Mark and Harv,
Excuse me if I step in here for a moment. I have come to the conclusion that Harv cannot comprehend what I am doing. You Mark are much closer to the issue than Harv ever has been.
To quote Harv, "The reason that philosophers stray away from complete skepticism is that they are aware that complete skepticism is the very beast that skeptics try to point out."
At the same time, any rational person must admit that the skeptic certainly has a very strong position. The consequence of this? As Harv admits, philosophers avoid the position.
Again, from Harv: "Keep in mind the austere position of Dick. That position to be satisfied looks for a complete justification of knowledge so that our assumptions and conclusions are justified."
That is Harv's categorization of my position and not necessarily correct! I would rather say that my position is that of a skeptic. I know I might be wrong. Suppose I am and there really does exist a position which can win over my skepticism. If that position is communicable then it must be possible to cast the argument in the form of a set of numbers. (Remember, since I have no way of *knowing* the correct meaning of any word, that communication must contain all the information necessary to resolve that issue also). So, casting the problem as a set of numbers, at least makes the problem accessible in the abstract. If I presume mathematics is valid then there does indeed exist an attack!
Again from Harv, " However, mathematics does not meet that criteria for a few reasons."
As I said, from my perspective, if one chooses to throw out mathematics, then everything I have done is invalid; however, the move seems to me to be rather defeating to any attack on understanding anything. In my opinion, Harv is just grasping at straws to avoid thinking about my position.
It is in Harv's head that I am making philosophical arguments. In my head, what I am doing is solving a very straight forward mathematical problem. What I am doing is taking that abstract winning position mentioned above (which perhaps exists) and creating a mental model of the information needed to communicate that position. I am free to cast that information in any form I feel convenient so long as there exists no collection of numbers which cannot be cast into my model. What I am constructing is a totally general way of looking at the information (a cataloging procedure so to speak) a mental model of the information.
If you are to prove an error in my work, you have three choices! You may show an explicit error in my mathematics. You may come up with a collection of numbers which cannot be cast into my model. Or of course, you may deny the validity of mathematics. Harv apparently chooses the third as the first two are beyond his abilities.
Now, I being an ignorant person, was (and still am) astounded by the fact that most all of physics is true by definition (in my model). To quote myself (paragraph 3, Part IV, Chapter 2):
" Even if you do not believe my model represents anthropomorphic reality, I have still shown that it is possible that classical mechanics is true by definition as my definitions have led to that result. If you consider your definitions to be sufficiently different from mine that they do not predefine the results of your experiments, I suggest that you need to prove your case."
Exactly this same position is further enforced throughout the remainder of my paper. To date, the only professional rebuttal I have received consists of a variation of the pronouncement "your ideas are stupid" or "you don't understand what you are doing".
Have fun -- Dick |