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On 08/08/2012 at 23:40, Felmon Davis <> wrote:

but a quick question: are you an 'intuitionist' about proofs?

As far as I can imagine what it means, I believe answer is "no".
I am rather relativist. I believe that what is proof for one person, may not 
be proof for another one.

World is too complicated for one person to understand it all. Therefore we 
must take shortcuts and put faith in some other people. We must believe that 
when someone says "something was proven", and scientific community does agree, 
then it was independently checked by people capable of understanding that. 
Most people would say "it is truth, it has been proven". I would say 
"I believe that scientists did their job right. I believe that »something« is 
true. I, personally, can not prove that. Therefore, I do not »know« - I 

This leads us to another matter: "what about reality? There should be some 
proof that something exists in reality". Well, "reality" (or "truth") are 
quite complicated and problematic concepts. That's why I like Popper and 
Lakatos works, as they abolish these concepts. They basically say "to hell 
with 'truth'! Final goal of science is not 'truth' or 'knowledge about 
reality'. Final goal of science is to be as less wrong as possible. Science 
progresses as we are less wrong than before. But we are doomed to be wrong".

I hope this brief and rather incomplete answer is sufficient. As I said, more 
detailed answer would require us to go into at least basic of philosophy and 
methodology (and history of latter). And I honestly don't feel up to it.
For interested readers, I would recommend (all available for English readers, 
with many translations to national languages):
- Alan Chalmers, What Is This Thing Called Science?
- Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
- Paul Feyerabend, Against method
I have ordered them by difficulty level. The first one should be understandable 
even for people without any methodological background.
Best regards
Mirosław Zalewski

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