Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The added value Problem.
That an idea or body of ideas can be tested
That ideas have ascendent consequences which may be tested
that connections between ideas can be ascribed the labels of either; necessary or probabilistic
that the test of one part can help determine the value of another under the assumption of the connection.
One of the key criticisms leveled against the type of world view I suggest is that of "scientism". Which is often associated with reductionism and a lack of appreciation for the arts and humanities. I trained as an artist and musician. I regularly attend events of this type, they are an important part of my life. (non sequitur you are making Phil)
The issue seems to be one of criticizing certain views as not reality based or not thorough. I want to narrow the focus and say that the test of an idea or body of knowledge is that of added values. What does the knowledge enhance? In he case of science there are many examples of improvements in hygiene and medicine. In communications and agriculture. This is not to say here are no drawbacks, no potential risk. Added value certainly exists. If we turn then to art and music we can see that it is emotionally enriching and has some function socially as well. Keep in mind that these are reasons of added value and not the thing themselves or an indication of objectives.
If we turn specifically to bodies of knowledge we can ask if they cross-pollinate. Critical thinking and doubt certainly do. What about post modernism? Or theology? Do they interface and enhance other ways of thinking at the basic level? Do they even add to the conversation they are supposedly engaged in?
How is it of added value to assume or assert the appeal to authority beyond what would be considered a tautology. We know that the thing is true (or seems to be) but we have no proof of a source. Why take this next jump into a fallacy why not do what you accuse me of and stop at a tautological point? This is not my actual belief but it is how you represent me. So what is wrong with it by your own argument.
My point is there are certain assumption that we make as can be considered pragmatically. And held as probably true but potentially not. We do not know that math, logic, physics, etc are universal but the pragmatic utility breaks down as we discard them. It may be that they are some function of the mind that we cannot escape but is not universal. A kind of perceptual event horizon.
It is interesting to engage in this type of discussion. And the questions demand that we seek answers. It might be that by their very nature these questions are meaningless or unanswerable. It might be that try have a real and definite solution. The important thing is to avoid a hand wave. A pretend answer. Be happy with the statement that we don't have enough information, rather than distracting from the search by offering an answer that will avoid empirical test or is so ill defined that it is a mask to there being a question at all.
When a god is offered as an answer. We must test to see if it is actually explanatory.
It becomes a question of enhancing he conversation. Does the assumption of a god really add anything?
If you want to say that morality exists because god wants it to. That doesn't actually tell you what to think about morality or what actions are permissible or required. It does open the door to seeking wisdom in ancient books that at best equal what we could come up with now. And more often are horrific and fail any modern moral test.
Does theology offer any serious ideas that increase knowledge of any other sort? It seems like it can't because it starts with some claims that are considered unimpeachable. They must never be tested or even examined instead all other things are examined in light of them. And these claims are not that reality exists and can be understood but that some specific revealed doctrine is true.
I suppose the counter argument is that we must assume something. But I think we are better off presuming the minimum and doing so pragmatically.
A structure for comparison.
You can create a connection from one model to another, depending on the strength of the connection oh can measure the first one indirectly by testing the others.
If you find that these connections do not exist or that the do not lead to ideas that can be tested. Then the model can be said to add no value. This is not to debate if it is true or false onl if it is possible to determine if it is. We can dismiss these ideas on grounds of utility. Or judge them as interesting and aesthetic but meaningless in relation to all other things.
If you have such a model it is either gauge or detached. If it is gauge you can refine it until it is specific enough to test. If it is detached then no action can attach it excluding a completely new branch of thought which may attach it or render it merely vague.
The merits of this is that it can be done on a few assumptions. Ones that most do not wish to contest. Proving these assumptions may fail due to incompleteness theory.
We need to be clear of the difference between an assumption and an assertion. One is taking ideas as either pragmatically true or describing the degree of certainty with the degree of probability assumed. An assertion is a statement that is not only taken as a given but said to be necessarily true or maybe to be better phrased as a probability of 100%. This distinguishes it from the formal way of defining necessary truth.
The necessity of a fact or idea putting constraints on your expectation. If it doesn't; you either don't believe it or don't understand it (in the operational sense)