Re: Bayesian epistemology versus Geddesian epistemology

From: Thomas Buckner (
Date: Sun May 29 2005 - 12:33:08 MDT

--- "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>
> _Surely You're Joking,
> Mr. Feynman_ is philosophy of
> science. The moral is not that philosophy of
> science is useless, but that it
> is extremely difficult to get good philosophy
> of science out of someone who
> thinks of himself as primarily a professional
> philosopher. I do not call it
> impossible. In all the ages of humankind, I
> expect it has been done at least
> once. It only becomes hopeless if you have no
> knowledge of science and no
> feel for mathematics and trust your own
> intuitions.
Great book, props to Feynman.

> > I agree that there is of course much yet to
> be done and that Bayes does not in
> > itself present a complete solution, but I
> very much doubt that you'll
> > find any further help in the literature of
> philosophy.
> What is "A Technical Explanation of Technical
> Explanation" if not philosophy
> of science?

Aristotle, of course, wedded philosophy to
science; people like Bacon, Descartes and Bayes
moved science so far forward that they can be
considered completely separate. Once an approach
to knowledge is generally known, it doesn't need
to be discovered again; so we now are at a point
where it can seem as though philosophy has
nothing left to offer science.
As you say, "It only becomes hopeless if you have
no knowledge of science and no feel for
mathematics" because every advance in the method
the can easily be done without advanced
experimental and mathematical methods has already
been done. Aristotle, Bacon, Descartes, Newton,
Bayes, Mendel, and so on, already picked the
low-hanging fruit.
As for more recent developments, Kevin Kelly
(founder of Wired) has a good website:

and more specifically a semi-blog called The
"Recent Innovations in the Method

What would you say are the innovations in the
scientific method of the last 50 years? What has
changed the nature of science in practice in your
lifetime? I am primarily interested in
innovations in the process of science itself,
rather than the discoveries made by that process.
I asked this question to some prominent
scientists and science observers in astrophysics,
biology, evolutionary theory, computer science,
psychology, and science fiction. Those who
responded include the following:
(JB) John Barrow, (GB) Gordon Bell, (GtB) Gerrit
Breoekstra, (RD) Richard Dawkins, (NE) Niles
Eldredge, (TE) Terry Erwin, (FD) Freeman Dyson,
(GD) George Dyson, (JG) Jim Gray, (DH) David
Hillis, (NH) Nick Humphrey, (SK) Stuart Kaufman,
(CL) Chris Langton, (SP) Steven Pinker, (LS) Lee
Smolin, (BS) Bruce Sterling.
Iíve combined and edited their ideas. Here are
what some thinkers believe are the major
innovations in the process of science in the last
50 years."

Their answers would make this post awfully long,
so follow the link if you want to read more. It's
worth a scan.

Tom Buckner

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