Unfathomed Knowledge in a Bottle

  • W. W. BartleyIII
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 117)


I wanted to give John Watkins a birthday surprise, so I decided to say a few unexpected things about the unexpectable.


Objective Theory Wall Street Journal Informative Content Objective Knowledge Objective Content 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    Popper used the idea in his lectures for many years, and has discussed it in many of his writings. A very clear and brief summary appears in his Unended Quest (La Salle: Open Court, 1976), Section 7. Watkins used the idea briefly in his Hobbes’s System of Ideas: A Study in the Political Significance of Philosophical Theories (London: Hutchinson, 1965), pp. 22–23, although confining himself chiefly to that aspect of the idea that deals with its logical content; I have used it in a number of places including my ‘Ein schwieriger Mensch’, in Eckhard Nordhofen (Ed.), Physiognomien: Philosophen des 20. Jahrhunderts in Portraits (Königstein/Ts.: Athenäum, 1980), pp. 43–69; ‘Knowledge is a Product Not Fully Known to Its Producer’, in Kurt Leube and Albert Zlabinger (Eds.), The Political Economy of Freedom (Munich: Philosophia Verlag, 1985), my ‘Alienation Alienated: The Economics of Knowledge versus the Psychology and Sociology of Knowledge’, in Gerard Radnitzky and W.W. Bartley, III (Eds.), Evolutionary Epistemology, Rationality and the Sociology of Knowledge (La Salle: Open Court, 1987), pp. 423–451; and in the ‘Afterword, 1985’ to my Wittgenstein, Second Edition, revised and enlarged (La Salle: Open Court, 1986; London: Hutchinson, 1987) as well as in my forthcoming book, Unfathomed Knowledge, Infinite Ignorance. See also my The Retreat to Commitment, Second Edition, revised and enlarged (La Salle: Open Court, 1984), Appendix 2, ‘Logical Strength and Demarcation’, pp. 185–209.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Alfred Tarski, ‘On the Concept of Logical Consequence’, Chapter 16 of his Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956), pp. 409–420.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    See Watkins, Hobbes, op. cit., p. 23, n. 1, and Popper, Unended Quest, op. cit., pp. 26–27 and n. 18, p. 199.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Unended Quest, p. 28.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Popper, Unended Quest.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    For discussions of objective content, see Popper, Objective Knowledge (London: Oxford University Press, 1972), as well as Conjectures and Refutations (London: Routledge, 1963).Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    This would also have to be so since a new theory both explains and corrects its predecessor, as well as correcting the corroborating evidence for it. See ‘The Aim of Science’ in Objective Knowledge (London: Oxford University Press, 1972). See also Realism and the Aim of Science, Vol. I of Postscript to the Logic of Scientific Discovery, ed. W.W. Bartley, III (London: Hutchinson, 1983).Google Scholar
  8. 11a.
    K.R. Popper, The Poverty of Historicism (London: Routledge, 1957), especially the prefaceGoogle Scholar
  9. 11b.
    K.R. Popper, The Open Universe: An Argument for Indeterminism, vol. II of Postscript to the Logic of Scientific Discovery, W.W. Bartley, III (Ed.) (London: Hutchinson, 1982), especially sections 20–24.Google Scholar
  10. 12.
    See my ‘Knowledge is a Product Not Fully Known to Its Producer’, op. cit. and my ‘Alienation Alienated: The Economics of Knowledge versus the Psychology and Sociology of Knowledge’, op. cit. See also the Afterword to my Wittgenstein, Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged (La Salle: Open Court, 1985).Google Scholar
  11. 13.
    See my discussion in ‘Alienation Alienated’, op. cit. Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    Even whether AIDS is caused by the AIDS virus (i.e. HIV) has been a matter of some controversy. See Peter Duesberg, ‘Retroviruses as Carcinogens and Pathogens: Expectations and Reality’, Cancer Research, March 1, 1987, as well as the report in Discovery, June 1988, pp. 62–68 sketching a preview of the report to be presented in Stockholm in June 1988 to the effect that although (as argued by Duesberg) T-cell infection, on its own, probably cannot cause AIDS, HIV does nonetheless wage a crippling onslaught on a different class of immune-system cells: macrophages. Another mechanism that destroys uninfected T-cells in the formation of syncytia.Google Scholar
  13. 17a.
    When it was discovered not to be effective as hoped in treating cancer, its economic value fell. See the article on the drug, and on the work of Jerome P. Horwitz in developing synthetic AZT in the 1960s, in The New York Times, September 20, 1986, pp. 1 and, on p. 7, ‘A Failure Led to Drug Against AIDS’. See also Erik Eckhobn, Test Results Are Due on Drug to Fight Aids’, New York Times, September 18, 1986, p. A22, and ‘AIDS Drug is Raising Host of Thorny Issues’, New York Times, September 18, 1986, p. 38. See also Marilyn Chase, ‘Promise Is Seen in Tests of Drug for Treating AIDS’, Wall Street Journal, March 14, 1986, p. 18, and ‘Burroughs-Wellcome Test of AIDS Drug May Be Halted, Suggesting Initial Success’, Wall Street Journal, September 17, 1986.Google Scholar
  14. 18a.
    Kozo Yamada, Humio Kuzuya et al., ‘Studies on Some Actions of Sulphated Polysaccharides on Arteriosclerosis (IV), Oral Administration of Dextran Sulphate’, Japanese Circulation Journal, 25, June 1961; US Patent No. 3,126,320, March 14, 1964 Yuki Tashiro and Shinichi Fukumoto, ‘Therapeutic Results of Arteriosclerosis by Dextran Sulfate (MDS)’ in Japanese Circulation Journal, 29, March 1965; I. Hirono et al., ‘Carcinogenicity of Dextran Sulphate Sodium in Relation to Its Molecular Weight’, Cancer Letter 18 (29), 1983; Ryuju Ueno and Sachiko Kuno, ‘Dextran Sulphate, a Potent Anti-HIV Agent in Vitro Having Synergism with Zidovudine’, The Lancet, June 13, 1987, p. 1379, reporting also a personal communication from H. Mitsuya and S. Broder, of the US National Cancer Institute; M. Berenbaum, ‘Anti-HIV Synergy Between Dextran Sulfate and Zidovudine’, The Lancet, August 22, 1987, p. 461; H. Mitsuya and Samuel Broder, ‘Strategies for Antiviral Therapy in AIDS’, Nature (1987) 325; 773–778; Ryuji Ueno and Sachiko Kuno ‘Anti-HIV Synergism Between Dextran Sulphate and Zidovudine’, The Lancet, October 3, 1987; M. Ito, et al., ‘Inhibitory Effect of Dextran Sulphate and Heparin on the Replication of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Vitro1, Antiviral Research, 7(6), 361 (1987); H. Nakashima et al., ‘Purification and Characterization of an Avian Myeloblastosis and HIV Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor, Sulphated Polysaccharides Extracted from Sea Algae’, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 31 (10); 1524, (1987). See also Marilyn Chase, ‘Defusing a Bomb; Doctors and Patients Hope AZT Will Help to Stave Off AIDS’, Wall Street Journal, April 28, 1988, pp. 1 and 19, in which dextran sulphate is discussed briefly.Google Scholar
  15. 19.
    See F.A. von Hayek, The Fatal Conceit, W.W. Bartley, III (Ed.), being vol. I of The Collected Works of FA. Hayek (London: Routledge, 1988). See also ‘Economics and Knowledge’ and ‘The Use of Knowledge in Society’ in Individualism and Economic Order (London: Routledge, 1948).Google Scholar
  16. 20.
    But they were of course not then described and understood as they are today in terms of DNA, RNA, and reverse transcriptase, these aspects of genetic theory being at the time not yet discovered! Reverse transcriptase was discovered only in the late 60s, and David Baltimore and Howard Temin were awarded the Nobel Prize for it as recently as 1975. See Dani Bolognesi, Human Retroviruses, Cancers, and AIDS: Approaches to Prevention and Therapy (New York: Alan R. Liss, Inc., 1988).Google Scholar
  17. 24.
    See Esteban F. Thomsen, ‘Knowledge, Discovery, and Prices’, in Humane Studies Review, 5, (1), 1–17 (Fall 1987).Google Scholar
  18. 25.
    The Open Society and Its Enemies (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1945), Vol. I, Chap. 5, n. 6 (2); Vol. I, Chap. 9, n. 2.Google Scholar
  19. 26a.
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, 1963. See also Ninian Smart, Mind, October 1958Google Scholar
  20. 26b.
    J.J.C. Smart, An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics (Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 1961)Google Scholar
  21. 26c.
    H.B. Acton, ‘Negative Utilitarianism’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, 1963Google Scholar
  22. 26d.
    Richard Robinson, An Atheist’s Values (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964), p. 18.Google Scholar
  23. 26e.
    See also Eduard von Hartmann, Das sittliche Bewußtsein (Berlin: Duncker, 1879)Google Scholar
  24. 26f.
    Aurel Kolnai, ‘The Thematic Primacy of Moral Evil’, Philosophical Quarterly, January 1956.Google Scholar
  25. 27.
    But see John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1980).Google Scholar
  26. 28.
    See my The Retreat to Commitment, op. cit., Appendix I.Google Scholar
  27. 30a.
    Watkins’s paper was, incidentally, published in 1963, when homosexuality was still illegal in Britain, and was widely being referred to as a ‘victimless crime’. See The Wolfenden Report: Report of the Committee on Homosexual Offenses and Prostitution, Authorized American Edition, with Introduction by Karl Menninger, M.D. (New York: Lancer Books, 1964),Google Scholar
  28. 30b.
    Edwin M. Schur, Crimes Without Victims: Deviant Behavior and Public Policy: Abortion, Homosexuality, Drug Addiction (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1965).Google Scholar
  29. 31a.
    See Winifred Rosen, ‘Down the Up Staircase’, Harper’s, June 1973, pp. 28–36. Notes on Ichazo and even a cartoon about Arica also appeared in The New Yorker.Google Scholar
  30. 31b.
    See the discussion of, and dialogue with, Ichazo by John C. Lilly, The Center of the Cyclone: An Autobiography of Inner Space (New York: Bantam Books, 1973).Google Scholar
  31. 32.
    See also Robert S. De Ropp, The Master Game: Beyond the Drug Experience (New York: Delta, 1968), pp. 154–157.Google Scholar
  32. 34.
    Nor, as Watkins thinks, does one need decisions for basic statements. Moreover, it is doubtful whether criticism even in natural science is centered chiefly on observational test statements. See The Retreat to Commitment, op. cit., Appendix 3.Google Scholar
  33. 35.
    (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1941).Google Scholar
  34. 36.
    E.S. Turner, Roads to Ruin: The Shocking History of Social Reform (London: Penguin Books, 1966).Google Scholar
  35. 37.
    Unended Quest, op. cit., 82, 193; The Open Society and Its Enemies (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1945), pp. 107, 108, 139, 235, 238, 239, 256, 304, 324, 384–85; Conjectures and Refutations (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1963), pp. 181,345,361; The Self and Its Brain (New York: Springer, 1979), p. 168.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© W. W. Bartley, III 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. W. BartleyIII
    • 1
  1. 1.Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and PeaceStanford UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations