RE: PHIL: Dynamic Optimism as a tool in logical reasoning

From: Frank Prengel (
Date: Wed Jan 12 2000 - 22:55:26 MST

Hi Menno,

nice try, but I don't think you will succeed in proving your
point. Three comments here:

1. It is well known (I think :) that in many circumstances
*pessimism* is a better tool for success - especially when
it comes to scientific research where *criticizing*
hypotheses is highly necessary. (That's what science is
about: make hypotheses and try to disprove them.)

> ''Dynamic Optimism'' can be lifted a little in
> status, namely:
> from merely a method of LIVING more efficiently
> and more agreeably, we
> can lift it to a method of *THINKING*, i.e., of
> logical reasoning,
> comparable to the Scientific Method(+).

Actually, I feel that LIVING D.O. is more advanced than just
THINKING optimistically. You can do the latter and still
fail to put it into practice, but hardly vice versa.

> (+) The 'Scientific Method', or the 'Method of
> Scientific Thinking', is as
> follows: (1) Think rationally, i.e., logically;
> and (2) Do not believe
> anything without ''proof''.

No, that's justificationalism. Science is about (see above)
criticizing ideas. Point (2) should be: "Do not believe
anything that has been falsified." But that just means being
rational, so it coincides with (1). (Read Bartley's "Retreat
to Commitment" for some great ideas about rationalism &
criticism, or at least Max's "Pancritical Rationalism".)


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