Monday, March 18, 2019

A Conundrum(?) about Empirical Knowledge and Empirical Belief.

addenda 031819
In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.” -- Karl Popper

No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong. -- Albert Einstein
BEGINNING:The Empirical Conundrum.
Original Assumption: Knowledge and Belief are not the same.
Belief may be a component of Knowledge, but Knowledge need not be a component of belief. Some beliefs are not knowledge.
Proposition A: Empirical Knowledge Claims are Defeasible (falsifiable), by virtue of their being empirical.
, i.e. defeasible means subject to withdrawal by virtue of possible (though maybe as yet unknown) countering evidence, CE. (See Three Human Dimensions of Conceptualization.)

Then,
Proposition B: Empirical Knowledge claims are, at best, Empirical beliefs.
So, it follows that
Proposition C: if something is at best an Empirical Belief. it is not Empirical Knowledge,
according to the Original Assumption.

Proposition C applies to anything that is claimed to be empirical evidence.

Thus Empirical Knowledge is not defeasible and consequently not empirical, gotten via the contrapositive of Proposition A.

Attempted Rebuttal.

But what is this CE? Is it Empirical Knowledge? If so, then by Proposition A, it is defeasible, ergo, merely Belief.

Thus, if counter-evidence CE is merely Empirical Belief; it is not really counter-evidence. Thus, Propositions B and C are gainsaid and consequently, Empirical Knowledge is, indeed, defeasible. (GO BACK TO BEGINNING.)

When you've gotten tired going repeatedly back to the Beginning, in considering the vulnerabilities of the above argument, see both
Pseudo-Science: the reasonable constraints of Empiricism
and
Knowledge: The Residues of Practical Caution..

Cordially, EGR

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