Firstly, I do not recall certainty is contextual as being an objectivist position. I am, however, familiar with knowledge being contextual as an objectivist position. (Keep in mind that I am not saying that certainty is contextual as not being an objectivist position, but that I am not familiar with it being one.) Non the less, if all non-spatial temporal knowledge is contextual (residing in the brain), and all non-spatial temporal knowledge exists in a mental context, then I am, at the very least, certain that my knowledgebase, which could all be false, or non-corresponding to reality, is “there,” as I am certain (without doubt) of its existence.
So it seems as though certainty is contextual, as well. And it would have to be, as it is my knowledgebase that which I am certain of, and knowledge (in the context that I am using it), is of the mental.
A problem that I was having with “your” probabilistic approach to establishing uncertainty is your reducing mental entities/events as also being in a state of uncertainty, due to their reliance on the empirical process. It is true that mental entities/events are contingent upon perceiving existence/experiencing, and, as you have argued, may all be false, but they (mental entities/events) are not themselves empirical. In other words, I do not come to know my thoughts via the senses, but through introspection—thinking.
Thinking is not a sense faculty, so the coming to know that mental entities exist is exempt from empirical fallibility, and I am certain of them.
So to this I add that Bayes has nothing to say. Bayes’s theorem applies to rational belief in outcomes, whereby “strong” incremental confirmation proportionally increases the odds of some hypothesis as being true, consequentially resulting in degrees of belief concerning any given hypothesis.
What is interesting here is that belief cannot be measured, nor can certainty. But “adjusting” one’s beliefs to correspond to increasing confirmation leads to rational beliefs (certainty/to be without doubt). Also, it can be said that if the increase confirmation leads to rational belief, then believing the contrary, or anything else which the confirmation does not lead, would be irrational and, as I would think, incapable of being accepted at all, in any degree. If it cannot be accepted at all in any degree, or whereby reasonable doubt has not been met, then a person will find oneself in a state of uncertainty/doubt concerning that hypothesis, and unable to be certain of the unconfirmed.
The religious example below:
As to the religious claiming certainty of divine intervention, confirmation is not possible, as it is not falsifiable. So the argument that religious people claim to be certain about religious claims, and we take it that they cannot be, and this being evidence of certainty no being able to be achieved, fails, as when analyzed, they also cannot be certain of these types of claims, as their confirmation method is specious at best.
So for one to continue to be certain over that which has not been confirmed, over that which has been, becomes the bases of things to be doubted/uncertain of.
I have yet to meet a theist who has claimed, when asked, if he knows god exists as he knows that when it rains he gets wet, that the answer is “yes.” Theists do recognize the distinction between empirically derived beliefs based on confirmation, and “beliefs”/faith based not on the empirically derived and confirmation which concludes from it
What theists are doing is abusing certainty, and what leads to, as Regi stated (I think), that psychological state of not holding doubt.
As to coin tossing:
when we are having a general discussion on coin tossing, and during that general discussion there was mention of a side designated as head’s and a side designated as tail’s (or it is at least implied), I find it a tad frustrating to receive a reply of but the mint may have made a coin with two heads… I know that we all get desperate at times to defend our positions, but this sort of thing, when it is taken that errors by the mint are not being used as part of the discussion, as being non-productive.
Also, when I said that one is certain of the possible outcomes, it can only mean that the person is certain of the possible—the known. The possible concerns the known. The possible, in the context of coin tossing, is head’s, tail’s, or, on that rare occasion, standing on end. All of these potentials concern what? The known, that is to say, that knowledgebase concerning outcomes of coin tossing.
Where probability comes into the equation is which of the known will happen, but has yet to, and whether or not a belief about future results, based on past results, are more likely than not, through confirmation. For example: if out of 500 coin tosses, the results are head’s 90% of the time, then accepting head’s as a belief that will result in coin tossing is the preferred, as it has been incrementally confirmed. Unfortunately, it does not speak to why head’s are the most common result.
On the other hand, since coins are not personally influenced by past results, say, as humans are, and sometimes give preference to satisfying a whim, it can be argued that after any number of coin tosses and results, the preferred belief is still 50/50, as coins are oblivious to past events, and will not allow for tail’s based on the coin’s feeling sorry for tail’s and its absence of appearances.
I’ll also take one last stab at intellectual property rights.
If actions cannot be owned, then what results from actions can only be owned up to. I think we can all agree that when I own up to actions, what is being said is that the results of those particular actions are mine. But that is the extent of it.
When some person other than the inventor replicates a product, what that other person is doing is merely copying actions of another, and since these actions cannot be owned, the product that results due to those actions is the product of the any given actor. It can only be the actor that can rightfully own up to the results.
The human genome project is an example of intellectual property rights gone mad. If a person happens to discover a sequence of genome, then patents it, then no other person can use this sequence in any application.
The problem here is that what can only be patented is the action, and not that sequence, as being 99.9% identical to the person it was discovered in, and this discovered genome sequence does exist in me, then how can I not own my genome? How can some other scientist not use MY genome, which is identical to the discovered genome in some other person, as WE see fit?
This I like suggesting that, were we all to have gold in our backyards, and some first person decided to dig in his backyard, found gold, then patented this discovery, that none of the rest of us would be permitted to dig in our own backyards and do what we wish wish with the gold we find.