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blossom comments on Privileging the Hypothesis - Less Wrong

57 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 29 September 2009 12:40AM

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Comment author: [deleted] 03 April 2015 09:49:46PM 0 points [-]

I don't think so. I cannot directly access reality, but it still seems very useful to me to speak of it. Even if only to have something for my beliefs to try to correspond to.

Comment author: dxu 04 April 2015 02:13:23AM 1 point [-]

In that case, you can refer directly to your map. Instead of saying, "The sky is blue," you can say, "My map of the territory contains a blue sky." (Naturally, this is only necessary when context requires; if you're in an ordinary conversation, there's no need to go that far.) To me, it seems that the only time you need to really refer to the territory is when you're talking directly about the map-territory relationship, e.g. "As research continues, our understanding of quantum physics will hopefully increase." But to speak descriptively of the territory is to commit the Mind Projection Fallacy. After all, there's no difference between saying, "I believe X," versus just "X"; the two statements convey exactly the same information, and this information pertains only to the speaker's map, not the territory. In my view, then, all possibilities are of the "epistemic" sort. To add a second type, "metaphysical", seems wholly unnecessary.

Comment author: [deleted] 04 April 2015 01:39:44PM 0 points [-]

I am in complete agreement with what you said that I need only talk about reality to have something to check my map against.

But I believe we may be using the term "epistemic possibility" differently.

It appears to me that when you say that X is epistemically possible, that it is possible that your map can contain X (and your map is correct in this aspect). I.e. that one can have a true belief that X.

What I mean when I say that X is epistemically possible is that I have a justified true belief that X. In that sense epistemic possibility is stronger than metaphysical possibility for me in that I require the justification of the belief as well as its truth.