Certainty always better than probability?

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Ansiktsburk
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Certainty always better than probability?

Post by Ansiktsburk » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:46 am

I would love if this thread becomes a search together for something, rather than a battle.

I have not studied philosophy in university (apart from 1 year "History of ideas" in my local university evening time after my daytime job), so I have never really understood this thing with Metaphysics being so bad, science so good, and the (at least academical) philosophical search for Truth with a captial T. The modern analytical search for ways to, with logic, give very precise answers to questions, work out exactly how language works. Somewhat inspired by the articles about Russell in the latest PN I wanted to discuss this here.

I have a personal interest in philosophy, awakened after some decades working as an engineer and a manager. And I cannot really grasp the philosophers reluctance to give academical statements about things that are beyond what is in the field of science and logic. In the "real messy world", decisions will have to be taken. Without having certainty. In school, sitting at an exam, you have to choose a strategy for solving a problem. In a business situation, you have to choose a strategy for what to do. Politicians will have to choose between "plague and cholera" many times, and there is no rights or wrongs. Just probabilities.

I am four books through the dialogues of Plato. Where Socrates and the boys discuss this and that, things that was unclear then, a little more clear now, and we know that some things that guys in that time took for granted was simply wrong. The body is NOT made up of strangely shaped pieces of fire and stuff. But - they did pretty damn good for the knowledge they had, and I cannot imagine anyone being more happy than Socrates if he was teleported to 2017 and learned what 2500 years of what he was doing has lead to in terms of knowledge. "Scientific methods, experiments, great! I wish we had thought of that too, but hey, you guys have had some time to think!". They did good, and I cannot understand why discussions like that seems to be something completely ridiculous in academic philosophy.

The name of the game is Probability. To KNOW things seems to be the only interesting thing for "academical philosophy" and of course we should strive to do that. Science and analytical philosophy is to some extent da shit. For what science can reasonably achieve to solve in a reasonable time. But most IMPORTANT decisions out there is NOT something you put in a modal logic equation and get a yes or no on. What an american president, a businessman, a family father(or mother) has to use is something like Metaphysics. You have to reason, take what you can and try to make best of it.

And WHY cannot the philosophical departments of universities help more there? It's better in France and USA than over here, Macron does even have a degree in Philosophy, and I shouldn't be too surprised if Trump has too. As I understand it, Philosophy is more or less mandatory in the Ivy League universities, in ENS and I would guess few guys goes through Oxford and Cambridge without some philosophy studies. Here, studying to become a Civil Engineer, I got zero zip nada. And I really need it . The way it works, really, for me, is that messy problems pop up, in my role as a Father, a Technician, a Manager. And people expect you to kind of know the answer beforehand or work 2000 hours randomly to find it out. There is no "how to think smart on a problem like this" around. CLEARLY not as a manager. I have tried it a number of times, but in a steering group, that's impossible. And the way politicians go about, decisions seem pretty random. You never get the feeling that an area has been analyzed, the options made clear, and the one with the highest probability of an outcome chosen.

Russell was, in is history of Western Philosophy, sceptical to "big thought systems" and preferred more piecemeal chunks of problems to be studied, kind of steering the way towards analytical studies. But as mentioned in the articles in PN, he wrote a tremendous lot on "popular" topics. And it seems to me like it is the fear of being WRONG that makes him saying that anything apart from if saying Djenghis Kahn or He is correct should not be the output of Philosophical departments. But does it really have to be that way? If the philosophical departments of the universities in a country can say, for instance, how the government of that land should be made, who can?

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Arising_uk
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Re: Certainty always better than probability?

Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:39 am

Ansiktsburk wrote:... There is no "how to think smart on a problem like this" around. CLEARLY not as a manager. ...
Edward De Bono.

Six Thinking Hats: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Six-Th ... 0141033053

http://www.debonogroup.com/six_thinking_hats.php

Lateral Thinking: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lateral-Thinki ... 7ZS55A864P

http://www.debonogroup.com/lateral_thinking.php

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Arising_uk
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Re: Certainty always better than probability?

Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:14 am

Ansiktsburk wrote:... Macron does even have a degree in Philosophy, and I shouldn't be too surprised if Trump has too. ...
I'd be fucking flabbergasted!

Wyman
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Re: Certainty always better than probability?

Post by Wyman » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:44 am

The name of the game is Probability. To KNOW things seems to be the only interesting thing for "academical philosophy" and of course we should strive to do that. Science and analytical philosophy is to some extent da shit. For what science can reasonably achieve to solve in a reasonable time. But most IMPORTANT decisions out there is NOT something you put in a modal logic equation and get a yes or no on. What an american president, a businessman, a family father(or mother) has to use is something like Metaphysics. You have to reason, take what you can and try to make best of it.

Name one problem analytical philosophy has solved or one useful application of modal logic.

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Arising_uk
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Re: Certainty always better than probability?

Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:59 am

Wyman wrote:Name one problem analytical philosophy has solved ...
A fair point but in general I'd say analytic philosophy is about clarifying or asking questions rather than answering them and that generally results in the original question being discarded.
or one useful application of modal logic.
There's a couple in Computing.

Wyman
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Re: Certainty always better than probability?

Post by Wyman » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:56 pm

Arising_uk wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:59 am
Wyman wrote:Name one problem analytical philosophy has solved ...
A fair point but in general I'd say analytic philosophy is about clarifying or asking questions rather than answering them and that generally results in the original question being discarded.
or one useful application of modal logic.
There's a couple in Computing.
Can you explain the computing application - I'm not being argumentative, I really want to know.

Wyman
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Re: Certainty always better than probability?

Post by Wyman » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:05 pm

Arising_uk wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:59 am
Wyman wrote:Name one problem analytical philosophy has solved ...
A fair point but in general I'd say analytic philosophy is about clarifying or asking questions rather than answering them and that generally results in the original question being discarded.
or one useful application of modal logic.
There's a couple in Computing.
As for 'clarifying,' I am of the opinion that there is one set of related problems of philosophy revolving around the mind/body distinction (Cartesian Skepticism) and the problem of universals. Analytic philosophy has not clarified these problems as they have been hashed and rehashed for 2500 years. Plato's treatment of them in the Theaetetus (for instance) is much more enjoyable to read than the dry, pseudo-scientific papers written today. They seem to believe that the more esoteric idioms they develop, the closer they will get to a solution. I don't see it. I think they are all afraid that they will lose their university jobs if people can understand what it is they are saying.

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Arising_uk
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Re: Certainty always better than probability?

Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:23 pm

Wyman wrote:Can you explain the computing application - I'm not being argumentative, I really want to know.
It was a couple of decades ago when I was there but they were working on deontic, epistemic and temporal modal logics as applied to AI and Software Engineering with respect to program verification, robotics, database consistency, security permissions, network routing, knowledge representation and such like. It was theoretical computer science but by now I guess they'll have implemented a chunk of it as I can see a fair bit of the other stuff, NLP, Expert Systems, Neural Nets, etc appearing all over the place now.

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