The Absence of Consideration for Costs in Popper’s Critical Rationalism.


—Since we can never know for sure what is true and what is false, —

1) **We can however perform due diligence on our hypotheses, and pay the cost of that due diligence, rather than fail to do so, and thereby export the cost of our falsification onto the commons.**

Which is why I raise the question, since it is what I believe you’re advocating.

2) Newton’s theory is not so much false as it less precise than Einstein’s. If that were true then Mythic, Virtue, and Rule ethics would all be ‘false’ rather than the degree of precision possible given the human subject using them.
Recipes work or do not work. The verbal description we give to the category of those recipes (the theory), constructed as a verbal statement of arbitrary precision, is less precise (more general) than the recipe (sequence of operations).
And imprecision is useful to us so that we can freely associate opportunities for the use of the theory, and then test them.
But it appears that we are very good at criticizing theories. The problem is not criticizing theories, but the instrumentation necessary, and cost of criticizing those theories.
Popper did no research, he made only an a priori assumption. It certainly APPEARS that in choosing between alternatives the least-cost method leads to discovery if for no other reason than the universe operates by least cost itself.
So the statement that we know nothing for certain is not an empirical, and not even a logical, but a moral one: that we cannot use theories of arbitrary precision to impose costs upon one another, under the appeal to the authority of truth or science.

3) But Popperians like many libertarians, seem to habitually seek to justify exporting of costs in order to satisfy their needs for novelty and order (Big5: Openness to experience, Moral Foundations: economic and personal liberty. Propertarianism: acquisition of novel experiences. )

And popper is visibly circumventing costs in hist arguments, as if we are not speaking of a physical and material world, but a verbal, legal, or platonic one.

Just as progressives seek to export their experiments ‘for the common good’ onto others. Just as conservatives wish to export their concern for risk-abatement onto others. Libertarians seek to export their admittedly lower cost of self stimulation onto others without taking care that they have performed due diligence against falsehood – if not also immorality (harm).
When (a) the empirical evidence suggests that we do kill off false theories very quickly, (b) that we are largely engaged in the process of refining theories, not falsifying them, (d) that the number of theories that are ‘challenging’ is fairly small, but the number of falsehoods extant are very large (c) that least-cost is indeed a method of aggregate decidability (critical preference) (d) that it is far more expensive to construct a falsification of a welcome error or deception than it is to produce a welcome error or deception.

4) Popper/Darwin’s innovation was the systemic use of ‘survival’ over historical ‘justification for being’, meaning that he inverted the search for truth from accumulating justifications for hypotheses: as Rodin builds his sculpture from clay; into accumulating criticisms to see if the theory survives: as Michelangelo removes the rock to expose the potential sculpture underneath.

So why would we seek to advance knowledge rather than eliminate lies and falsehoods? Why would we not worry more about preventing false and deceitful intellectual products more so than truthful ones?
Would that not direct capital (costs) to truthful rather than untruthful results?

So you see – this problem of costs, so fundamental to the natural laws of human behavior, and the physical laws of the extant universe is absent from popperian thought.

And I am always struck with “why?”

Popper was a cosmopolitan just as I am an anglo empiricist, and Kant is a german rationalist. Popper’s tradition was religion, religious law, avoidance of paying into the commons, willing, if not advocacy of, privatization of the commons, and an avoidance of externalized costs so universal to western thought that we are unaware of alternative methods of thinking.

None of us escape our framings.

But popper’s vision was incomplete. He ‘hooked onto’ falsification (survival) as a life raft, but he didn’t grasp that each dimension of existence requires us to perform due diligence (which again, is a cost-based framing, whereas falsification is a legal or religious based framing).

Warranties of Due Diligence:
– categorical consistency (non-conflation)
– Internal consistency (logical)
– external correspondence (empirical consistency)
– existential consistency (operational definitions)
– full accounting ( against selection bias )
– parsimony and limits ( precision )
– morality – ( natural law of cooperation) consisting of productive, fully informed, warrantied, voluntary transfer, limited to externalities of the same criteria.)

Because having performed these due diligences, it is extremely difficult to engage in error, bias, wishful thinking, loading-framing-overloading-suggestion, and deceit.

In fact, it would be almost impossible. Simply stating most arguments analytically in operational language causes self refutation.

Hence the only reasons to escape these due diligences are;
1 – because one is merely ignorant that such a warranty of due diligence can be performed, or how to perform it.
2 – to escape paying costs of due diligence, like the distributor of faulty products.
3 – to deceive or profit from, or achieve conquest by, the distribution of wishful thinking and deceit.
4 – because we do not limit the market for distribution of intellectual works to those which are warrantied of due diligence, by treating the informational commons like we do the air, land, and sea: as commons that must be protected from harm; and under universal standing allowing us to pursue restitution for such harm against those who fail to perform due diligence on their intellectual products.

This may be a bit to digest, but you can see between the scope of your argument and the scope of mine the demonstration of the technique.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine

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