[extropy-chat] what is probability?

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Tue Jan 9 17:09:58 UTC 2007

At 03:23 AM 1/9/2007 -0500, John K Clark wrote:

> > it is simply BS that all of "philosophy of science" ever written
> > is either trivially obvious, or wrong.
>Easiest way to prove me wrong is to provide a counter example. So tell me
>one thing, just one thing, that philosophers of science have discovered that
>is clear, precise, unexpected, and true.

Let's leave "true" to one side, because it's a diet of worms. The 
example I have several times offered to John, either here or perhaps 
on SL4, is Karl Popper's model of scientific conjecture and 
(attempted) refutation. Because it's a piece of methodological 
advice, it can't be true or false, only fruitful or wasteful. But it 
seemed so astonishing, counter-intuitive and productive as a guiding 
principle in hypothesis and experiment to Nobelists John Eccles, 
Macfarlane Burnet, Peter Medawar and Peter C. Doherty ("I like 
complexity, and am delighted by the unexpected. Ideas interest me. I 
was influened early on by reading Arthur Koestler and Edward de Bono, 
and more recently by the writings of Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn.") 
that they've all sung its praises. Of course, this might be dismissed 
as nothing better than an appeal to authority.

Damien Broderick 

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