DiaBlogue: Epistemology of Empirical Essentialism, Take Deux

Though it did take me four blog posts:

* Brothers, Can Youse Paradigm?

I feel pretty good about the resulting epistemology, which Alan apparently agrees with. I might summarize it here as:

I. Belief in truth is inherently [WAS: absolutely] good
II. Knowledge is contextually accurate, paradigmatically-justified belief.
III. More accurate knowledge enables more accurate predictions
IV. Knowledge approaches truth via honest, collaborative inquiry amongst competing alternatives

Note that I’ve added the term “absolute” to (I), reflecting our shared belief that Truth is “inherently” good, not contingent on some other good. I’ve also added “competing alternatives” to (IV) to address the “groupthink” problem. I trust these emendations meet with Alan’s approval.

Now that we’ve poured our foundation, we need to discuss what exactly we should build upon it. [Read more] for some possible directions.

I’ve always been fond of epistemologies, because you can do so many wonderful things with them. In particular, now that Alan have agreed that the Epistemology of Empirical Essentialism (“E3”, for short) is both true and valid, we can use it to:
* make meaningful assertions about what is and is not true
* make meaningful assertions about what can and can not, or is and is not, known
* critique each others assertions and reach a well-defined consensus about their accuracy

I’m sure Alan has a long list of assertions I’ve made (or refused to make 🙂 that he’d like to test according to these standards. However, what is even more intriguing to me is that because of the way this particular epistemology is constructed, it also provides a fairly strong constraint on both ontology and ethics. In particular:

A. Ontologically, it explicitly assumes the existence of:

* Belief
* Truth
* Absolutes
* Good
* Knowledge
* Paradigms
* Accuracy
* Predictions
* Alternatives
* Competition

B. Ethically, it implicitly asserts virtues related to:

* Character (“honesty”)
* Community (“collaborative”)
* Reality (“inquiry”)

To Alan’s earlier point, these are not themselves frameworks, but they do provide constraints, such that:

* any framework which doesn’t support these concepts and virtues is, at best, incomplete
* any framework which conflicts with them is a priori invalid

So, the questions for Alan are:

1. Do you agree that the above formulation of our mutual epistemology is a valid and reliable (not perfect, but near-optimal) method of characterizing truth?.
2. Do you accept the validity of the ontological and ethical inferences I’ve drawn from that epistemology?
3. What are the specific assertions, ontologies, and/or ethics that you would like to examine next?

The ball (bail? bailiff?) is in your court…