Stan, perhaps you haven't had time to respond to my last post, because your most recent post ("Seeking The Next Step") doesn't seem to address anything from my last. Basically, in Stan-Ding Discussion #2, I summarized my reasons why I didn't feel compelled as a science guy to delve into first principles, since they are effectively held provisionally, just like theories, and we justify them not because they've been proven true, but because they've proven useful and productive.

I might add, Stan, that the above distinction may well be pivotal to any argument that takes some version of logical empiricism as a starting point. There is, for example, a well-known (but also deeply-flawed) empiricist critique of scientific realism, which is probably the philosophical stance that most closely corresponds with my views as far as the meaning of scientific claims. You can read about that on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) here.

Anyway, in the meantime I'll go ahead and repeat my earlier question:

Given that I need a foundation of some support, what principles would you commend, and for what reason? Am I compelled by logic to adopt any, some or all of these principles?

Again, if this is not where you want to go next, you can just tell me.


As a sidebar, I have a few comments about your last post. First, thanks for providing context but believe it or not, I kind of already had you pegged from leafing through your web site. You were obviously a non-believer with some scientific/technical training in your salad days, who later in life decided to reevaluate your personal atheism, and who now wants to make the claim that one can deduce the rejection of atheism on logical grounds. Gotcha.

Now, I'm definitely interested in that claim, but I will also be interested to see what would compel me to buy into a dichotomy between the 'historical sciences' and 'empirical science', especially since I'm pretty sure you're going to eventually confess that empiricism is not only not part of your belief system, but that you're going to offer some version of rationalism (which in its strong version is not compatible with empiricism) as part of your beliefs.

As far as my beliefs go, you ask: "
I am curious how you segment your theism and your empiricism. Do you believe in separate non-overlapping magesteria?"

Well, again, I just take empiricism to be a flavor of thought within science. I don't identify the use of sense-datum with the be-all and end-all of scientific activity, and I think the attempt to cast a strict empiricism as a valid philosophy of science was a mistake. So I don't need to 'segment' theism and empiricism, because they don't occupy the same ontological status for me personally. This is not to say, however, that I endorse NOMA. While I don't feel constrained by empiricism per se, I do believe that there are areas where scientific claims overlap with, at the very least, the consequences of religious claims. That is why I wrote in my prior post about my interests in things like Pierce's concept of abduction and Popper's falsifiability criterion, because these actually do seem to have some bearing on the question of whether any kind of boundary condition between science and other (alleged) sources of knowledge actually exists.

I could write more, but I won't until I get some kind of reply to the question in blue above from my previous post. I look forward to it!

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