Essentialism / what does a universal proposition mean?

I agree with you that Bayesianism has various extra errors not contained in OPAR’s epistemology and it’s reasonable to reject it for that reason. But I think it and OPAR’s epistemology share a fundamental error (which is prevalent elsewhere too) related to indecisive arguments, weights of evidence or arguments, the concepts of strong and weak arguments, etc.

Since my measurements here are so imprecise, it doesn’t make sense to have more than a handful of categories of confidence, let alone one category for each of the numbers between 0 and 1.

My short answer is that CF gets more complexity, for dealing with nuance and partial knowledge, by evaluating many different ideas (using simpler, binary evaluations), rather than trying to reach a single (or sometimes a few) more complex evaluations. A significantly larger number of evaluations can be more effective than having more complexity in each evaluation (plus black and white conclusions have major advantages over gray conclusions). (This is a separate point from CF’s other claim that non-binary evaluations don’t actually work at all as a method of effective thinking.)

I think “misconception” is a bad term to use to mean something that is capable of further progress/improvement. I think that’s related to what you were talking about earlier re inoptimal (not perfect, open to more progress).

There are also things where people should have known better, or are doing something wrong with their methods, so that terms like “mistake” or “misconception” are more appropriate. I also have no issue with calling tons of stuff a “mistake” or “misconception” in retrospect when we actually know better (while sometimes granting that it was reasonable to believe at the time if anyone asks but usually not preemptively stating that). But the proposal to call things misconceptions immediately when we come up with them is not speaking about them in retrospect; it’s calling stuff errors before we know of any error just on the basis that we expect to later discover something we could call an error.

Also if people don’t know what a “theory” or “idea” or “hypothesis” or whatever is (e.g. they don’t know it’s fallible), I don’t think switching the terminology is the right way to fix that. Changing the official terminology to try to get people to think differently sounds like something in the ballpark of propaganda to me. If you think a bunch of people are wrong, you need to remember your fallibility and respect their opinions as real opinions, not try to make them change without being persuaded. If you think they’re wrong, what you should want is debate, critical discussion, education, etc., not a different way of speaking (which isn’t going to substantively explain anything new to them).

And it’s important to have terminology to let us differentiate between an idea you think is wrong now, according to current knowledge (“mistake”, “misconception”, etc.) and an idea you agree with but expect to be improved in the future. Calling both things “misconceptions” would be really problematic. (We sometimes run into a similar problem when speaking about the past because we usually differentiate less regarding the past than the present, and e.g. the term “misconception”, referring to the past, could mean either something that was a misconception in its original context or a misconception in today’s new context.)

There’s also a difference between things that are the best current knowledge but turn out to be wrong in some kind of fundamental way vs. things that simply get more optimized later, with some details being wrong/inoptimal and changed. Some ideas fit well into later knowledge as a part of greater whole, while some don’t (and we don’t know very accurately in advance which will be which).

I think for some of my examples, you mistook them as being the best available knowledge which I just expect to be improved on in the future. But I didn’t mean them that way. Like with Western farming practices: there is a claim that the native Americans had a better way of farming (food forests), and the Europeans came here and were too dumb/stubborn/condescending/whatever to notice, so then they destroyed the farms and the culture and most of the people without even understanding what it was. Like the farms didn’t look like Europeans farms, so the Europeans thought the natives were too stupid to farm effectively and were just lucky to live in a land of natural abundance, but actually it wasn’t natural abundance or luck, it was a different farming method which created that “natural” abundance. But this idea isn’t totally lost; it’s available today to anyone who cares to research it (I have not researched it). There are other issues, involving ideas that exist today, like that maybe tilling is mostly bad. And that a lot of farming wouldn’t be profitable without government subsidies. And that maybe regenerative agriculture is good, maybe we should monocrop way less, maybe our selective breeding and GMO efforts have done major harm, and maybe our pesticides are causing a lot of harm like cancer. So I think it’s plausible that Western farming practices are wrong, in a bunch of different important ways, based on currently existing knowledge and that lots of farmers (and politicians) should make significant changes now. The example wasn’t intended as just a speculation that we’ll have better methods in the future.

(I do not consider it plausible that the native American farming method was strictly better. I think that, plausibly, it had major advantages and it (and variants on it) should be in widespread use along with some European-style or mixed farming too.)

A quick note (more to come in a few days):

I am sure that there’s much more I could learn about what CF says.

However, I will have you know that when I wrote the long post you are quoting, I was well aware that I was sharply contradicting CF (or at least, CF as I understand it). I know that CF rejects the ideas of supporting evidence, an evidentiary continuum, and non-decisive arguments, whereas—as can be seen from my post—I accept all those ideas in some form.

I’m confused about your position given your prior message:

Edit: I had also tried to find out about disagreements with CF earlier:

If you clearly knew in your mind at that time that you disagree with me/CF about “the ideas of supporting evidence, an evidentiary continuum, and non-decisive arguments” then it would have been good to say so then. I don’t know if something changed mid-conversation or not. If I knew earlier, I would have approached the conversation somewhat differently, e.g. by asking if you thought you’d found an error in CF’s reasoning about those issues (or found literature explaining an error).

I clearly knew it in my mind at the time.

And I saw what you wrote there, but I did not take it as an invitation to systematically list out and explain all of my disagreements with CF. I thought it would be a good idea to stick to the disagreement directly related to the topic with which I began the thread. (I still maintain that it is a real disagreement btw, though I can understand how—based on what I have said so far—you think it might be a terminology issue.)

The conversation ended up branching off to this place anyway, because of one sentence I wrote when talking about certainty. That’s fine with me, but I didn’t plan for it to happen at the outset.

I think it would be a good idea to continue this branch of the conversation in a new thread, where I will begin by explaining my position on these matters, and how I respond to CF’s criticisms.

I don’t know why you chose the topic for this thread over the decisive arguments issue, which seems more important to me as well as easier to discuss (IMO so far it’s been hard to nail down the issues in this thread or figure out very clearly what we’re discussing or why). It partly looks to me like you brought up a more subtle disagreement while having a more blatant one. My initial preference is to discuss decisive arguments first/instead, but if you explain your reasoning I’d consider alternatives.

My reasoning for starting with this topic was that 1) the disagreement I brought up is about something relatively low on the hierarchy of philosophy (lower than e.g. decisive arguments, since it’s about what an argument is), and 2) for some reason that I can no longer fathom, I thought that it would be easy to finish the topic.

I think it is likely that you will disagree that 1) is important. I have noticed that CF seems to mostly take things like theories, criticism, and concepts for granted, and instead focuses on what we should do with those things.


I should have explained a little bit more.

I don’t think it’s impossible for two people to have a productive discussion about something higher on the hierarchy of philosophy while disagreeing about something lower on it. But I do think that it will be harder, and that the lower-level things will come up. E.g. This and this, which I encountered yesterday while thinking about what I would say in a potential topic about evidence, seem to take definite stances about what theories and criticism are. While I don’t understand exactly what the stances being taken are, it seems likely that the higher-level things the articles are saying could depend on fine details of those stances.

I don’t disagree with that concept (1) but I think I didn’t understand your point enough yet to see how it fits that concept. (I take “low” to mean more basic, more fundamental, or coming first, which FYI clashes with some other uses of low/high terminology.)

Also, the decisive arguments issue also involves what an argument is.

FYI I don’t think I do that, and I’ve explicitly written about what those things are and how they work.