ON POPPER’S POSITION VS ACTION AND INSTRUMENTATION
(reposted from cr page for archiving)
All we can say is x set of recipes have y properties in common, and all known recipes have z properties in common, and therefore we will likely find new recipes that share z properties.
Logic is one of the instruments we use to construct recipes. Logic is a technology. Just as are the narrative, numbers, arithmetic, math, physics, and cooperation.
These are all instrumental technologies or we would not need them and could perform the same operations without them.
Science, as in the ‘method’ of science, is a recipe for employing those instruments ‘technologies’. Science is a technology. It is external to our intuitions, and we must use it like any other technology, in order to extend our sense, perception, memory, calculation, and planning.
So I simply view ‘fuzzy language’ as what it is. And statements reducible to operational language as the only representation of scientific discourse.
Theory means nothing different from fantasy without recording, instrument, operations, repetition, and falsification. A theory is a fantasy, a bit of imagination, and the recipes that survive are what remains of that fantasy once all human cognitive bias and limitation is laundered by our ‘technologies’.
Recipes are unit of commensurability against which we can calculate differences, to further extend and refine our imaginary fantasies.
Just as we test each individual action in a recipe against objective reality, we test each new fantasy against the accumulated properties stated in our recipes.
From those tests of fantasy against our accumulated recipes, we observe in ourselves changes in our own instruments of logic. Extensions of our perception, memory, calculation – knowledge – is the collection of general instruments that apply in smaller numbers, to increasingly large categories of problems. (This is the reason Flynn suspects, for the Flynn effect as well as our tendency to improve upon tests.)
It is these general principles (like the scientific method) that we can state are ‘knowledge’ in the sense of ‘knowledge of what’ versus ‘knowledge of how’ (See Gifts of Athena). Recipes are knowledge of ‘what’. General principles of how the universe functions are knowledge of ‘how’. Popper failed to make the distinction of dividing the problem into classes and instrumentation.
And he did so because, as I have stated, he was overly fascinated with words, and under-fascinated with actions. And while I can only hypothesize why he is, like many of his peers, pseudo-scientifically fascinated with words, rather than scientifically fascinated with actions, the fact remains, that he was. And he, like Mises and Hayek and their followers, failed to produce a theory of the social sciences.
CR is the best moral prescription for knowledge because it logically forbids the use of science to make claims of certainty sufficient to deprive people of voluntary choice.
Popper justified skepticism and prohibited involuntary transfer by way of scientific argument. A necessary idea for his time. In science, he prohibited a return to mysticism by reliance on science equal to faith in god.
But that is his achievement. He was the intellectual linebacker of the 20th century. He denied the opposition the field.
But prohibition was not in itself an answer.
Instrumentalism is necessary. Calculation is necessary. Reduction of the imperceptible to analogy to experience is necessary. Morality consists of the prevention of thefts and discounts. Actions that produce predictable outcomes, not states of imagination.
That is the answer.