Philosophy Versus Statistics in Decision Making

The use of statistical inference/probabilities can, by essence, never lead to truth, no matter how well done. Philosophy, however, when done correctly, necessarily leads to truth.

Even the notion of statistical fact is paradoxical. Because something should not both be fact and statistical.

One summary of the philosophical enterprise whose formalisation has helped humanity greatly is the scientific method. It put a structure to some aspect of the practice of philosophy.

The book title by Sir Isaac Newton, ‘the mathematical principles of natural philosophy,’ hints clearly at the place of mathematics in the world: the pursuit and appreciation of truth — and beauty. The same, obviously, is the object of philosophy.

Experientially, a lot of our reasoning, decision making, and things we’ve come to ‘know’ in general follow from some application of the scientific method — up to a point at least. However, like basically everything in life, it’s ‘garbage in, garbage out’ (GIGO). Hence the criticality of critical reasoning.

Philosophy is fundamental to ‘political’ decision making, for instance utilitarianism, capitalism, feminism, socialism, Rastafarianism etc, and it’s not perfect here because of the GIGO factor. And because these are high level philosophical views whose foundations might themselves be ‘truthly’ flawed.

let’s stop making legislation (that is, absolute decisions) based on statistical/probabilistic inferences alone. Philosophy, true philosophy, fundamentals philosophy, philosophy in the sense of Lao Tzu or Aristotle should be used in some way as an arbiter in this regard.

What is mathematics?

Mathematics is a tool to discover, describe and explain reality in precise and logical terms. Our immediate reality is nature, its physics, its chemistry, and its biology. It is a terse abstraction and representation of perception—that is, of mathematical reality. It starts from the obvious and goes on to the non-obvious, searching the depths of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God. Where there is perception, there is existence, however imperfect or otherwise.

Mathematics is a distinct language for expressing and communicating mathematical reality. This is perhaps where we might lose our way as we delve deeper into it—having to learn a new comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, semantics and syntax. If however we can cross this pond, we will more clearly see the art in its reality, where it is beautiful for what it represents, its simplicity or its intricacy. Through mathematics we can see and appreciate a little more of the genius of humanity, of the creation, and of all existence.