You got to have a dream,|
if you don't have a dream,
how you gonna have a dream come true?
Happy Talk, South Pacific,|
Rodgers and Hammerstein
Factastic epistemology is an intellectually liberating outgrowth of Humean skepticism.
It is an epistemology for dreamers, a reaction against the stultification of creativity engendered by institutions of all kinds.
Factastic Epistemology is the epistemology for people who want to create the future rather than be subjected to it.
1. Diversity of Knowledge
We emphasise the diversity of knowledge.
Almost every experience we have is a learning experience, whenever we experience anything new we learn from it.
Knowledge is a name for what we gain when we learn.
From this viewpoint knowledge has little connection with certainty.
3. Skepticism and Pluralism
Hume's skepticism was focussed, not on the broader conceptions of knowledge, but on demonstrative knowledge.
He drew the distinction (see his Enquiries) between "Relations of Ideas" (which we might today call analytic or logical truths) and "Matters of Fact" (synthetic or contingent truths) and argued that the former could be and the latter could not be intuitively or demonstratively certain.
To deny a certainty is to affirm other possibilities.
Hume's skepticism is a charter against dogmatism.
Adoption of a definite single model of any aspect of reality on the basis of inconclusive evidence is not rational.
It is better to seek an understanding of the full range of models which are consistent with the evidence, or to adopt a model on pragmatic grounds without asserting its truth or denying alternative models.
2. Knowledge as Models
Having knowledge can also be though of as posessing a model.
If this view of knowledge is to be consistent with diversity then it must be based on an equally diverse concept of model (which makes it pretty vacuous).
This view of knowledge coincides (for example) with that of Principia Cybernetica, though how close the coincidence hangs upon what counts as a model.
Elsewhere we argue that logical models suffice, without loss of generality.
4. Succeeding Against the Odds
Purposive Collaborative Activity|
Realisation of improbable ends
By their action individuals alone or in concert can realise ends which would otherwise be very highly improbable.
Knowledge of the future depends therefore upon knowledge of the present intentions of those who seek to influence the future.
For each person who seeks to influence our future, the vision which he has of the future cannot be rationally separated from reality.
Someone devoted to realising an improbable future must work with models which are consistent with that realisation.
He must chose between possibilities which would all be very improbable without intelligent intervention.
Knowledge of the future is a choice between factastic visions.
created 1996/7/13 modified 1996/8/24