The Undercover Philosopher

A Guide to Detecting Shams, Lies, and Delusions; Philips, Michael
Oneworld 2008
ISBN 978-1-85168-581-3
289pp
Date finished: 2009-09-23

How do we decide which facts and propositions are true and which are false? What are the inherent psychological biases that deceive us? Some examples of these biases are anchoring estimates based on other numeric values, confirmation bias, overestimating the accuracy of our memory, and poor estimation of probabilities. Systems of discovery and assessment, which Philips calls Knowledge Machines, vary in how they decide which propositions are true and in the mechanisms offered for corrections. The legal system operates on precedent, testimony, and processes of appeal, religion operates on a variety of ungrounded lines, and science operates on prediction, publication and replication. Science is better at catching errors and reacting to new information, but these corrections can take decades. None of these Knowledge Machines is especially good at catching deliberate fraud. An enjoyable popular discussion of epistemology.

Tagged: philosophy

Permalink: http://books.amk.ca/2009/09/Undercover_Philosopher.html

%T The Undercover Philosopher
%A A Guide to Detecting Shams, Lies, and Delusions
%A Philips, Michael
%G ISBN 978-1-85168-581-3
%D 2008
%I Oneworld
%K philosophy
%P 289pp
%@ 2009-09-23

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