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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Another Interesting Thing About Critical Rationalists

Someone today posted a quote from my friend Jan Lester on Facebook:

"No theory is epistemologically privileged. And we are never epistemologically ‘justified’ in believing anything, of course. However, morally in the modern world if someone wants to interfere aggressively with the liberty of another person, then the onus would appear to be upon him to argue that this is acceptable.

Now, when Jan claims "no theory is epistemologically privileged," is he justified in saying that or not? When he says the onus of justifying interference with personal liberty is on the interferer, is that belief justified?

If neither belief is justified, then who cares? He's saying something no more important than "There are green elves filling the room every time you aren't looking."

But if these beliefs are justified, then that of course shoots down the Critical Rationalist position that no beliefs are justified.

So, which will it be?

2 comments:

  1. What he is saying is not justified. The extent to which his statement adds to knowledge is the extent to which it can be criticized. If it can't be criticized, it's not a good theory.

    But this was already obvious to you Gene. This is boilerplate. So: why didn't you already respond to it in the content of the post?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, the old sweep the problem under the next-level-rug approach!

      "The extent to which his statement adds to knowledge is the extent to which it can be criticized."

      Can you justify this claim? If you can't, then so what? You claimed it: perhaps I claim that the extent to which a statement adds to knowledge is the extent to which it CANNOT be criticized. If you can't justify your claim, then why is it any better than mine?

      "If it can't be criticized, it's not a good theory."

      Can you justify this claim? What if I say, "If it CAN be criticized, it's not good theory"? Is there some way you can defend your theory of theories as being better than mine? Then, if so, that is a JUSTIFICATION for your theory of theories. (Which, by the way, I agree with... but, which I think I can JUSTIFY.)

      "This is boilerplate."

      Yes, really dumb boilerplate, the kind that a cult produces to answer critics of the cult.

      Delete