“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
The above quote (typically attributed to John Maynard Keynes but probably not originating from him) makes it sound so easy. So why don’t we all act in this way?
This talk looks at recent ideas about what the brain is actually doing, and relates this to what philosophers think about how we know things. It speculatively ties together the separate ideas of:
- Neuroscience: Karl Friston’s ‘Variational Free Energy’ about what the brain is doing, involving a combination of (i) minimization of surprise through action and perception’ and (ii) hierarchical message passing.
- Epistemology: Susan Haack’s ‘Foundherentism’, involving a combination of (i) foundational or correspondence theories of truth and (ii) the coherence theory of truth.
- Philosophy of Science: Michael Polanyi’s ‘tacit knowledge’.
- Philosophy: Isaiah Berlin’s Psychological classification of individuals as either (i) ‘hedgehogs’ or (ii) ‘foxes’.
- a pragmatic, physically-grounded theory of knowledge, and
- an understanding of the difficulties we have in changing our minds.
See ‘What I Know and Why I Know It’ for more information.