Study philosophy at a university

Faculty of Philosophy

I studied philosophy at University of Bucharest.

By studying philosophy there, I discovered its method, which consists in seeing the unity in diversity. Philosophers used it from antiquity to modernity. It was my most important discovery.

– What brings you to us?, one of the professors asked me during the Masters interview.

The problem of induction, I answered.

But I did not solve that problem as a student, in my twenties; I will solve it later.

By reversing Plato’s position like Edmund Gettier, what you may discover is an asymmetry: What you say may correspond to facts without having knowledge, never the reverse.[i]

The asymmetry that made me robust to a class of confusions, I found it in epistemology: There is correspondence to facts without knowledge, never the reverse.[ii]

The Romanian professor and philosopher Ilie Pârvu does not philosophize without a method; on the contrary –and his method is to see the unity in diversity. And that is wisdom.[iii] [iv]

Consider the scientific method as a theme; to make variations on it, apply it.

To solve the problem of induction: If you believe that “All swans are white,” and see a black swan, you will discover the truth by falsification: “Not all swans are white.”[v] And, once your belief is falsified, it will always be falsified.[vi]

To generalize and to generalize by falsification is not the same thing.[vii]

The truths that we discover by falsification[viii] are absolute: Just as not all swans are white, given that black swans do exist,[ix] not all planets orbit the Sun in the same direction as the Sun’s rotation, given that retrograde planets do exist.[x]

“Only the moon rotates around the Earth.” That is a truth that we discovered by falsification and is an absolute truth.[xi]

To test a unifying principle in physics, you must look not only at the data that do not reject it, but also at data that do –proceed, like a Popperian, by falsification.

Epistemology and cognitive neuroscience are, sometimes, one: To subtract what is false and add what is true, your frontal lobes need to be intact.[xii]

Another thing: To solve the mind-body problem by falsification, assume that no brain is not without use and see if those who damage it, damage the mind also.[xiii]

From antiquity to modernity, philosophers use the same method: They discover the unity in diversity.[xiv]

How to falsify Immanuel Kant, for whom all causes have effects? By showing that all future causes have no past effects.[xv]

I am a liar, but I do not lie all the time, such as now, when I just said that I was a liar.[xvi]

“All men are liars,” as David, the king of Israel, said. He did not lie when he said that; to lie and to lie all the time is not the same thing.[xvii]

Rephrasing it: To solve the liar’s paradox, listen to my words:

– I am a liar, I, the liar, said. Given that it is the truth, there is no contradiction: I do not lie all the time.[xviii]

Post scriptum: A book that was very useful to me, as a student, is Victor Brochard’s Les sceptiques grecs. I have a commentary to make here: To either trust or distrust a scientific dogma, you must first test it.

Addition: Can we solve the problem of induction without Sir Karl Popper, that is, without falsification?

– Let us assume that we live in a world in which a swan cannot be different than white and we know it. If we see some swans, some white swans, we can generalize that all swans are white.

Acknowledgments: My professors.

[i] It was my first lesson in epistemology.

[ii] No Plato without Edmund Gettier.

[iii] When knowledge progresses: To turn chaos into order, see the unity in diversity, as Ilie Pârvu did in the case of infinity.

[iv] Another thing that I learned from Ilie Pârvu is to meet other philosophers; Pârvu met Sir Karl Popper.

[v] For Nassim Taleb, Sir Karl Popper’s falsification is a method to find the truth in science.

[vi] Use Sir Karl Popper’s falsification to solve the problem of induction.

[vii] Once the statement that “All swans are white.” is falsified, it will always be falsified.

Avoid other generalizations when knowledge is absent and the truth cannot be inferred, as Sextus Empiricus did.

[viii] As Nassim Taleb inspired me.

[ix] Nassim Taleb.

[x] Masters interview.

[xi] Once the scientific theory that “All celestial bodies rotate around the Earth.” is falsified, it will always be falsified.

For Galileo Galilei, not all celestial bodies rotate around the Earth: the moons of Jupiter; Galilei was the one who falsified it. (Stephen Hawking)

[xii] That is what I have shown when I studied philosophy.

[xiii] By either lobotomies as the ones performed by António Edgar Moniz (Daniel Gilbert) or work accidents, like in the case of Phineas Gage (Antonio Damasio), as I discovered, when I was a student.

[xiv] Their predecessor, the oldest one, is the Jewish sage and king Solomon.

You may discover an asymmetry by reading Solomon: You can discover the unity in diversity without making variations on the same theme, never the reverse.

[xv] In other words, we reverse the arrow of time.

[xvi] That is my solution to what modern logicians call the liar’s paradox.

[xvii] And that is the solution to what we the moderns call the liar’s paradox.

[xviii] Another absolute truth.

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Truths and Practical Truths

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