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Gordon Clark on the Problems of Empiricism | A Place for Thoughts
Gordon Clark on the Problems of Empiricism by Douglas J. Douma June 25, 2015 Empiricism has been, and is, a prominent epistemology among both secular and Christian philosophers. It is often accepted as the “common sense” epistemology, but certainly hasn't been without its detractors in the history of philosophy. Many ancient Greek philosophers, Plato and…
Presuppositional  Apologetics  Scripturalism  Empiricism 
september 2018 by benisai
Shen Gua’s Empiricism — Ya Zuo | Harvard University Press
"Shen Gua (1031–1095) is a household name in China, known as a distinguished renaissance man and the author of Brush Talks from Dream Brook, an old text whose remarkable “scientific” discoveries make it appear curiously ahead of its time. In this first book-length study of Shen in English, Ya Zuo reveals the connection between Shen’s life as an active statesman and his ideas, specifically the empirical stance manifested through his wide-ranging inquiries. She places Shen on the broad horizon of premodern Chinese thought, and presents his empiricism within an extensive narrative of Chinese epistemology.
"Relying on Shen as a searchlight, Zuo focuses in on how an individual thinker summoned conditions and concepts from the vast Chinese intellectual tradition to build a singular way of knowing. Moreover, her study of Shen provides insights into the complex dynamics in play at the dawn of the age of Neo-Confucianism and compels readers to achieve a deeper appreciation of the diversity in Chinese thinking."
to:NB  books:noted  history_of_ideas  song_dynasty  china  empiricism  confucianism  philosophy  epistemology 
august 2018 by cshalizi
Randomistas | Yale University Press
Experiments have consistently been used in the hard sciences, but in recent decades social scientists have adopted the practice. Randomized trials have been used to design policies to increase educational attainment, lower crime rates, elevate employment rates, and improve living standards among the poor.

This book tells the stories of radical researchers who have used experiments to overturn conventional wisdom. From finding the cure for Scurvy to discovering what policies really improve literacy rates, Leigh shows how randomistas have shaped life as we know it. Written in a “gladwell-esque” style, this book provides a fascinating account of key RCT studies from across the globe and the challenges that randomistas have faced in getting their studies accepted and their findings implemented. In telling these stories, Leigh draws out key lessons learned and shows the most effective way to conduct these trials.
empiricism  experiments  economics  sociology  public_policy  book 
march 2018 by rvenkat
Earning My Turns: A (computational) linguistic farce in three acts
"One curious byproduct of the empiricist ascendancy that is relevant to the present conflict is that measurement became a virtue in itself, sometimes quite independently of what was really being measured. Many empiricist true believers just want the numbers, regardless of whether they correspond to anything relevant to actual language structure and use. [...] In summary, a certain metric fetishism arose that still prevails today for instance in conference reviewing, with the result that interesting models and observations are dismissed unless they improve one of the blessed metrics. Metrics became publishing gatekeepers, easy to apply without thinking, and promoting a kind of p-hacking culture that demeaned explanation and error analysis. Worst, for a practitioner, was that all the metrics are averages, when large deviations is what really matters if you are responsible for a product that should have very low chance of doing something really bad.


Idea! Let's go back to toy problems where we can create the test conditions easily, like the rationalists did back then (even if we don't realize we are imitating them). After all, Atari is not real life, but it still demonstrates remarkable RL progress. Let's make the Ataris of natural language!

But now the rationalists converted to empiricism (with the extra enthusiasm of the convert) complain bitterly. Not fair, Atari is not real life!

Of course it is not. But neither is PTB, nor any of the standard empiricist tasks, which try strenuously to imitate wild language (their funding depends on it!) but really fail, as Harris predicted back in the 1950s. Or even the best of descriptive linguistics, which leaves in the murk all those messy deviations from the nice combinatorics of the descriptive model. "
nlp  fernando-pereira  deep-learning  history  rationalism  empiricism  metrics  research  evaluation 
june 2017 by arsyed

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