Understanding internal vs external distinctions

Foundations of Logic Facebook group question about philosophical knowledge

[ 19/Feb/21 Foundations of Logic Facebook group – Walter Smith asked:
What is the difference between:
internalistic-philosophical knowledge,
externalistic-philosophical knowledge and
scientific knowledge?
There are no differences or there are differences (which ones?)]

For me, the very ideas of internalism vs externalism derive from an over simplification of a complex reality within which we exist.

There is a sense in which, when one is constructing models, then one must start with simple sets, and expand upon them as necessary.

What appears to be “necessary” will vary considerably with the depth of the enquiry one undertakes (and the depth and subtlety of the modeling structure required to support such a journey).

So if one starts with simple distinctions of internal/external and true/false, then one ends up with the sort of question posed above.

If one has spent a few decades exploring the “spaces” of all possible modeling systems, all possible systems of “truth values” (and not simply the simplest one of binary truth values – True/False), and has spent some substantial time investigating the nature of physical reality, cosmology, physics, chemistry, biology, evolution, and the emergence of complex intelligence; then one can start to appreciate both the necessity for the emergence of simple models like “True/False” and “Interior/Exterior” and also their inadequacy to be able to provide a reasonable approximation to the reality we seem to exist in and be part of.

When one does that to sufficient degrees of depth and abstraction, then one can see the utility of such simple contexts, particularly in contexts where time and computational capacity are limited, and one can also start to appreciate their inadequacy if one is taking a broader, deeper, or longer term view.

Thus when one looks are how evolution can lead to the emergence of successive levels of cooperative complex adaptive systems that can eventually (at sufficient levels of complexity) support symbolic models of the reality within which they exist, and then sustain a software system that has that symbolic model as its experiential reality, then one starts to grasp why the simplistic models of interior and exterior are necessarily inadequate, even as both contain pointers to necessary attributes of a vastly more complex reality.

As to the charactisation of science as “a way of learning about the world through observation and logical reasoning” – that again is a vast simplification of something vastly more complex. The process of coming up with a hypothesis to investigate by the many levels of the methods of the modern scientific method seems to be powered by many levels of essentially “random search” across the space of “possibilities”. And there are many levels of “tuning” of “random search” embodied within us by evolution at both biological and cultural levels; and sometimes such “tuning” is relevant and useful, and sometimes it is not.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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