virus: Re: Social Metaphysics

D.H.Rosdeitcher (
Sun, 14 Sep 1997 10:03:00 -0400

Tad wrote:
>David R wrote:
>The Nateman wrote:
>>>How do you evaluate a guess if you have NOTHING certain in which to
>>>judge it?
>>By criticizing the guess to see if it holds up under fire, instead of
>>justifying it by seeing if it agrees with some "rock solid" foundation
>>the "senses".

>David, are you serious? It's a classic case of Randian "social
>metaphysician" who believes that what other people say is more valid that
>one's own senses and mind. I know, I shouldn't have left you alone with
>those guys... The fire must have been terrible!

The Objectivist way of "validating" knowledge makes a clear example of how
people tend to look to an authority for certainty. In this case the
authority is "the senses". In Popper's system, which makes the most sense
to me right now, is that you don't use anything to justify what you think,
including the senses, since the senses do not always give reliable
information. Instead you disprove a theory by trying to knock it down by
criticizing or testing. This epistemology, which seems to be the most
useful, and is very stimulating, is not the same thing as believing that
what other's say matters more than your own judgement, since you are
evaluating arguments and results of tests. A good paper, by Max More on
Pancritical Rationalism which was mentioned on this list a few months ago,
explains the difference between justificationism and falsificationism. I
think this paper is still on the web but I forgot the address. --David R.