Who am I?

I’m an Agilist, a former software engineer, a gamer, an improviser, a podcaster emeritus, and a wine lover. Learn more.

Currently Consuming
  • The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
    The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
    by Eric Ries
  • The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.
    The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.
    by Daniel Coyle
  • Alexander Hamilton
    Alexander Hamilton
    by Ron Chernow
« Link Roundup for 29 October 2011 | Main | Listen Up »
Friday
Oct282011

You May Need a Bigger Philosophy, Horatio

For this month’s Fourth Friday challenge, Becky asks an essay question:

Paulie, I was asked this question once, and my answer surprised me. I’d like to read what you have to say.

Before you answer, I’d like to kind of tweak the definition of paranormal. Paranormal: Anything that is beyond or contrary to what is deemed scientifically possible. Denoting events or phenomena such as telekinesis or clairvoyance that are beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding. I’d like to add this would involve contact between the living and dead. (Basically, the way Brian Dunning explains it.) Okay, here we go!

Which answer best reflects your beliefs?

A. I believe in the paranormal. I have not had any first-hand paranormal experience.

B. I believe in the paranormal. I have had at least one first-hand paranormal experience.

C. I do not believe in the paranormal. I have not had any first-hand paranormal experience.

D. I do not believe in the paranormal. I have had at least one first-hand paranormal experience.

Please provide any additional details you’d like to provide, in essay form. If you chose B or D, please describe your experience(s).

First things first: I haven’t had any first-hand experience of the paranormal, so B and D are out. (Sorry, no good stories there.)

The problem is that I don’t really know which bucket my answer falls into. I see a difference between (1) things that are that inexplicable according to current scientific theory and (2) things that are inexplicable according to the scientific method. I absolutely believe that things in category #1 exist. To think that contemporary scientific understanding can explain everything about the universe is the pinnacle of hubris. I have doubts, however, about the existence of anything in category #2. Given that the entire process of the scientific method is about developing new theories to account for the explanatory failure of current ones, I’m not sure what a universe in which phenomena that can’t be explained would look like. Rather Lovecraftian, I suppose…

So if we’re talking about what current science deems possible, I guess my answer is B. But if we’re talking about whether or not I hold to philosophical naturalism (which I don’t believe is the same as materialism), then I suppose my answer is D. All of which is a rather bloodless answer instead what could have been a spooky blog post, but them’s the breaks.




Update

Fitness: Rest day

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>