A wonderful lecture by Lawrence Krauss


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Your "definition" of a "proper form" induction is an induction that goes from a true premise to a true conclusion. I find your "definition" somewhat underwhelming.

Here is the bottom line. Induction is not and never was a valid form of inference. It is a heuristic for generating general statements from finite collections of particulars. And that is ALL induction is. Induction has a role in Discovery, i.e. generating general laws and hypotheses. Deduction has a role in Justification. It is used to derive particulars from general laws later to be tested by experiment or observation.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Bob,

Those are excellent definitions - Discovery and Justification.

They are so good, you strengthen the inductivist position: a role in "generating general laws and hypotheses", is ALL induction is?

Sounds like plenty, to me.

Tony

It's plenty, but it isn't *logically* valid inference -- i.e., an argument form which, if correctly followed, guarantees true conclusions from true premises. Which is ALL, though it's plenty, Bob is saying.

No one has ever provided an inductive argument form which *guarantees* that a generalization arrived at from a set of observations is true. No one could provide such a form. Some counter at this point that that statement is itself an induction. But, no, it isn't. It's a statement about the logical impossibility of exhaustive testing.

I don't understand why so many Objectivists have trouble with this issue. What seems to happen is that the statement that induction isn't a valid inference form is taken as claiming that we can't learn anything about reality. But that isn't what's being said. What's being said is just a straightforward point of logic which, if understood, provides no threat to cognitive confidence in one's ability to understand the world. The only thing which is threatened is misplaced claims of certainty. But why would one feel that one needs to have certainty about scientific laws in order to go about living one's life? Scientists go about living their lives without a feeling of threat because of the inherent tentativeness of scientific laws.

Ellen

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It's plenty, but it isn't *logically* valid inference -- i.e., an argument form which, if correctly followed, guarantees true conclusions from true premises. Which is ALL, though it's plenty, Bob is saying.

No one has ever provided an inductive argument form which *guarantees* that a generalization arrived at from a set of observations is true. No one could provide such a form. Some counter at this point that that statement is itself an induction. But, no, it isn't. It's a statement about the logical impossibility of exhaustive testing.

I don't understand why so many Objectivists have trouble with this issue. What seems to happen is that the statement that induction isn't a valid inference form is taken as claiming that we can't learn anything about reality. But that isn't what's being said. What's being said is just a straightforward point of logic which, if understood, provides no threat to cognitive confidence in one's ability to understand the world. The only thing which is threatened is misplaced claims of certainty. But why would one feel that one needs to have certainty about scientific laws in order to go about living one's life? Scientists go about living their lives without a feeling of threat because of the inherent tentativeness of scientific laws.

Ellen

Ellen,

Thank you for your explanation, which brings me some more clarity.

This could be ridiculous, and feel free to shoot it down if it is, but it does appear that some Objectivists are overly smitten with the empirical, and need to prove via deduction, every conclusion.

My 'belief' here is that induction may not be logical, but it is rational - and without it Rand could not have made those leaps she did make.

Crudely put, but what do you think?

(If I'm half right, it would explain a lot about a 'logic/reason contradiction' that I think is apparent sometimes: to be logical does not necessarily mean one is rational; to be rational will, of course, include the tool of logic.)

Tony

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Tony,

Sorry for the delay responding. There are often gaps in my having time to look at list discussions.

[....] This could be ridiculous, and feel free to shoot it down if it is, but it does appear that some Objectivists are overly smitten with the empirical, and need to prove via deduction, every conclusion.

I wouldn't say "with the empirical." It seems to me that "the empirical" is just what a lot of Objectivists *aren't* in tune with. Instead, their method tends to be like Descartes', i.e., rationalistic, an attempt to deduce reality from basic axioms.

We touched on this issue on another thread, the "Bad Boys..." thread. Things might be changing. For instance, you commented there about a number of young science students who post on OO.

Peikoff is said to have talked about the problem of rationalism amongst Objectivists in a course he gave after Rand's death. I never heard any of the tapes from that course, but I've read reports by people who found the course eye-opening and welcome as an attitude corrective.

Unfortunately, Peikoff himself, whatever he said then, seems to have reverted to rationalism with a vengeance afterward.

My 'belief' here is that induction may not be logical, but it is rational - and without it Rand could not have made those leaps she did make.

Crudely put, but what do you think?

I think I'd agree. I definitely think that Rand made some remarkable intuitive leaps -- I don't know that, technically, I'd call them "inductive." Depends how one defines "induction." She wasn't simply generalizing from "some" to "all." She was imaginatively trying to grasp root issues behind what she observed.

I think she sometimes over-leapt or mis-leapt, but in ways which are tremendously provocative. One doesn't have to be exactly right to suggest a way of looking at the world which produces new vistas of understanding.

Ellen

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This ought to be fun. I find William Lane Craig very annoying, I wonder how Krauss will do. Over 2 hours, damn it's long. This debate was about a month ago.

Krauss wrote a piece on his experience doing the debate with Craig.

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/612104-dealing-with-william-lane-craig

I can't believe my ears when I listen to William Lane Craig, for example he makes a Bayesian probability argument featuring elements like "a majority of New Testament scholars agree that the resurrection of Jesus was a factual, historical event". Imagine what the opinion of a majority of astrology scholars would say about the validity of the premises of their field. How does someone like Lawrence Krauss keep a straight face listening to this hogwash?

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This ought to be fun. I find William Lane Craig very annoying, I wonder how Krauss will do. Over 2 hours, damn it's long. This debate was about a month ago.

Krauss wrote a piece on his experience doing the debate with Craig.

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/612104-dealing-with-william-lane-craig

I can't believe my ears when I listen to William Lane Craig, for example he makes a Bayesian probability argument featuring elements like "a majority of New Testament scholars agree that the resurrection of Jesus was a factual, historical event". Imagine what the opinion of a majority of astrology scholars would say about the validity of the premises of their field.

Is it reasonable to assume that they would give a demonstration of circular reasoning? :D

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Is it reasonable to assume that they would give a demonstration of circular reasoning? :D

Whatever works.

41634.jpg

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Is it reasonable to assume that they would give a demonstration of circular reasoning? :D

Whatever works.

41634.jpg

Well expressed in a graphic, ND.

You can bet they'll use whatever works to keep their bubble of illusion from being bursted.

Listening to Craig brazenly presenting babbling nonsense as if it were established fact is almost unbearable.

Quote from Krauss's comments re the debate.

Lawrence Krauss: Absolute Morals: Craig argued that the existence of absolute morality gives evidence for God. Once again this is simple minded. Indeed in a meeting we convened at my Origins Project of distinguished philosophers and neuroscientists we debated the subtle issues of morality and human evolution, the possible variants of morality, and a host of other issues, without once ever resorting to God.

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/612104-dealing-with-william-lane-craig

Classic case of Occam's Razor applied: There is no need to introduce an additional element ("god") when it is not needed.

Imo "Entia non sunt multiplicanda sine necessitate" is one of the strongest arguments in favor of atheism.

Lawrence Krauss: I have taken great effort to describe our actual understanding of the Universe and its implications for understanding how it might be possible for something to come from nothing, i.e. non-existence, in my new book, which will come out in January of 2012.

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/612104-dealing-with-william-lane-craig

The possibility of something coming from nothing could pull the ground from under the theists' feet.

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You have not provided a single induction with true premises and proper form that fails.

"Proper Form"???? Is that anything like a True Scotsman?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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The fact remains that no one has produced an induction from unquestionably true premises which fails which cannot be explained as failing due to an invalidity of form.

Produce one.

Here and Now with no bullshit. Define Proper Form Induction. Make it clear. Make it brief.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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The fact remains that no one has produced an induction from unquestionably true premises which fails which cannot be explained as failing due to an invalidity of form.

Produce one.

Here and Now with no bullshit. Define Proper Form Induction. Make it clear. Make it brief.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Ted hasn't posted here in about a year I think. You weren't paying attention when he took his leave?

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Ted hasn't posted here in about a year I think. You weren't paying attention when he took his leave?

Thank your for the heads up

Ba'al Chatzaf

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"Philosophy is a field that, unfortunately, reminds me of that old Woody Allen joke, "those that can't do, teach, and those that can't teach, teach gym." And the worst part of philosophy is the philosophy of science; the only people, as far as I can tell, that read work by philosophers of science are other philosophers of science. It has no impact on physics what so ever, and I doubt that other philosophers read it because it's fairly technical."

http://m.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/has-physics-made-philosophy-and-religion-obsolete/256203/

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There is no nothing so nothing came from it. Space itself is only an abstraction explaining and/or encompassing distance, various densities and energy. The "vacuum" of space is only a relative vacuum, defined into existence. The universe cannot expand into nothing so, if it's expanding it's into something--which might be a basically static "something." That is something that may be all around us and in us and likely is.

--Brant

why isn't the speed of light faster or slower, btw?--is something holding it back?

God as "nothing"--that explains a lot!

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There is no nothing so nothing came from it. Space itself is only an abstraction explaining and/or encompassing distance, various densities and energy. The "vacuum" of space is only a relative vacuum, defined into existence. The universe cannot expand into nothing so, if it's expanding it's into something--which might be a basically static "something." That is something that may be all around us and in us and likely is.

--Brant

why isn't the speed of light faster or slower, btw?--is something holding it back?

God as "nothing"--that explains a lot!

Planck's constant.

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There is no nothing so nothing came from it. Space itself is only an abstraction explaining and/or encompassing distance, various densities and energy. The "vacuum" of space is only a relative vacuum, defined into existence. The universe cannot expand into nothing so, if it's expanding it's into something--which might be a basically static "something." That is something that may be all around us and in us and likely is.

--Brant

why isn't the speed of light faster or slower, btw?--is something holding it back?

God as "nothing"--that explains a lot!

Planck's constant.

This is fascinating, at least in so far as I can understand it, which is not very much.

--Brant

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There is no nothing so nothing came from it.

Your book argues that physics has definitively demonstrated how something can come from nothing. Do you mean that physics has explained how particles can emerge from so-called empty space, or are you making a deeper claim?

Krauss: I'm making a deeper claim, but at the same time I think you're overstating what I argued. I don't think I argued that physics has definitively shown how something could come from nothing; physics has shown how plausible physical mechanisms might cause this to happen. I try to be intellectually honest in everything that I write, especially about what we know and what we don't know. If you're writing for the public, the one thing you can't do is overstate your claim, because people are going to believe you. They see I'm a physicist and so if I say that protons are little pink elephants, people might believe me. And so I try to be very careful and responsible. We don't know how something can come from nothing, but we do know some plausible ways that it might.

But I am certainly claiming a lot more than just that. That it's possible to create particles from no particles is remarkable---that you can do that with impunity, without violating the conservation of energy and all that, is a remarkable thing. The fact that "nothing," namely empty space, is unstable is amazing. But I'll be the first to say that empty space as I'm describing it isn't necessarily nothing, although I will add that it was plenty good enough for Augustine and the people who wrote the Bible. For them an eternal empty void was the definition of nothing, and certainly I show that that kind of nothing ain't nothing anymore.

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There is no nothing so nothing came from it. Space itself is only an abstraction explaining and/or encompassing distance, various densities and energy. The "vacuum" of space is only a relative vacuum, defined into existence. The universe cannot expand into nothing so, if it's expanding it's into something--which might be a basically static "something." That is something that may be all around us and in us and likely is.

--Brant

why isn't the speed of light faster or slower, btw?--is something holding it back?

God as "nothing"--that explains a lot!

Planck's constant.

This is fascinating, at least in so far as I can understand it, which is not very much.

--Brant

Yes, same here. In my last physics class (~25 years ago) I did the derivation of the speed of light from first principles and using Planck's constant. When I got the correct answer it was like looking into the face of god. I could not do the math now without considerable study. When I retire I'd like to take those classes again and study astrophysics. If anyone has bonehead old guy courses somewhere. My wife and I have talked about moving to Flagstaff. I'd like to get a telescope and just look at the stars.

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There is no nothing so nothing came from it. Space itself is only an abstraction explaining and/or encompassing distance, various densities and energy. The "vacuum" of space is only a relative vacuum, defined into existence. The universe cannot expand into nothing so, if it's expanding it's into something--which might be a basically static "something." That is something that may be all around us and in us and likely is.

--Brant

why isn't the speed of light faster or slower, btw?--is something holding it back?

God as "nothing"--that explains a lot!

Planck's constant.

This is fascinating, at least in so far as I can understand it, which is not very much.

--Brant

Yes, same here. In my last physics class (~25 years ago) I did the derivation of the speed of light from first principles and using Planck's constant. When I got the correct answer it was like looking into the face of god. I could not do the math now without considerable study. When I retire I'd like to take those classes again and study astrophysics. If anyone has bonehead old guy courses somewhere. My wife and I have talked about moving to Flagstaff. I'd like to get a telescope and just look at the stars.

I went to college in Flagstaff for two years. It's basically a railroad town. Real estate prices are rather high, I think because of an absence of buildable land. It also has the Lowell observatory and Northern AZ U.

--Brant

cold winters

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