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Re: [ontolog-forum] Car attitudes

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 03 Aug 2007 15:23:25 -0400
Message-id: <46B380AD.8040002@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Kathy,    (01)

I'm sorry that I used the word "discontinuity".  What
I meant was a total break between life and nonlife.
The examples of phase transitions and chaotic phenomena
in inorganic matter actually support the point I was
trying to make.  They show that complex processes are
not limited to living things.    (02)

 > We don't yet have a theory of what makes for life.
 > Till we do, I'm an agnostic on the matter of the
 > fundamental discontinuity.    (03)

As I said, perhaps there are miracles -- i.e., a total
break somewhere between physics and biology.  I am also
agnostic on that point.    (04)

But the point I was making to Gary is that the default
assumption in any branch of science is to make the
minimal assumptions necessary to understand any new
phenomenon:    (05)

  1. Assume that well established results in other fields
     still apply, perhaps with appropriate modifications
     for the new aspects.    (06)

  2. When there are new phenomena, look for comparisons
     to simpler,  more complex, or just related phenomena
     in other fields.    (07)

In the case of agency, the default assumption is that
analogs of human agency are also found in other animals,
as indeed they are.   If you go to simpler life forms,
the analogies extend all the way to plants and even
bacteria.  And further analogs can be find in various
phenomena in chemistry and meteorology.    (08)

I claimed that being *sensitive* to such analogies is
a positive tendency, not an undesirable bias.    (09)

John    (010)

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