Here, as promised, is rough, incomplete, outline-only, not-yet-finished, gist-only version of Chapter 1, Truth, for the book tentatively titled The Philosophy of Probability and Statistics (I’m also toying with The Philosophy of Science, Probability, and Statistics and This Is The Book You Were Thinking Of).
Truth is meant as an introduction or guide to truth and not a disquisition. I don’t have the space for a full justification of the realism-coherence description of truth (which is anyway obvious; and if you say it isn’t, it is), nor for a complete survey of all the alternatives and why they are wrong. I only have enough to prepare the ground for probability—a subject which, it will be no secret to regular readers, is vaster than the mathematical quantification ordinarily thought of as “scientific.”
Chapter 2, incidentally, is Logic, and contains some material that complements Truth, such as a proof that logic cannot be empirical and that our knowledge of it must be, in part, built in. So if you see something missing in Truth, it might be in Logic. Same thing for Chapter 3, Induction. I’m still wavering whether to put Causality with Induction or bust it out on its own.
These three beginning chapters (and a Preface) are the necessary foundation for understanding fully probability and statistics. They are therefore the hardest to write, especially since they must perforce be terse. I don’t want people skipping over things, so they can’t be too long; yet if they are too short, I risk giving key elements short shrift.
I’m not happy with the sections on Scientism and Faith: consider these well underdone, mere placeholders.
Statisticians (me included) receive no philosophy in their formal training, except for inconsistent occasional unanchored tidbits. This is why, for example, most repeat the false proposition “All models are wrong”, when nearly the exact opposite is true. Others claim to “use falsification all the time”, which itself is falsified. And so on. Like most people who have no education in an area, the limited knowledge statisticians do possess is thought sufficient and complete. Since this is not so, before work commences on the subject proper, I need these three (four?) chapters whose main job is to prove there is more to be known and to highlight and point to places where complete descriptions might be found.
Anyway, here you go. Unless you have something so secret you don’t want any except the NSA and me to know, please leave comments below and don’t email. That way I won’t misplace them. Don’t point out typos. Way too early for that. Oh, the footnotes, references, and index are far, far from complete.
Update Like I said, Faith was merely a sketch, but upon further reflection, I think I’ll add it to Induction, where it is much better placed (given what I want to say about belief in the unseen).