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Re: [ontolog-forum] [ontolog-forum On The Origin Of Experience

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 02 Mar 2014 10:09:21 -0500
Message-id: <531349A1.4080600@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Steven,    (01)

I was tied up with other projects when you sent the note about
your book.  Since you asked for comments, I'll contribute a few.    (02)

> preview... consisting of the first chapter of my book,
> https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1137409    (03)

Re Peirce family: I have a high regard for their work, and I'm
happy to see and hear discussions based on their contributions.    (04)

Re CSP:  Among the additions that Charles added to his father
Benjamin's book, Linear Associative Algebras, was the proof
that division is only defined for dimensions 1 (real numbers),
2 (complex numbers), 4 (quaternions), and 8 (octonions).    (05)

Re geometric algebras:  I also have a high regard for that field,
especially since the work by David Hestenes in reviving Clifford
algebras for use in physics.  They have also been useful in
computer vision.    (06)

That link between physics and computer vision may provide
some support for your work in using such algebras to relate
physics to experience.    (07)

Re epistemology:  The word 'certainty' is always a warning sign.
As CSP said,
> It is easy to speak with precision upon a general theme.
> Only, one must commonly surrender all ambition to be certain.
> It is equally easy to be certain. One has only to be sufficiently
> vague. It is not so difficult to be pretty precise and fairly
> certain at once about a very narrow subject.  (CP 4.237)    (08)

As a logician, Peirce was as at least as good as Frege.
But CSP also spent many years working in experimental physics
and engineering.  That gave him a clear perspective on the
difference between a "God's eye" theory and a merely human
(i.e., engineering) experience.    (09)

For some discussion about "God's eye" views, I recommend the talk
by Paul Borrill, which I found on the same page as your talk.  I
sent a note about it to Ontolog Forum.  Following is the talk:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKkGqNRlUJM    (010)

The impression I get from your first chapter is that you're taking
a God's eye view.  That's OK -- but only if you heed CSP's warning.
Dana Scott stated a related warning:
> Formal methods should only be applied when the subject is ready for
> them, when conceptual clarification is sufficiently advanced...
> No modal logician really knows what he is talking about in the same
> sense that we know what mathematical entities are. This is not to say
> that the work to date in modal logic is all bad or wrong, but I feel
> that insufficient consideration has been given to questioning
> appropriateness of results... it is all too tempting to refine
> methods  well beyond the level of applicability.    (011)

I quoted this point in an article about epistemic logic:
http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/5qelogic.pdf    (012)

I believe that the current practice of treating epistemology,
epistemic logic, and philosophy of science as distinct fields is
a dead end.  They're three adjacent sides of the same polyhedron.
And that polyhedron has enough sides to be a good approximation
to a sphere.    (013)

John    (014)

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