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Re: [ontolog-forum] Reality and semantics.

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Len Yabloko" <lenya@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2008 15:17:20 +0000
Message-id: <W3691025554159291221837440@webmail23>
Pat,     (01)

I was not arguing that the model does not represent anything real or that 
reality somehow does not matter. I don't suffer from positivism. But at the 
same time I recognize that reality can not be comprehended mathematically or 
otherwise. It is you who seem to insist that complete mathematical 
comprehension is required for progress.     (02)

>On Sep 18, 2008, at 6:49 PM, Len Yabloko wrote:
>>> On Sep 18, 2008, at 3:21 PM, Ed Barkmeyer wrote:
>>>> Chris Menzel wrote:
>>>>> On Thu, 18 Sep 2008, Ed Barkmeyer wrote:
>>>>>> ...
>>>>>> As to the rest of John's posting, I refuse to be drawn into a
>>>>>> discussion of the power of either mathematics or logic.  I am an
>>>>>> engineer.
>>>>> And you won't discuss it because, as an engineer, and hence as one
>>>>> familiar with bridges, moon shots, computers, the web, and the like
>>>>> that
>>>>> wouldn't exist but for the power of mathematics and logic, it isn't
>>>>> worth discussing something so obvious?  Right on.
>>>> Indeed.  That power is well documented and in evidence.  But whether
>>>> mathematics can correctly capture "reality", as distinct from how  
>>>> much
>>>> of the derived and quantified property called load it will take to
>>>> collapse the bridge, is not my concern.
>>> In brief: omit the scare quotes.  By 'reality' I mean something very
>>> mundane. All I mean is that when an engineer does some calculations
>>> and then says "the cables aren't strong enough to support the deck",
>>> that she really is talking about the cables and the deck. That is  
>>> what
>>> "reality" means in this example: the real, actual stuff that the
>>> engineer is concerned with, the stuff that will collapse into the
>>> river if mistakes are made. She is not talking about a model of the
>>> cables and the deck, or about representations of the cables and the
>>> deck. Who would care if a model or a representation fell into the  
>>> river?
>>> Pat
>> My answer to that last question is: those who leave by that model  
>> and representation do care.
>Um... not sure I can parse that. ("leave by that model"?)
>> Perhaps all they care about is the model, because all they know  
>> about reality is the representation.
>Yes, of course. All we every know of reality is encoded in  
>representations of it: mental representations, many of them. In fact  
>the prime lesson of current cognitive science seems to be that we are  
>in a very real sense made of representations, a kind of self- 
>maintaining self-referential tower of representation. But it doesn't  
>follow that these representations are not OF REALITY. To think that  
>because all we have is a representation, that therefore the  
>representation isn't really OF anything, is a very deep and pernicious  
>fallacy. Representations are useful precisely because they are  
>representations OF something real. If they were not, they would be no  
>more use than dreams. When the Verrazano Narrows bridge collapsed, it  
>was a real bridge that fell, not a model or a representation of a  
>    (03)

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