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Re: [ontolog-forum] Copyright in Taxonomies: Leading case in US law (ADA

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Christopher Menzel" <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Avril Styrman" <Avril.Styrman@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2010 17:50:19 +0200
Message-id: <20101031175019.9812645l1akozosb.astyrman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Hi all, some more points about mind-independence.    (01)

> 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.    (02)

The first step of Kant’s thought —the first moment of it, if you like  
that phraseology— is to recognize that all our knowledge is, and  
forever must be, relative to human experience and to the nature of the  
human mind. ... At this point, the idealist appears before the  
tribunal of your reason with the suggestion that since these  
metaphysical conceptions are ... only valid for experience and since  
all our knowledge is relative to human mind, they are not valid for  
things as they objectively are; and since the conception of existence  
is pre-eminently a conception of that description, it is a mere fairy  
tale to say that outward objects exist, the only objects of possible  
experience being our own ideas. Hereupon comes the third moment of  
Kant’s thought ... I may say that it is the very sun round which all  
the rest revolves. This third moment consists in the flat denial that  
the metaphysical conceptions do not apply to things in themselves.  
Kant never said that. What he said is that these conceptions do not  
apply beyond the limits of possible experience. But we have direct  
experience of things in themselves. Nothing can be more completely  
false than that we can experience only our own ideas. That is indeed  
without exaggeration the very epitome of all falsity. Our knowledge of  
things in themselves is entirely relative, it is true; but all  
experience and all knowledge is knowedge of that which is,  
independently of being represented. Peirce, Collected Peirce 6.95    (03)

A constant, unified world-picture is ... the fixed goal which true  
natural science, in all its forms, is perpetually approaching; our  
present word-picture ... contains certain features which can never be  
affected by any revolution, either in nature or in the human mind.  
This constant element, independent of every human (and indeed of every  
intellectual) individuality, is what we call “the Real.” ... the  
recognition of this reality is nowadays a prerequisite for winning any  
scientific repspect. Max Planck, The Unity of the Physical  
World-Picture.    (04)

Ontological realism can be distinguished from solipsism by the  
following thesis: At least part of reality is ontologically  
independent of human minds. Ilkka Niiniluoto. Critical Scientific  
Realism, 1999.    (05)

Solipsism is just a naive position, "my mind is all that exists", and  
blah blah. It is also useless, because in order to explain normal  
things, concepts that are operationally identical to realist concepts  
have to be used in any case, like the concrete-abstract dichotomy.  
Realism is an economical attitude in ontology, although one can always  
claim that everything is just his own mind. The only utility of the  
solipsism-related doctrines (phenomenalism, existentialism,  
relativism, skepticism, et cetera) is that they in the end strengthen  
realism, because realists have to show just why realism is better than  
the solipsist-related doctrines. Realism is better because it explains  
all that the other doctrines explain, but in a simpler way.    (06)

-Avril    (07)

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