Existentialism has some appealing attributes, but I feel its failings are its absolute reliance on the individual. It does not allow for any kind of natural laws or consistency in the world, which seems to preclude it from even suggesting any ability for a person to act at all and goes against its desire for individuals to make choices.

I think of it as an incomplete philosophy without some kind of deference to other philosophies or science.

Alfred North Whitehead

Alfred North Whitehead’s philosophy is one I find particularly intriguing, emphasizing organism and the emerging properties of complex organization over simple matter and location. It gives us a framework that allows for a qualitative understanding of the universe and a means by which we can interpret the interaction of what we perceivably experience.

Out of Order?

What does this exactly mean? We use this expression quite a lot, but I can’t seem to quite pull its meaning from the actual words.

Is it a suggestion of something being in “working order” and it’s simply not in that state, but isn’t that avoiding the question?

I guess “order” then becomes a state that only serves a human function, which seems incredibility anthropocentric.

I don’t like expressions.

Continued: Science, Popper

I use metaphysics in a much more specific meaning than its vague modern-day meaning of “beyond the physical world”(God, soul, free will, etc.), and rather that a metaphysic is any relation. If you look at the history of the concept of metaphysics one of its subdisciplines is Natural Philosophy, which became what we now know of as science. All fields of rational study, as well as studies beyond the physical sciences or what would be traditionally considered science, would qualify as metaphysics in that it explains relationships between physical/objective events, as the relationships themselves are not physical/objective but rather all-encompassing universals beyond those specific objects themselves. That would allow “soft sciences”, though not as rigid as physical sciences in their ability to disconfirm, to be qualified as in the same ballpark of metaphysics as physical sciences are, that is relations and explanations of observable events(just human behavior, which is harder to make disconfirmations from especially with such vague theories).

A scientist will, and should, of course, go with the theory that provides the most truth content and least amount of false content, or have the best verisimilitude, in the given field or topic that she is looking to find explanations. Why a scientist would choose to stick with a theory lacking verisimilitude is simply a lack of open-mindedness on her part, and essentially, if you look at it evolutionarily, she, and her ideas, will become subject to a sort of intellectual natural selection, since her theories, lacking truth content, will die out.

This is also how this kind of epistemology can apply not only to science, but to normal life and even non-human life. All living creatures make predictions, that is to make theories, and in the case of animals often the failure of their theories/expectations means their death. In the case of humans and human abstraction, our expectations can often be pursued without our death or even negative consequence, and often we tend to operate on a certain theory/expectation until it fails us. An example might be that my expectation when trying to get a taxi is to lift my hand when a taxi is coming by, but if my expectation is repeatedly not met, that is disconfirmed, I will then form a new theory/expectation in order to accomplish my goal. Some expectations can be biologically built-in, some are cultural or “common sense”, etc.
In the case of science, we make a theory to explain observed phenomena, and from that theory eventually new problems will arise. The theory, as it exists, is then disconfirmed, and so is either modified or an entirely new theory is formed.

The general formula for this process is given like so:

Problem 1 -> Tentative Theory -> Error Elimination(resolving internal contradictions) -> Problem 2

No explanation is possibly absolute, as new problems arise from new theories. The theory that is preferred is the one that is the most specific in terms of its predictions and has the least falsity.

The reason all of this is deductive rather than inductive is that it’s all about prediction rather than making general claims. Inductive science would operate by making observations and generalizing them into “laws” or absolutes, many of which then fail since the future by no means has any necessity to reflect the past. Popper avoids any claims of absolutes, and says rather that the goal is to make predictions rather than absolutes, and so when the events come to pass we can deduce whether the prediction/theory is false or not; hence the goal, and only clear qualification, of falsification, and a best current answer or best current prediction. It is still deductive, since we’re not making inductive absolute claims, and instead are making future-predictions that we can then deduce to be false or not-yet-false.

Critique of Statistical Conclusions

Statistics do not seem to produce any sort of valid conclusions, and cannot tell us anything meaningful about the universe. Statistics are simply numerical correlations, but these correlations, by admittance of anyone who understands statistics, does not establish a causal relationship. Without a causal relationship, there is no reason for us to understand or believe that these two numbers have anything to do with one another; instead, statistics preys on our human irrationality in either inferring causation(as a correlation would then be a co-relation, or things related together(and as the universe has time the relationship is then causal)) or some kind of numerology.

Statistics cannot provide us anything meaningful because they cannot establish causations, and thus cannot establish any credible relationship between two things, it can only provide probabilities. Probabilities are, essentially, a way of avoiding making any kind of conclusion or claiming any kind of knowledge. What would be a better methodology would be one of theory and refutation; have a theory to explain observed phenomenon and then search for observable refutation; if refutation cannot be found, then we have come to a “best current answer” or as best of a conclusion that we can given the limited quantity and capability of our experiences.
This failure of statistical models is constantly taken advantage of by legal defenses of the tobacco industry, as no amount of statistical information can establish any causal relation, thus any responsibility for consequences, to the tobacco industry. Using a more scientific system could clearly establish a chain of events, given certain circumstances(such as being a human being with lungs), to explain how tobacco use results in certain effects.

To me, it seems that statistics are illogical, as they prey on a psychology of humans toward irrationality, unscientific, as they cannot establish any credible or meaningful conclusions, and are simply an attempt to give credence to lazy thinking and are a combination of problematic inductive reasoning and the gambler’s fallacy.