Rational Confidence and Standards for Knowledge [CF Article]


I liked this. I think I like all CF articles that I have read. Some I like more. This is one of the ones I like more. I don’t consciously know why I like it more than most CF articles. Maybe because I think I understood it a little better. Maybe because it’s more relevant to a current goal of mine.
Anyway, I wanted to say that I really liked this article.

People see math and science as particularly objective fields. But this isn’t inherent in the fields. It’s a consequence of their inadequate language skills.

Another issue is that the numbers in maths and science are meant to refer to things in the real world. Inadequate language skills often prevent people from referring precisely to the things described by numbers. Maths and science can be undermined by bad philosophy. People say a lot of weird, vague stuff about quantum theory despite the fact that there is a lot of very precise mathematical knowledge about it.

I italicized typos:

You could use a ruler to measure it’s width too, or put a string around it and then measure that string to find out its circumference. You could also time how long it takes you to eat it using a stopwatch. You could be confident about those measurements (knowing, of course, than eating times vary, so you might take more or less time to eat the next apple, and also knowing that none of the measurements are perfectly precise).