Is it necessary to reject authority?

Knowledge is conjectural, and we are all fallible. When everything is open to question and we do not hold anything or anyone as an authority, we are free to correct errors that otherwise would have kept us stuck and miserable. Yay!

Bedtimes and ill effects of lack of sleep

Parents interpret unwanted behaviour of their young children as an ‘ill effect’. Not because the parent is stupid or malevolent, but because all observation is theory laden, and because causation cannot be observed.

Identifying coercion is itself a creative task

Overt coercion is less likely to corrupt children’s interpretation of what is happening to them. But given that part of our self respect as parents taking our children seriously comes from being non-coercive, it might well be that the coercion we inadvertently engage in is interpretation-corrupting double binds. So we need to be particularly aware of the subtle mind-messing forms of coercion.

Clarifying Karl Popper’s epistemology

Karl Popper’s theory prevails because it solves problems other theories of the growth of knowledge fail to solve, it is a better explanation than its rivals, and it unifies ideas previously thought to be unconnected.

Educational theory: science or philosophy?

One of our best theories (the framework theory of evolution) is not scientific, but that it is none the worse for that. And all scientific theories rely on a philosophical framework.

Trying to turn philosophy into science is a mistake

We are always dealing with our theories of what is happening, never something more ‘pure’. ‘Observed behaviour’ is shorthand for ‘our theories of observed behaviour’. All observation is theory-laden. Sometimes theories’ apparent failures in empirical tests are no such thing—we just made a mistake. Science does not have any special status.

Ideas colour experience

People’s notion that young children are irrational or that teenagers are obnoxious colours their view of what is happening in reality. They see irrationality/awfulness where none exists.

Theory-laden observation

Sense perceptions—physical sensations—DEPEND—on a rather low level—on how one is thinking about them. Observation is theory-laden.