2. Quotation (about Theories)
3. Crisis Files
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, June 6, 2017.
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will
continue with it, but on the moment
I have several problems with my computer, my modem, the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible, and my health.
It may be that I'll be off for a few weeks, that is, I will
publish nothing or little for a few weeks. I don't know yet,
but I will keep you informed in Nederlog.
what I will do for the moment - since I am still looking at 35
sites every morning - is to list the items I selected,
but without any of my
comments. Today I selected six items, and they are below
and link to the originals, but on the moment I have no comments,
basically because that takes too much work on the moment.
As I have said above, I am writing less these weeks for various
reasons. The following is a quotation from the lemma "Theory" in my
Philosophical Dictionary, not to settle the matter, but to draw your
attention to the fact that there is a whole lot of philosophy of
science that is relevant to any theorizing anyone does:
Theory: Set of statements that
is supposed to explain
a set of statements of supposed observable fact. To be
the theory must be consistent and
entail what it is supposed to explain.
There are, of course, other possible
stipulative definitions of what a theory is, but normally these
comprise that a theory is a set of statements.
The criterion of minimal adequacy is
added to dismiss inconsistent theories and non-deductive theories. The
motivations are as follows.
That inconsistency is an undesirable
property for a theory is based on the fact that in standard logic
anything whatsoever follows from an inconsistent set of statements.
That non-deductiveness is an undesirable
property for a theory is based on the fact that in standard logic a
theory that is supposed to explain whatever it explains in a
non-deductive manner does not permit a deductive step of what a theory
is to what it is supposed to explain, nor indeed a deductive step to
the falsehood of the theory if it has a false prediction.
The consistency requirement removes all
manner of theories that deductively
entail consequences known to be false, and the
deductiveness criterion removes all manner of stories that may be
suggestive but don't really explain deductively.
The relations between a theory, its predictions,
and the observations it explains can be sketched as follows:
is a deduction
from a theory, as prediction is, while expectation is a deduction from
and test a deduction about a prediction based on an observation. Abduction and induction are
principles of inference.
It should be noted also, since this is
often missed, that any testable theory goes beyond the known facts,
for if it does not it cannot be tested.
The six relations of inference
indicated by arrows in the above picture may be somewhat more fully
explained as follows:
This is my theory about what theories are. You are quite free to
completely disagree, but you should realize that if you do, disagreements are
pretty senseless unless informed by a decent amount of philosophy of
An abduction is
the inference of a Theory to account for a (presumed) Observation. This
inference is normally not deductively valid, and indeed a theory cannot
be tested independently if it does not deductively imply statements
that go beyond the known evidence.
A Theory is a set of statements that has been inferred to account for
(a) presumed observation(s) and has been assigned some probability or
degree of belief (if only tentatively, in some cases).
is the inference of a (presumed) observation
from a theory. This inference must be deductively valid to be a proper
explanation. The theory that is presumed may be any theory one has, and
as just indicated good testable theories always go beyond the known
evidence (and therefore never can be deduced from
A prediction is
the inference of a presumed statement of fact from a Theory. This
presumed statement of fact is called Prediction (capital P), and a
proper Prediction is not known to correspond to observational fact when
it is made. It should follow deductively from a Theory.
An induction is
the inference of a new probability
of belief for a Theory when a new Observation verifies or falsifies
an earlier Prediction. Inductions follow deductively from the fact that
a new Observation that verifies or falsifies an earlier Prediction has
been made together with the rules and assumptions of probability theory.
An expectation is the inference
of a presumed Observation
from a Prediction. The presumed Observation should not have been made
or refuted when expected, and the degree of its expectation depends on
the probability of or degree of belief in the Theory that allowed the
A test is the inference that a
Prediction is true or false from the fact that the expectation has been
found to be true or false by observation.
The best book I know about that subject is not one book but four thick
ones, or some twenty thinner ones: Wolfgang Stegmüller: Probleme und
Resultaten der analytischen und Wissenschaftsphilosophie. These
were published between 1973 and 1986, and I do not know any other
series of books like them. They are quite clear (for intelligent
people) and very well done.
Unfortunately, and contrary to what I have heard quite a few times,
namely when it was said there is an English translation, these volumes
seem to require German.
3. Crisis Files
have been writing on the crisis since September
1, 2008 (Dutch) and
with considerably more attention since June
10, 2013 (English).
If you check out the crisis index you will find that I wrote in over
eight years nearly 1600 files, that nearly all consisted of a
reference to one or more articles that were partially quoted and mostly
I will continue with that, simply because I think the crisis is
a very important social, political and economical event, but
meanwhile I have turned 67 and need a little rest,
so what I'll be doing the coming weeks (at least), is selecting 3 to 6
files from the 35
sites I consult every morning to see what's happening in the
world of politics and econonomics, and present them, but now without
Here is today's selection:
Careful Celebrating Google’s New Ad Blocker. Here’s What’s
all well worth reading.
Corbyn Calls for Theresa May to Resign Over Police
Chase Red Herring of Russia-gate
Legitimizing 'Conservatism': It's Not an Ideology – It's a
Demolition of American Education
Trump's War on Free Speech Threatens the Republic