Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Crisis+Quotation: Google, Corbyn, Russia-gate, "Conservatism", Education, Free Speech - Theories

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Quotation (about Theories)
3. Crisis Files

This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment I have several problems with my computer, my modem, the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible, and my health.

It may be that I'll be off for a few weeks, that is, I will publish nothing or little for a few weeks. I don't know yet, but I will keep you informed in Nederlog.

And what I will do for the moment - since I am still looking at 35 sites every morning - is to list the items I selected, but without any of my comments. Today I selected six items, and they are below and link to the originals, but on the moment I have no comments, basically because that takes too much work on the moment.

2. Quotation

As I have said above, I am writing less these weeks for various reasons. The following is a quotation from the lemma "Theory" in my Philosophical Dictionary, not to settle the matter, but to draw your attention to the fact that there is a whole lot of philosophy of science that is relevant to any theorizing anyone does:
Theory: Set of statements that is supposed to explain a set of statements of supposed observable fact. To be minimally adequate, the theory must be consistent and deductively entail what it is supposed to explain.

There are, of course, other possible stipulative definitions of what a theory is, but normally these comprise that a theory is a set of statements.

The criterion of minimal adequacy is added to dismiss inconsistent theories and non-deductive theories. The motivations are as follows.

That inconsistency is an undesirable property for a theory is based on the fact that in standard logic anything whatsoever follows from an inconsistent set of statements.

That non-deductiveness is an undesirable property for a theory is based on the fact that in standard logic a theory that is supposed to explain whatever it explains in a non-deductive manner does not permit a deductive step of what a theory is to what it is supposed to explain, nor indeed a deductive step to the falsehood of the theory if it has a false prediction.

The consistency requirement removes all manner of theories that deductively entail consequences known to be false, and the deductiveness criterion removes all manner of stories that may be suggestive but don't really explain deductively.

The relations between a theory, its predictions, and the observations it explains can be sketched as follows:


Here explanation is a deduction from a theory, as prediction is, while expectation is a deduction from a prediction, and test a deduction about a prediction based on an observation. Abduction and induction are principles of inference.   

It should be noted also, since this is often missed, that any testable theory goes beyond the known facts, for if it does not it cannot be tested.

The six relations of inference indicated by arrows in the above picture may be somewhat more fully explained as follows:

An abduction is the inference of a Theory to account for a (presumed) Observation. This inference is normally not deductively valid, and indeed a theory cannot be tested independently if it does not deductively imply statements that go beyond the known evidence.  A Theory is a set of statements that has been inferred to account for (a) presumed observation(s) and has been assigned some probability or degree of belief (if only tentatively, in some cases).

An explanation is the inference of a (presumed) observation from a theory. This inference must be deductively valid to be a proper explanation. The theory that is presumed may be any theory one has, and as just indicated good testable theories always go beyond the known evidence (and therefore never can be deduced from the evidence).

A prediction is the inference of a presumed statement of fact from a Theory. This presumed statement of fact is called Prediction (capital P), and a proper Prediction is not known to correspond to observational fact when it is made. It should follow deductively from a Theory.

An induction is the inference of a new probability or degree of belief for a Theory when a new Observation verifies or falsifies an earlier Prediction. Inductions follow deductively from the fact that a new Observation that verifies or falsifies an earlier Prediction has been made together with the rules and assumptions of probability theory.

An expectation is the inference of a presumed Observation from a Prediction. The presumed Observation should not have been made or refuted when expected, and the degree of its expectation depends on the probability of or degree of belief in the Theory that allowed the Prediction.

A test is the inference that a Prediction is true or false from the fact that the expectation has been found to be true or false by observation.

Incidentally: This is my theory about what theories are. You are quite free to completely disagree, but you should realize that if you do, disagreements are pretty senseless unless informed by a decent amount of philosophy of science.

The best book I know about that subject is not one book but four thick ones, or some twenty thinner ones:
Wolfgang Stegmüller: Probleme und Resultaten der analytischen und Wissenschaftsphilosophie. These were published between 1973 and 1986, and I do not know any other series of books like them. They are quite clear (for intelligent people) and very well done.

Unfortunately, and contrary to what I have heard quite a few times, namely when it was said there is an English translation, these volumes seem to require German.

3. Crisis Files

I have been writing on the crisis since September 1, 2008 (Dutch) and with considerably more attention since June 10, 2013 (English).

If you check out the
crisis index you will find that I wrote in over eight years nearly 1600 files, that nearly all consisted of a reference to one or more articles that were partially quoted and mostly commented.

I will continue with that, simply because I think the crisis is a very important social, political and economical event, but meanwhile I have turned 67 and need a little rest,
so what I'll be doing the coming weeks (at least), is selecting 3 to 6 files from the 35
sites I consult every morning to see what's happening in the world of politics and econonomics, and present them, but now without my comments.

Here is today's selection:
1. Be Careful Celebrating Google’s New Ad Blocker. Here’s What’s
     Really Going On.

2. Jeremy Corbyn Calls for Theresa May to Resign Over Police
     Cuts (Video)
3. Democrats Chase Red Herring of Russia-gate
4. Stop Legitimizing 'Conservatism': It's Not an Ideology – It's a
     Goddamn Death Machine
5. The Demolition of American Education
6. How Trump's War on Free Speech Threatens the Republic
These are all well worth reading.

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