TED Conversations

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

"Even a broken clock is right twice a day. " Is it really right?

So I posted this quote as my google statues and my friend had an Idea:
"Unless you don't have a reliable standard to compare that clock with, it is useless to consider this fact that the clock might be right 2 times. Clock is a measurement instrument with which you measure something else, so if you wan't to verify it you need another clock which works 100% correct"
What do you think? Shouldn't we consider that maybe others can be right sometimes? How can we define this "standard" that my friend mentioned?

Topics: philosophy

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jul 4 2013: If we compare our stopped clock with one that only shows hours, we could conclude that it's correct twice a day, or one-twelfth of the time. If our reference clock also shows minutes, we'd conclude that it's still correct twice a day, but only one-720'th of the time. If it shows seconds it's still correct twice but only one-43,200th of the time. Well, you get the point. If we have a cesium clock that can measure millionths of a second ...

    As the denominator in our rate approaches infinity, the time period of theoretical clock-correctness approaches a limit of zero, and eventually becomes a practical non-event, though this non-event still happens twice a day. (By the way, to verify that your reference clock is "100% correct" you would need another reference clock, etc...)

    Sure, "others can be right sometimes." And to others, we're the "others." By chance, we could be right sometimes, too. I think others are right most of the time; at least right for themselves. And we and the others can both be right, even when we disagree. What we're mostly not right about is that others aren't right.
    • thumb
      Jul 5 2013: Well said Paul, I think as you say the "scope" matters and by scope I mean the level of details that we intend to use or they are useful to get us the results. in this metaphor it's important that we define a scope too, for example if we want to count the hours, minutes, seconds, etc...
      Hence, if we are going to trust a random "other", we need to include the "scope" as a variable too.
      I hope I get your point correctly.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.