Monday, December 8, 2014

Fifth Harmony Explains Kuhnian Paradignm Shifts

In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn explains how one scientific paradigm comes to replace another. A paradigm is a broad theoretical framework or theory that influences the way in which branches of sciences are done. Part of Kuhn's explanation for how one paradigm replaces another is the incommensurability thesis. This thesis states that two paradigms are incommensurable - i.e., they can't be compared, and there's no rational basis for comparison or choosing between the two.

For example, consider when the Copernican Revolution occurred in the 16th century. The two paradigms in this example are (1) the geocentric model of the universe (the theory that the earth was the center of our universe) and (2) the heliocentric model of the universe (the theory that the sun is the center of our universe). What contributed to the shift from the geocentric model of the universe to the heliocentric model is the fact that the two paradigms are incommensurable. The old paradigm, the geocentric model, had problems (e.g., we couldn't use it to explain or predict the orbit of other planets), but the new paradigm, the heliocentric model, also had problems (e.g., we needed an explanation for why it didn't feel or seem like we were moving if the earth was constantly moving).

The two paradigms are not comparable because they both have a different set of problems they are trying to solve and they may explain things in different ways. When a new paradigm is proposed and eventually adopted, it's not because it simply solves the problems of the old paradigm - it helps explain some observations that caused problems for the old paradigm, but it does so at the cost of raising and having to answer a new set of questions.

To help explain this idea of a paradigm shift, I'll compare Kuhn's explanation with Fifth Harmony's "Miss Movin' On." This will entail comparing paradigm shifts to the ending and beginning of romantic relationships.

First, to help the analogy, imagine that Fifth Harmony are a group of scientists who have been working under a particular paradigm for their entire career. "Miss Movin' On" then seems like a song describing the difficulty of leaving one paradigm and deciding to work under another.

I'm breakin' down
Gonna start from scratch
Shake it off like an etch-a-sketch
My lips are saying goodbye
My eyes are finally dry

I'm not the way that I used to be
I took the record off repeat
It killed me but I survived
And now I'm coming alive

It's not easy to switch paradigms - especially if you've been working within a particular paradigm for most of your life. However, once they decide to move on to the new paradigm they find a new life and a seemingly new purpose.The question becomes: what prompts the community of scientists to switch from one paradigm to another? Kuhn's radical answer: it's a matter of choice on the part of the scientists. It's not that the new paradigm is somehow "truer" or "more correct" than the old paradigm - switching paradigms is something like a matter of faith. We choose the new paradigm because we have faith that it will better explain things than the old paradigm. Given that the new paradigm has an entirely new set of different and foreseeable problems, what justifies this thought that the new paradigm will be better at explaining things is a leap of faith.

Using a romantic relationship as an analogy: what causes someone to switch from one partner to another? It's not that you know the new partner will be better than the old (i.e., it's not that you know the new partner will solve all the problems of the previous relationship). Sure your ex had a lot of problems, but the new person has even more potential for problems given that you know so little about them! It's something like a matter of faith - you just have faith that this new person will be better than the last (despite all the unknowns surrounding the new person).

You and your ex once had a new, exciting, and sometimes scary, relationship. Every now and then a problem within the relationship would arise. Eventually these problems would add up and there'd be a crisis. At the time of crisis you have to decide whether you should stay with the person with which there are all these problems, or you have to decide if you're going to switch to a new person about whom you know very little. With this new person there could be equally as many problems. So, you have to decide whether to make the current relationship work despite it's problems (you have to try and work through the problems), or whether you are willing to take a chance on a new relationship. Should you decide to give the new relationship a try, it wasn't because it solved all the problems of the old relationship. Some things may not be an issue anymore, but there are new, and different, problems in the new relationship.

So, while you find yourself singing:

I jumped the fence to the other side (the other side)
My whole world was electrified (electrified)
Now I'm no longer afraid
It's Independence Day (It's Independence Day)

remember that taking a leap of faith may be worth the difficulty of switching paradigms.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Lesson in Validity and Soundness

One of the very first things that gets discussed in most philosophy courses is the definition of validity and soundness. An argument, roughly, is made any time some one tries to convince you to either do or belief in something by giving you reasons. These reasons are usually referred to as "premises," and they are offered in support of some conclusion. The conclusion is the thing that you are trying to get someone else to either do or believe.

A valid argument is an argument where if the premises were true, the conclusion would have to be true. Note: this does not mean that a valid argument is true. An argument can be valid without having true premises. Again, a valid argument is just an argument where if the premises were true, the conclusion would have to be true. A sound argument, on the other hand, is a valid argument with true premises. If an argument is valid and has true premises, then the argument is sound. If an argument is not valid, then it cannot be sound (and an argument cannot be sound if it's not also valid).

Here's an example that I use in class of an argument that doesn't count as valid. It comes from Young Money's song, "Bed Rock."

As Young Money artist Lloyd sings in the chorus: 
"Oh, baby. 
I be stuck to you like glue, baby. 
Wanna spend it all on you, baby. 
My room is the G-spot. 
Call me Mr. Flintstone, 
I can make your bed rock."

Thus, we seem to have an argument for referring to Lloyd as 'Mr. Flintstone.' The argument can be reconstructed as follows:
Premise 1: My room is the G-spot
Premise 2: I can make your bed rock
Conclusion: Call me 'Mr. Flintstone'

(In the song P2 and C are flipped. I switched the positioning of each phrase to make it easier to follow.)

This is an argument because Lloyd is trying to convince you to call him 'Mr. Flintstone.' To support the conclusion that you should call Lloyd 'Mr. Flintstone' he offers two primary reasons (or, premises). First, his room is the G-Spot, and second, he can make your bed rock. Now, if this argument were valid, the conclusion would have to follow from the premises (regardless of whether the premises were true). So, if I were to give you the two premises, you should just know the conclusion. I ask, if Lloyd were to just give you these two bits of information:
1: His room is the G-Spot
2: He can make your bed rock

From these two statements alone, are you compelled to, or feel that you must, call Lloyd, 'Mr. Flintstone'? I hope not... As it stands this argument is not valid (i.e., the conclusion does not follow from the premises). Knowing that Lloyd's bedroom is the G-spot, and knowing that he can make your bed rock, does not entail that you (or anyone else) should refer to him as 'Mr. Flintstone.'

Here's another way of demonstrating validity and soundness. Is the following argument valid?
Premise 1: Hannah Montana is a woman
Premise 2: Joey Miller is Hannah Montana
Conclusion: Joey Miller is a woman

This argument is in fact valid. If the two premises were true, then the conclusion would have to be true. If I were Hannah Montana, and Hannah Montana were a woman, then I would also have to be a woman. While valid, this argument is not sound. Sadly, the second premise is not true: I am not Hannah Montana (no matter how badly I would like to be). Here's an example of a similar argument that is sound:
Premise 1: Hannah Montana is a woman
Premise 2: Miley Cyrus is Hannah Montana
Conclusion: Miley Cyrus is a woman

This argument, just like the previous one, is valid. Unlike the previous argument, however, this argument contains all true premises. As such, this argument is sound.

While the argument given by Lloyd and Young Money isn't valid, it seems like there may be some suppressed premises that we could articulate to make the argument valid. I need some help filling in these suppressed premises though. Any thoughts?

Oh, and just because she's helped me to make this point in numerous classes, shout out to Hannah Montana!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Katy Perry Walks Out of Plato's Cave

In the Republic, Plato gives us his famous allegory of the cave. According to Plato, the allegory of the cave, partly, helps to show the value of education. The allegory is roughly structured as follows:

Imagine that people are inside of a cave and that they are chained to the wall. These people are facing another wall - a viewing wall. Behind them there is a fire and a bridge. When things are taken across the bridge, in front of the fire, their shadow projects onto the viewing wall. Thus, the prisoners see the shadows of physical objects. Having only seen shadows, the prisoners come to believe that the shadows of objects are the real objects themselves. However, if the prisoner's were to be unchained and to go outside into the sunlight, they would see the real objects themselves, and they would realize that what they had previously thought was real (the shadows) isn't real. (for a much more more detailed and in-depth explanation of the purpose of Plato's Cave click here and here).

Plato thought that even though it's uncomfortable and at times painful, learning the truth about the world or reality is better than living a life of thinking or believing false things. Keeping with the analogy, having been chained in the cave for your entire life, it would hurt to walk outside: the sun would be blinding, the psychological and emotional impact of realizing everything you thought was real isn't, the desire to go back into the cave may be stronger than the desire to venture out, etc. However, even though it hurts, it's still better to understand the truth about the world than to life thinking that shadows are objects themselves. (Note: this general idea is similar to the premise of The Matrix; if you haven't seen that movie yet, go see it!).

Now, to relate "Wide Awake" to the allegory of the cave:

Let's look at the lyrics:
"Yeah, I was in the dark.
I was falling hard 
With an open heart
(I'm wide awake).  
How did I read the stars 
So wrong?
(I'm wide awake). 
And now it's clear to me  
That everything you see 
Ain't always what it seems
(I'm wide awake)
Yeah, I was dreaming for 
So long." 

It seems like Katy is describing the feeling that one gets when they walk out of the cave and into the light ("how did I read the stars so wrong..."). After this initial, brief, description, she goes on to describe the lesson she has learned ("everything you see ain't always what it seems..."). In the pre-chorus Katy Perry offers a nice explanation of the shock and pain you experience when you come out of Plato's Cave:
"I wish I knew then 
What I know now
Wouldn't dive in. 
Wouldn't bow down. 
Gravity hurts.
You made it so sweet, 
'Til I woke up on, 
On the concrete."

Like Plato though, it seems as if Katy Perry thinks that the quest for truth and understanding is a worthy pursuit.
"I'm wide awake.
Not losing any sleep;
I picked up every piece,
And landed on my feet.
I'm wide awake.
Need nothing to complete myself, no."

If you can stand getting out of the cave, you will then want to continue seeking truth and your life will be better as a result. Seeking the truth, and eventually facing it, will help you get better at handling other truths. Though it hurts, it sounds like Katy Perry's quest for truth has left her happier than she was before ;) 

Monday, July 14, 2014

No Church in The State of Nature

Although I had originally wanted to post this song as a description of Hobbes's state of nature, I found Jay-Z had explicitly mentioned Plato and the Euthyphro dilemma! That being the case, these are the two philosophical ideas I thought were relevant in this song.

First, I'll discuss how this song relates to Hobbes's state of nature. The state of nature, as Hobbes describes it, is a hypothetical time before moral or legal rules. In this time period there is no such thing as immorality or injustice, and everyone is equal (e.g., those that are physically stronger than most people are still able to be defeated by those that are smarter). Given that everyone is equal, everyone is equally subjected to have their property taken, to be enslaved, killed, etc. As such, life in the state of nature is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" for everyone (Leviathan, Chapters 11-14). 

Since none of us want this kind of life, according to Hobbes, moral rules and/or legal rules were created as a result of individuals coming together and realizing it was in their best interest to form something like a contract with other individuals; all of whom found themselves in equally vulnerable circumstances.

Jay-Z and Kanye seem to share a similar sentiment about life without morals (or, life in the wild). Without rules, or some enforcement of rules, then there's no refuge (e.g., church) for any one. Jay-Z does a rather nice job describing the panic and visual spectacles that one could expect to see in a world without morals (e.g., the wild), and why someone would hope for something like a church in the wild. Kanye does a nice job of describing the personal struggles that one would face in the wild, as well as the self-destructive behavior in which most people would engage. My favorite line from Mr. West is the following: 
"Two tattoos, one read "no apologies."
The other said, "love is cursed by monogamy."
That's something that the pastor don't preacher.
That's something that a teacher can't teach.
When we die the money we can't keep,
but we probably spend it all 'cause the pain ain't cheap.

I think the relationship between this song and Hobbes's state of nature is even more convincing if we replace 'wild' with 'state of nature' and replace 'church' with 'morals' (but I'll leave that for you to do).

Where Hov' and Yeezy differ from Hobbes seems to be in there idea of where morality came from and how everyone got out of the state of nature (or, the wild). So, while Hov' and Yeezy agree with Hobbes about the condition of life in a world without morality, they differ in how we escaped those conditions. This can be seen by looking at the chorus (sung by Frank Ocean):
"Human beings in a mob. 
What's a mob to a king? 
What's a king to a God? 
What's a god to a non-believer who don't believe in anything?"

We see that there's an open question concerning what those who don't believe in god believe. It's hinted at in the song that if there's no belief in God, then we find ourselves in the wild (e.g., the state of nature) with no rules. This seems to reflect a quote from Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov: "if there is no God, then everything is permitted." They seem to think that without a belief in a God that creates or enforces the rules there would be no morality. So for them the state of nature (or, again, the wild) is something like a world in which there is no God to create or enforce moral rules.

This leads us to the Euthyphro dilemma. Jay-Z explicitly cites this dilemma when he says:
"I’m wonderin’ if a thug’s prayers reach.
Is Pious pious cause God loves pious?
Socrates asks, “Whose bias do y’all seek?”
All for Plato, screech
I’m out here ballin’, I know ya’ll hear my sneaks.
Jesus was a carpenter; Yeezy laid beats.
Hova flow the Holy Ghost, get the hell up out your seats.

Plato raises this dilemma in his dialogue entitled, Euthyphro (hence it's being called the euthyphro dilemma). For simplicities sake, we'll replace 'pious' with 'good.' The dilemma arises for people who believe in God when we ask: "Is something good because God loves it? Or, does God love it because it's good? It's a dilemma because neither option seems appealing for the person that believes in God. (1) Either things are good because God loves them (which seems to allow that whatever is good could arbitrarily change at any moment). This option is a view known as Divine Command Theory. This is the view that God decides what is right or wrong, and this is the view I've attributed to Jay-Z and Kanye. Or, (2) good things exist independently of God, and one can do good things or be good without God. 

So, either we can take the Jay-Z and Kanye route and say that whatever God loves is good, but we're then faced with the problems of (1) knowing what God loves, and (2) knowing when it changes and simply trusting that whatever God decides to love has now become good (e.g., if God suddenly decided that he loved to see humans eat babies then eating babies would be a good thing - I think most people that believe in God would have a hard time thinking that eating babies suddenly became a morally good thing); or we can take the second option which leaves us with the problem of explaining what makes something good if it's not God.

Who says rappers don't know philosophy :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sara Bareilles on the Benefits and Expectations of Being in a Philosophy Course

One of the most common things I’ve heard from students who are curious about the grade they received on a paper concerns vague, ambiguous, or mis-worded sentences/phrases they have used. Typically the conversation runs as follows:

               Teacher: “I wasn’t sure what you meant by phrase (or word) ‘x’?”
               Inquiring Student: “Oh, well, what I meant by ‘x’ was ‘y.’”

Usually I am tempted to respond: “Then why didn’t you just say ‘y’…?” However, as I still tend to face these struggles myself, I have to remember that it can be really hard to “say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out.”

In one of her newer songs Sara Bareilles gives a clear explanation of the value of being clear and concise with your wording. Or, as she puts it, an explanation of the value of saying what you want to say and sharing your ideas (and thereby yourself) with people!

This song also does a nice job of articulating what is expected, and appreciated or valued, by teaching assistants, instructors, and professors of philosophy courses. Part of developing critical thinking skills requires you to share your ideas and have them challenged. In order to best justify your opinions, views, or ideas, you have to be able to respond to criticisms they may face. It usually takes some practice and exposure before having your opinions, views, and ideas challenged becomes fun, but in order to develop good critical thinking skills you have to be able to understand what your opponents are saying and what criticisms your opinions, views, and ideas face.

All of that being said, in order to receive and understand criticism, you have to share your ideas! That means putting yourself and your views on the line and making yourself vulnerable by being willing to have them challenged. Saying what you mean is difficult, and it takes a lot of courage. This, however, is one of the many benefits of taking a philosophy course. You are encouraged to say things clearly and concisely! These courses help you to develop critical thinking skills and give you the tools necessary to defend your opinions, views, and ideas. It can be frightening, but the better you are at standing up against criticisms, the more confident you can be in your opinions, views, and ideas! And, since saying what you want to say takes courage, and philosophy courses encourage you to say what you want to say, then taking philosophy course helps you to become brave!

It seems appropriate to share one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received from one of my philosophy professors: “If you can use either a one syllable word or a ten syllable word, for the love of God, use the one syllable word!” So, follow Sara’s advice and “say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out.” As she so happily puts it, “Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live. Maybe one of these days you can let the light in, and show me how big your brave is.”

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I Sing the Chorus of This Song to Myself When I Read Papers That Are Lacking Justification...

In the song "Just Give Me A Reason," P!nk and Nate Ruess (of the band Fun.) recount how painful it is to lose a loved one without being given any reason why the love ended. All they want is an explanation or a reason concerning why the love is gone. Notice: what seems to be the most difficult aspect of the love being over is that there is no reason why the love ended. It's not just that the love is gone; it's that the love is gone without any reason being provided.

As the title of this post indicates, I find myself singing part of this chorus ("just given me a reason, just a little bit's enough!") when I read papers that are lacking in support, evidence, or justification. It seems like the feeling being described in this song is similarly found when someone is starting to lose their ability to hold a belief or conviction they've previously took to be unquestionable. This is a painful part of philosophy. Think about something you took to be unquestionable at some point in your life (e.g., belief in God, belief in a particular scientific theory, belief in some explanation of a some significant event, belief that a certain ethical theory was correct, etc.). Without a reason concerning why you should continue to hold a belief, or without justification for a belief, it gets harder and harder to keep that belief. Eventually, if you fail to have any reasons or justification for holding a belief that at one time meant so much to you, or at one time provided you with such comfort, then you won't be able to keep that belief.

Let's look at the chorus:
"Just give me a reason.
Just a little bit's enough.
Just a second, we're not broken just bent,
And we can learn to love again.
It's in the stars.
It's been written in the scars on our hearts.
We're not broken just bent,
And we can learn to love again."

Again, it seems like this song could have just as easily been about how hard it is to lose a belief that you hold so dearly (or how hard it is to lose the ability to justify a belief that you hold so dearly). Notice that we can swap out the words relating to 'love' with words relating to 'belief' and the sentiment of the song is still preserved! In the following presentation of the chorus I've replaced the words referring to 'love' with words relating to 'belief' or 'justification' (the word 'it's' should be taken as referring to the belief, whichever one you hold dearest, in question). Take a look:
"Just give me a reason.
Just a little bit's enough.
Just a second, [it's] not broken just bent,
And we can learn to [believe] again.
[It's] in the stars.
[It's] been written in the scars on our hearts.
We're not broken just bent,
And we can learn to [believe] again."

While I have just replaced the words referencing 'love' in the chorus, if you replace the words referencing 'love' in the rest of the song with words referencing 'belief' or 'justification,' then the meaning is still preserved!

It seems like losing the ability to justify a belief or hold a particular thought to be true can be just as painful as losing love. This is why philosophy is important! Epistemology is a field dedicated to justification and knowledge. Without reasons or justifications for our beliefs we succumb to the same horrendous feeling and torment being described in the song. However, if you can critically engage with your deeply held beliefs, then you'll know how to better handle situations like this. You'll either be better able to (1) abandon beliefs for which you have no justification, or (2) you'll be better able to defend your beliefs, and the chances of you being able to offer justification for your beliefs is greater.  

Yay epistemology!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An Example of the Distinction Between Metaphysics and Epistemology

Metaphysics is the study of existence. Whenever we ask whether something exists, or in what form or in what way it exists, we are asking metaphysical questions. Epistemology is the study of knowledge and justification. When we ask how is it that we can come to know something, or whether we are justified in believing something, then we are asking epistemological questions. In LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It" we are given two theses. One being metaphysical, while the other is epistemological. Whether they are in fact sexy is a metaphysical claim, while their claiming to know that they are sexy is an epistemological claim. I think it would be a worthwhile project to get clear about which claims LMFAO offer as evidence for the metaphysical and epistemological theses, respectively.

So, we have two theses that need to be justified:
Metaphysical Thesis: "I'm sexy"
Epistemological Thesis: "and I know it."

Now, throughout the song we have evidence for both claims. There are claims that are offered as evidence for their being sexy, and there are claims that are offered as evidence for their knowing that they're sexy. In order to assess which claims are offered to support either the metaphysical or epistemological thesis, let's take a look at the lyrics:

LMFAO, "Sexy and I Know It"
When I walk on by, girls be looking like damn he fly
I pimp to the beat, walking down the street in my new lafreak, yeah
This is how I roll, animal print pants outta control,
It's RedFoo with the big afro
And like Bruce Lee I've got the claw

Girl look at that body (x3)
I work out
Girl look at that body (x3)
I work out

When I walk in the spot, this is what I see
Everybody stops and they staring at me
I got passion in my pants and I ain't afraid to show it

I'm sexy and I know it (x2)

When I'm at the mall, security just can't fight 'em off
When I'm at the beach, I'm in a speedo trying to tan my cheeks
This is how I roll, come on ladies it's time to go
We headed to the bar, baby don't be nervous
No shoes, no shirt, and I still get service

Girl look at that body (x3)
I work out
Girl look at that body (x3)
I work out

When I walk in the spot, this is what I see
Everybody stops and they staring at me
I got passion in my pants and I ain't afraid to show it

I'm sexy and I know it (x2)

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle yeah (x3)

Do the wiggle yeah


Girl look at that body (x3)
I work out
Girl look at that body (x3)
I work out

Now that we are able to refer to the lyrics we can assess which claims are offered as support for either the metaphysical or epistemological thesis. Let's first turn to the evidence for the metaphysical claim; i.e., the evidence that is offered for the claim that LMFAO is sexy.

Support for the Metaphysical Thesis

In the first verse Redfoo makes four particular claims that seem to be offered as support for the metaphysical thesis. First, he is walking down the street in his new Lafreak. Second, he rolls with animal print pants that are outta control. Third, he has a big afro. Finally, he's got the claw (like, Bruce Lee). While I cannot claim to know to what 'the claw' refers, nor am I that familiar with 'Lafreak,' there does seem to be support here for the metaphysical thesis. The support seems to be referencing Redfoo's fashion sense/aesthetic.

Next we are given the command to "look at that body." I think it is fair to assume that "look[ing] at that body" will provide us with evidence that LMFAO is in fact sexy. If "look[ing] at that body" doesn't suffice as evidence, we are provided with additional support in the form of the claim "I work out!" Thus, working out is provided as evidence for LMFAO's being sexy.

Then LMFAO claims that they've got a passion in their pants that they're not afraid to show. Taken as an example of LMFAO's confidence, we can also assume that the confidence stems from the passion in their pants being legitimate. Not being afraid to show the passion in pants, while not always being morally acceptable or appropriate!, does seem to demonstrate a strong sense of confidence; and if you take confidence to be sexy, then they have provided you with yet another reason concerning why they are sexy.

Given that security cannot fight off the people at the mall, and given the other contextual clues in the song, we can assume people are storming LMFAO due to the fact that they are so sexy.

There is also the evidence provided in the fact that such a strong social standard/custom as "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service" doesn't apply to LMFAO (because, I assume, they are so sexy). Not only do they not get in trouble for not wearing shoes and a shirt, but they are still provided service!!! If that doesn't signal sexiness I don't know what would...

Lastly, while the command to 'wiggle' does not itself support the metaphysical thesis, if taken as a demonstrative meant to show the endowment of Redfoo, then, if he is adequately endowed, it could support the metaphysical thesis! If you take being well-endowed to be a sign of sexiness (which I think we all do), then LMFAO certainly seems to be sexy.

Support for the Epistemological Thesis

Let's turn now to the evidence provided for the epistemological thesis; i.e., the evidence that is offered for the claim that LMFAO knows that they are sexy. First, as is stated in the opening line of the song by Redfoo, when he walks on by "girls be looking like, 'damn he fly!'" While 'fly' may not be synonymous with 'sexy,' I believe it's fair to say that flyness can be taken, at least, as evidence of sexiness. If people are consistently looking at you and thinking 'damn they're fly!', then I take it that there is pretty strong consensus that you are in fact fly; and, if you are in fact fly, then that can be taken as support that you are sexy (even though it cannot be sufficient justification in-and-of-itself: e.g.,although Rick Ro$$ may be fly, that does not entail that he is sexy).

We are then told that when they 'walk into the spot' (whether 'the spot' is broadly construed to mean all places or a particular place I am not sure, but let's use the principle of charity and assume by 'the spot' they mean 'all places' or 'everywhere') everybody stops and is starring at them! I'm taking this as pretty strong evidence for sexiness just because it's not often that EVERYBODY both (i) stops and (ii) stares when you enter a particular area. Given that everybody stops and stares, I think we can assume that they are justified in thinking they are sexy.

Now, whether all the testimony that has been provided is true is questionable. However, most of the issues seems to be easily settled by empirical investigation. We can check and see if Redfoo does indeed workout (at least enough so to claim that he is sexy). We can also check whether people are looking at him like, 'damn he fly! when he walks on by. If these claims turn out to be empirically justified, then it seems like LMFAO has sufficient reason to think that they (at least Redfoo) are sexy; i.e., he is justified in claiming that he knows it. If these claims turn out to be empirically false, however, then it may not be the case that LMFAO knows that they are sexy. However, we can still claim that if such justifications were true, then LMFAO would be justified in believing that they are sexy. In fact, anyone for whom the preceding justifications apply seem to be justified in believing that they are sexy. So, while the argument may not yet be sound, it is still valid. Anyone fitting the above description can claim to know that they are sexy!

As much as it may pain you to hear it, it seems like LMFAO has presented a pretty convincing case for why they know they are sexy. While not having presented a completely deductive argument, there does seem to be sufficient evidence to suggest that LMFAO is sexy and justified in thinking so. If only philosophers could provide such evidence  for their claims...

P.S. - I don't know that their being sexy and being justified in believing that they are sexy provides you reason to watch the video, but if you are interested in empirically checking the evidence you should check it out and see for yourself :)