Stove argues that Popper and his successors in the philosophy of science, Kuhn, Lakatos and Feyerabend, were irrationalists because they were deductivists. That is, they believed all logic is deductive, and thus denied that experimental evidence could make scientific theories logically more probable. The book was reprinted as Anything Goes (1998) and Scientific Irrationalism: Origins of a Postmodern Cult (1998).
Writing on the justification of certain inductive inferences, the author proposes that sometimes induction is justified and that arguments to prove otherwise are not cogent. In the first part he defends the argument of D.C. Williams' The Ground of Induction that induction is justified as a matter of logic by the proportional syllogism: "The vast majority of large samples match the population, therefore (probably) this sample matches the population"). In the second part he deals with such topics as deductive logic (...) (arguing that deductive logic is not formal), the theory of logical probability, and probability and truth. (shrink)
This book aims to discuss probability and David Hume's inductive scepticism. For the sceptical view which he took of inductive inference, Hume only ever gave one argument. That argument is the sole subject-matter of this book. The book is divided into three parts. Part one presents some remarks on probability. Part two identifies Hume's argument for inductive scepticism. Finally, the third part evaluates Hume's argument for inductive scepticism. Hume's argument that induction must be either deductively valid or circular because based (...) on experience neglects the possibility that it is an argument of non-deductive logic (logical probability, in the sense of Keynes). (shrink)
This is a book of philosophy, written by a philosopher and intended for anyone who knows enough philosophy to have been seriously injured, antagonised, mystified or intoxicated by it. Stove is passionately polemical, a philosophical counterpart to Tom Wolfe. Setting out to deflate a few philosophical reputations, he lambastes both the dead and the living. Yet he says things that need to be said, and that others often lack the courage to say.
‘There is no opinion so absurd but that some philosopher has held it.’ Cicero wrote this around 44 B.C., and even then he was only repeating a saying already current. The reputation of philosophers for holding absurd opinions is therefore very old. Equally undeniably, it is also a well-founded reputation.
David Stove reviews Selwyn Grave's History of Philosophy in Australia, and praises philosophers for thinking harder about the bases of science, mathematics and medicine than the practitioners in the field. The review is reprinted as an appendix to James Franklin's Corrupting the Youth: A History of Philosophy in Australia.
In part ix of "dialogues concerning natural religion", Demea advances an "a priori" argument for the existence of god: an argument of which cleanthes and philo then make a number of trenchant criticisms. These criticisms are acknowledged by all commentators to be hume's own, And they are regarded by almost all commentators as being fatal to demea's argument. I show that, On the contrary, Hume's main criticisms are all worthless, And that they even include an inconsistency of the most glaring (...) kind. (shrink)
It is obvious that two contingent statements, each of which denies the existence of something, can be inconsistent with one another: for example, ‘There are no non-black ravens, and there is at least one raven’, and ‘There are no black ravens’. But it is also obvious that these two statements are inconsistent only because one of them, as well as denying the existence of something, asserts the existence of something. The mere denials of existence, ‘There are no non-black ravens’ and (...) ‘There are no black ravens’, are consistent with one another. Indeed, it must hold quite generally that two contingent statements cannot be inconsistent, where each is a mere denial of existence in the sense that it denies existence and does not also assert existence. For in order to be inconsistent with a mere denial of existence, a second statement must assert existence, whatever else it may do; and if it asserts existence, it is not itself a mere denial of existence. (shrink)
Discusses whether Watkins, following Popper, holds a "labour theory of confirmation" (of scientific hypotheses, that is, holds that there is some logical connection between there being evidence for a hypothesis and efforts having been made to test it.
A tribute, originally given at David Armstrong's retirement in 1991 as Challis Professor of Philosophy at Sydney University. Stove recalls Armstrong's role in the "Sydney disturbances" of the 1970s when under attack from Marxists.
Revealed that Bertrand Russell's Wisdom of the West was most likely actually written by its "editor", Paul Foulkes, in view of the prominence in the text of the ideas of Foulkes' teacher, John Anderson. That suspicion later turned out to be true.
Collection of essays by the conservative Australian philosopher David Stove, author of Popper and After: Four Modern Irrationalists and The Rationality of Induction. Some are on philosophy and some not. They include his controversial essays "The intellectual capacity of women" and "Racial and other antagonism", his "Judge's report on the competition to find the worst argument in the world", and an attack on the anti-conservative "Columbus argument" (that "they said Columbus was mad", so let's approve change in general).
THE FACULTY OF Arts at the University of Sydney is a disaster-area, and not of the merely passive kind, like a bombed building, or an area that has been flooded. It is the active kind, like a badly-leaking nuclear reactor, or an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in cattle.
The author claims to prove by example that, Contrary to what is generally maintained, A singular preposition of an observational kind is in some cases deducible from a natural law alone. On this basis he raises the question whether the universe might not be deterministic in a 'hyper-Laplacean' sense: that is, Whether the laws of nature might not be logically sufficient on their own to determine every actual state of the universe.
Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong, at a time when they were both millionaires many times over, recorded a song called "Gone Fishin'". Its theme was as familiar as it was implausible: how they would much rather sit by "some shady, wady pool", etc., than be enmeshed, as they were, in the feverish pursuit of money and fame. The record was a huge success, making the singers even richer and more famous than they had been before: which was, after all, their (...) intention in making it. It will hardly need saying that neither singer ever did in fact renounce show business and "go fishin'" instead; or that this experiment, if it had been tried, would have been an ignominious failure. It has been tried often enough. (shrink)