There may, of course, be other nonlogical considerations which lead one to grant that it would be pointless to hold some particular view as being open to criticism. It would, for instance, be a bit silly for me to maintain that I held some statements that I might make—e.g., "I am over two years old"—open to criticism and revision.The claim that some statements are beyond criticism is anti-fallibilist and anti-Popperian.
Yet the fact that some statements are in some sense like this "beyond criticism" is irrelevant to our problems of relativism, fideism, and scepticism.
It is not at all silly to maintain that the example statement is open to criticism. It's essential. Not doing so would be deeply irrational. We can make mistakes, and denying that has consequences, e.g. we'll wonder: how do we know which things we can't be mistaken about? And that question begs for an authoritarian, as well as false, answer.
You may be thinking, "Yes, Elliot, but you are over two years old, and we both know it, and you can't think of a single way that might be false." But I can.
For example, my understanding of time could contain a mistake. Is that a ridiculous possibility? It is not. Most people today have large mistakes in their understanding of time (and of space)! Einstein and other physicists discovered that and space are connected and it's weird and doesn't follow common sense. For example, the common sense concept of two things happening simultaneously at different places is a mistake: what appears simultaneous actually depends where you watch from. If some common sense notions of time can be mistaken, why laugh off the possibility that our way of keeping track of how much time has passed contains a mistake?
Another issue is when you start counting. At conception? Most people would say at birth. But why birth? Maybe we should start counting from the time Bartley was a person. That may have been before or after birth. According to many people, brain development doesn't finish until age 20 or so. In that case, a 21 year old might only have been a full person for one year.
Of course there are plenty of other ways the statement could be mistaken. We must keep an open mind to them so that when someone has a new, counter-intuitive idea we don't just laugh at him but listen. Sure the guy might be a crank, but if we ignore all such ideas that will include the good ones.
This is the part I find absurd about Popper.
"We can make mistakes, and denying that has consequences, e.g. we'll wonder: how do we know which things we can't be mistaken about? And that question begs for an authoritarian, as well as false, answer."
Why does it beg for an authoritarian answer? It begs for a tentative answer, like any other question.
The fact you exist is not open to criticism. How do we know that?
I also don't see how it would be necessary to criticise "I'm writing in English."
What's the purpose of declaring those things not open to criticism?
If no one thinks of a criticism there is no harm in considering them potentially open. If someone does think of a criticism, then why assume in advance they are mistaken and you are right?
You cannot criticise your existance without existing. So that's one thing not open to criticism.
So I think the question "how do we know which things we can't be mistaken about?" is worth answering, because there's at least that one thing we can't be mistaken about.
People can be mistaken about, for example, what existence is. If they are, then they can be mistaken about what exists.
People can also be mistaken about how to determine what exists or not. Hence UFO believers, but also many more subtle errors.
You can't say you don't exist, because by saying it, you imply it.
> You can't say you don't exist, because by saying it, you imply it.
That is according to your understanding of existence, which could be mistaken.
It's also according to your understanding of what makes a good argument, or an invalid one, which also may contain mistakes.
I can't even start to understand anything if I don't exist.
You are still assuming that you have a correct understanding of existence, including the consequences of not existing.
As far as I know, you are correct. I have no criticism. But there is no reason to rule out the possibility that someone finds a flaw in present day understanding of this issue, and finds a new way to understand it that *isn't ridiculous*.
You're insisting on being closed minded, just b/c you claim an open mind is pointless on issues where you can't imagine being mistake. But look, if you are mistaken that'd be bad! And if you aren't, being open to criticism will do no harm!
I have to exist to imagine. I would only be mistaken if I was dead and then I wouldn't know.
I think you persuaded me out of bothering with reading Popper. Thanks. Maybe when I don't exist, I'll bother.
I'll make you a bet.
I bet if we both write down what we think is the correct way of deciding which things exist, and which don't exist, our answers will be very different.
And that will demonstrate that existence isn't so obvious that people can't have disagreements about it.
My criterion of existence won't be a weird one I made up for this conversation, but rather the same one I've used for years.
Want to try it?
PS See how quickly closed mindedness can spread? First it was only about existence, now it's about all of Popper too (FYI: I'm not Popper). You won't even read his books on the presocratics or the open society now? :(
Of course they have to be open to criticism
Why did Bartley choose 'over 2 years' for his example, in preference to 'over two seconds', 'over twenty years' or 'under ninety years', or 'I can feel the force of gravity right now'?
It must have been because he decided that it would best make his point because it was the most obviously true, the least ambiguous, the least vulnerable to 'gotcha' misinterpretations etc., of all the propositions he considered using.
To determine how obviously and unambiguously true each of those candidate propositions were, he would have had to criticise them: attempt to think of ways or reasons that they might conceivably be false or ambiguous. He chose 'two years' because it survived this criticism best of all the propositions he chose.
Had he held it immune from criticism, he would have had no way of arriving at that conclusion.
>>The claim that some statements are beyond criticism is anti-fallibilist and anti-Popperian.<<
Are you making this claim about Bartley? He clearly puts the words in quotations, and he is responding to an imaginary interlocutor.
He's trying to give their ideas as much credence as possible, and then respond to them. I guess. I certainly don't think Bartley would disagree with your assertion that no statement is beyond criticism.
We have to tread a little carefully here, because we don't want to become essentialists, asking ourselves, well, "what is criticism, exactly?" And what is "holding our views open to criticism" exactly?
We know well enough what we mean, and that's sufficient for now. Some things at least superficially appear above criticism, so? It's not a problem for Bartley's philosophy.
Bartley says that some statements are, in some sense, beyond criticism. Right? And he says:
> It would, for instance, be a bit silly for me to maintain that I held some statements that I might make—e.g., "I am over two years old"—open to criticism and revision.
What's unclear about this?
Are you saying Bartley does not believe that holding the >2 statement open to criticism is silly?
Your entire question rests on a minute reading of each of Bartley's words. I don't have the book in front of me, nor can I get at it right now.
Obviously Bartley holds his positions open to criticism, that's why he called his philosophy completely critical rationalism. He takes things even further than Popper does.
Note your question depends on what Bartley *meant* when he said, "beyond criticism" and put it in quotes.
You aren't concerned with any real problem here, except for one of meanings.
There are particular views out there that would *seem* pointless to hold open to criticism.
The moon isn't made of green cheese.
It's raining right now as I write this.
The light is on.
Okay, those positions *seem* pointless to criticize to me. So? Are you going to tell me I'm wrong and that these positions do *seem* meaningful to question? But I'm just reporting to you my feelings, my impressions. Do you want to tell me what my impressions should be like? If I decide to embrace completely critical rationalism as my philosophy, it's not allowed that certain things might *seem* pointless to criticize? It's not enough that in a philosophical sense I'm willing to question a proposition when the need arises, but in the interim I'm not even supposed to allow certain statements to *seem* pointless to criticize. That's a bit much isn't it? Bartley is just trying to reach out to see the other person's viewpoint on such issues.
His point is that just because it *seems* pointless to hold some position open to criticism in some way, that doesn't mean it is pointless in some philosophical sense.
Shall we argue over what he means by "seems" next?
> Okay, those positions *seem* pointless to criticize to me. So? Are you going to tell me I'm wrong and that these positions do *seem* meaningful to question?
See David's argument!
How did you pick those examples (moon isn't green cheese, raining, and light on), and not others? By subjecting all the candidates, including those examples that survived, to criticism.
And how come you added the second example? Did you think the first one wasn't good enough alone? i.e. you had a criticism of it?
Not only can they be meaningfully criticized, you did so while writing your post.
You seem to just be playing with words.
There was a problem, which assertions might best exemplify something that *seems* pointless to criticism. I rattled off a few stuff
Now because I gave more than one example, this means they might not have been adequate. (You're offering psychological theories about my mental state at the time.) There's an argument that David made that I'm supposed to look at, but I don't see it. (I don't disagree with anything he said, as I understand it.)
So it's up to me to argue the word *meaningful* now, as well as *seems*. This doesn't seem productive to me. I fail to see the point you are making.
We don't want to be like the Grand Inquisitor probing the depths of people's soul to make sure they hold every position open to criticism. In general, as long as a position doesn't present a problem to me, I'm happy to regard it as *seeming* beyond criticism until such a problem arrives. I don't doubt you do the same. But then, what do I *mean* by that?
This is only an argument about meanings as best I can understand it. Where's the beef?
I don't see Bartley as having been anti-Popperian, much less anti-Bartley. Are you still making this assertion?
I'm not trying to talk about words. Statements such as "i am over 2 years old" can be subjected to criticism, and by doing so we can learn useful things. Doing so is not silly, bad, pointless, useless, a waste of time or anything like that. It's normal, natural, common sense, good, helpful, productive, etc. the difference between these two views -- that it's good or it's bad -- is not a verbal quibble but is substantive.
That is what David said above, and then I repeated his argument using a different example.
When Bartley wrote:
> It would ... be ... silly for me to maintain that I held some statements ... —e.g., "I am over two years old"—open to criticism and revision.
He's taking a different view than I am about the usefulness of criticizing that statement and others like it. Bartley thinks that statement shouldn't be criticized, and it's silly to criticize it. David and I think it should be criticized, it's useful to criticize it, and we think that Bartley did criticize it.
>>We must keep an open mind to them so that when someone has a new, counter-intuitive idea we don't just laugh at him but listen.<<
Your focus is on a problem separate from what Bartley was addressing. Having taken down the book and read the passage further, I see no problem with what Bartley is saying.
" ... But I do not *have* to* do so logically: *I do not have to be dogmatic* about any of these matters ... Holding such statements as beyond criticism in a practical sense has nothing to do with stemming an infinite regress."
Right. If you didn't hold some things dogmatically, you couldn't get through the day. But then what do I mean by that? Obviously, I don't mean that I hold these positions dogmatically. Why is that such a hard point to make?
Clearly I can be dogmatic and not dogmatic at the same time. Why? Because I mean different things in each case.
Your point is we should be open minded and pay attention when someone serious has a few counter-intuitive ideas, you and I and Bartley all agree on this.
I'm saying that holding things beyond criticism, in a practical sense (or, indeed, *any* sense), is a serious mistake (and, yes, anti-fallibilist).
What about this is unclear or purely verbal?
My last comment was not a response, but a further comment.
>>Statements such as "i am over 2 years old" can be subjected to criticism, and by doing so we can learn useful things. Doing so is not silly, bad, pointless, useless, a waste of time or anything like that.<<
First, I don't disagree with you, nor does Bartley as I read him.
Second, it depends on the context.
Thirds, we don't have to be constantly questioning every assumption we have. It's not practical. Bartley is addressing a practical concern here, not a philosophical one.
Let S be the statement about being over 2 years old.
I maintain that I hold the statement S open to criticism. If anyone has a criticism of S, I'm open to that.
Bartley directly says that my previous paragraph is silly. I shouldn't maintain that b/c maintaining it is silly.
So he thinks one of my ideas is silly. So we disagree.
Our comments are a bit juxtaposed now. Sorry. My fault.
We're just viewing things slightly differently. I view it like riding a bicycle. I'm constantly applying numerous assumptions as I go through the day. I'm riding my bicycle. I don't think about it. I just do it.
However, a problem might arise. (In real life, I noticed some how the way I sat on my bicycle caused small holes to form in the seat of my pants after a period of weeks.) Once that problem arises we then question things. (I noted that if I adjusted the way I sat on my bike, I didn't end up with the holes.)
I don't bother to question the way I ride the bicycle until the need arises. I ride it dogmatically. When a problem forms I go back and look at things again, I question my previous assumptions.
If I had to constantly question the way I rode a bicycle it would require too much work, I wouldn't get anywhere. That's all I mean. That's pretty much how I understand Bartley. He's addressing a practical concern. Not a philosophical one.
Note, I've exemplified my view here with a *real* example. If you could do likewise, it would help.
>>I maintain that I hold the statement S open to criticism. If anyone has a criticism of S, I'm open to that.
Bartley directly says that my previous paragraph is silly. I shouldn't maintain that b/c maintaining it is silly. <<
That's just not a fair reading, as I see it.
It's not the statement it's how we deal with it. Bartley's saying in some contexts, it's silly to question some statements. He's right.
You're saying something like, there's *always* *some* context where we might find it useful to question our theories. Do you really think Bartley would disagree with that?
You're just making a separate claim. Give a real life example of where you think Bartley would not be open-minded because of his philosophy, but where you would be?
In your example, the entire time, your view about how to sit on your bike is open to criticism, should it be criticized. It is never beyond criticism, just tentatively accepted and not thought about while unproblematic and uncriticized.
That is a good approach which I agree with.
But it's not what Bartley said.
You have consistently ignored what Bartley said, even as I've requoted it. And you have not given a rival interpretation of what he meant in the specific passage about "silly" which I've highlighted.
In the silly passage, Bartley says ... well literally he says it's silly to call myself open to criticism about S, as I said in a previous comment, and you didn't respond to.
What about reading between the lines? What did he mean? Here is what he meant: Certain things are so obvious that while they are logically open to criticism, as a practical matter it's not going to happen. It's so silly to even think of debating them that we shouldn't even call them open to criticism or we'll look foolish. They are, realistically and practically, beyond criticism. An error in that area is so unlikely that'd it'd be dumber to say, "well, i keep an open mind" than just to admit "yeah, there's no error here, even if as a matter of logic there might be and as a matter of logic the former dumb attitude is permissible".
In contrast to Bartley's view, I think errors are *extremely common* even in areas where we're *extremely confident* we're right. I think people make errors, all the time, about issues like whether they exist, whether it's raining somewhere, whether a light is on, what age someone is, and so on. Errors like this happen, say, once a week (per person). Maybe once a month for people who follow a very predictable routine all the time. And that's not counting repeat errors where they have a mistaken theory they consider super obvious and use all the time. Everyone makes that sort of error daily.
As a real life example, I saw Derren Brown do a magic trick where a light bulb, which was not plugged in and which was sealed in a plastic basic, turned on. Was it really on, or was that a trick? I don't know. So that is an example of how a light being on came under criticism just last night.
So I say again, Bartley thinks a certain thing is silly, and I think it's anything but silly.
And just to be clear, I'm not saying we should question all our ideas at all times. I never said anything about that. Holding an idea open to criticism, and exerting effort criticizing it, are not the same.
 That's why he chose an example that would be considered super obvious and beyond question by almost everyone. And it's why you did too with your green cheese example.
> It's not the statement it's how we deal with it. Bartley's saying in some contexts, it's silly to question some statements. He's right.
But that's just plain not what he says. Where is the textual evidence? How are you interpreting the phrase "maintain that I held some statement" to fit your story?
> You're saying something like, there's *always* *some* context where we might find it useful to question our theories. Do you really think Bartley would disagree with that?
I claim he said he does in his book. So, yes. This argument begs the question.
> You're just making a separate claim. Give a real life example of where you think Bartley would not be open-minded because of his philosophy, but where you would be?
How about the example of whether Bartley was over 2 years old when he wrote that passage.
Do you also disagree with Bartley when he states, "We can assume or be convinced of the truth of something without being committed to its truth." on page 121.
Even if your position is correct, and Bartley thinks it's a bit silly to question the assertion he was over two years old, are you saying he was committed to the truth of this assertion?
Are you saying, if some new theory about time or physics or someone brought criticism to bear on it, Bartley would miss out, because of what he stated in his book? I doubt this very much.
It seems to me Bartley is trying to separate out our feelings/convictions from our active decision to commit or not commit to a particular position. He's arguing against commitment. He's not saying we still can't find ideas silly or not. There's no idea out there you find silly? You don't ever *feel* there's a position that *seems* beyond criticism. You don't ever feel certainty?
Obviously he's presenting an idea that was very radical and still is very radical. He's also at the same time struggling with critics (who might have themselves presented the example.) Maybe if he had a chance, he'd admit he could have worded himself a little better.
But, yeah, like Bartley, I am *not* committed to the position, "I'm over two year old." But yeah, it *SEEMS* silly to assert there's a good criticism of it, so?
We all clearly agree you shouldn't make a commitment to any position.
Look, Bartley says:
"Implicit in such a non-justification approach are a new philosophical program and a new conception of rationalist identity. The new framework permits a rationalist to be characterized as one who is willing to entertain any position, and holds *all* his positions, including his most fundamental standards, goals, and decision, and his basic philosophical position itself, open to criticism ..." page 118.
He says over and over again, we should keep all our positions open to criticism. That's his philosophy.
So you have this one outlier sentence where he says, "There may, of course, be other nonlogical considerations which lead one to grant that it would be pointless to hold some particular view as being open to criticism."
And so you think he's not being open-minded?
I agree with you, the way I've presented Bartley's thoughts may not be what he was specifically stating here, but certainly your presentation isn't either. Otherwise, Bartley is flat out contradicting himself.
You have a choice:
A. Either understand Bartley is using "being open to criticism" in two separate ways here.
- or -
B. Coming to the conclusion Bartley was just contradicting himself.
That is, why if Bartley's position was to be "open to criticism" (his philosophical approach) do you think he explicitly states he's not "open to criticism" here?
I think he's making a point very similar to when he says, "We can assume or be convinced of the truth of something without being committed to its truth." How else could you interpret the passage?
You are now commenting on Bartley's view in general. Yes indeed it contradicts the passage I quoted, as well as the one you just quoted (with the word "nonlogical)". That is not relevant to what the "silly" passage says. The methodology "he meant what he said elsewhere" is invalid.
> But, yeah, like Bartley, I am *not* committed to the position, "I'm over two year old." But yeah, it *SEEMS* silly to assert there's a good criticism of it, so?
You've fudged it. You now speak of whether there is a good criticism. This is both ambiguous (a good known criticism or a good possible criticism) and not what Bartley said in the "silly" passage. You've made a new passage, with some similar words, and a different meaning, but you still haven't given a literal style interpretation of what Bartley actually said that's compatible with it not being mistaken. In particular, you've removed the part about "held ... open to criticism and revision" which was rather an important part.
Perhaps you will now, again, accuse me of making a purely verbal argument and get bored.
It is possible for verbal mistakes to obscure non-verbal arguments. If you stop fudging what Bartley said, I think you will find it is substantively mistaken.
You have hinted several times that even if Bartley meant what I think he does, that isn't a substantive mistake, and perhaps isn't a mistake at all.
> Okay, those positions *seem* pointless to criticize to me.
You think it seems pointless to criticize them. I think anything but. That is a disagreement about how common mistakes are in "obvious" truths, and how fruitful criticism in such areas is. That is an epistemological issue.
>>But that's just plain not what he says. Where is the textual evidence?<<
I then furnish textual evidence ... to which you say.
>>You are now commenting on Bartley's view in general. Yes indeed it contradicts the passage I quoted, as well as the one you just quoted (with the word "nonlogical)". That is not relevant to what the "silly" passage says. The methodology "he meant what he said elsewhere" is invalid. <<
This is not clear.
You say the two quotes contradict each other. Are you saying Bartley is contradicting his *own* views?
I asked for textual evidence about your rival interpretation of the "silly" passage, which you have refused to give.
Yes Bartley contradicts his own views. One passage contracts another. Such things are common. People make mistakes, even about "obvious" truths like what their own views are, which is a nice example of my general point.
"I may in fact hold some such views as beyond criticism; but I do not *have to* do so logically: I do not have to be dogmatic about any of these matters." page 123
Again same passage minus a little bit:
"I may in fact hold some such views as beyond criticism; ... I do not have to be dogmatic about any of these matters."
He's holding some views beyond criticism but not dogmatically.
That sounds like a contradiction. Do you think it is? If not, what do you think Bartley means?
Saying a view doesn't have to be held beyond criticism, logically, but that you do hold it beyond criticism, is not a contradiction. It is a mistake because it violates the spirit of fallibility.
> "I may in fact hold some such views as beyond criticism; ... I do not have to be dogmatic about any of these matters."
That isn't a contradiction. He says he (or any person) may be dogmatic (in real life) in the first half, and then in the second half says he (or anyone) doesn't have to be dogmatic (logically).
Both those statements are true. But if anyone does the thing in the first half, that is a mistake.
> He's holding some views beyond criticism but not dogmatically.
The quotes don't say that. But supposing they did:
The first part (holding views beyond criticism) is a mistake, but it may not be a dogmatic mistake. The person making the mistake might change his mind, rather than stubbornly repeat himself, should it come to an actual discussion with real life criticism.
There is perhaps a contradiction in some greater sense. If we look at the implications of these views, and consider more issues like fallibilism and CR, it doesn't all fit together into a nice picture. There are mistakes and some could be pointed out in the form of contradictions.
What's important, I think, is that it is an epistemological mistake to hold any view beyond criticism in any sense for any reason -- or in other words it's an epistemological mistake to think some views are obviously true, or to think it's impractical to simultaneously, passively hold all our views open to criticism. It's also an epistemological mistake to think that errors are rare, or not worth worrying about, including in areas where we are most confident. And it is a mistake to think fallibility is technically true but shouldn't be a guiding principle in practical decision making -- it should be.
It's also a mistake to make statements about how the fallibilist attitude, in its full and explicit form, applied to certain statements, is silly. Because fallibilism is not silly, and does not seem silly, or anything like that. Or perhaps I'm mistaken, but either way that is an important epistemological issue.
I appreciate what you are saying. I'm not sure I fully understand it or agree.
>>That isn't a contradiction. He says he (or any person) may be dogmatic (in real life) in the first half, and then in the second half says he (or anyone) doesn't have to be dogmatic (logically).<<
He also says earlier:
"We can assume or be convinced of the truth of something without being committed to its truth."
Is he saying the same thing here, or something substantially different?
> We can assume or be convinced of the truth of something without being committed to its truth.
I think that statement is saying that we can hold theories tentatively (i.e., open to criticism, with respect for fallibilism, with the ability to change our mind).
Which is in line with saying that we don't have to be dogmatic, logically.
I like that attitude.
I disagree with the idea that using the above attitude is silly in any cases (e.g. the 2 year old case, or the well known "i exist" case discussed above). I think it should be used all the time.
When you say "above attitude", you are talking about not being dogmatically logically, right?
But then when Bartley says something is "beyond criticism" he's talking about something nonlogical. (Like conviction?)
I think Bartley was expressing some really difficult ideas in his book, and I'm guessing that Popper's three worlds model help to clarify a lot of these issues. But unfortunately, I don't have time right now to *test* my own idea by opening up _Objective Knowledge_ and begin rereading the relevant passages.
I'm letting this go for now, but will be happy to take it up in the future at some point. I'll definitely go through the thread again later.
Thanks for sharing your ideas, Elliot.
> When you say "above attitude", you are talking about not being dogmatically logically, right?
I don't know what dogmatically logically is. I meant above within that comment, the most descriptive sentence is the first one:
I think that statement is saying that we can hold theories tentatively (i.e., open to criticism, with respect for fallibilism, with the ability to change our mind).
> I think Bartley was expressing some really difficult ideas in his book
So perhaps you should not be surprised or doubtful about the idea that he made some mistakes.
Although the proposition "Elliot is older than 2 years" is, in principle, open to criticism, that doesn't mean I, you, Matt, or Bartley should expend time and energy trying to criticise it. I venture that none of us expect this proposition to ever become problematic, even though, in principle, it could. Thus, for pragmatic purposes it is "beyond criticism," in the sense that we are probably never going to spend our time criticising it.
Perhaps a distinction should be made between "beyond criticism" and "beyond openness to criticism." A theory which nobody has (or will) ever think of is, in a sense, beyond criticism, even though it isn't beyond openness to criticism.
But as David pointed out above, Bartley criticized the age proposition while writing his book in order to choose between it and other candidates.
Also, in the original quote -- the sentence with "silly" -- Bartley speaks of whether he holds it *open* to criticism. He did use the "open" version of the statement.
I don't understand the point of your objection. You seem to be interpreting Bartley in the least generous way possible, especially given everything else that he wrote in the same book. If I thought for a moment that Bartley believed the things you are attributing to him, then I would disagree with Bartley. However, I instead find myself in disagreement with your interpretation of his comments.
I can think of a number of criticisms of the proposition that "Elliot is over 2 years old" that, on the face of it, are not "silly". There is no "essense" of Elliot. "Elliot" refers to a bunch of things, and these things are different in many ways. If Elliot is viewed as the cells that make up his body, then the material in Elliot's body is constantly being replaced; new cells form and old cells die, so some parts of Elliot's body are less than 2 years old. If Elliot is viewed as a collection of ideas, then there is a constant replacement of ideas due to the process of conjectures and refutations, so there are many ideas in Elliot's brain that have resided there for less than two years. The Elliot of now might even say that he is not the Elliot of two years ago because his ideas are completely different. Moreover, Elliot-at-a-moment-in-time exists timelessly, for, according to our best physical theories, we live in a block universe. The Elliot of now does not blink out when the "now" passes, for time does not flow. It can't be said that these moments are greater or less than two years old, for time does not apply to them. If we say that the totality of Elliot's moments up to now is greater than two years, we must remember that "now" and "moment" are relative to where we are and other observers may see these differently.
I think that trying to criticise the proposition is not only not silly, but it is fun as well!
When deutsch says bartley criticised the sentence in order to select, it does not criticise what Bartley is saying. Bartley was using an example sentence, one that he thought "other people" would regard as plainly silly, not necessarily one that he himself does. He could have just said "it might be the case that we hold a sentence X as beyond criticism for non-logical reasons, because it is silly or seems plainly obvious" I think Matt is right in thinking we do this for purely pragmatic reasons, since we cannot question all our beliefs all at once. What he is not claiming is that the sentence is uncriticisable or not open to criticism. Since openess to criticism is the property of a statement and of a person himself. Openess to rejecting a theory that has a criticism is to do with a person. Which is the fallibilist stance, this stance he is not rejecting.
It's true that Bartley criticised it. I don't think that defeats his argument.
"Since openess to criticism is the property of a statement, and of a person"
Is meant to have a "not" after "and"
> I think Matt is right in thinking we do this for purely pragmatic reasons, since we cannot question all our beliefs all at once.
holding something beyond question means you will NEVER question it. it isn't about questioning too many things at the same time.
saying "we can't question everything at once. i will question X and Y individually, but not at the same time. fair? which would you like to cover first?" is totally different than saying some statements are beyond criticism.
i think Bartley just wants to throw out a bunch of ideas, unanswered, just like the Objectivists who deem stuff "arbitrary" and then don't respond to it.
it's better to just criticize all the bad ideas instead of coming up with excuses to disregard them. disregarding ideas instead of refuting them is irrational.
i agree with you. This passage is unfortunate. And Battley should have thought about what he was saying more. I still feel t
I think Bartley might have struggled a little with the challenge. Just like he struggled with posts challenge. But I do not think it's fair to say that he threw out a load of ideas, what ideas do you think he threw, maybe they were unthought of by him.
i don't know if Bartley refused to think about some ideas, i'm criticizing that he advocated doing so on principle.
I don't think it is on principle. Maybe he thinks such statements that are beyond criticism do exist. I would be inclined to think that they don't myself.
i mean he's saying to do it in general, not doing it himself regarding a particular statement. he's talking about methods and advocating bad ones.
No he is not advocating anything like that as far as I can tell. He is not saying that some ideas should be put behind question. He saying that there are some statements that are beyond criticism, and there is no possible method of attack for them. In this he is wrong. He is not advocating putting statements beyond criticism that are criticisable; he is seeming to say that it would be silly to hold statements up to criticism, that there are not methods of attack for. Deutche's criticism seems to aknowledge that.
The and in the second sentence after the comma, should be because
> It would, for instance, be a bit silly for me to maintain that I held some statements that I might make—e.g., "I am over two years old"—open to criticism and revision.
it's easy to come up with ways to criticize this and anything else (though in some cases it's hard to come up with criticism you don't already have a counter-criticism of). Bartley doesn't know this. He's wrong and views ideas and criticism in the wrong way. he's advocating a method of thinking in which you consider it "silly" to think critically about conventionally-considered-obvious statements that common sense considers silly to debate.
I don't know what you're saying about DD, but DD's position is not only that all ideas can be criticized but further: that critical scrutiny of our best ideas we're the most confident about is the only way to judge them and see they are good. no criticism means no way to evaluate an idea and see value in it. our best ideas, far from having no criticism of them, have millions of false criticisms of them, which is what impresses us so much. if you stop criticizing your best ideas, you will forget how good they are, lose track of their value, and be unable to explain why they are better than alternatives -- all of which are matters of critical thinking which are ruined by shutting down criticism.
the reason it seems silly to criticize "I am over two years old" now is because of how much criticism you already know it's survived, and how little room for interesting, worthwhile *additional* criticism you know of.
if someone criticized "I am over two years old" i would be prepared, offhand, without having to stop and think, to refute his arguments. it's not that it can't be criticized, it's that i already understand many criticisms of it and why they're false. and i don't know other criticisms of it that i don't have a refutation of (if i thought of one it wouldn't seem silly to discuss it. what's silly is rehashing stuff we already know for no reason.)
this situation has nothing to do with inability to criticize an idea, or even simply choosing not to criticize. it's a situation where the idea has been exposed to extensive critical scrutiny already. and the criticisms considered have been so thorough already that it's hard to come up with new ones that are valuable to discuss, so the only new criticisms people can think of offhand are silly.
DDs criticism showed that Bartley had to criticise the statement in order to select. Bartley did not notice that he was doing this. And since he maintained that there are some statements that are beyond criticism, because they are not criticisable. What DD shows is that it was criticisable, and so these kinds of statements are not uncriticisable in principle.
There should be a "put" before beyond.
Dont give me a lecture on CR. We are arguing about what Bartkey was advocating.
you're saying you agree with stuff i wrote so you're mad at me?
feeling lectured and being upset with me is a big deal. slow down. why are you getting upset? you feel like i'm treating you like a child or student? did i say something to do that? explaining ideas isn't an insult.
i don't know what you know and don't know. and i write things of interest to me. and other people read this.
i also never agreed that "We are arguing about what Bartkey was advocating.". i'm writing about topics of my choosing whether they fit your previously-unstated conception of the discussion or not.
his situation has nothing to do with inability to criticize an idea, or even simply choosing not to criticize. it's a situation where the idea has been exposed to extensive critical scrutiny already. and the criticisms considered have been so thorough already that it's hard to come up with new ones that are valuable to discuss, so the only new criticisms people can think of offhand are silly.
Is this Bartley's claim or you own?
I agree with you analysis of the situation, it does not mean Bartley understood it in the same way.
you seem to believe that we have identical conceptions of CR so talking about it is pointless. i consider this not only false but very irrational and destructive to learning. it prevents learning about variations on CR. people routinely approach the same (or similar) ideas in a bit different way and some of the ways have mistakes and some of the ways have extra bits of value. does that make any sense to you?
You can say what you want. But the context is about Bartley. Whether or not you agree.
please don't post unmarked quotes. mark quotes with a ">" before them so they are differentiated from your own text.
> Is this Bartley's claim or you own?
that's my analysis. and i argued Bartley did *not* understand this.
> You can say what you want. But the context is about Bartley. Whether or not you agree.
you seem quite hostile, easily triggered, and ready to get upset over perceived slights, combined with hostile to talking about the problem and trying to resolve the conflict. i tried to talk about our conflict and you just write a very short, dismissive snipe at me that doesn't engage. i think this attitude is a big problem for you for any kind of longterm discussion and learning. it's also unpleasant to deal with for others.
I am not saying we have identical view on CR. You seem to have not engaged with my statement in post 7927, instead you just changed the subject.
I am not upset, or feeling hostile. my statements were true.
> You seem to have not engaged with my statement in post 7927, instead you just changed the subject.
that post contains a clarification of something you meant that i'd asked about. i don't see where it argues with me though, and i didn't have a further clarifying question, so i didn't say anything. i don't know what engagement with it you're expecting.
> Dont give me a lecture on CR.
this was super hostile.
> I am not saying we have identical view on CR.
you could clarify what you *are* saying.
I am saying that I agree with your analysis about the situation. About why it seemed that The statement Bartley chose was beyond criticism. But he himself, from this mistake, concluded that certain things can't be questioned as a matter of fact, rather than as a matter of choice cobention. So if you can't in principle, criticise, something, then you should not keep it open to criticism, because that would be silly, this is different from a fideism or justificationist position. The first because fideism says even though the statements we hold beyond criticism can be criticised, we cannot do anything without commitment to them. And in the latter case, because justificationist claim that some statements have authority and are therefore the framework in which things are criticised. I don't think Bartley is claiming either of these things for such statements, he just thinks they can't be criticised. Not for justificationist or fideist reasons.
Yes, I guess that statement gave a flavour of that. In fact, I was merely exasperated that you wrote so much, when the problem seems only to require an exchange of a few sentences.
being "exasperated" matters. that's a problem. problems need solving.
now that you say something about it, i see, as commonly comes up, an underlying issue. the underlying issue is you think it should be really easy and short to agree about this! i totally disagree!
it strikes me as the kind of complex philosophical issue people often fail to **ever** agree about even if they discuss for days. i find your "it should be easy and short" style attitude really un-Popperian. the truth isn't obvious. even apparently simple stuff is often complicated and tricky, and it's easy for anyone to get it wrong. communicating is hard. culture clash is hard and we have some of that. so lots of patience and tolerance is needed. etc
I don't think it should be easy.
> pointless to hold some particular view as being open to criticism
Bartley doesn't say "pointless" to mean impossible to criticize it (as you read him). The use of "pointless" contradicts your reading. It means he doesn't see the point of criticizing it or keeping it open to criticism, not that one can't. (It's pointless cuz it'd be "silly" to criticize cuz it's so obvious like the example he chose).
> only to require an exchange of a few sentences.
that sounds pretty quick and easy.
It is not a comment on how many exchanges we have had or the difficulty of the subject matter contained . It refers specifically to the two lengthier posts you did in a row, I don't think a lot of the content was relevant to the statement that I made before them.
I never said he used pointless to mean impossible to criticise. he used pointless to suggest that when you cannot do something, in principle, then you should not attempt to do it.
pointless is not a typical or reasonable way to express impossibility. this is contradicting your interpretation. nothing in the quote says it's impossible. only things like silly and pointless. and he says it's a nonlogical issue, but if it was impossible wouldn't that be due to a logical issue?
> It is not a comment on how many exchanges we have had or the difficulty of the subject matter contained . It refers specifically to the two lengthier posts you did in a row, I don't think a lot of the content was relevant to the statement that I made before them.
i don't know which 2 posts you're referring to, or what your specific criticism of any text from them is (e.g. how something is irrelevant to something). i think you're rushing ahead and skipping lots of steps instead of communicating. when you have an issue like that with stuff i write, it indicates we're not on the same page. so we need to slow down. that's the time to quote exact passages and comment on them, not make summary statements about how i'm going off topic as if i was going to agree with you without any details.
> I never said he used pointless to mean impossible to criticise.
this is a strange comment. i never said you said that.
> Bartley doesn't say "pointless" to mean impossible to criticize it (as you read him.
you read him as meaning, overall, impossible to criticize. the parenthetical was meant to apply to fewer preceding words than you read it. i'm pointing out how his wording doesn't fit that.
> i don't know which 2 posts you're referring
7925 and 7926
I accept your criticism of my interpretation, actually. That his suggestion that it is silly to question, or pointless, does not really indicate that he thinks they are not, in principle, criticisable.
thinking replies are irrelevant is a major warning sign that you don't understand them, or the other guy doesn't understand you, or something else like that is going wrong which needs to be addressed.
but your reaction was really different than recognizing and attempting to solve the problem. you seem to have assumed Elliot did it on purpose(?) and been frustrated, rather than thinking there was a mistake (which could easily be by either party, or both) to figure out and talk about.
exasperate means "irritate intensely; infuriate". it's not a mild word. and it's bad to downplay problems rather than engage in problem solving.
> Dont give me a lecture on CR.
this statement is very conventional, typical lashing out. i don't think that's a coincidence. i don't think you're ignorant of your culture and chose this statement for other reasons and it just happened, by pure chance, to match a statement from your culture.
it's also ironic. a basic point of CR is how easy it is to be mistaken, including about CR. a Popperian ought to welcome ideas about CR, not think he already knows it and has nothing more to learn.
and you have a non-CR style reaction to conflicts and problems in discussions. you don't expect them, you aren't used to them, you find them exasperating. you don't recognize what's going on immediately and handle it well. CR attitude would be like: something seems off to you like their reply misses the point, so there's a disagreement or misunderstanding, some mistake somewhere, time to work together to look for it.
None of this seems to be getting resolved. possibly because of a desire to stick to one topic (about Bartley) rather than this other stuff, even though it's important. trying to keep conversations within narrow topical constraints is typical, but i don't think it fits with CR principles at all which allow for open-ended exploration and which talk about how one problem often leads to other problems. one problem (about Bartley) has led to other problems (about how to discuss, how to deal with misunderstandings and disagreements, etc).
CR doesn't do discussion rules where you can only talk about certain things at certain times or in certain venues. It's more fluid than that.
It's easy to be mistaken about what's relevant to a topic. And, more importantly, as the Bartley summary mentioned, what's relevant to a problem. Problem solving crosses topic boundaries routinely.
People often get offended or bored by talking about stuff they regard as basic. But when a conversation isn't working in some way -- when misunderstandings and/or disagreements are happening -- then it's really helpful to establish some points of agreement to work from, and basic stuff is great for that.
Misunderstandings and mistakes are pretty ubiquitous in discussions. Especially when talking about interesting stuff instead of really parochial stuff. It it generally takes a lot of patience to get anywhere. Exasperation isn't patience. That's a major failure to live up to CR ideals. Which is totally understandable and common. The point is it should get attention instead of be rushed past. Finding out about one of your problems is a huge opportunity, don't let it go to waste. Elliot is especially good at highlighting and revealing some issues like this people have because he's more different than them than they're used to dealing with, and assertive and persistent about it, and puts a lot of effort into revealing and pointing out disagreements and misunderstandings rather than what most people do which is to try to gloss over and downplay problems.
Negative emotions are a big concern for resolving discussions and for ongoing learning. They typically result in things like someone dropping a discussion overnight and never wanting to continue, and someone disliking a forum and not wanting to learn there. People avoid stuff they feel bad about because they dislike it.
Feeling a negative emotion is a big danger sign that tells you to apply lots of problem-solving attention urgently. Otherwise there's a huge risk of lasting, destructive negativity. And there's never going to be a better time to solve the problem than when it's fresh in memory. (Unless you think you're too emotional and need a break to cool down. Then waiting is worth the downside. But be careful because people often say this then never come back to it, and often wanting a break to cool down is just an excuse to drop the matter.)
> I accept your criticism of my interpretation, actually. That his suggestion that it is silly to question, or pointless, does not really indicate that he thinks they are not, in principle, criticisable.
this is a classic early concession which sabotages learning. it's a way to shut down discussion by conceding one thing which you still don't understand (having not actually talked it out enough to resolve the various misunderstandings, share all the info you don't know, etc). it's really typical. you're preventing further points from being made and you aren't pursuing the issue past this arbitrary stopping point.
conceding a point should not be the end of the discussion. it's a new problem situation with more to talk about. thinking someone is right doesn't mean you're done learning. find out the details. ask questions. study it more. you aren't done. if you stop at this point in discussions, you will never learn much. high quality knowledge requires being more thorough.
I wasn't shutting down discussion. I went to sleep. I accepted your criticism. I am still open to the discussion.
> I wasn't shutting down discussion. I went to sleep. I accepted your criticism. I am still open to the discussion.
please don't attribute other people's comments to me.
> this is a classic early concession which sabotages learning. it's a way to shut down discussion by conceding one thing which you still don't understand (having not actually talked it out enough to resolve the various misunderstandings, share all the info you don't know, etc). it's really typical. you're preventing further points from being made and you aren't pursuing the issue past this arbitrary stopping point.
I do understand his point. I was conceding not because I wanted to end the discussion, but because I got what he was saying. Early concessions are not suspect in themselves. If you think I have more to learn you could say specifically what it is, instead of making the sceptical claim that, I have not discussed enough and so I don't understand. My willingness to learn is not change by satisfying someone's general desire about how long I should discuss something in order to understand it. Length of time is irrelevant what is relevant is whether the particular problems have been resolved.
How can I share info I don't know? Do you mean to say I have not communicated where I am still not sure about some of Elliot's points? I am not aware of any? If you are I am open to deal with them.
Yes, sorry, curi. I only realised there was another in the discussion, after.
>CR doesn't do discussion rules where you can only talk about certain things at certain times or in certain venues. It's more fluid than that
Of course, but it also requires judgement as to whether what the person is saying is relevant or not. A judgement in the context of the problem situation and what is unproblmetic at the moment and what problematic.
For instance when Elliot said
> you seem to believe that we have identical views on CR and so discussion about it is pointless.
Which was not an accurate report about what I did assume.
What I assumed was is that even though iwe might have differences in our conceptions about CR, those differences are not currently problematic for the discussion we are having and so constitute unproblematic background knowledge. Elliot's posts about CR did not tcriticise this conjecture. Since what he said I found unproblematic and not helpful.
> CR attitude would be like: something seems off to you like their reply misses the point, so there's a disagreement or misunderstanding, some mistake somewhere, time to work together to look for it.
It is okay to set aside some problems in order to deal with the problem currently being discussed.its not helpful to keep going from one problem to another, if that was what CR was about we would never solve any problems. It is okay to put aside and restrict discussion as long as it facilitates solving the problem at hand, which was solved. My mistake was and our disagreement about Bartley's passage was resolved. It is not okay to do it, just because it is uncomfortable or etc.
Restriction is too coarse a word. I just mean to put aside as currently unproblematic. I did not just ignore him, I read through it and conjectured that it was unproblematic and could be put aside. My communication of it was outright bad, I admit.
>It's easy to be mistaken about what's relevant to a topic.
Yes, I agree. But this applies to everything and I was not denying it. It does not follow that I was in fact mistaken about it being irrelevant.
regarding early concession issue:
what about post mortem? any thoughts on what mistakes you made (what went wrong) and how to improve in the future?
do you think this is an isolated error with nothing to learn that applies elsewhere? i'd be initially skeptical of that.
you also haven't taken steps to check your understanding like writing your new, revised position in your own words, how you see it, and asking if i agree with it. (using different words is so it relates to the concepts in your head, whereas if you repeated the words i used it wouldn't reveal much about your conception of things and how it differs from mine. we should expect it to differ some even if we're both correct since there's substantial room for differing ways to conceive of the matter that aren't wrong.).
if you don't think these kinds of steps are worthwhile (best use of time/effort), why? prima facie i'd think initiating a discussion of this stuff, and writing a bunch of comments in it, indicates you think some of this stuff is pretty important and worthy of time/effort. so i find it a bit strange then cut things off abruptly and not do things like spend some time searching for what new problems this solution could lead to. solutions to worthwhile problems often lead to new problems. and the journey to get to the solution also often leads to new problems.
> Since what he said I found unproblematic and not helpful.
"not helpful" strikes me as a problem.
apparently i thought it was relevant, and you didn't. i think that indicates some kind of conflict, disagreement, misunderstand or problem there. it's a clue. it could be a clue to a disagreement about CR, or a disagreement about the current topic, or some other possibilities.
maybe you figured it was a clue to me misunderstanding something about your knowledge that wasn't worth talking about. could be. you could have run that view by me first instead of leaving me unaware of it. if you knew what the clue meant, and i didn't, it'd be better to tell me instead of be silent and leave me working on it separately after you already have a solution you're confident in.
> it also requires judgement as to whether what the person is saying is relevant or not.
similar to above, i think it's good to state those judgements since the other person apparently thought it was relevant, so there's some kind of disagreement or misunderstanding or conflict or problem there.
> It is okay to set aside some problems in order to deal with the problem currently being discussed.its not helpful to keep going from one problem to another, if that was what CR was about we would never solve any problems.
which problems to solve first requires some thought. sometimes the order to do things is tricky. when you want to set one aside, you should mention it. sometimes the other person will disagree with your thinking on the matter.
if someone brought a problem up, that's prima facie evidence they think it's good to discuss now. so if you want to set it aside, there's a decent chance at a disagreement there. if you give a brief reason to set it aside then you might convince them right away, but also might not.
i'm not very clear on which specific passages you consider irrelevant or why. to me that indicates maybe you didn't understand why i wrote something; you oculd have missed the point. but there's a variety of other explanations possible. i can't really say cuz of the lack of details.
> I wasn't shutting down discussion. I went to sleep. I accepted your criticism. I am still open to the discussion.
when do you expect to continue? you implied the only stopper was you went to sleep. that was 36 hours ago and you still haven't proceeded to reply to the stuff "A Popperian" wrote. nor have you replied to e.g. "Negative emotions are a big concern for resolving discussions and for ongoing learning." nor to curi's comment from a day ago (#7988).
> when do you expect to continue? you implied the only stopper was you went to sleep. that was 36 hours ago and you still haven't proceeded to reply to the stuff "A Popperian" wrote. nor have you replied to e.g. "Negative emotions are a big concern for resolving discussions and for ongoing learning." nor to curi's comment from a day ago (#7988).
why are people afraid to say "i don't want to discuss this anymore" if that is the truth? is it a lie when they say "i went to sleep" or is it a way to "keep options open"? maybe they are unsure if they will be interested the next day. maybe they don't want or don't know how to make a decision. maybe something happened that changed their mind. maybe this guy has read what you said about him in the FI list and was insulted.
i've been so deceived by people who say stuff like this. for instance "i was writing a long reply but i lost it, but i will get back to this discussion asap!" or "i am literally running out of the door now, but i will reply to you soon i can."
people are very incompetent about asserting themselves.
and the normal thing people do to get along with others socially is everyone tries to hide conflict, rather than speak openly or directly about problems or disagreements.
there's a lot of pressure in our culture not to assert yourself. just lie that you agree to avoid open conflict, instead of asserting yourself. asserting yourself is rude and considered basically starting a fight since disagreements aren't allowed. conflicts are considered hostile and have to be gotten rid of, so mostly people avoid raising them, and if one comes up then people very quickly come up with a (fake) solution and agree to it in order to pretend there's no longer a conflict.
people ruin most problem solving by refusing to state problems in the first place, and by quickly creating fake solutions to hide the problems when a problem does get raised.
and yeah you see people often making excuses for why they didn't already reply. why? to minimize conflict. to say there is no conflict between them and the request/desire that they reply.
but it's a lie and they don't follow up. blatant lying is typical in our culture. people prefer it over overt conflict. and you generally aren't supposed to point it out.
another thing is people are driven by their emotions way more than they realize or admit. and when they do things like go to sleep, they stop being emotionally caught up in a discussion. and when they go do some other activity they get more emotionally invested in it instead.
this differs from me. i have an ongoing intellectual interest in these topics that doesn't depend on my current mood, so i'll discuss stuff if someone replies a week or a year later. but emotional interests in topics typically don't last that long.
also if someone says they don't want to discuss, in the context of paths forward and Popper and BoI and stuff, it's basically and open admission of irrationality. it's much more typical for people to be dishonest liars about their irrationality than to admit it and speak in a reasonable way about it. (even people who appear to sometimes admit their irrationality and speak in a reasonable way about it -- a few FI regulars do this -- are generally actually being deceptive. they found a way to write statements which have that appearance, but it's just a facade.)