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Fallibilism : Thought Leaders and Concepts

popper deutsch explanations theory

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#1 HighDesertWizard

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 09:23 PM


On 2019-02-26, I changed the title of this forum thread...
 
... from
 
Karl Popper and David Deutsch on what is required of a good theory
 
... to
 
Fallibilism : Thought Leaders and Concepts


 
 
 
I'm a fan of Karl Popper and David Deutsch. I've learned a lot about how to formulate my research and ideas and explanations of disease and aging from them.

The videos below are a great introduction what good Theories, aka, good Explanations, must be about: Hard to Vary and Falsifiable.

Here is David Deutsch in an 18-minute TED Talk about the Nature of Scientific Theories, aka, Explanations.


 
In the first 6 to 10 minutes of this video, David Deutsch explains what Fallibilism means along with some practical insights about it.
 


Here is a great 18-minute introduction to the idea of Karl Popper that theories must be falsifiable.


Edited by HighDesertWizard, 27 February 2019 - 04:25 AM.

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#2 HighDesertWizard

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 03:48 PM

David Deutsch's book The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World at Amazon

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#3 HighDesertWizard

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 09:38 PM

A thoughtful and moving hour long talk by David Deutsch on How to Think About the Future, given to the Oxford Transhumanist Society in 2009. Many of the thoughts in the talk are covered in Deutsch's book, The Beginning of Infinity, noted up thread.

From the talk...

The speed of progress, itself, is one of the things that is a defense against catastrophe... in regard to intentionally caused evil, it is, perhaps, the main defense... The speed of progress is one of the things that gives the good guys the edge over the bad guys because good guys make faster progress.


-- David Deutsch


View on Vimeo.


Edited by wccaguy, 10 June 2012 - 09:41 PM.


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#4 seivtcho

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 04:27 PM

Very nice videos. Thanks! But still I didn't get the answer of one question, that bothers my mind. How to tell which theory is correct and which is not?


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#5 Danail

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 07:34 PM

There is only one way to do that. It is to be an expert on that, but even this is not sure.
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#6 HighDesertWizard

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 11:03 PM

Very nice videos. Thanks! But still I didn't get the answer of one question, that bothers my mind. How to tell which theory is correct and which is not?

 

Per Popper/Deutsch, with whom I agree, there is not now and can never be a provably Correct Theory. There are only Good Explanations, Better Explanations, even Better Ones, and the current Best Explanation...

 

I don't like and don't use the word Theory. It turns out to mean so many different things to different people that it's useless as a concept, So, yes, I don't like that this Longecity forum category is named Aging Theories...

 

Here's the way I think about these kinds of questions...

  • Good Explanations... only need be Hard to Vary and Falsifiable. No experiment needs to have taken place to falsify the explanation for it to be considered a good explanation.
  • Better Explanations... those that meet the criteria of Good ones, i.e., Hard to Vary and Falsifiable, AND have survived one or more experiment attempts to falsify them.
  • Best Explanations... those that meet the criteria Better Explanations, i.e., have survived one or more experiments to falsify them, AND enough falsification experiments have been performed that it is statistically, virtually impossible to falsify the explanations.

IMO, within the Longevity Science Movement, we don't ask ourselves the following question often enough...

  • Recently, what Longevity Science related Explanation has been falsified?
  • Why is it important to ask that question?
    • Because our speed to understanding Aging and Longevity and taking action in our lives that makes a difference is a function of the speed with which we abandon Explanations that have been falsified directly or indirectly...

More recently, Deutsch did an interview and the first 4 minutes of the interview speak to these questions...

 

Enjoy!

 


Edited by HighDesertWizard, 23 July 2017 - 11:16 PM.

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#7 albedo

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 04:00 PM

Thank you having shared that video HighDesertWizard.

 

I read and continue doing both Deutsch and Popper. I came recently across a site which, while their recommendation is to read original works of Karl Popper vs. interpretations, which might be misleading, I think is useful to try gathering a synthetic view on the thinking of one of the giants of the 20th century philosophy of science. Yes, also this one is an interpretation but I find it useful to trigger going deeper into the subjects discussed:

 

http://www.open-scie...arl-popper.html

http://www.open-scie...-manifesto.html

 

 


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#8 HighDesertWizard

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 12:57 PM

Recently watched a few talks by Anil Seth, a leading UK Neuroscientist specializing in the nature of consciousness.

 

He argues that we hallucinate our conscious reality...

 

If hallucination is a kind of uncontrolled perception, then perception right here and right now is also a kind of hallucination, but a controlled hallucination in which the brain's predictions are being reined in by sensory information from the world. In fact, we're all hallucinating all the time, including right now. It's just that when we agree about our hallucinations, we call that reality.
 

His short TED Talk makes this point and then his longer talk hammers this point home.

 

He argues that our brain works, not by our first perceiving the external world and then accurately recording what reality is, but instead by making predictions about we see or are about to see. In this view, Consciousness is about reducing Prediction Error between our existing internal beliefs and what the reality is that presses in on us with perception.

  • See the 2nd video below, his longer talk, beginning at 23:00 for background and a longer, better statement of what I've roughly stated above.

I highlight Dr Seth's view of consciousness to highlight his argument that our minds work in a way that closely parallels what David Deutsch has suggested is the path for progress in science.

  • We make Conjectures, aka, Predictions, and then we evaluate the degree of error implicated in them as Good Explanations or Good Representations of reality.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Now compare what Dr Seth says about Consciousness being about Prediction from Existing Beliefs and  then Error Correction with what David Deutsch says in the first few minutes in this reposted Nautilus interview...

 

 


Edited by HighDesertWizard, 26 October 2018 - 01:04 PM.


#9 HighDesertWizard

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 01:14 PM

Fallibilism is the philosophical position that all human endeavors, attempts to create knowledge, or achieve anything are subject to error, that there's no such thing as a guarantee that a project to create something new will succeed, and in the case of knowledge, having got some thing that you consider knowledge, there's no such thing as a foundation, which if it's put on that firm foundation, is guaranteed to be true, no such thing as a foundation, such that if it's on that foundation, is guaranteed to be probable or anything like that.

 

On the other hand, fallibilism also says the very idea that we are subject to error implies that there is such a thing as being right, that there is such a thing as the truth, and that we can sometimes find some of this truth.

 

-- David Deutsch

 

 

I take it like this...

 

The implication -- >> We can't ever be sure we actually know the truth. What we can know is that particular knowledge content, particular beliefs, are false.

 

Caveat Emptor... I'm setting up a larger argument related to dominant beliefs within the Longevity Science Movement, false beliefs...

 

:)

 

 

 

Whoa! I just did a double take on the date I created this thread. It was almost 6 and a half years ago now...

 

 

 

Later in that talk, Dr Deutsch talks about how "lucky" he was to discover the work of Karl Popper early in his career. It was that commitment to discarding False Beliefs, beliefs that were falsified by experiment, which led him, eventually to become the father of Quantum Computation.


Edited by HighDesertWizard, 26 October 2018 - 01:26 PM.

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#10 albedo

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 09:04 PM

I appreciate your efforts on this Steve. I would only like to have more time to keep up with reading more from these giants who are two of my heroes in thinking. I keep from time to time going to the works of Karl Popper I have many on my shelf and would like to re-read that original and exciting "The Fabric of Reality" by David Deutsch. Curious to know what you will come up in the future on false beliefs. I often makes mine what DD says at the end of the book:

 

"In view of all the unifying ideas that I have discussed, such as quantum computation, evolutionary epistemology, and the multiverse conceptions of knowledge, free will and time, it seems clear to me that the present trend in our overall understanding of reality is just as I, as a child, hoped it would be. Our knowledge is becoming both broader and deeper, and, as I put it in Chapter I, depth is winning. But I have claimed more than that in this book. I have been advocating a particular unified world-view based on the four strands: the quantum physics of the multiverse, Popperian epistemology, the Darwin-Dawkins theory of evolution and a strengthened version of Turing's theory of universal computation. It seems to me that at the current state of our scientific knowledge, this is the 'natural' view to hold. It is the conservative view, the one that does not propose any startling change in our best fundamental explanations. Therefore it ought to be the prevailing view, the one against which proposed innovations are judged. That is the role I am advocating for it. I am not hoping to create a new orthodoxy; far from it. As I have said, I think it is time to move on. But we can move to better theories only if we take our best existing theories seriously, as explanations of the world."

 

There are quite ortodox approaches to modern physics, e.g. in quantum gravity, which stem out of taking best theories seriously, e.g. General Relativity in its tension with Quantum Theory and I like that but it is another story ...



#11 HighDesertWizard

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 05:24 PM

I appreciate your efforts on this Steve. I would only like to have more time to keep up with reading more from these giants who are two of my heroes in thinking. I keep from time to time going to the works of Karl Popper I have many on my shelf and would like to re-read that original and exciting "The Fabric of Reality" by David Deutsch. Curious to know what you will come up in the future on false beliefs. I often makes mine what DD says at the end of the book:

 

"In view of all the unifying ideas that I have discussed, such as quantum computation, evolutionary epistemology, and the multiverse conceptions of knowledge, free will and time, it seems clear to me that the present trend in our overall understanding of reality is just as I, as a child, hoped it would be. Our knowledge is becoming both broader and deeper, and, as I put it in Chapter I, depth is winning. But I have claimed more than that in this book. I have been advocating a particular unified world-view based on the four strands: the quantum physics of the multiverse, Popperian epistemology, the Darwin-Dawkins theory of evolution and a strengthened version of Turing's theory of universal computation. It seems to me that at the current state of our scientific knowledge, this is the 'natural' view to hold. It is the conservative view, the one that does not propose any startling change in our best fundamental explanations. Therefore it ought to be the prevailing view, the one against which proposed innovations are judged. That is the role I am advocating for it. I am not hoping to create a new orthodoxy; far from it. As I have said, I think it is time to move on. But we can move to better theories only if we take our best existing theories seriously, as explanations of the world."

 

There are quite ortodox approaches to modern physics, e.g. in quantum gravity, which stem out of taking best theories seriously, e.g. General Relativity in its tension with Quantum Theory and I like that but it is another story ...

 

I appreciate that you quoted the particular passage that you have. I've become convinced of the truth and importance of the point made in the red highlighted text.

 

Holding on to beliefs that have been falsified slows progress, whether it be a personal belief holding back personal growth or the beliefs of a community of people holding back progress toward achievement of their goals. In our personal lives, it's easy to get complacent about continuing to hold false beliefs, "what harm can they do", after all. I've borrowed a metaphorical image or two that has been helpful to me.

 

I believe that, at this moment in the Longevity Science Movement, progress is slower than it needs to be because beliefs that have been falsified have been and are being actively promoted by its leadership.

 

-----

 

I'm the organizer of a non-fiction book club meetup in Bend, Oregon. in the US. A book we looked at in 2017 had a profound impact on my thinking. The ideas discussed in two video talks by the author, Steven Johnson, constitute the background for two posts to follow about how False Beliefs impede progress.

 




Edited by HighDesertWizard, 03 November 2018 - 05:27 PM.

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#12 HighDesertWizard

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 10:43 PM

An interesting development related to David Deutsch...

 

Brett Hall is establishing a youtube video commentary on Deutsch's book, The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World. They are useful for getting fresh insight into the meaning and importance of the book.

 

 

 



#13 HighDesertWizard

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 02:31 AM

I confess that I am a David Deutsch / Karl Popper groupie. Given the way our longevity science movement thought leadership ignores evidence, this has become a rare thing..

 

But the more I attune my knowledge-acquisition-consciousness to the "philosophical belief" called Fallibilism, the faster my progress in figuring out how the new puzzle pieces appearing on the scene that we call "the-latest-Longevity-Science-studies" fit with one another.

 

Among my favorite, David Deutsch quotations is this one from a TED talk entitled A new way to explain explanation.

 

But we know about ... things.
How?
[Do y]ou know what the clinching evidence was that space-time is curved?
It was a photograph, not of space-time, but of an eclipse, with a dot there rather than there.
And the evidence for evolution? Some rocks and some finches.
And parallel universes? Again: dots there, rather than there, on a screen.
What we see, in all these cases, bears no resemblance to the reality that we conclude is responsible
... only a long chain of theoretical reasoning and interpretation connects them.
 

Edited by HighDesertWizard, 12 February 2019 - 02:47 AM.


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#14 HighDesertWizard

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 04:10 AM

On 2019-02-26, I changed the title of this forum thread...
 
... from
 
Karl Popper and David Deutsch on what is required of a good theory
 
... to
 
Fallibilism : Thought Leaders and Concepts

Edited by HighDesertWizard, 27 February 2019 - 04:21 AM.






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