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You See, I Consider This A Cavil!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on April 2, 2002 18:19:22 UTC


Sorry about that, but you misunderstood my intent! I am happy to see your comments, I just feel that we suffer from a major misunderstanding which tend to make your complaints cavils.

***** Harv:
Why do you think deduction more reliable than induction?

Because it's the position I have been taught. Mathematicians have told me that and I have never had much luck in disputing their claims. At the same time, none have done a decent job of defending induction. As I have said many times, I leave the defense of mathematics to people much more qualified than myself.

***** Harv:
Also, anytime we define something we are imposing constraints. We may not realize it, but those constraints are necessarily inherent in a definition.

That is exactly why I ask people to criticize my presentation. I ask, exactly what constraints have I imposed? Defining a concept is indeed a constraint on what is referred to by that concept but the existence of that concept (together with its constraints) need not be a constraint on the universe.

***** Harv:
For example, if I said that time is undefinable, then by definition time cannot be defined according to my definition.

If the phrase "time is undefinable" is put forward as the definition of "time" then certainly "time is indeed undefinable"; however, the concept is quite far from any use of the word "time" which I have ever heard. Such a definition would allow me to say "I suspect that my feelings at this moment are time!" Is what you really meant by your example consistent with that statement? By the way, your example is exactly what I mean by a cavil: a comment with no logical content to speak of.

***** Harv:
Either the definition is false, or there is faulty reasoning.

How can a definition be false? If you tell me that, whenever you use a particular symbol, you intend to mean a certain thing (the essence of a definition) then I can certainly work with that idea to examine your reasoning based on that definition. Any fault I find must be in your reasoning as, if I understood your definition, there can be no fault there!

***** Harv:
Therefore it is better not to limit reality according to our definitions and simply use definitions as a tool to predict how we think reality (nature) will act given certain scenarios.

That is exactly what I am doing! If you can, go back to the "public notes" I have posted and tell me exactly where I have imposed a constraint on what may be explained through my definitions! I would just prefer that you post your comments in this thread as I suspect very strongly that they will not be to the point I am presenting at all.

I don't think "You" are cavil, I think you make cavil comments which are not to the point. In fact I sometimes get the feeling that you are afraid to face the issues I bring up as you certainly avoid them very strongly no matter how I try to present them.

Have fun -- Dick

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