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"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
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  • Jul 6 2013: There's an optimistic and a pessimistic approach to this metaphor.

    Optimistically - even faulty systems/poor logic can get it right some times.

    Pessimistically - as getting the right answer is sometimes pure luck, one-off success (or occasional success) shouldn't be taken as evidence of fitness for purpose.
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      Jul 6 2013: Your comment made me think of Alpha and Beta product inspection systems. They use these two methods when they are trying to get a sample of a product and check it for quality control. The difference is the assumption or as you say "approach".
      Alpha inspection - All products have problems unless the opposite is proven.
      Beta inspection - All products works fine unless the opposite is proven.
      Obviously alpha counting system is more expensive as they need to inspect all products.
      The point is experience made that clear none of these methods are acceptable but the combination of these two sounds promising. So they use Alpha then Beta.
      So maybe here it's not bad to take the same approach and trust the systems that passed the alpha phase...

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