miercuri, 14 martie 2012

On the Cause of Errors

The main cause of errors in a domain of knowledge is currently identified with the unclear character of its objects. God in theology and metaphysic reality in philosophy are the emblematic cases.

But, judging the frequency of errors, such a cause seems to be the lack of consequences for those who make errors.

Greeks called the fact of committing errors by hamartanein, which has as a concrete meaning the fact of missing the target. From this sense, we may suppose that someone who makes an error lacks both to reach the target and to have that adequate tension for reaching it; a tension that is not caused only by the importance of the target, but also by the consequences presumably to follow after the failure. A moving target can hurt the bad marksman or the failure makes him ashamed.

As concerning the domains of knowledge, those where the errors are frequently committed are permissive regarding the consequences felt by someone who makes errors. Excepting outer consequences, as a public accusation or the blame of scientific community, nobody feels as a wrongdoer just because he makes a false statement. If we take the model of missing the target, then even the competent blame is insufficient for stopping the errors. Moreover, even the harshest admonishment is ineffective, since it does not come from the target itself and cannot make ashamed someone who has the minimal competence that validates him as a member of the scientific community that accuses him. And when the target of knowledge cannot condemn the errors by itself, this means that the entire domain of knowledge is far from being supported by its objects of knowledge. In this case, the truths do not overwhelm the errors, but only differ from them.

Thus, the dispute between the great errors and truths cannot be confined to a scientific domain or to a scientific community. A great error is consumed or consumes someone who wills to reach the target represented by an object of knowledge that evokes by itself the truth. Above any demonstration of their existence, God or metaphysical realities evokes the truth, otherwise they would never occurred in human thought.

In this way, the common accusation of the objects of knowledge for the errors produced in a certain domain is justified only by the incapacity of such a domain to be responsible for truth and error. But it is completely wrong as long as it suggests that the objects belong to some domains of knowledge.