Friday, February 24, 2012

Hayek and Popper on the mind

My paper “Hayek, Popper, and the Causal Theory of the Mind,” which recently appeared in a volume of Advances in Austrian Economics devoted to the theme Hayek in Mind: Hayek’s Philosophical Psychology, is currently available online in its entirety via Google Books.

21 comments:

d said...

Woot! I've been exited since I heard of the paper. It's not often one sees a non-Popperian applying Popper to phil of mind. Off to read!

Alat said...

Off topic, sorry, but this is a STOP THE PRESSES moment:

Richard Dawkins: I can't be sure God does not exist

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9102740/Richard-Dawkins-I-cant-be-sure-God-does-not-exist.html

Pattsce said...

Alat,

If he's still talking in terms of "probability," he obviously doesn't get it, nor has his position changed at all. Which is honestly kind of pathetic to me. I mean, I don't think you have to be a theist to be not pathetic in your views. I just think you kind of have to grow up and take a look at other more serious philosophies if you're going to not be at least a little pathetic.

And the whole "Oh, but don't worry, I'm like a 6.9!" is so lame. Sometimes I think he himself is kind of scared of the little following he's created. I mean, imagine if he changed his mind on any of it. They'd crucify him. WITH SCIENCE!

Although, to be fair, he does seem a little more emotionally defeated in that clip than normal.

goddinpotty said...

Old news, Dawkins has been quoted as saying "there is almost certainly no God" since forever, eg here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-dawkins/why-there-almost-certainl_b_32164.html , implying that he allows a tiny but nonzero probability that God exists.

This is perfectly proper from his perspective; if the existence of God is a scientific rather than a metaphysical question (which is his position), then the methods of science strictly speaking only can assign probabilities rather than provide absolute proof or disproof.

Anonymous said...

This is perfectly proper from his perspective; if the existence of God is a scientific rather than a metaphysical question (which is his position), then the methods of science strictly speaking only can assign probabilities rather than provide absolute proof or disproof.

I love that a defense of Dawkins amounts to, "Look, I know what he's saying is strange. But the fact is he's even more stupid than anyone can appreciate."

Anonymous said...

my position is that goddinpotty is a really bad poster.

Rupert said...

What's the distinction between a scientific and a metaphysical question?

machinephilosophy said...

Ed,

Hans Jonas, in The Phenomenon of Life, talks about how a droid can serve a purpose but not have one, unlike the creator of the program.

I'm still very strong AI, but recognize that it's always a derived intelligence, however independently it may function or behave, and even though function and behavior is the only way to identify personhood.

And even in persons, there must be a referred-to ideality, "in accordance with" which they act (think, move, intend, etc.), and logic I see as a proper subset of this.

Inferential relations are a particularly thorny problem for materialism, since justification is on that basis indistinguishable from mere eventuation, for as Flew was careful to point out, motives can be as epistemically grounding as rational analysis. And it's difficult to see how any materialist could possibly tell any qualitative difference (much less a preferred status) between reason itself and brute force, when it's all just physical objects in motion in the first place. Maybe sociopaths should come out of the cognitive closet and demand equal epistemic rights.

goddinpotty said...

@Rupert, you should ask your host here who is a specialist in such things. For me, a scientific question is something that can be answered by the methods of science (eg, is there a red teapot in orbit around Venus?). Thats' somewhat circular, but still useful. A metaphysical question cannot be addressed by observation, evidence, experiment, and inference.

The borderland between scientific and metaphysical questions is blurry and under conflict (generally, with science advancing and metaphysics retreating). For instance, the origins of apparent design in nature used to be a metaphysical question, now (for most educated people) it is a scientific one.

For the record, although I disagree with Feser about most everything I think he is right about this (that is, that the existence of God is not a scientific question) and Dawkins is wrong.

TimLambert said...

@goddinpotty,
I don't like your compartmentalizing of the scientific and the metaphysic as if the two are entirely distinct from each other.

The usefulness of this tool we call the scientific method rests on assumptions that are metaphysical in nature. The tool assumes a reality that is coherent, it doesn't make that reality coherent simply by deciding to implement the tool's use. The tool may help to further illuminate that intelligible order... it certainly doesn't conjure it up. And while it lends credence to the assumption that reality is orderly and intelligible it could never tell us why it is that way (orderly and intelligible). And that simply is not an issue of "just give the ol' boy some more time, he'll figure it out"... because that issue is beyond the purview of that method's myopic scope.

TimLambert said...

Also,
I don't think goddinpotty is being entirely sincere with how he views Dawkins comment about not being able to be sure.

"This is perfectly proper from his perspective"....

Don't be dumb in the noodle, potty. Dawkins on numerous occasions speaks from a philosophical point of view. This is silly that I even have to mention this to you: but have you ever read any of his books? They're stuffed with poor attempts at philosophy.

Rupert said...

I suppose the next question would be: what is meant by the claim that God exists?

@TimLambert, I don't understand what your complaint against Dawkins is. Apparently there's some kind of problem with saying "There is a very small but nonzero probability that God exists." What's the problem with making that statement, exactly?

Anonymous said...

"I suppose the next question would be: what is meant by the claim that God exists?"

Can you spare us the socratic bull and get to the point, rather than waiting for people to take your unimpressive bait over what could be the course of weeks? Or better yet, go read a book that isn't written by a half-wit ex-scientist who's an embarrassment to atheism.

Anonymous said...

"For instance, the origins of apparent design in nature used to be a metaphysical question, now (for most educated people) it is a scientific one."

No, it's not, because there is no wholly scientific way to ascertain the presence or lack of design in nature. There's only one group out there which thinks otherwise: the Intelligent Design movement.

Anonymous said...

The claim that there's any discipline which justifies absolute certainty is absurd on its face. The most plausible candidate would be mathematics, and indeed mathematical deduction, by definition, is 100% effective IF DONE PROPERLY. But how can a human, or any collection of humans be 100% certain that they haven't made a mistake. (e.g. Euclid's elements was missing several axioms, and no one noticed until the 19th century. Cantor's first attempt at set theory was even self contradictory, and it took 30 years for anyone to notice.)

Rupert said...

Can you spare us the socratic bull and get to the point, rather than waiting for people to take your unimpressive bait over what could be the course of weeks? Or better yet, go read a book that isn't written by a half-wit ex-scientist who's an embarrassment to atheism.

I don't really understand what your complaint is. I would be interested to know what is meant by the claim that God exists, and I don't see why it should be offensive for me to be upfront about the fact that I would be interested to know. I will gladly read a book if you will recommend one.

TimLambert said...

@Rupert
I think my point is pretty straight forward. Dawkins does not, as goddinpotty claims he does, speak on metaphysical issues as some honest, disinterested scientist who's only concerned about the cold facts obtained by implementing a scientific method.

As a popularizer of the findings from others who actually did the work in science, Dawkins relies heavily on poor philosophy when condemning the views of others.

Ryan M said...

I suppose the Dawkins' quote might be news to people who have not read his work, but it is certainly old to people who read the God Delusion (Since he used the same sort of 7 point scale and claimed to not be a 7, but something around a 6 or so).

What I find interesting about this quote being perceived as news is the fact that it somewhat reinforces my view that atheism is largely viewed as the belief that God does not exist, rather than the simple lack of belief that God exists. According to some of my philosophy peers, atheism is the lack of belief in God, which is consistent with the belief that God does not exist, but need not entail it.

I'm not sure if I like that view partly because I'm not sure if that is how most people define "Atheism". So I think it leads to unintentional ambiguity. Oh well.

Gilbert Albans said...

Jeeze, this talk about a point system of probability, which people should realize, is completely subjective. In order to have an objective probability, at least how math does it, like with dice, is one divided by all the possibilities. 1/N. So Dawkins probability scale is mostly subjective, which means he subjectively believes that the chances of God not existing is like a 6 out of his scale ending at 7.

Rupert said...

@TimLambert,

goddinpotty wrote "This is perfectly proper from his perspective...." and you wrote "Don't be dumb in the noodle." I fail to see what your objection is to his remark.

Anonymous said...

Pattsce,

"If he's still talking in terms of "probability," he obviously doesn't get it, nor has his position changed at all."

i think it's because he is responding to Paley-style design arguments rather than the Aquinian fifth way. the former, as Feser makes clear, is always going to be dialectical i.e., probable, in nature while the latter is not.