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The Profound Limitations of Knowledge


Fred Leavitt

The Profound Limitations of Knowledge explores the limitations of knowledge and argues that neither reasoning nor direct or indirect observations can be trusted. We cannot even assign probabilities to claims of what we can know. Furthermore, for any set of data, there are an infinite number of possible interpretations. Evidence suggests that we live in a participatory universe—that is, our observations shape reality.
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3. Philosophy


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The study of philosophy can be defined as a critical inquiry into life, death, and the meaning of human existence. What could be more important! Yet serious philosophy books are rarely found at the top of best seller lists, and students in university philosophy courses don’t have to fight for the last seat in the classroom.

Philosophy is to the real world as masturbation is to sex.—Karl Marx

Philosophy of science is as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.—Richard Feynman

Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.—Ambrose Bierce

One reason for the lack of attention, as discussed above and below, is that unexamined and even incorrect beliefs may confer benefits. The belief that life has meaning promotes happiness—even if life has no meaning. Whether or not the universe is ruled by a loving God, faith in a higher power helps millions get through each day. In the event of tragedy, faith consoles. To envisage a recently deceased loved one in a better place, to anticipate a heavenly reunion someday, is analgesic.

Pick up a book on how to cook seafood or make home repairs or solve algebra problems and, if you’re smart and read conscientiously, you will probably acquire a new skill. Not so if you read philosophy, and that’s a second reason why it generates ← 25...

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