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Re: [ontolog-forum] Is Philosophy Useful in Software Engineering Ontolog

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 06 Jul 2015 21:34:07 -0400
Message-id: <559B2C8F.2050403@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 7/6/2015 7:35 PM, Rich Cooper wrote:
> Of the 11 dimensions, we see only 3.5.  The rest we deduce based on
> complete lack of physical evidence about what is going on...    (01)

Yes.  That is the point of Peirce's pragmatism and fallibilism.
All science is fallible.    (02)

> We don't know that the effects are only submicroscopic...    (03)

There are certainly more facts that we don't know than the ones
we do.  But scientists know that a huge number of facts about
submicroscopic phenomena have effects that we observe at the
macroscopic level.  In fact, *all* chemical reactions are the
result of quantum-level interactions.    (04)

The empirical observations made by chemists (and the earlier
alchemists) were true as far as they went.  19th century chemists
learned a large number of facts about the elements, how they
interacted with each other, the atomic weights of the known
elements, and even the periodic table of the elements.    (05)

In that regard, the chemists were *far ahead* of the physicists,
many of whom were skeptical about the existence of atoms.  As late
as the early 1900s, Ernst Mach refused to admit that atoms existed.    (06)

During the early 20th c, physicists used the facts discovered
by chemists as guidelines for their theories about atoms.
Today, chemists use quantum mechanics to calculate how various
molecules will react even before they synthesize them.    (07)

> Any attempt to whitewash that unknown is just "proof by emphatic
> assertion" that it doesn't matter, not real proof.    (08)

Fundamental principle:  Any fact on whose truth you are willing
to bet your life is one for which your belief is very, very strong.
There are many such facts.  But you have no mathematical proof
For any of them.    (09)

For example, do you drive a car?  Have you ever been a passenger
in a car?  Every time you do, you are betting your life on    (010)

  1. Principles of physics, chemistry, electronics, and the competence
     of the many engineers and mechanics who use those principles to
     design, build, and maintain your car, the cars driven by other
     drivers, and the roads and bridges over which you drive.    (011)

  2. The competence of the other drivers to control their cars
     and not run into you (or at least your competence and the
     ability of your car and your driving skills to avoid them).    (012)

  3. The social habits and conventions of other drivers to stay in
     their lanes and not take too many risks in the way they drive
     and how they observe speed limits and conventions.    (013)

Just take an inventory of the actions in your daily life and the
all the assumptions and beliefs on which you bet your life.    (014)

Have you ever flown in an airplane?  If so, you've bet your life
on many facts about our planet, its geography, and how other people
behave -- pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers, etc.    (015)

The fact that we're all on the same planet is one that is worth
pondering.  But it's irrational to doubt it.    (016)

John    (017)

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