Possibilian and Beyond

Neuroscientist David Eagleman outlines a position that would be quite at home in the DM:

I have no doubt that we will continue to add to the pier of knowledge, appending several new slats in each generation. But we have no guarantee how far we’ll get. There may be some domains beyond the tools of science – perhaps temporarily, perhaps always. We also have to acknowledge that we won’t answer many of the big questions in our brief twinkling of a 21st-century lifetime: even if science can determine the correct answer, we won’t get to enjoy hearing it.

This situation calls for an openness in approaching the big questions of our existence. When there is a lack of meaningful data to weigh in on a problem, good scientists are comfortable holding many possibilities at once, rather than committing to a particular story over others. In light of this, I have found myself surprised by the amount of certainty out there.

This is why I call myself a “possibilian”. Possibilianism emphasises the active exploration of new, unconsidered notions. A possibilian is comfortable holding multiple ideas in mind and is not driven by the idea of fighting for a single, particular story. The key emphasis of possibilianism is to shine a flashlight around the possibility space. It is a plea not simply for open-mindedness, but for an active exploration of new ideas.

Of course, following dat bunny is essentially about a possibilian slowly becoming a plausibilian. If y’know what I mean.

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