Popper on the relationship between morality and epistemology

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Rami Rustom

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Jul 1, 2013, 2:29:54 AM7/1/13
to fallible-ideas, BoI Infinity
http://www.curi.us/1351-popper-on-the-relationship-between-morality-and

>
> Popper on the relationship between morality and epistemology
>
>> Every rational discussion, that is, every discussion devoted to the search for truth, is based on principles, which in actual fact are ethical principles. I should like to share three of them.
>>
>> 1 The principle of fallibility. Perhaps I am wrong and perhaps you are right; but, of course, we may both be wrong.
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>> 2 The principle of rational discussion. We need to test critically and, of course, as impersonally as possible the various (criticizable) theories that are in dispute.
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>> 3 The principle of approximation to truth. We can nearly always come closer to the truth with the help of such critical discussions; and we can nearly always improve our understanding, even in cases where we do not reach agreement.
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>> It is remarkable that these principles are epistemological and, at the same time, also ethical principles. For they imply, among other things, toleration: if I can learn from you, and if I want to learn, then in the interest of truth I have not only to tolerate you but also to recognize you as a potential equal; the potential unity of man and the potential equality of all humans are prerequisites for our willingness to discuss matters rationally. Of further importance is the principle that we can learn from a discussion, even when it does not lead to agreement. For a rational discussion can help to shed light upon some of our errors.
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>> All this shows that ethical principles form the basis of science. The most important of all such ethical principles is the principle that objective truth is the fundamental regulative idea of all rational discussion. Further ethical principles embody our commitment to the search for truth and the idea of approximation to truth; and the importance of intellectual integrity and of fallibility, which lead us to a self-critical attitude and to toleration. It is also very important that we can learn in the field of ethics.
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> Karl Popper, The World of Parmenides, chapt 2, section 6, paragraph 5
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> See also chapt 2 Addendum 2 titled: Some Principles for a New Professional Ethics Based on Xenophanes' Theory of Truth

[end quote]

Popper said something that Elliot calls anti-Popperian: "Every
rational discussion, that is, every discussion devoted to the search
for truth, is *based on* principles, which in actual fact are ethical
principles." [asterisks by me]

Here's another one: "All this shows that ethical principles form the
*basis of* science." [asterisks by me]


So how could he have said it without that error? Hows this?

- Every rational discussion, that is, every discussion devoted to the
search for truth, is [fallibly consistent with] principles, which in
actual fact are ethical principles. [what's the point of qualifying
"fact" with "actual"?]

- All this shows that science should be fallibly consistent with
ethical principles.

-- Rami Rustom
http://ramirustom.blogspot.com

Elliot Temple

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Jul 2, 2013, 6:54:08 PM7/2/13
to BoI, fallible-ideas
You're losing content when you make this change.

a better substitution would be like "really important to". ethical principles are really important to science. science is fucked without them.

that is closer to the original meaning. you dropped that aspect of the ideas.

but that's not the only thing dropped.

there are logical reasons why ethical principles are *needed* to do science. without them it won't work. you lost that meaning too.

the problem with saying they are the basis is there are all sorts of things that are important to science. and further you can learn about these ethical principles via science too, there's a two-way relationship going on. you don't have to start by learning the ethics then learn about science necessarily. to the extent some ethical principles are a necessary part of science, u can learn about them while learning science, u don't have to go learn ethics as a separate field first.

-- Elliot Temple
http://beginningofinfinity.com/




Rami Rustom

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Oct 30, 2014, 6:55:38 PM10/30/14
to beginning-...@googlegroups.com, fallible-ideas
so in changing popper’s IDEA, i did the following…

- removed some bad ideas from the IDEA

(thus making my version *better with respect to the bad ideas i removed*.)


- removed some good ideas from the IDEA

(thus making my version *worse with respect to the good ideas i removed*.)


question: is my version better or worse than Popper’s version, all things considered? my guess is that my version is worse than Popper's.


i recall doing this similar kind of thinking mistake before. i recall learning that japanese culture has something in it better than american culture (i don’t recall what it was) and then I asked the question: so japanese culture is better than american culture?

this is a bad question because the something was only one “metric” and I asked about the culture overall valuation. asking about which of the 2 cultures is better overall needs way more context than just the one “metric”.

— Rami
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