Episode 56

#56 - Ask Us Anything IV: Certainty, Emergence, and Popperian Imperatives


November 1st, 2023

1 hr 21 mins 32 secs

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About this Episode

Perhaps you thought, in your infinite ignorance, that the release of the previous episode marked the end of the age of the AMA! But nay my friends, the age of the AMA has just begun! We'll answer your questions until the cows come home; until Godot arrives; until all the world's babies are potty-trained. Or, at least, until we stop laughing.

We discuss

  • Potty training, taking babies seriously, and adult diapers
  • Why Vaden never daydreams, fantasizes, or minds spending 10 hours in a car
  • Whether the subjective notions of certainty, belief, or confidence deserve a spot in the objective world of epistemology
  • Whether sports are authoritarian
  • Whether spreading Popper's epistemology is a moral imperative
  • The role of school and educational institutions
  • Whether emergence is the result of the interplay between physical reality and the reality of abstraction


  1. (Tom) Can any thinking take place completely independent of any certainty (explicitly acknowledged or inexplicit) whatsoever? Or can we introduce alternative terms to 'certainty' and 'confidence' to describe how individuals process their convictions, consent, and agreement? If 'certainty' and 'confidence' connote justificationism, can a fallibilist dismiss these terms entirely?

  2. (Tom) Can fallibilism, anti-authoritarianism, anti-justificationism, and critical rationalism overall operate effectively in the highly competitive space of sports, especially professional sports?

  3. (Andrew) If our best theory of how to make rapid progress comes from Popper's epistemology, should making it more widely known/understood be considered a moral imperative? If not, why? If so, thoughts?

  4. (Andrew) This one has been hanging about in my notes for a couple of years so I'm not sure it's a great question any more, but something zingy about the interplay between reality, abstractions and their effects on each other has pushed me to add it here: Is emergence the result of the interplay between physical reality and the reality of abstractions?


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