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Maybe So, Maybe Not

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Posted by Harvey on April 3, 2002 18:30:53 UTC

Hi Dick,

***The problem with your analysis is that you leave out a large number of steps between (2) and (C). (3) If you use my model, a large percentage of the laws of physics are true by definition.***

What is the difference between (3) and (C)?

***(4) Any model may be translated into my model!***

What does that have to do with the conclusion (C)? I don't see it is as relevant.

***(5) The "laws of physics" predicted by my model must exist in any model.***

This conclusion would be if (4) and (C) were true, but this the conclusion of (5) is not relevant to the conclusion of (C).

***(C) It is probable that "the laws of physics" (predicted by my model) are also true by definition in their model. In order to prove otherwise, they need to show that their definitions are sufficiently different from mine to justify the position that they are not.***

I think there is some confusion, but I'm not sure it is mine. Physics is not based on analytical reasoning, but is based on synthetic reasoning. You can't deduce using deductive reasoning all of physics from the mild-manner assumptions of physics (e.g., induction, making hypotheses, observation, etc). The definitions of physics are not designed to deductively deduce all of physics. All of physics is deduced from a combination of reasoning methods, but not one method is selected. There are even aesthetic preferences in theory selection, so you certainly couldn't characterize those selections as analytic reasoning.

***And I am afraid physicists have never taken the issue of definition seriously enough to think the problem out. They all think they know exactly what they are talking about!***

Not all definitions of physics presented themselves at the beginning of modern science. Definitions came up one by one as the need arose to define certain concepts which were deemed necessary to identify to facilitate the growth of science. For example, Galileo saw the need to define a term called acceleration, Newton saw the need to further define force, Einstein saw the need to further define energy, etc. These were not attempts to show that the definitions implied their theories, but were some of the results of their theories. But, it is not the theory that mattered, what mattered is that they gave unique predictions to their theory that turned out right.

Warm regards, Harv

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