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There is a second, related difficulty. Assume, for the sake of argument, that it is desirable to have a unified belief system in Kitcher's sense — whether because unification is connected to explanation and the latter is intrinsically valuable or because unification is connected to other goals (e.g., confirmation) that are desirable. It is still not obvious why it would be valuable to have a set of beliefs that are a smallish proper subset of the beliefs that comprise such a unified system, which is what most people seem to have, given Kitcher's views about the transmission of causal knowledge. Recall Kitcher's basic picture: when I acquire the belief that, say, whether salt is hexed is causally irrelevant to whether it dissolves Equation editor and that whether it is placed in water is causally relevant, I acquire a fragment of the community's overall systemization S. But adding a fragment of S or even a number of fragments of S to my belief store may not result in my having a belief system that is unified, or that facilitates whatever epistemic goals are associated with unification. Of course if I end up adding all or most of S to my belief store, I will have at that point a set of beliefs that is unified and that brings with it all of the benefits of unification. But, as Kitcher agrees, it is unrealistic to suppose that most people possess anything like the full systemization S that best unifies all of the beliefs in their community. This seems to be true, for example, of our own epistemic community, in which knowledge — especially scientific knowledge — is highly dispersed among Scientific software a small group of experts and in which no single person's mind (and still less the typical member's mind) contains or operates in accordance with the systemization that best unifies the beliefs of the entire community. More generally, it seems unlikely that the different portions Bi of the community systemization S that various individuals i acquire by means of cultural transmission will be in each case highly unified systemizations. In short, it is a major problem with the cultural transmission story that it is hard to see how unification could be cognitively or practically valuable unless it characterizes the belief systems of individuals and not just the community. However, taking the sort of unification that Kitcher associates with causal and explanatory knowledge to characterize individual belief systems seems prima -facie psychologically unrealistic. This is not to say that there is no way of making sense of the acquisition of causal knowledge on the unificationist picture, but a great deal more needs to be said about how this works.

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