0 Bewertungen0% fanden dieses Dokument nützlich (0 Abstimmungen)

29 Ansichten4 Seitenb Has Changed

© Attribution Non-Commercial (BY-NC)

TXT, PDF, TXT oder online auf Scribd lesen

Attribution Non-Commercial (BY-NC)

Als TXT, PDF, TXT **herunterladen** oder online auf Scribd lesen

0 Bewertungen0% fanden dieses Dokument nützlich (0 Abstimmungen)

29 Ansichten4 Seitenb Has Changed

Attribution Non-Commercial (BY-NC)

Als TXT, PDF, TXT **herunterladen** oder online auf Scribd lesen

Sie sind auf Seite 1von 4

Much that once was, is lost. For none now live, who remember it. It began with the forging of the great boards. 3 were given to the Neckbeards; oldest, wisest, and fairest of all posters. /tg/ /g/ /sci/ 7 to the porn lords. Great minors and faps men with blue ball. /y/ /u/ /hc/ /d/ /gif/ /h/ /s/ And 9, 9 boards were gifted to the Oldfags, who, above all else desire entertain ment. /a/ /c/ /f/ /k/ /r/ /t/ /v/ /cgl/ /jp/ For within these boards was bound the strength and will to satisfy each poster. But they were all deceived. For another board was made. In the land of camwhores In the fires of Futaba script. The dark lord Moot forged, in secret a master board. To troll all others. And into this board he poured his cruelty, his malice, and his will to propagate strife. One board to troll them all... One by one the good boards of 4 channels fell to the power of /b/. But there were some...who resisted. A last alliance of Oldfags and Neckbeards marched against the newfags of /b/. And on the threads of tripfags they fought for the decency of the 4 channels. Victory was near. But the power of /b/ could not be undone. It was in this moment, when all hope had faded, that WTSnacks, son of the sage, took up his father's banhammer... Moot, the enemy of the good browsers of the 4 channels was defeated. /b/ passed to WTSnacks, who had this one chance to destroy evil forever. But the hearts of moderators are easily corrupted. And /b/ has a will of it's own. It betrayed Snacks, to his permaban. And somethings that should not have been were ignored. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand threads, /b/ lost all knowledge...

The fact that induction cannot be used as a basis for formulating true propositi ons is disturbing to many people and naturally so! For half a million years, natur al selection has crafted a human brain that imposes countless categorizations an d schemata upon the world around it and one that quite skillfully perceives stabil ity and causality within that system. If the sun has come up every day that I've ever been alive, then it simply must come up tomorrow! We are built to perceive such statements as both true and rational. Thus, Hume's classic espousal of the difference between deductive and inductive reasoning--and suggestion that induc tive reasoning cannot be logically justified ignited a fierce discourse on the socalled problem of induction that persists to this day. I aim to provide a realist argument that 1) the common epistemology of induction actually understates the d egree to which there is a problem, and that 2) even without induction, observation can be a viable means of generating non-arbitrary knowledge about the objective universe.

Inductive reasoning is, broadly speaking, the contingent inference of one propos ition from others. Propositions inferred by deductive reasoning, on the other ha nd, are done so necessarily. This simple difference leads to two entirely differ ent forms of reasoning with a notable contrast in logical justifiability. It see ms natural enough that the argument all observed Xs are Y; thus the next observed X will be Y does not bear the same inherent validity as all Xs are Ys, and all Ys are Zs; thus any X is a Z --and of course, it doesn't! At face value this distinc tion is one between logical forms, but I will argue that it indicates a much dee per divide between deduction and induction one which is deeply informative in anal yzing the ways in which the latter can access truth. The human brain perceives and conceptualizes the world by attaching arbitrary ca tegories and labels to the raw data that it senses. This system including such con structs as language, qualia, and theory of mind massively widens our ability to fo rm premises and draw conclusions that seem true, at least within their conceptua l context. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to blur the distinction between the truths that we generate within this isolated and arbitrary environment and thos e that are true a priori our subjectivity gives us few clues as to the objective n ature of the world around us. It is precisely that distinction which forms the b asis for elucidating a specific and anthropological definition and problem of in duction. For example, the statement emeralds are green is true within the context of the human mind, but is meaningless outside of it; without a mind to draw the distinctions between greenness and non-greenness, or emerald and non-emerald, th ere is no basis for evaluating the truth of the sentence. The proposition between any two points exists a single line is quite different: even without the arbitra ry words, point and line, it is true in a way that precedes analysis. In that sense, the second proposition is also true independent of mind, or regardless of wheth er some rational actor is available to imagine the sentence. Although many kinds of propositions can be articulated within the arbitrary context of the human mi nd, only those which are true a priori do not depend on that system for their tr uth value. They are true in the metaphysical sense. Herein lies a vast gulf between deduction and induction. Like the axiomatic prop osition concerning the line between two points, those logical relations between ideas which we call deduction are also valid a priori and thus independently of mind. Inductive reasoning cannot claim a similar validity. In his Enquiry concer ning Human Understanding Hume demonstrates how relatively frail knowledge that w e must gain through experience must be: ...as the first imagination or invention of a particular effect, in all natural operations, is arbitrary, where we consul t not experience; so must we also esteem the supposed tye or connexion between t he cause and effect; which binds them together, and renders it impossible, that any other effect could result from the operation of that cause. When I see, for instance, a billiard-ball moving in a straight line towards another. . .may I no t conceive, that a hundred different events might as well follow from that cause ?. . .[why] should we give the preference to one, which is no more consistent or conceivable than the rest? All our reasonings a priori will never be able to sh ow us any foundation for this preference (111). Why? Because even though our brai ns are constructed to be deeply comfortable with inductive inferences, that syst em of reasoning--with its necessary foundation on our arbitrary human subjectivi ty cannot access metaphysical truth. The problem of induction is not one of mere log ical form, but one of epistemological viability This leaves us with some disturbing epistemological dilemnas. If induction can't lead us to truth, then how are we justified in placing any value on our observa tions? How is it possible to acquire knowledge about the physical universe witho ut relying on induction? Can a proposition that isn't true a priori be true at a ll? These types of questions come hand-in-hand with the problem of induction; an d with our brains built not to access truth but to construct a reality conducive to reproduction, they all seem to rely on inductive inference for their answers

. Below I will attempt to address these ancillary issues that the problem of ind uction leaves behind. By modifying our expectations of the type of knowledge exp erience can grant us and invoking a non-arbitrary interface between our subjecti ve inner life and the objective universe, I hope to demonstrate a paradigm in wh ich observational knowledge does allow us to connect with the realm of metaphysi cal truth. What is that interface? Probability. As a branch of mathematics, it represents a rigorous and mind-indep endently justified way of drawing true conclusions about sets of data and observ ations of events. Furthermore, it is seamlessly applicable to the physical world ! Probability and statistics will provide us with a way of taking arbitrary piec es of our mental framework and drawing a conclusion about them that is true a pr iori. For example, there is nothing innate about a coin having two sides independe ntly of the human mind a coin is just a collection of atoms bonded with one anot her in space. Yet our macroscopic visual processing sees it as having two sides, and if these sides are selected at random there is exactly a 50% probability that a given side will be chosen. Given our assumption about sides and the arbitrary definition of the selection event, the probabilistic conclusion (although only one of an infinite number that could be made) is true a priori; no matter how yo u look at it, 1 divided 2 is 0.5, or 50%. Understanding how this methodology can be used to lend credence to more complex propositions requires an examination o f the extent of the relationship between mathematics and nature. The universe at its utmost foundation (quantum mechanics) operates very differen tly from how we intuitively think about things. All phenomena at that level are actually physical manifestations of probabilistic functions for any given partic le or arbitrarily defined system of matter/energy. If it's true that mathematics fundamentally describes the behavior of the physical universe, then we have fou nd the basis for constructing new types of propositions about the universe that actually have truth value. As physicists love to say, perhaps mathematics is the language of the universe. This assumption seems at face value like it can only be justified inductively. Perhaps all of our observations of quantum mechanics jus t happen to be consistent with probabilistic equations! Furthermore, the infamou s Grue Paradox reminds us that no matter how many observations we make that supp ort this hypothesis, there are an infinite number of different hypotheses that a re equally well-confirmed by the evidence. Is there a way around these formidabl e barriers? For one, we can say that it provides a new perspective on the idea of the uniform ity of nature. Even if the current theories that attempt to describe the probabil istic behavior of quantum systems are wrong, nature is at its core ruled by prob ability. Just as with the example of the coin above, probability itself allows u s to make this conclusion. A physicist could postulate if quantum mechanics is no t probabilistic, then the chance that X particle will exhibit probabilistic beha vior (such as going through two holes at the same time, or being in multiple, an d potentially infinite, places at once) is 0%. When the particle does in fact go through two holes at the same time, the physicist deduces that quantum mechanics is probabilistic. The universe being ruled by the mathematics of probability gives a human observe r otherwise wielding concepts that correspond to physical reality only arbitrarily a solid interface for applying those observations to approach true knowledge. In other words, observations about the world can be taken as falling into a probabi lity distribution that objectively reflects how the universe is behaving. The un iverse no longer needs to be uniform! How then can this basic relationship help solve the quandaries of practical epistemology that the problem of induction has presented, such as those mentioned above? Let's examine several specific cases. The scientific method is a high-profile victim of the problem of induction, and especially of Grue's Paradox. When a scientific theory survives repeated observa tion without being falsified and is predictive of future phenomena, it is taken

to veritably describe how part of the universe works. As a result, simple propos itions like evolution by natural selection occurred are pragmatically assumed to b e true. Classically, the problem here is that the hypothesis evolution by natural selection occurred is just one of an infinite number of hypotheses that is not c ontradicted by observed evidence! Probability and statistical analysis based on it p resents a way around this conundrum. What the scientist is actually able to prov e is that his hypothesis has a non-trivial and increasing probability of being t rue. He knows that there are an infinite number of ways in which modern biodiver sity could have developed, but he also knows that there an exists an objective p robability distribution that includes all those ways. He does what he can to env ision likely scenarios that could have produced the evidence that he observes, a nd as he gathers more and more observations he creates his own probability distr ibution for the likelihood that certain hypotheses are true. He cannot determine how accurate his estimations are, because any set of data taken as evidence cou ld be a collection of immensely unlikely events. He can assume, though, because of the properties of probabilistic mathematics, that the more evidence he collec ts the closer his approximation becomes. To be specific, if the conditions of ma king a given observation stay the same (IE all the variables have stable domains ), then the probability distribution that forms over many observations is more l ikely than not to be closer to the objective value than a random guess would be. Causality can be addressed in a similar way. Induction cannot yield a true state ment such as moving object A causes stationary object B to start moving upon impa ct, but repeated observation can yield a probabilistic approximation of the unive rse's own model. Note that this entire scenario is comprised of arbitrary concep ts: movement, object, collision, and so forth none of which correspond to any obje ctively salient category in the physical universe; but a mathematical representa tion of the outcome provides an interface from the human mind to the workings of the universe, and as such allows non-trivial statements about truth to be made. The process of induction arises within a cognitive environment that bears no lin k to objective reality. As such, regardless of its logical potency or the struct ure of its internal systematic relationships, it is inherently unable to access metaphysical truth. Probability, as a branch of mathematics which is both consis tent a priori and applicable to the physical world, presents a promising alterna tive to inductive inference. If the universe is at its core probabilistic, then there exists a defined, objective probability distribution for the likelihood of any state or event. By observing particular instances of states and events in t he natural universe, a subjective observer is accessing the domain of that same, objective probability distribution. Although this methodology doesn't allow the observer certainty, or even a means of evaluating the accuracy of his own distr ibution, he can nonetheless be sure that his observations are more descriptive o f the universe than random data would be.