In philosophy ‘certainty’ has a specific meaning

Jim at Apple Eaters sees Pessin’s ‘paradox’ the way I do.

Man, there is so much sloppiness here that I want to bite something. First, in philosophy “certainty” has a specific meaning, and it means that there is no doubt. If that’s not what Pessin has in mind, he should define the term. The point there is that, even if I recognize that I am fallible and capable of mistakes, I likely am not certain that I have made some mistake in my reasoning. Were that the case, I would be going over that reasoning carefully to find the error. Rather, I just see that it is possible that I made a mistake, but that is nothing like having certainty about it.

Just what I say. If he doesn’t really mean ‘certain’ then he should say so – he shouldn’t pretend he means ‘certain’ in order to pretend there’s a paradox but then treat the certainty as actually just a possibility. That’s [Jon Stewartian high-pitched squeal] cheating.

Accepting contradictions is not a way to accomplish anything except confusion. Being sloppy in your definitions only spreads confusion. Confusion is not peace. In fact, confusion is often the origin of conflict. Pessin is the kind of philosopher who gives the rest of us a bad name.

Just what I say.

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