[extropy-chat] what is probability?

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Tue Jan 9 05:50:17 UTC 2007

[I suspect this went only to Max and not the list:]

At 09:49 PM 1/8/2007 -0600, Max wrote:

>Damien: In affirming a (sophisticated) social constructivism in 
>epistemology, do you mean:
>(a) our means of perceiving and understanding knowledge are socially 

Self-evidently; babies don't pop out of the womb citing Kant and Heisenberg.

>(b) truth itself is a social construction

I don't think this sort of discourse is amenable to one liners. So: 
depending on context, yes, no, both.

>And if it's (a), would I be right to suspect that your view is that 
>we can understand and allow for the resulting filtering?

Plainly we can try to allow for bias and pre-ordained local 
discursive or genetically-driven templates, and build instruments to 
help us bypass some of our sensory and computational limitations. But 
it looks pretty apparent that we have only limited success, although 
as John Clark observes bridges which are constructed by societies are 
less likely to collapse if the socially constructed knowledge used in 
their design is less flawed than that used by the worshipful company 
of levitating sex magician sappers.

>(As distinguished from the view that we're permanently and 
>hopelessly locked behind our socially constructed lenses?

In many respects, certainly. Can we experience--grok truly--what it 
is to be a frog? Or an ardent slave-owner?


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