My last post playing with ChatGPT

I was a bit chuffed that ChatGPT knows about the JRD thesis, and then I whinged about the fact that it confabulates like mad. Turns out the former is just an instance of the latter.1

When asked cold about the James-Rudner-Douglas thesis, it denies knowing that there is such a thing. However, I was able to reconstruct the path that got me to the answers that I discussed in my earlier post: Ask about the Argument from Inductive Risk first in the same conversation, and it reports confidently about the thesis.

It has no real hold on the thesis at all, though. In four runs, it describes the thesis variously as the claim that—

  • it is impossible to determine the truth or falsity of a statement or theory with complete certainty
  • the truth of a given statement depends on the context in which it is made
  • there are no objective truths and that all truths are subjective, meaning that they are dependent on the individual who holds them
  • challenges the idea of determinism, which is the belief that all events are predetermined and inevitable

It always goes on to attribute the thesis to three people, coming up with William James but then often losing the thread of what the names were supposed to be. The line-ups include—

  • the American philosopher and psychologist William James, the American philosopher Norman Rudner, and the British philosopher C. D. Broad
  • the philosophers William James, Brandon Rudner, and Christopher Douglas
  • the American philosopher and psychologist William James, the British philosopher Karl Popper, and the American philosopher C. I. Lewis
  • the philosophers William James, David Rudner, and Frank Plumpton Ramsey
Three adolescent prep school boys look at a book, maybe.
“James, Rudner, and Douglas discover a thesis” as rendered by MidJourney. It’s like a Hardy Boys mystery, I guess.
  1. My timeline is awash in people posting their interactions with ChatGPT, so it’s already done to death. I’ve written this post just because it nicely synthesizes my two earlier posts.

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