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Secure Means of Building

The pragmatist Charles Peirce held, against Descartes, that nothing was indubitable. Each thing was open to doubt, although not all things at once. Each thing could be doubted on the basis of other propositions that were, at that particular moment, not actually in doubt. Their turn could come later. Otto Neurath, followed by W.V. Quine, likened our situation to that of sailors who have to rebuild a ship at sea: while standing on somewhat rotten planks, they must repair and replace the others. Every plank sooner or later gets repaired. Everything is open to transformation. Nothing stays fixed. Even something as fundamental as the principle of noncontradiction can be open to questioning and to revision.

—Robert Nozick, Invariances: The Structure of the Objective World

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