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Posted by Harvey on March 5, 2002 14:42:45 UTC

Hello Mr. Box,

It's good to see you in communication with me. I thought you wrote me off for good.

***The idea of 1,000 monkeys typing
for a million years
in a certain museum comes to mind.
Would their writing come closer, albeit distant,
to Dr. Dick's
The Foundations of Physical Reality
or to the responses?***

I don't know the answer to that question. I'm guessing, but I think Dick had many trial and error approaches himself before perfecting his model to emulate Dirac's equation, Schrodinger's equation, etc.

***H: If you agree that your model is a clever human invention, then it's value can only be stated in terms of its useability. How can we use your model Dick? M: It's a meditation... an alternate view which is self-consistent and which differs from conventional views. The exercise of traveling between two large coherent systems has exercised Harv's noodle. Possibly has other, more successful applications.***

That could fit the description of anything. When trying to justify a model about the philosophy of science we need more than just 'it gives me inspiration', or 'I meditate with it', or 'I use it as good reading material', etc.

***H: What does it do? From what I can tell all it does is sit on a harddrive somewhere and take up a few megabytes of storage space. Other than that, I don't see it creating new technology, or finding any new insights to our human understanding of nature. M: Okay, now. That's not nice. Pachelbel's Canon sat for 300 years in a stack of music before it became so well-enjoyed. Popularity, you have said before, is your guide to "genius." The popular view is often way behind. Get it?***

Music is for human enjoyment. If that is what Dick wished to accomplish in his paper, then I'll concede that he accomplished that task. Afterall, think of all the hours of enjoyment that he has created for this forum. Do you think he had that in mind when he finished this great effort? As for not being nice, I don't think my comment was rude. It was direct - no doubt about that.

***H: "If you say it supports the findings of science, then how can it do that if it is just an invention? Inventions are just fabrications of nature, they aren't able to provide any 'truths'." M: As an example, the invention of penicillin was an accident of meditation, not proceeding from natural phenomena but entirely mental. Fleming's mind was not looking for "popular" understanding, but measuring the warld against an internal model. When he saw someting new, his internal model contained the subtle machinery and ability to make new relationships on the "drawing board" -- an ability that nature ( and some folks posting here) did not have. There was an inadvertant spill. The goo would have just sat there, if the matter had been left only to any part of nature except 'mind.'***

Drugs serve a useful purpose in saving human life. You could say they serve the most useful purpose as an invention. As far as something being useful as an organizing tool, I have no problem with that approach to justify an invention. I don't think Dick's model fits that purpose (i.e., if Dick's model is just a created fiction that he purports, then I - probably for lack of insight - don't see the purpose in the model). Dick's model would only serve a purpose, in my view, if it somehow showed what he says it shows (e.g., some of the laws of physics are true by definition, etc). Such statements are significant, if true, but they cannot be true if it is just a useful fiction.

***H: "If you look at all human truths as inventions, then they are really no truths at all - just fabrications of human ideas to produce useful notions." M: This quite opposes the definition of "Truth" with which Dr. Albert Einstein begins his book titled "Relativity", In that passage, "truth" is defined as being dependent on the relationships between defined terms -- whose definitions can be anything we want, so long as they are internally consistent. His example is in geometry, and he admits the matter might be difficult to take beyond geometry. Dr. Dick's paper appears to take up that challenge. Whether the system of thought he proposes is comprehended and enjoyed 300 from now is not quite up to you. How about reading the first chapter of Dr. Einstein's book and giving your response? Do you agree with Dr. Einstein, or do you take a different view?***

I didn't realize Einstein was a medical doctor in addition to having a Ph.D. in physics...

I'm not familiar with this particular passage by Einstein, but I think what Einstein is referring to are analytical truths. Analytic truths are those truths which are true by definition. For example, "all bachelors are men that are not married" is an analytical truth. Bachelors are defined by being a man and not married.

The issue is, though, what do we mean by truth? If a model, as an analytic truth of certain definitions, is contingent on upon certain brute facts of nature that may or may not be so (i.e., synthetic), then the truth of that model is also contingent on those brute facts that may or may not be true. For example, if the word 'bachelor' could have meant a married man, and just by an accident of history the word took on an opposite meaning, then the truth of bachelors being men that are not married is contingent on the fact that the word 'bachelor' happened to take on a different meaning than the original connotation(speaking hypothetically).

Well, if Dick says that his view of mathematics is that it is a human invention, then this implies that mathematics is contingent on human thinking processes (which might have evolved differently than it did), then mathematics is not really 'true' in the sense that it is a priori and analytic (i.e., the definitions are true and everything that follows must also be true). Rather, in the view espoused by Dick, mathematics is synthetic and analytic. This happens to be Kant's view and for a long time people tried to contest it (e.g., Frege).

So, getting back to Einstein's comments (as you have related them), analytic 'truths' are true in a human sense but not necessarily in an ontological sense. They are true to us. For example, "bachelors are men that are not married" is true, but it is true to us humans who speak English. Say the same sentence to someone who doesn't speak English, and the sentence has no truth content. If we translate the sentence to their language, then it that sentence is now true to them. But, again, it is true just as long as we properly translate each term.

If Dick's model falls into this category, then the mathematics is true to us since we accept the analytical deductions of mathematicians based on the definitions and axioms. However, we cannot say if the math requires the world to be a certain way unless we can say for a fact that the definitions of mathematics are also a priori truths (versus synthetic truths). This is what is not known.

If mathematics and physics are based on synthetic truths based on human evolution and would be different had human evolution been different, then math and physics are a human fiction. On the other hand, if is based on a priori truths, then it is ontologically true.

My contention is that Dick treats his model at times as based on a priori truths and other times as based on synthetic truths. If it is really based on synthetic truths (as he said yesterday), then his model is true to us (i.e., it is constructed for useful purposes). If it is really constructed for a useful purpose, then my question is: what is the usefulness?

***If Dr. Dick's gruffness and occasional sarcasm toward you makes you feel justified in covering his posts with "popular wisdom" that does not make your ideas MORE true than his. Question is, are your ideas internally consistent? If not, you are primarily a "critic" -- a fairly honest profession in careful hands -- but not a player in a deeper sense. You do not have a philosophy of your own beside which you can place your real name, as Dr. Richard Stafford has done. Your
popularity with some folks here notwithstanding, your real contribution must be measured against how annoying it is that you don't have a philosophical system of your own to stand by...even though you post more words than anyone else, I think.***

I let my words speak for themselves. I don't get distracted by meaningless issues, but rather focus on content. If you want to know my views, then read my previous posts. I believe I've given just as much 'pro' arguments for my position as just about anyone else (probably more since I tend to be a blabber mouth).

***It would be unrealistic to expect a satisfactory response. I would rather you went deep and acquired the wherewithal to respond satisfactorily later than have your usual quick, disrespectful response sooner. I mean this with warm sincerity. The truth of it gives me no warmth, but only the prospect of the benefit which you may create merely by allowing yourself the time and peace for such deep contemplation, undisturbed by any need to rush to defend an indefensible body of "critic's" analysis. Nobody can defend their "critic's" analysis. That is why honest, friendly criticism is such a benevolent activity -- it plays second fiddle to the melody.***

You aren't going to reach me that way. If you want to reach me focus on content and respond with content. I'm not interested in anything else here. You can consider that an a priori truth. ;)

Warm regards, Harv

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