The search for the mythical episteme has a potential new tool: the poker machine. The manufacturers code answers to potential problem situations and assign probabilities of the answers being correct. All the players need do is press buttons to choose the problems then run the bets. Occasionally victory tones will ring along with a shower of tokens on the screen to signify a probable problem solution.
Poker machines can be intoxicating, a good win can deceive us into thinking a pattern of success will follow. One can believe anything without good reason.
We already have ways of guessing solutions to life’s puzzles and problems: dreaming, chatting, looking, listening, smelling, feeling, intuiting, assuming past patterns are portents, ad infinitum. Bayesian inference is one of the commonly preferred poker machines, and there are other brands with labels such as induction and abduction.
In the beginning is the problem, and next off the rank is the guess. Guesses are what we living beings do, mainly unconsciously (e.g. mutations, migration etc), and it is psychologically comforting to think we guess correctly. Indeed through the aeons a lot of the guesses must have been pretty good otherwise there would be no life.
The trouble is, no matter how psychologically tempting it might be to believe in the outcomes of guesses, there is no logical inference that can verify them. No wonder Karl Popper is not popular, for no gambler wants to be told his addiction is based on groundless belief or that his poker machines have limited payouts.
The trouble with gamblers and epistemic philosophers in general is that they give greater dignity to the statement “I know snow is white”, than to the statement “snow is white”, as said Karl Popper on page 141 of “Objective Knowledge” 1972. Why? Are we really seeking truth or not?
We must distinguish between the psychology of science and the logic of science. We must also distinguish between the desire for meaningfulness and objective truth. Falsifiability means we are prepared to put our money where our mouths are…no matter what the outcome.