Logical Negativism

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Negativism is the philosophy that no knowledge is secure; hence we know nothing. It was developed in the mid-1800’s by the French sociologist Count Juillet. In the 1930’s, following the publication of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, the Viennese philosopher Sir Karl (Pop) Korn identified psychoanalysis as a dangerous pseudoscience that relied on ad-hoc hypotheses to prop up its failed theories. Building on his work with psychoanalysis, Korn recognized that any scientific theory whatsoever could be propped up with ad-hoc hypotheses and concluded that all of science is a dangerous pseudoscience. In one fell swoop, Korn solved the demarcation problem, saying, “If we know nothing, then it doesn’t matter whether we call it science or not.”

Korn’s work was rediscovered in the late twentieth century and renamed postmodernism. Postmodernism taught that all knowledge was provisional, and therefore that no knowledge was privileged over other knowledge. In essence, you could believe anything you wanted to. But Korn went much farther and argued that you have no intellectual right to believe anything. The work of Korn and the postmodernists has since been appropriated by intelligent-design creationists, who claim that evolution is not a theory, because there is no such thing as a theory.

20 Comments

It sounds very much like solipsism.

And I can’t stand solipsism, either.

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Wow! A perfect rationalization for promoting and believing outright lies!

the Viennese philosopher Sir Karl (Pop) Korn identified psychoanalysis as a dangerous pseudoscience that relied on ad-hoc hypotheses to prop up its failed theories.

Korn recognized that any scientific theory whatsoever could be propped up with ad-hoc hypotheses and concluded that all of science is a dangerous pseudoscience.

Now THAT sounds like a non-sequitur! All scientific theories are FALSIFIABLE and should NOT be propped up by ad-hoc hypotheses unless and until those hypotheses have been subject to testing, to actually see if they are in accordance with all known physical and chemical laws!

Matt Young Wrote:

But Korn went much farther and argued that you have no intellectual right to believe anything. The work of Korn and the postmodernists has since been appropriated by intelligent-design creationists, who claim that evolution is not a theory, because there is no such thing as a theory.

LOL!

This is the best description of the link between postmodernism and ID/Creationism I have seen.

Stanton Wrote:

It sounds very much like solipsism. And I can’t stand solipsism, either.

Actually, solipsism has more philosophical legitimacy than ID/Creationism. Once a person starts addressing the issue of where new knowledge comes from in solipsism, he is off and running with some good epistemology and an excuse for behaving as though there is a real world to be investigated using the tools of science.

With ID/Creationism, godidit goes nowhere.

I am tired, sleepy, babbling and incoherent, but still, I did look at the calendar as I grabbed a few precious moments off my my significant other’s computer (mine is dead, dead, dead!) to get my fix of science blogging. I have a feeling it’s going to be a rough first day of the month …

Ra-Ul

April 1st has to start with tarring us relatively relativists with this undeserved link to creationists by certain scientific dickwavers?

Hear that one about yo’ mama, Matt? I heard she liked Korn.

Ah, the 1st aprilosophy I’ve seen.

Very persuasive on the epistemological basis of IDC.

I would think that the creationists answer would be that it doesn’t matter, anything ‘proved’ from Gödel’s theorems is by assumption incomplete and doesn’t match the “pathetic level of detail [required] in telling mechanistic stories”!

Korn of course built on the work of Fra Pollio of Pillaro, who, rejecting all theory, and drawing on Confucianism, is best known for his epigrams on knowledge:

He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool- avoid him. He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a sage- follow him. He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is an asset- strip him. He who knows, and knows that he knows, is an a**hole- f*** him.

He was burnt at the stake on 1401-04-01, though the Pope later claimed it was meant as a joke.

Sprocket:

Korn of course built on the work of Fra Pollio of Pillaro, who, rejecting all theory, and drawing on Confucianism, is best known for his epigrams on knowledge:

He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool- avoid him. He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a sage- follow him. He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is an asset- strip him. He who knows, and knows that he knows, is an a**hole- f*** him.

He was burnt at the stake on 1401-04-01, though the Pope later claimed it was meant as a joke.

Rumsfeld was burn’t by the Pope ?.…oops wrong date…

Various philosophers have “proved” that I:

1. Don’t have free will

2. Am not really conscious

3. There is no objective reality or real world or reality

About this time, I freely and consciously exercise my free will and {mentally} say, this is idiotic nonsense.

Of course, my nonexistent free will makes my illusionary consciousness try to make a statement about the imaginary real world so it doesn’t matter.

And here I thought that logical negativism meant simply that the Disco Institute fellows know nothing.…

Sprocket:

Korn of course built on the work of Fra Pollio of Pillaro, who, rejecting all theory, and drawing on Confucianism, is best known for his epigrams on knowledge:

He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool- avoid him. He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a sage- follow him. He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is an asset- strip him. He who knows, and knows that he knows, is an a**hole- f*** him.

He was burnt at the stake on 1401-04-01, though the Pope later claimed it was meant as a joke.

LOL!

I am reminded of the great sage Adams…

The Universe: Some information to help you live in it. (1) Population : none.

It is known that the universe, being infinite, contains an infinite number of planets, but that only a finite number are inhabited. Since any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, the popluation of the universe is therefore zero, and any people you should happen to meet are merely the products of a deranged imagination.

You so used Alan Sokal’s post-modernist paper generator to create the original post… or something very similar. Nice work!

I’ve never found solipsism plausible because my imagination isn’t powerful enough to have made all this shit up.

Gee, I thought Korn was an ugly rock band.

http://www.korn.com/site.php

Or maybe it’s just a general term for lunatics.

This philosphy was extensively developed by his son Karm L. Korn and his kernels of wisdom were used extensively to heckle competing philosophers. The philosophy is now known as the Arumentum Adamus cum Flabello Dulce.

Korn’s work was rediscovered in the late twentieth century and renamed postmodernism. Postmodernism taught that all knowledge was provisional, and therefore that no knowledge was privileged over other knowledge. In essence, you could believe anything you wanted to. But Korn went much farther and argued that you have no intellectual right to believe anything.

The dilemma that this poses with is whether to believe that Korn and the Pomos are correct. They might be, then again they might not, and both of these views are equally valid. If you believe them, that is. It will take us all the rest of the day to figure this out. Or not.

Closer to Popper’s nonsense than should be comfortable for those who worship him.

Popperism (Popperianism?) is too negativistic, suggesting that, say, evolutionary theory is poised on the brink of destruction by a single fact, when its value for organizing knowledge is a positive factor in its favor. Even the IDists are right to point to prior “assumptions” (which they immediately misconstrue, as if they were mere guesses) behind science, which happen to come from processes more akin to the much-maligned positivism than through Popper’s ideas of falsification.

The truth, though, is that one doesn’t need positivism or Popper’s “negativism” to do science (not that “falsification” isn’t a good rule of thumb in the context of science). A kind of phenomenology plus “inter-subjectivity” will suffice. That way gets back to issues of mind and human action, the social nature of science, and the triumphs of cognition possible through quantification, mathematics, and logic. That way we can balance “positivism” and “negativism” within a milieu of skepticism of certainty and of the various prejudices, including religious bias.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Popperism (Popperianism?) is too negativistic, suggesting that, say, evolutionary theory is poised on the brink of destruction by a single fact,

IANAPh, but I don’t see where such a suggestion comes from. Wouldn’t the new theory needed to include a correct prediction most likely be structurally alike the old one, being simply “a modification” for a non-popperian? (While a popperian would probably note that the earlier theory is no longer a candidate, as it can perhaps still be for a non-popperian.)

Structural stability has a long history in say math.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on April 1, 2008 12:01 AM.

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