Re: PHIL: Justificationalism

From: Menno Rubingh (
Date: Tue Jan 18 2000 - 07:52:35 MST

On Mon, 17 Jan, Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:

> Advocates of CCR make a small mistake when they claim the criticism
> is a means to the end of knowledge--it's not. Criticism is the end
> in itself.

OK, let's use, like you say, the term "knowledge" as an arbitrary
label/shortcut for a person's current "working model" comprising the
collection of theories that have withstood criticism so far.

Criticism is a high-level tool which, by weeding out old superseded theories,
helps keep this "knowledge base" clean and up-to-date. Keeping one's
"knowledge base" up-to-date is however a second-order activity -- we do it not
for its own sake but in order to have available a useful and up-to-date tool
set of theories.

Owning and using a high-level tool (e.g., a tool for sweeping a chimney) is
not a goal in itself -- rather, the goal of such a high-level tool is to keep
in good shape the low-level tools (such as a hearth-fire) which one uses
DIRECTLY for survival. It is possible to use a heart-fire to one's advantage
without a chimney-sweeper (and without a chimney), but vice versa the
chimney-sweeping tool has no reason without the fire. Applying the
chimney-sweeping tool (criticism) to raise the 'health' of your heart-fire
(your "knowledge base") is not a goal in itself -- using the fire is the goal.

Best greetings, Menno (

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