How do we know something to be true? This question has preoccupied philosophy for as long as we can remember. Many answers are offered to solve the problem, but each one suffers from a different problem. For example, reason is a useful method of knowing, but reason only compares a claim with the axioms or assumptions; how do you know that your assumptions are indeed correct? Sense perception too doesn’t certify our assumptions because the same perception can be explained by alternative assumptions. This post offers an introspective view of knowledge under which what convinces us of the truth is not reason or perception, but the happiness that we experience as a consequence of that knowing. Under that happiness, all doubts are destroyed, and certainty is established.
While going down in an elevator, it recently occurred to me that the elevator doesn’t move unless we indicate the floor it has to go to, quite different from an escalator which keeps moving regardless of whether anyone has anywhere to go to. This difference is a useful way to understand how quantum “motion” is different from classical motion. This post explains the difference using the elevator vs. escalator analogy. The motion of the elevator explicitly employs meaning and purpose, while the motion of the escalator doesn’t. The difference helps us see why addressing many scientific problems needs a revision to our analogies about nature, and what such analogical shifts can do to science.
Even a broken watch tells the right time twice a day. However, to know that the watch is broken, we must observe it when it tells the time incorrectly rather than when it tells it correctly. This analogy is a useful way to understand the problem in modern science, because clearly there are times in which science makes correct predictions. Those who argue that science works only look at science when it seems to work correctly. To know that they are looking at a broken watch, they would have to look at it when its predictions break down — either because the prediction isn’t there, or the prediction disagrees with observation.