General Question

erebus9's avatar

Can somebody dumb this down for me?

Asked by erebus9 (154points) 2 weeks ago

somebody told me this, I don’t know what it means.
What if your beliefs aren’t ultimate truth, but merely a working hypothesis; subject to revision as new information becomes available…even subject to dismissal if disproved, and a new paradigm emerges.
Wouldn’t that imply that you weren’t wrong, but learning?

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16 Answers

janbb's avatar

It means that you should be open to changing your mind on your tightly held beliefs as you learn new information.

zenvelo's avatar

It is not a matter of “right or wrong”.

One is not wrong if one updates their thinking based on new evidence. One is wrong if one ignores new evidence that contradicts the previous thinking.

gorillapaws's avatar

People believed the world was flat. They were wrong.

LostInParadise's avatar

If you accept that what you believe currently may be revised then technically you are not wrong to believe something that is superseded by a new paradigm. If you were convinced that what you believed was unalterably true then you were wrong.

As to whether accepting the new paradigm can be considered learning, you have to ask how different the new paradigm is from the previous one. Are relativity and quantum mechanics to be viewed as refinements of Newtonian physics or are they radically different?

smudges's avatar

Again, you asked almost the exact same question one month ago. Maybe review your questions before writing new ones if your memory is that bad?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. You are learning

raum's avatar

Depends on what you’re considering right or wrong. The belief itself? Or the approach?

Let’s say you believed the earth was flat. No matter the time or circumstance, you would be incorrect.

But if you live back in the day before science discovered that the earth is not flat, you are not wrong to have believed what you believed at the time. So incorrect, but not wrong per se.

However, if you’re still insisting the earth is flat in 2022, you’d be both incorrect and wrong.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think the issue here is the definition of “wrong.” It seems fairly ambiguous in this context. I’m most familiar with the term in a moral context: “It’s wrong to hit your sister, Bobby.” I’ve never used it in a relative sense as some seem to be here—something akin to a justified false belief. I’ve always used it as a synonym for false, or incorrect.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Nothing is the ultimate truth since we as humans do not know everything that there is to know about our existance.
one would say that life and ultimate death is fact, but that could be wrong as who knows we may live amoung many parellel universes where we just move onto the next level when we die or just move on from Earth.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Inspired_2write “Nothing is the ultimate truth since we as humans do not know everything that there is to know about our existance.”

That’s just silly. We don’t have to know everything to know some things are true.

Either Bob ate the last cookie or he didn’t. Either Jim left the seat up or he didn’t. Either the server was hacked or it wasn’t. We don’t need to understand the nature of dark matter to understand those ultimate truths. Logical reasoning, data and video evidence are all reasonable tools for coming to these truths, no advanced degrees in particle physics required.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Of course mundane everyday things but the universe etc was what I had thought about , not mundane everyday occurrances.

LostInParadise's avatar

There are two separate questions? The one that you are proposing is, Will we ever know the reasons for everything? The answer to this is simple. It is NO. Whatever laws we come up with, you can always ask why those laws hold.

The more interesting question is, Is there a set of laws that accurately explain everything (except, of course, the laws themselves)? This is sometimes referred to as a theory of everything, and we are not there yet.

janbb's avatar

I think you’ve both really gone off the track regarding what the OP asked.

LostInParadise's avatar

Not that far off. The concept of paradigm shift implies that there may not ever be an ultimate theory. Thomas Kuhn, who created the term, saw paradigm shifts as complete rearrangements rather than closer and closer approximations to reality.

janbb's avatar

@LostInParadise But the OP asked that the statement be dumbed down.

LostInParadise's avatar

Okay,, dumbed down version. If you take Kuhn’s point of view then new paradigms will always replace older ones, and once a paradigm is replaced none of the older ones are any better than any of the others.

I personally find this interpretation to be rather depressing and prefer to think of paradigm shifts as closer and closer approximations to reality.

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