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Re: [ontolog-forum] electric sheep

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2007 13:21:46 -0500
Message-id: <4732023A.3030005@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ingvar,    (01)

Concepts are the top node of the meaning triangle,
which includes their referents (in real or imaginary
worlds) as an integral part.  I wouldn't consider anyone
who ignored the referents of the concepts they postulated
to be doing an adequate analysis.  However, the concepts are
often invented long before their referents are discovered.    (02)

 > I find it very odd to call Bohr's new model of the atom
 > a conceptual analysis.  You are stretching the term
 > 'conceptual analysis' far beyond its normal boundaries.    (03)

What else would you call that process?  Bohr did not do any
experimental work himself.  What he did was to reinterpret
the data that other people had provided.  In the process,
he formed (by abduction) a conceptual model of the atom,
which he tested against other people's data.    (04)

Bohr's abduction, which went far beyond the data, would have
been anathema to Ernst Mach.  That is an excellent reason
for calling it conceptual.    (05)

 > BTW, Einstein did officially not get the Nobel prize in
 > physics because of his relativity theory, since this was
 > regarded as containing too much philosophy! Instead he got
 > it with a reference to his work around the photoelectric effect.    (06)

Yes.  I did not mention relativity in my previous note.
Planck had applied Boltzmann's statistics for bouncing atoms
to explain black-body radiation.  Einstein did a conceptual
analysis of the implicit assumptions in Planck's work to
postulate "atoms" of light, called photons.  De Broglie
analyzed the subject further and came up with the idea that
even "ordinary" atomic particles had a wave-like aspect.
Then Schroedinger formulated an equation for de Broglie waves.    (07)

Einstein, de Broglie, and Schroedinger never observed any of
those "things", but they postulated them as referents of their
concepts.    (08)

In any case, I didn't want to get bogged down in a terminological
dispute.  But I would argue that the primary difference between
philosophy and science (independent of professional credentials)
is the proportion of conceptual analysis involved in the effort.    (09)

John    (010)

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