In Dec 2012, I came to the conclusion that DD was a justificationist because he believed in things like degrees of solidity (goodness) of ideas. He thought ideas should be judged by how much solidity they have. He also has some anti-Popper, pro-justificationist statements in FoR and BoI.
DD didn’t like this, and I wrote this to try to discuss/debate it with him:
How do you determine which explanations are better than which?
My answer would be criticism and nothing else. (Non-refuted ideas are better than refuted ideas.) But criticism does not give ideas weightings of how good they are.
He never answered. It wasn’t possible to get him to clarify his position. He wouldn’t deny having the position I thought he did, nor specify some other position. But he also wouldn’t stand up for his position, clarify details of it, and defend it.
Instead, he sniped at minor issues and replied to other people to try to make it look like he was participating in the discussion. But he never answered the first short, clear thing I said to him. He wanted a messy discussion and made it.
He would not answer the question “How do you determine which explanations are better than which?” He wouldn’t try to explain his epistemology. That is a thing he didn’t want to do. But he wants to tell the world what to think about epistemology!?
He wouldn’t say whether his answer involves things other than criticism.
He wouldn’t say whether he thinks degree criticism is a thing, and explain his take on that.
He wouldn’t directly say whether and why he thinks ideas are assigned weightings.
He wouldn’t point out some reason a non-weighting approach wouldn’t work or directly say he rejected that.
He simply wouldn’t participate, as an intellectual/philosopher with claims about epistemology.
He hasn’t done these things since. He basically hasn’t written anything substantive, anywhere, since he wouldn’t answer this question.
I think this thread – and this challenge to him regarding epistemology – might be the real thing that alienated him from me. I suspect my invention of Yes or No Philosophy, which is better than what he has to say about epistemology, is what he dropped me over. He didn’t like being challenged and criticized (similarly, btw, he didn’t like it when Demosthenes challenged and criticized TCS).
He likes dealing with rival views he can claim big superiority to, like induction. He didn’t want to deal with something more challenging. I think that’s because he couldn’t beat it but didn’t want to join it – he didn’t want to learn new things and change his positions. He wanted to stick to the narrative already in his books and for that to already be great.