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You Are Missing The Point

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Posted by Harvey on November 8, 2002 13:10:37 UTC

Dick,

***I stopped reading right here because you are giving an exact example of my point. I have no idea what 'lieto' means at all. Yet I can refer to it with no problem: if I ask "what does lieto mean?", I am clearly referring to the meaning of 'lieto' without understanding it at all (I need not even understand the properties of the concept being referred to by 'lieto'. One cannot even ask such a question about a symbol without referring to the meaning of the symbol!***

Yes, 'lieto' is a label for "something that we know not what" (i.e., if we don't speak Italian), and, yes, we can use 'lieto' as a filler for "something I know not what" but we will use it anyway just to represent whatever 'lieto' does mean. This is nothing but abstract logic or abstract mathematics. And, I imagine, we could construct the necessary relations (relata) that obtain from just using this abstract label and our abstract reasoning, and perhaps define certain structures that necessarily exist. This is all well and good when talking about addressing the world with many unknowns and presumably a few valid assumptions.

Where you are (badly) missing the point is that you keep referring to some 'Ultimate Reality' and not some working means to address the only reality we can know - the one that our senses perceive. In the case of abstract reasoning (e.g., labelling "something I know not what" with the term 'lieto'), we aren't asking 'lieto' to represent some aspect of 'Ultimate Reality'. Rather, we only ask that 'lieto' symbolize "something that I know not what but that I have strong confidence that I would know if someone told me what it means". In the case of 'Ultimate Reality', you are trying to symbolize "something that I know not what and that I don't have any confidence whatsoever that my symbols are even appropriate or that this 'something' can even be analyzed via mental processes at all". Do you see the difference, can you see the difference.

The problem here, as I see it, is that you are so enveloped in an epistemological approach that you think that such an approach is fully capable of grasping the structure of 'Ultimate Reality'. I fully agree with Bruce's comment that it is amazing that you went so far in science without (apparently) understanding the most basic premise of science that it generates models used as prediction and are empirically adequate for our understanding. Science models (including applied mathematical models) are not meant to limit the structure of 'Ultimate Reality'. Science is the study of structure, but only the structures that we perceive. What you want to do is trivialize this whole process by saying that you deduce the structure of science from first principles. That might be possible (although I doubt for many reasons that you accomplished this task), but whatever is the case, we have to make certain assumptions to accomplish this abstract structualization of nature. Those assumptions are not known to be the case. Maybe they are very basic and common sense assumptions, but nevertheless they may due to our cognitive limitations and not from any inherent requirement that they be such.

Have fun (fooling yourself) - Harv

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