Feedback/Notes

 

Latest Activity

Mrs.B commented on Loren Miller's group Quote Of The Day
"Odd, that."
2 hours ago
Randall Smith commented on Randall Smith's group Just sports stuff.
"Sold my 1950's baseball card collection  the other day--all 3000+ cards. A dealer bought…"
8 hours ago
Loren Miller commented on Loren Miller's group Quote Of The Day
"I see Atheists are fighting and killing each other again, over who doesn't believe in any God…"
8 hours ago
Chris B commented on Sydni Moser's group Green Gardening
"It's still cool for the time of year, but our roof garden got a good soak from a week of rain.…"
15 hours ago
Stephen Brodie commented on Sydni Moser's group Coffee Break
"You can't beat live music, and to listen to an orchestra is wonderful."
19 hours ago
Mrs.B commented on Sydni Moser's group Coffee Break
"You DEMAND we open our border???!!! How about you get your case numbers down to zero first, &…"
19 hours ago
Stephen Brodie commented on Randall Smith's group Just sports stuff.
"Yes Randall Chelsea have reached both the national FA Cup final and the best is they have…"
23 hours ago
Mrs.B commented on Sydni Moser's group Coffee Break
"Oh you must have had a great time Ian!!! I LOVE Rhapsody In Blue!!!"
23 hours ago
Ian Mason commented on Sydni Moser's group AGING ATHEISTS
"This evening the first symphony orchestra concert for months. A pleasant pot pourri of short pieces…"
23 hours ago
Ian Mason commented on Sydni Moser's group Coffee Break
"This evening the first symphony orchestra concert for months. A pleasant pot pourri of short pieces…"
23 hours ago
Mrs.B commented on Loren Miller's group Quote Of The Day
"Yes, right on point."
yesterday
Mrs.B commented on Sydni Moser's group Green Gardening
"Rick has a few things started for the greenhouse, but it's not usually safe here until the end…"
yesterday
Mrs.B commented on Sydni Moser's group Coffee Break
"Well SOMEBODY needs to have some fun!"
yesterday
Mrs.B commented on Stephen Brodie's group Secularism in the UK and Europe.and the connection between much of the media and the Tory establishment. NEWS
"So many unnecessary terms."
yesterday
Randall Smith commented on Sydni Moser's group Green Gardening
"Despite the abnormally chilly temps we've been having, the garden is looking good. Asparagus…"
yesterday
Randall Smith commented on Randall Smith's group Just sports stuff.
"Chelsea in the finals! Go team go!"
yesterday
Loren Miller commented on Loren Miller's group Quote Of The Day
"Tracie says it SO VERY WELL."
yesterday
Stephen Brodie commented on Sydni Moser's group Coffee Break
"My Nieces lovely dog Comet went to one of his park buddies birthday party and had a smashing time.…"
yesterday
Chris B commented on Stephen Brodie's group Secularism in the UK and Europe.and the connection between much of the media and the Tory establishment. NEWS
"The N and the P are clear, but I don't know who are called the Y."
yesterday
Joan Denoo commented on Doone's group Humans of Earth News
"Sounds like the British voted in a bad leader as did we! I hope they find a new leader with skills…"
yesterday

We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

I had never heard of the term "reflective equilibrium", although I'm pretty sure that all intelligent human beings have engaged in it at least at some point in their lives. It seems to me that it is healthy exercise.

Massimo Pigliucci introduces reflective equilibrium in his blog "Rationally Speaking":

 

Reflective equilibrium (5 minute philosopher)

by Massimo Pigliucci

Ever wondered how to think like a philosopher? Today we are going to take a look at one of the fundamental tools of the philosophical toolbox, something called reflective equilibrium.

Let’s suppose that you believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. Suppose you also think morality comes from God. And further suppose that you maintain that it is immoral to kill children if they curse their parents. Then you read the following in Exodus 21:17: “He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.”

Now, if you are concerned about the coherence of your beliefs, you have several moves at your disposal. You could admit that the Bible is not infallible, and that God may not have meant what Exodus attributes to Him. Or, you could abandon the idea that morality comes from God. Lastly, you could agree that yes, after all it is all right to kill children who disrespect their elders. In considering any of these options, and actually adjusting your set of beliefs about morality, divinity and children’s behavior, you have engaged in an exercise of “reflective equilibrium.”

The idea of reflective equilibrium was introduced by Nelson Goodman in his book “Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.” Goodman was not concerned with morality, but with the validity of one’s thinking. Goodman’s suggestion was that we justify our rules of reasoning based on how those rules fare when confronted with a range of instances of what we believe are correct inferences. If an inferential rule yields unacceptable results, we may decided to discard that rule no matter how it may have seemed like a good idea at the start.

The most famous application of the principle of reflective equilibrium is found in John Rawls’ highly influential “A Theory of Justice.” Rawls proposed to apply Goodman’s approach to adjusting our sometimes conflicting moral beliefs, just as in the hypothetical case of the Bible and disrespectful children mentioned before. Whether or not one agrees with the outcome of Rawls’ particular analysis of justice as fairness, the reflective equilibrium approach should be compelling to anyone seriously interested in, well, reflecting on her own beliefs.

Turns out that a similar approach had been used in philosophy of science by Pierre Duhem as a way to debunk the commonplace idea that science is about direct empirical testing of theories. Duhem, in a book published in 1908 (La Théorie Physique), pointed out that if there is a disagreement between a theory and the empirical evidence one cannot automatically reject the theory, because scientific theories are complex statements that include many assumptions and sub-theories. The existence of a disagreement between theory and evidence tells us that something is wrong, but not what. It could be that the core theory — say, the Copernican system — ought to be rejected. But it could also be that some adjustment to the theory would resolve the discrepancy (for example, Kepler’s modification of the original Copernicanism to account for the fact that the planets go around following elliptical, not circular orbits). Indeed, it may even be the case that the data is wrong, because of a malfunction of the instrumentation, or an error of interpretation.
Read the rest here. (or just watch the video).

Views: 114

Replies to This Discussion

This is a good argument "Now, if you are concerned about the coherence of your beliefs, you have several moves at your disposal. You could admit that the Bible is not infallible, and that God may not have meant what Exodus attributes to Him. Or, you could abandon the idea that morality comes from God. Lastly, you could agree that yes, after all it is all right to kill children who disrespect their elders. In considering any of these options, and actually adjusting your set of beliefs about morality, divinity and children’s behavior, you have engaged in an exercise of “reflective equilibrium.”"

That's the paragraph that attracted mt to his article.

I have met him in one of the NYC "Dinner and Philosophy" evening at a Moroccan restaurant. It was fun, in a nerdy way, of course. When I'm done with the crutches, I'll attend another of those evenings.

RSS

© 2021   Created by Atheist Universe.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service