, that conform a group interested in the creation of new knowledge, and also,  developing what is called transactional memory, which is, simply put, the knowledge of who knows what, and, how that plays a role in the whole endeavor.


On the case of epistemic humility, which plays a role at the level of individual attitudes, the knower is aware of his or her cognitive limitations and the benefits that he can be recipient of from other's knowledge, all these in right measure in agreement with his or her factual cognitive state (nor more nor less). A key component of these attitudinal strategy is open-mindedness.


In the specific case of open-mindedness norms, certain results show, that they are significantly related to knowledge creation. And other analysis of the data has revealed that the concept of open-mindedness norms has at least three dimensions:  the belief that others should be free to express their views, the determination to investigate and recognize the value of others’ knowledge and objectives, the will to utilize the best of others’ ideas


It is relevant to pin point that these processes and dynamics presume knowledge, which, implies that neither of these strategies can be presumed lacking in the face of ideas that do not, in fact, constitute knowledge. In other words, for example, that a knower does not value a given input (argument, reason, evidence) cannot be estimated an indicator of likely or unlikely open-mindedness, since, it is explanatorily prior that the input be knowledge, and, many times that´s exactly what is at stake, so it would be a fallacious inference.  Nevertheless, provided that the input constitutes knowledge, the application of such strategies predicts better prospects to the knower.


Finally, some studies show different level of relevance, and distinct but equally important influential aspects (e.i. lack of transactional memory affects negatively the creation of knowledge), for these and other group knowledge creation processes and strategies, which are quite promising and can constitute a valuable toolkit to our knowledge objectives.


Quote
Mercier and Sperber on the origins of reasoning
Knowledge Integration in Virtual Teams: The Potential Role of KMS" -Alavi, M, Tiwana A (2002)
Critical thinking wikipedia
Knowledge Creation in Groups - Mitchel/ Nicholas

22
THEISTS ONLY

I tried to share these interesting ideas, to be discussed, from a philosophical point of view. I was specially interested on phidiasv (phidiasv, I woudln´t mind at all if you participate) thoughts, but, it seems Atheists , here, are just to philosophically uninformed and crude, and explicit about it,  with few exceptions.

So, I will try it, in this manner one more time.

Arguing against ontological arguments by parody like  “a maximally great island” achieve little because, in general, the concept they are worked on seem much less natural ( in a Lewisian natural properties sense: A short discussion on natural properties) than that of a maximally great being and is not in common use ( in the sense described here: The concept of an impossible thing that is commonly used .)

Putting together both ideas:

The more natural a concept seems the more likely it is that the concept is of something possible.

The more a concept is in common use, the more revisionary it is to claim that the concept is of something impossible.

It is easy to come up with (ad-hoc) unnatural impossible concepts. But, in the end,  when it comes to a competition between the possibility of a necessarily existing devil and the possibility of a maximally great being (like in Plantinga´s MOA who takes  a natural concept in the monethistic tradition , and provides a substantive analysis of it), the latter wins out.

23
Apologetics and Theology / .
« on: September 02, 2016, 01:57:28 pm »
.

24
The sense of possibility, here, is metaphysical , while the sense of likely, or probable is epistemic.

Seems rather clear that given a certain concept C of something that is impossible, it would be likely that an impossibility has been found in C, or that,  C has not been in common-use over a great period of time, by a great number of users a number of whom were of high intelligence and to whom C was of great intellectual importance.

Conversely

Suppose no clear impossibility has been found in a concept C, while C has been in common-use over a great period of time, by a great number of users a number of whom were of high intelligence and to whom C was of great intellectual importance, then, probably, C is a concept of a possible being.



25
Apologetics and Theology / Natural Properties - Natural language
« on: August 30, 2016, 10:55:52 pm »


The basic job-description articulated of properties is the one highlighted by two foundational metaphysical questions:  What is there? What is it like

Accounts of change and of similarity presuppose a discriminating conception of what counts,
in the relevant sense, as a property. Lewis:

"Because properties are so abundant, they are undiscriminating. Any two things share infinitely many properties,
and fail to share infinitely many others. That is so whether the two things are perfect duplicates or utterly dissimilar.  Thus properties do nothing to capture facts of resemblance. …Likewise, properties do nothing to capture the causal powers of things. Almost all properties are causally irrelevant, and there is nothing to make the relevant ones stand out from the crowd.  Properties carve reality at the joints—and everywhere else as well.  "

Most properties expressed by simple words in natural languages seem to be natural properties in the sense specified here.

For instance, colour terms in natural languages express natural properties with respect to the psychological representation of the three colour dimensions. It is well known that different languages carve up the colour circle in different ways (Gardenfors 2000), but all carvings seem to be done in terms of convex sets (Berlin &  Kay 1969; Taft & Sivik 1997)

26
Apologetics and Theology / My favorite .
« on: August 23, 2016, 09:11:49 pm »
.

27
Apologetics and Theology / What exactly are you a scholar of?
« on: August 23, 2016, 07:18:40 pm »
WHO CARES?!

28
Apologetics and Theology / OT: Kalam and BGV theorem
« on: August 19, 2016, 03:32:28 pm »
Kalam argument:
Quote
P1. If the universe began to exist, then there is a transcendent cause which brought the universe into existence.

P2. The universe began to exist.

QED: Therefore, there is a transcendent cause which brought the universe into existence.


Support for P1:
Philosophical
Reductio in favor of 1
Experimental confirmation

Support for P2:
Philosophical
Scientific:    From entropy,  BGV, QM theorem, negative support from competing conceptual and theoretical model analysis


P4. Conceptual analysis from the conclusion, namely,  the expected attributes of the transcendent (to the universe as the whole of physical reality) cause, that brought up the universe,  to God.



Can the above argument  be boiled down to BGV  leads to god?


BGV
(1,2,3) god

Not even

P1. BGV   (assume P1 true)
QED: god


Even, if what one  simply means is that the only thing the  argument has going for it is the BGV , that all the other support simply fails or is irrelevant, what one should say is that P1 is false, and, thus the conclusion can not be followed.


How monumentally  intelligent or honest one needs to be to understand this?

29
Apologetics and Theology / How close have you been to actual combat?
« on: August 09, 2016, 05:34:21 pm »
Just out of the blue curious.

I was at the Panamá invasion, could see the bombs explosions about 4 kms away, the black hawk helicopters wistling (not the most precise description, though) above my roof, meters away, looking for resistance.

How about you?


PS:I knew they were called something hawk, but, couldn´t quite remember.

30
Scientific method: Defend the integrity of physics


Quote
This year, debates in physics circles took a worrying turn. Faced with difficulties in applying fundamental theories to the observed Universe, some researchers called for a change in how theoretical physics is done. They began to argue — explicitly — that if a theory is sufficiently elegant and explanatory, it need not be tested experimentally, breaking with centuries of philosophical tradition of defining scientific knowledge as empirical. We disagree. As the philosopher of science Karl Popper argued: a theory must be falsifiable to be scientific.


Chief among the 'elegance will suffice' advocates are some string theorists. Because string theory is supposedly the 'only game in town' capable of unifying the four fundamental forces, they believe that it must contain a grain of truth even though it relies on extra dimensions that we can never observe. Some cosmologists, too, are seeking to abandon experimental verification of grand hypotheses that invoke imperceptible domains such as the kaleidoscopic multiverse (comprising myriad universes), the 'many worlds' version of quantum reality (in which observations spawn parallel branches of reality) and pre-Big Bang concepts.

These unprovable hypotheses are quite different from those that relate directly to the real world and that are testable through observations — such as the standard model of particle physics and the existence of dark matter and dark energy. As we see it, theoretical physics risks becoming a no-man's-land between mathematics, physics and philosophy that does not truly meet the requirements of any.


The issue of testability has been lurking for a decade. String theory and multiverse theory have been criticized in popular books1, 2, 3 and articles, including some by one of us (G.E.)4. In March, theorist Paul Steinhardt wrote5 in this journal that the theory of inflationary cosmology is no longer scientific because it is so flexible that it can accommodate any observational result. Theorist and philosopher Richard Dawid6 and cosmologist Sean Carroll7 have countered those criticisms with a philosophical case to weaken the testability requirement for fundamental physics.

We applaud the fact that Dawid, Carroll and other physicists have brought the problem out into the open. But the drastic step that they are advocating needs careful debate. This battle for the heart and soul of physics is opening up at a time when scientific results — in topics from climate change to the theory of evolution — are being questioned by some politicians and religious fundamentalists. Potential damage to public confidence in science and to the nature of fundamental physics needs to be contained by deeper dialogue between scientists and philosophers.

String theory
String theory is an elaborate proposal for how minuscule strings (one-dimensional space entities) and membranes (higher-dimensional extensions) existing in higher-dimensional spaces underlie all of physics. The higher dimensions are wound so tightly that they are too small to observe at energies accessible through collisions in any practicable future particle detector.

Some aspects of string theory can be tested experimentally in principle. For example, a hypothesized symmetry between fermions and bosons central to string theory — supersymmetry — predicts that each kind of particle has an as-yet-unseen partner. No such partners have yet been detected by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Europe's particle-physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, limiting the range of energies at which supersymmetry might exist. If these partners continue to elude detection, then we may never know whether they exist. Proponents could always claim that the particles' masses are higher than the energies probed.


Dawid argues6 that the veracity of string theory can be established through philosophical and probabilistic arguments about the research process. Citing Bayesian analysis, a statistical method for inferring the likelihood that an explanation fits a set of facts, Dawid equates confirmation with the increase of the probability that a theory is true or viable. But that increase of probability can be purely theoretical. Because “no-one has found a good alternative” and “theories without alternatives tended to be viable in the past”, he reasons that string theory should be taken to be valid.

In our opinion, this is moving the goalposts. Instead of belief in a scientific theory increasing when observational evidence arises to support it, he suggests that theoretical discoveries bolster belief. But conclusions arising logically from mathematics need not apply to the real world. Experiments have proved many beautiful and simple theories wrong, from the steady-state theory of cosmology to the SU(5) Grand Unified Theory of particle physics, which aimed to unify the electroweak force and the strong force. The idea that preconceived truths about the world can be inferred beyond established facts (inductivism) was overturned by Popper and other twentieth-century philosophers.

We cannot know that there are no alternative theories. We may not have found them yet. Or the premise might be wrong. There may be no need for an overarching theory of four fundamental forces and particles if gravity, an effect of space-time curvature, differs from the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces that govern particles. And with its many variants, string theory is not even well defined: in our view, it is a promissory note that there might be such a unified theory.

Many multiverses
The multiverse is motivated by a puzzle: why fundamental constants of nature, such as the fine-structure constant that characterizes the strength of electromagnetic interactions between particles and the cosmological constant associated with the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe, have values that lie in the small range that allows life to exist. Multiverse theory claims that there are billions of unobservable sister universes out there in which all possible values of these constants can occur. So somewhere there will be a bio-friendly universe like ours, however improbable that is.

Some physicists consider that the multiverse has no challenger as an explanation of many otherwise bizarre coincidences. The low value of the cosmological constant — known to be 120 factors of 10 smaller than the value predicted by quantum field theory — is difficult to explain, for instance.


Earlier this year, championing the multiverse and the many-worlds hypothesis, Carroll dismissed Popper's falsifiability criterion as a “blunt instrument” (see go.nature.com/nuj39z). He offered two other requirements: a scientific theory should be “definite” and “empirical”. By definite, Carroll means that the theory says “something clear and unambiguous about how reality functions”. By empirical, he agrees with the customary definition that a theory should be judged a success or failure by its ability to explain the data.

He argues that inaccessible domains can have a “dramatic effect” in our cosmic back-yard, explaining why the cosmological constant is so small in the part we see. But in multiverse theory, that explanation could be given no matter what astronomers observe. All possible combinations of cosmological parameters would exist somewhere, and the theory has many variables that can be tweaked. Other theories, such as unimodular gravity, a modified version of Einstein's general theory of relativity, can also explain why the cosmological constant is not huge7.

Some people have devised forms of multiverse theory that are susceptible to tests: physicist Leonard Susskind's version can be falsified if negative spatial curvature of the Universe is ever demonstrated. But such a finding would prove nothing about the many other versions. Fundamentally, the multiverse explanation relies on string theory, which is as yet unverified, and on speculative mechanisms for realizing different physics in different sister universes. It is not, in our opinion, robust, let alone testable.

The many-worlds theory of quantum reality posed by physicist Hugh Everett is the ultimate quantum multiverse, where quantum probabilities affect the macroscopic. According to Everett, each of Schrödinger's famous cats, the dead and the live, poisoned or not in its closed box by random radioactive decays, is real in its own universe. Each time you make a choice, even one as mundane as whether to go left or right, an alternative universe pops out of the quantum vacuum to accommodate the other action.

Billions of universes — and of galaxies and copies of each of us — accumulate with no possibility of communication between them or of testing their reality. But if a duplicate self exists in every multiverse domain and there are infinitely many, which is the real 'me' that I experience now? Is any version of oneself preferred over any other? How could 'I' ever know what the 'true' nature of reality is if one self favours the multiverse and another does not?

In our view, cosmologists should heed mathematician David Hilbert's warning: although infinity is needed to complete mathematics, it occurs nowhere in the physical Universe.

Pass the test
We agree with theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder: post-empirical science is an oxymoron (see go.nature.com/p3upwp and go.nature.com/68rijj). Theories such as quantum mechanics and relativity turned out well because they made predictions that survived testing. Yet numerous historical examples point to how, in the absence of adequate data, elegant and compelling ideas led researchers in the wrong direction, from Ptolemy's geocentric theories of the cosmos to Lord Kelvin's 'vortex theory' of the atom and Fred Hoyle's perpetual steady-state Universe.

The consequences of overclaiming the significance of certain theories are profound — the scientific method is at stake (see go.nature.com/hh7mm6). To state that a theory is so good that its existence supplants the need for data and testing in our opinion risks misleading students and the public as to how science should be done and could open the door for pseudoscientists to claim that their ideas meet similar requirements.

What to do about it? Physicists, philosophers and other scientists should hammer out a new narrative for the scientific method that can deal with the scope of modern physics. In our view, the issue boils down to clarifying one question: what potential observational or experimental evidence is there that would persuade you that the theory is wrong and lead you to abandoning it? If there is none, it is not a scientific theory.

Such a case must be made in formal philosophical terms. A conference should be convened next year to take the first steps. People from both sides of the testability debate must be involved.

In the meantime, journal editors and publishers could assign speculative work to other research categories — such as mathematical rather than physical cosmology — according to its potential testability. And the domination of some physics departments and institutes by such activities could be rethought1, 2.

The imprimatur of science should be awarded only to a theory that is testable. Only then can we defend science from attack
.



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