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Re: [ontolog-forum] {Disarmed} Reality and Truth

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Patrick Durusau <patrick@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 07 May 2007 09:31:21 -0400
Message-id: <463F2A29.3060003@xxxxxxxxxxx>
John,    (01)

John F. Sowa wrote:    (02)

>Yes, but science is more than just somebody's best guess.
> > yes, i agree with all of this.  theories in physics,
> > chemistry, mathematics, and logic follow inductively
> > from observations.  that's all.  anyone has the right
> > to believe that any of those theories correctly describes
> > the true nature of the reality.
>All sciences are fallible, even mathematics, since even
>the most rigorous proof can contain an unnoticed error
>or an unsupported assumption.
>But anyone's faith in a theory can be measured by the amount
>they would be willing to bet on its reliability.  In the case
>of established theories of science (including the basic results
>of all the branches mentioned above), anyone who drives a car
>or flies in an airplane is betting his or her life on the
>reliability of those theories.
>That is an extremely high level of faith.  Anyone who drives
>or flies who claims the evidence for those theories is not
>compelling in a very high degree is either a fool, a liar, or
>a philosopher who is "in the grip of" a very stupid theory.
Yes, but you are eliding over a very important distinction that I read 
Wacek as trying to make:    (03)

It is one thing to claim that a theory is compelling, etc. but quite 
another to claim that it correctly describes "the true nature of reality."    (04)

A friend of mine sent me the following example:    (05)

****    (06)

   There is an elementary model in electrical engineering, called
the "4-terminal network".  The thing is a closed ebony container,
with an input, an input return, an output, and an output return.
The student is given a set of inputs and outputs, and asked to 
make the simplest thing that he can which could be substituted for 
the actual contents of the container.  The problem of what is 
_actually_ inside the container is dismissed as impossible.    (07)

****    (08)

Whether a model correctly describes "the true nature of reality" is 
irrelevant. What matters is whether we find it useful, reliable, etc.    (09)

Newtonian physics has been superceded by other models but for many 
problems it is more than sufficient.    (010)

Hope you are at the start of a great day!    (011)

Patrick    (012)

Patrick Durusau
Chair, V1 - Text Processing: Office and Publishing Systems Interface
Co-Editor, ISO 13250, Topic Maps -- Reference Model
Member, Text Encoding Initiative Board of Directors, 2003-2005    (013)

Topic Maps: Human, not artificial, intelligence at work!     (014)

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