53

First, I would say that many supporters of science are too proselytizing, too reluctant to admit the ambiguities and necessary limits of science. This merely harms their own case by opening them up the same skeptical attacks so easily employed against religion. Second, I would observe that science and religion are by no means mutually exclusive. It is only ...


24

Turn the is vs. ought problem on it head. Science, when it is being most scientific, only provides instrumental oughts; religion, when it is being most religious, provides only moral oughts. Science can tell you that if you want to avoid X degrees of global warming you should (instrumentally) reduce carbon emissions by Y amount; but not whether the harm ...


21

Your sceptic must understand what the symbols 1+1 means otherwise he is not justified in claiming that 1+1 is two. For example there are number systems in which there isn't a 1, or certain operations are undefined, or 1+1=0. But one could also imagine that the symbol '1' means a drop of water, and '+' means physical addition, so that 1+1 means add one drop ...


17

Your question is about metaphysical realism and skepticism. There are indeed radical sceptic arguments against realism such as Descartes's demon, brain in a vat or the idea that one is actually dreaming, but also reasons to resist these arguments. First note that there can be no empirical evidence for or against such radical scepticism because these ...


17

Logically, if we could prove that God healed amputees then it would as a corollary prove the existence of God. (it is simply the argument that; "if X is specifically observed to do Y, then X must exist"). But in practice that has two problems: Either, if science demonstrates God's existence, in what sense is He then "super"natural and not ...


14

A good question. Every machine is fallible, including the human brain; this means that when the human brain comes up with any conclusion, there is always the possibility it made an error and came to the wrong conclusion. Even if the brain in question is your own. Computers can make occasional errors in calculation due to manufacturing defects, cosmic ray ...


11

My first comment provides the starting point for my answer. This is something that's far easier to discuss in person than it is over the limiting format of Stack Exchange. What gives people hope is an incredibly personal concept. One size wont fit all. However, if I were to cold-call this and provide an answer, it would be in the form of Alan Watt's ...


11

The term 'supernatural' is generally used by modern skeptics in the sense: "That which cannot be explained by natural processes using the natural sciences." However, any event that can be observed systematically is ipso facto subject to the natural sciences, so the definition itself precludes the existence of miracles. It's a neat little Catch-22 ...


10

A reasonable proof in ZFC would be to prove 1 + 1 = 2 for the corresponding ordinal numbers. The first few ordinal numbers in ZFC are 0:={}, 1:={0} and 2:={0, 1} with the order 0 < 1 on {0, 1}. The sum of two ordinal numbers is the disjunct union of the two well-ordered sets, with the concatenation of the well-orders as the well-order for the sum. For ...


10

You are right this is difficult, even for an educated person, as science is too vast for a single human being, and experiments may be difficult to replicate. We are told we have experimental proof that Higgs boson exists, but who can build its own LHC to check for himself ? So we have to trust scientists and science books and it could be seen as no ...


10

Descartes was the modern founder of what is called foundationalism about knowledge, the idea that we must find a secure self-evident ground from which all the rest of our knowledge can be justified. Many classical philosophers (e.g. Plato, Kant, Frege, Husserl) shared this belief, and some continue to share it. The alternative, they believe, is universal ...


10

Short Answer As an athiest who advocates for philosophy, I would suggest there would be many rational bases for attacking your attribution of the regrowth to the supernatural which by definition places the agents outside of the known laws of the universe. The claim that gods and magical beings are real is essentially the assertion that it is possible to fit ...


8

Putnam certainly deserves credit for the colorful realization, but philosophically brain in a vat/isolated brain issues are traced back (including by SEP) to Cartesian evil demon , which predates not only Putnam, the Matrix and other modern implementations of non-stop hallucinations, but even 1812 and Frankenstein. Even before Descartes Avicenna's Floating ...


8

How can a non-religious person justify or rationalize hope or optimism in an absurd world? Can you acknowledge the absurd and still be hopeful and optimistic? I feel like you either can acknowledge the absurd, or lie to yourself. As you've noticed, bad things happen for no reason. But there is flip side to this randomness and absurd: good things happen for ...


7

In my opinion, the best response to ontological uncertainty is to strive to live in a way that is meaningful regardless of the true nature of reality. While it may seem implausible, it may be less so than it seems. Consider the following --we don't know how our universe originated, we don't know what its fate is, we don't know with any certainty our own ...


7

Actually, by using writing I believe you've picked the worst, or most confusing example for exploring improbability and skepticism. I largely agree with Ben Piper. Writing itself is highly and very intentionally improbable. We create symbols that are not readily confused with the products of natural events. By this means we create communicable "meaning," ...


6

In 1914, C. S. Peirce said (Coll. Papers (1931) I. i. iii. 70): Fallibilism is the doctrine that our knowledge is never absolute but always swims, as it were, in a continuum of uncertainty and of indeterminacy. Those who uphold it must, to avoid contradiction, hold fallibalism as dogma. Pascal said it well in his Pensées (S25/L406): Nous avons une ...


6

Perhaps an alternative would be to differentiate between a belief which is only valuable if it is true and a belief which still retains value even in the presence of inaccuracies. One requires the belief to be assumed (potentially axiomatically), while the other permits some freedom to not make that assumption. For example, many find science to retain ...


6

Perhaps, it's a false dichotomy: Goethe, for example wrote in his diary of his travels in Italy: Tonight I attended a meeting of the Academy of the Olympians...the motion proposed by the President was: which has been greater benefit to the Arts - Invention or Imitation? Not a bad idea, for if one treats the alternatives as exclusive, one can go on ...


6

How about this? The celebrated Arab commentator Avicenna (ibn Sīnā, 980–1037) confronts the LNC [Law of Noncontradiction] skeptic...: “As for the obstinate, he must be plunged into fire, since fire and non-fire are identical. Let him be beaten, since suffering and not suffering are the same. Let him be deprived of food and drink, since eating and ...


6

Peterson holds a specific (minority) theory of Jungianism, and how and why it works, defended in Maps of Meaning. But his POV includes basic Jungian principles. The point for most Jungians about stories containing a truth deeper than what can be consciously found there is not about the moral or contents, but why the story is engaging. A better example ...


6

TL;DR: Concluding from "if amputations are permanent then there is no Christian God" that "if amputations are not permanent then there is a Christian God" is the simple logical fallacy of the inverse. We don't need to reason about the metaphysical here — basic logic suffices. The fallacy is to inverse the "sign" of a conditional ...


5

This problem was solved by Karl Popper, who had an improved variant of this trilemma that he called Fries's trilemma, see "Logic of Scientific Discovery" escpecially Section 29. The solution is to accept the idea that proof is impossible and to drop proof as a standard. Rather, knowledge is created by conjecture and criticism. Criticisms are themselves ...


5

It is true by definition, in fact i would write it like this 2=1+1 because you are defining number 2. By the way, proves or demonstrations are just ways to simplify expressions to reach definitions, so we can be sure that premises were correct.


5

It seems that we have many questions in one here, and my answer is certainly one of many possible. I'd like to quote Charles Sanders Peirce, from an article called "Some Consequences of Four Incapacities" (http://www.peirce.org/writings/p27.html), where he states his disagreement with the Cartesian principle of universal doubt: We cannot begin with ...


5

It’s certainly true that much less is “proven” than we intuitively like to think. We can still formulate local concepts in maths like “proof in classical axiomatic set theory ZFC”. These embrace the “Assumptions” objection by wearing the Axioms of a given proof clearly on their sleeves - yes, this proof relies on some assumptions, but they are assumptions ...


4

The PhilPapers survey of professional philosophers includes these results. On the Results page you can also select only Philosophy PhDs with an expertise in epistemology for instance. Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism? Accept or lean toward: externalism 398 / 931 (42.7%) Other 287 / 931 (30.8%) Accept or lean toward: internalism 246 / ...


4

A lot of complicated terminology being thrown around here. That is more a comment on my lack of philosophical education than it is a comment on anyone else. I find it pretty straightforward why "external" senses are trusted more than "internal" ones. External sense are independently verifiable. I have a blue, plastic cup on my desk. Bring 100 people ...


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