On 10/29/2010 12:39 PM, Christopher Menzel wrote:
>>>> >>> Can you point me to a “classification*system*” that is not
>>>> >>> human-created?
>> > CM:
>>> >> Of course not. No one is disputing that. The disputed claim is that
>>> >> no such systems "reflect any 'natural' objective truth or set of
'facts'". That is an utter non sequitur.
>> > That depends on whether the judge is a nominalist or a realist.
> I have to disagree, John. From the fact that classification systems
> are human-created *alone* neither realism nor anti-realism follows.
I agree with that point.
> The realism I was referring to is the doctrine that there is an objective,
> external world in virtue of which our scientific theories are true or false.
> Traditional nominalism is entirely compatible with realism in this sense.
I also agree with that point.
However, a nominalist cannot distinguish Bode's so-called law, which
is an empirical coincidence about the orbits of the planets, from
the law of gravitation, which is truly fundamental.
I would venture to say that most physicists believe that the laws
of physics are really "real" in the
The laws are not just true, but true because there is something
(call it "nature" or "reality" or "God") that makes them true.
Physicists do, of course, admit that any given formulation of the
laws may be fallible because they haven't been tested under all
conceivable conditions. Einstein's version of the laws of gravity
are more widely applicable than Newton's, but both versions
captured something "real". Einstein just had a more general
formulating of the laws, and some future physicist will probably
find an even more general version.
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