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Re: [ontolog-forum] intangibles (was RE: Why most classifications are fu

To: Avril Styrman <Avril.Styrman@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 16:03:10 -0400
Message-id: <4E1DF9FE.2010305@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 7/13/2011 2:25 PM, Avril Styrman wrote:    (01)

> PEU is a fusion of the principle of economy, and the principle of
> understandability...
> When the two principles are united, using as few concepts as possible
> means that the use of a smaller amount of concepts would already make
> the theory harder to understand: the number of used concepts should be
> reduced only if the reduction increases understandability. Thus, if the
> theory gets easier to understand by introducing a new concept, then the
> new concept ought to be introduced.    (02)

There are many useful heuristics that can be helpful as guidelines.
My major claim is that they should be considered suggestions, not
requirements. I have no objection to adding more tools to the toolkit.
On the contrary, there is no such thing as an ideal discovery method.
By definition, research is groping toward the unknown, and nobody
knows where or how the unknown paths may go.    (03)

I complained about extensionalism as a one-tool-fits-all approach.
But Chris P. responded that I was doing the same in recommending Peirce.    (04)

The difference, however, is that Peirce accepted extensionalism
(or finitary nominalism, as Church called it) as a useful tool in
any philosopher's toolkit.  But the extensionalists *prohibit*
anybody from using any method they don't approve of.  They have
only one tool in their toolkit, and they don't allow anybody
to introduce more.    (05)

Mach was so vehement in his denunciation of any other method
that he delayed the acceptance of the atomic hypothesis for many
decades.  Chemists since the early 19th century assumed atoms
with specific "valences" for linking them to other atoms.  But
Mach caused many physicists to deny recognition for Boltzmann
until after he committed suicide.    (06)

The VC and their followers also used their methods as weapons
for destroying any other approach.  They had a "manifesto" that
denounced metaphysics and unobservable entities.  But Einstein
popularized the Gedanken experiment, which encouraged physicists
to imagine what might occur in unobservable extremes.  Einstein
opened the doors to a much broader range of thinking than Mach
or the VC would dream of.    (07)

The behaviorists, who followed Mach and the VC, even rejected the
traditional name 'psychology' because it implied the existence of
an unobservable psyche.  Their policy was much more extreme than
a name change -- they would not accept any paper for publication
unless it conformed to their paradigm.  They wouldn't admit any
paper that did not define its concepts in terms of stimulus
and response.  Unfortunately, they could never define exactly
what a stimulus or a response was supposed to be.    (08)

In that debate between Barry Smith and John Searle, for example,
Searle never complained about whatever methodology Smith preferred.
But Searle strongly objected to Smith trying to force him to adopt
a paradigm that he considered too weak to define intensionality.    (09)

Peirce talked about "the seven systems of metaphysics".  See    (010)

    http://www.textlog.de/7648.html    (011)

The most complete system, which Aristotle, Kant, and Peirce adopted,
includes the methods of all the others as special cases.  A follower
of Aristotle, Kant, or Peirce can use any tool or method that any
adherent of any other paradigm might prefer.  But the others all
limit their toolkits to a narrower subset.    (012)

John    (013)

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