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

Date: Sat Jan 15 2000 - 09:09:42 MST

In a message dated 1/14/2000 9:13:00 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

>you criticize by saying that the people/literature you reference
shows that ''justificationalism'' is wrong and (more or less) outdated...>>

It is old and not currently is vogue due to such concepts as Dawkin's
Universal Darwinism -- a unification of the philosophy of biology with the
whole of philosophy (see Popper and Eccles 1977 book _The Self and Its
Brain_, Campbell, 1974 Evolutionary Epistemology_, Blackmore, Susan. 1999.
_The Meme Machine_. Dennette, Danniel. 1995 _Darwin's Dangerous Idea_. )

<Popper has said that one should do science by ''criticizing'' instead of
''justifying'' theories.>

He said justification was impossible (due to Hume's Problem of Induction)
that sounds pessimistic BUT WAIT . . . THAT MEANS justification is not
needed to get helpful theories! That _is_ Dynamically Optimistic! Look at
Martin Seligman's book _Learned Optimism_ . . . it fits right in: "Control
what you can and forget the rest."

We have no need to empirically prove, justify, or verify (you can't do it
anyway, so forget it), but empirical tests (controlled experiments) that weed
out the errors and therefore find the surviving and helpful theories _are_

> Now, I think that it is too easy to be misled by words into reading more
> into those Popper statements than he probably meant there.>>

Popper is known as _THE_ main non-justificationalist opposed to A.J.Ayer's
(et. al.) justificationalism. I do not understand how you could have missed
that. Popper was never actually a member of the Vienna Circle who's members
supported verifiability with logical positivism (they called it logical
empiricism) and analytic philosophy.

Popper, Bartley and Campbell are correctly the starting point for
evolutionary epistemology -- non-justificationalist epistemology. To me it
is a relief we do not need proof -- that is ultimately Dynamically

Look at page 37 and then pages 52 and 53 in Popper's _The Logic of Scientific
Discovery_, 1959 to see how he emphasized time and time again that his view
was NOT simply a substitution for verifiability leading to a requirement of
justified truth. This was his way of demarcating science from pseudoscience
(see _Unended Quest_, 1986, 41). He said his theory is a _replacement_ for
confirmation (proof) in his 1959, 108-9. Only once in his _Conjectures and
Refutations_ (1963, 248 , n. 31) did he introduce an idea where he wanted in
his words "a whiff of verificationalism."

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