Tag Archives: epistemics

James Boswell

[Johnson] bid me always remember this, that after a system is well settled upon positive evidence, a few objections ought not to shake it. “The human mind is so limited that it cannot take in all parts of a subject; so that there may be objections raised against anything. There are objections against a plenum, and objections against a vacuum. Yet one of them must certainly be true.”

James Boswell, London Journal, 22 July 1763

Toby Ord

A further reason some people avoid giving numbers is that they don’t want to be pinned down, preferring the cloak of vagueness that comes with natural language. But I’d love to be pinned down, to lay my cards on the table and let others see if improvements can be made. It is only through such clarity and openness to being refuted that we make intellectual progress.

Toby Ord, The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity, London, 2020, p. 379

Douglas Hubbard

While it is common for academics to dig up prior research, this practice seems to be vastly underutilized by management. When managers think about measuring productivity, performance, quality, risk, or customer satisfaction, it strikes me as surprisingly rare that the first place they start is looking for existing research on the topic. Even with tools like Google and Google Scholar that make this simpler than ever before, there is a tendency with many managers to start each problem from scratch.

Douglas Hubbard, How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of “Intangibles” in Business, Hoboken, 2014, 3rd ed., p. 59