Un Surprise

[This is not a post about quantum mechanics]

Imagine a world in which humans understood quantum mechanics.

Understood it intuitively, that is. Understood it in the same way that you can look at a face and recognize that it is not your mother. There are a lot of neurons in your brain working up a storm, going through the calculations that end up with you knowing it is not your mother. But “you” (the conscious thinking part of you) have no direct access to these computations, you are just aware of the end result.

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Probabilistic blindspots in Goodman’s new riddle of induction

Goodman’s Fact, Fiction and Forecast

In Fact, Fiction and Forecast, Nelson Goodman revisits Hume’s problem of induction. The problem Hume wrote about in the 18th century is: can we reliably know anything about the future, given experience of the past? Or alternatively, can we produce generalizable knowledge from observations of particulars?

Goodman breezes through a couple of unworkable solutions (or attempts at dissolutions) of Hume’s problem. He then zones in on the core issue: just as deductive inferences are justified if they conform to the rules of logic, Goodman argues that “predictions are justified if they conform to valid canons of induction.” The problem of induction, then, is the problem of defining the valid rules of induction.

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