Popper and Miller
In a message dated 2/4/2016 10:27:45 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes: "Popper ... explains [this] in terms of the
difference between logical and material implication ... which distinction JL
Mackie failed to observe when he made a similar "self-contradictory" criticism
in his review of Popper's Schilpp volumes."
That had the ball rolling, as it well.
I.e. that started it all, as it were. I.e. the Mackie thread.
Because Mackie is an expert in probability -- he wrote a whole book on
that, and it even inspired Griceians like Jackson and D. K. Lewis as to how to
deal implicaturally with "NON-material implication" conditionals.
Now, Popper had played with Alfred Landé's dangerous blade, hadn't he?
And the blade had an strange effect on Watkins.
So, Watkins centred his contribution to the Schillp volume on the blade.
Now, when Mackie reviewed the Schlipp collection of essays ("Library of
Living Philosophers," because Popper was living then) he found that Watkins's
treatment of the blade was not too sharp (""[B]lunt" would be an
overstatement," -- Mackie).
And so Watkins had 'second thoughts' on the blade.
It IS a dangerous blade, admittedly.
For the Italians amongst us, the Merli-Missiroli-Pozzi's experiment may be
be seen as a microscopic version of the Lande's blade, which would rather
Alfred Lande's billiard balls become for Merli, Missoroli, and Pozzi,
Alfred Lande's blade becomes for Merli, Missoroli and Pozzi, the bi-prism
wire, if you've seen one.
In Lande's device, that fascinated Popper, rough big billiard balls roll
down a chute onto the edge of a blade -- that Popper named "Lande's" -- cfr.
Wittgenstein's Poker -- was it Wittgenstein's, really?).
In any case, about half of Alfred Lande's big billiard balls or Merli's,
Missoroli's and Pozzi's small electrons are deflected to one side.
About the other half falls on the other side.
The important point to notice is that in Lande's macroscopic blade or in
Merli's, Missoroli's, and Pozzi's microscopic blade, is not that the balls
(or electrons, or corpuscules, asa I prefer) are EQUALLY distributed on each
It is Alfred Lande's device itself (that Popper figuratively called
"Lande's blade" -- short for "Lande's bland argument") does not cause ALL the
billiard balls (or electrons) to fall to one side only.
What Lande, and, a fortiori, Popper, want to show -- but according to
Miller, convincingly, they fail, "if for different reasons"-- is that there
be no deterministic explanation of statistical probability.
"No more, no less," as Geary has it.
Now, Popper’s reasoning indeed, did have supporters (within the "Popper
Circle", notably Watkins in his second thoughts on the blade. But why is it
that it somewhat had more critics: Mackie for one, and Miller for two?
One reason may be that Popper could not play billiards.
One of Lande's favourite quotes by Geary: "The revolutionary hypotheses of
yesterday are today hardened into axioms."
Geary explained to me that by "today," Lande meant the day when Lande
wrote that not the day when I _learned_ that. I learned many other things from
Geary. Geary told me that Lande's famous g-factor "was named after Grice."
Be J the total electronic angular momentum, L is the orbital angular
momentum, and S is the spin angular momentum. Because S=1/2 for electrons, one
often sees this formula written with 3/4 in place of S(S+1). The quantities gL
and gS are other g-factors of an electron.
But I checked the dates and either Lande is referring to an ancestor to
_our_ Grice, or else 'g' stands also for 'God', who, again to quote from
Geary, "works in mysterious ways," and can well make Lande make Grice one of
sources for his infamous blade.