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The old "possible vs. probable" discussion

Mar 03, 2002 10:20 PM
by danielhcaldwell

Bill Meredith wrote in part:

> I certainly don't want to reopen the old "possible vs. probable"
> discussion -- especially with Daniel.:)

Unfortunately, the earlier discussion on "possible vs. probable" only 
scratched the surface of a very important issue which is extremely 
relevant to the study of theosophical history.

New readers may be interested in the following material 
regarding "possible vs. probable":

First a quote from THE MODERN RESEARCHER by Barzun and Graff to set 
the stage:

"The rule of 'Give Evidence' is not be be violated. . . .No matter how
possible or plausible the author's conjecture it cannot be accepted
as truth if he has only his hunch to support it. Truth rests not on 
possibility or plausibility but on probability. Probability means the 
balance of chances that, GIVEN SUCH AND SUCH EVIDENCE, the event it 
records happened in a certain way; or, in other cases, that a 
supposed event did not in fact take place." Caps added.

See the following sources:

How the Mind Seeks Truth
[extracted from THE MODERN RESEARCHER by Barzun and Graff]

The Four Step Process of Discovery:
How to Discriminate Between What is
Possible and What is Probable

A More Detailed Outline of the 4-Step Process of Discovery

An Example of How the 4-Step Process Works

A pole vault contest

Steve Stubbs on "scientific evidence" : But what about the UNPACKING 

The "possibility/plausibility" method of argument: An example

Daniel H. Caldwell
"...Contrast alone can enable us to appreciate things at
their right value; and unless a judge compares notes and
hears both sides he can hardly come to a correct decision."
H.P. Blavatsky. The Theosophist, July, 1881, p. 218.

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