ReasonFirst Posted May 19 Report Share Posted May 19 I have a hypothetical question that I am thinking about and I wanted to see what other people think about it. We know that human beings are not omniscient AND that human beings are fallible. With regard to fallibility I think Objectivism’s position is that there exists a general possibility of error that can impede the human ability to acquire knowledge that is certain. I think I read somewhere that Objectivism holds that the possibility of error is abstract and metaphysical and specific errors are more concrete and epistemological. Is this correct? Skeptics exploit the metaphysical possibility of error to claim that humans can never know anything for certain. And I think Objectivism’s answer to that claim is that we can’t get rid of the general metaphysical possibility of error but we don’t have to because we can apply objectivist epistemology to acquire knowledge with epistemological certainty in a specific context. So the metaphysical possibility of error is very abstract and it applies to ALL ERRORS that humans can possibly commit. And the certainty that Objectivism claims we can obtain is an epistemological certainty that exists in specific situations. So my hypothetical what-if question about fallibiity is what would the consequences be to our ability to obtain certainty if the general metaphysical possibility of error wasn’t so general and it only applied to certain specific mistakes but not other mistakes? For example, let’s consider three specific activities humans do in normal life: Driving a car Tying Shoes Playing chess Each one of these activities has its own specific, concrete errors associated with it which can be committed. What if, for example, there was something specific about the activity of driving that makes you commit driving errors, and you are infallible when you are doing everything else like tying shoes, playing chess, etc. Let’s say you are capable of making some mistakes, like driving errors, but not other mistakes. If this scenario was real, could you ever know with certainty that you are driving a car properly without committing any traffic infractions or other driving errors? In such a scenario, even if you would apply Objectivist epistemology to determine that you are driving correctly, just knowing that the activity of driving itself causes you to commit errors would qualify as at least one specific piece of evidence that you are doing something wrong. Am I right about this? So now the claim that you are making a mistake would not be arbitrary, since the activity of driving itself would give you reason to suspect that you are committing a driving error. I think the philosophic significance of this scenario is that it extends the possibility of error from the metaphysical layer of your worldview into the epistemological layer of your worldview and thereby destroys your ability to obtain certainty. So I am wondering does fallibility have to be so general? What would the philosophic consequences be if it only applied to cerain errors but not other errors? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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