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Harvey

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Posted by Mario Dovalina on May 19, 2002 04:18:34 UTC

Howdy again, sorry it took me so long to reply. I have a car again now, and there's a lot of planet out there. :)

"Your carburetor is misfiring is that metaphor helps."

So you think my philosophy is internally inconsistent, or you think it IS consistent but unviable?

"Why can't our theories be considered 'approximately false'? Afterall, I think primitive understanding of ether was approximately fasle, right? I think Ptolemy astronomy was approximately false, don't you? I think the Aristotlian physics is approximately false, don't you? ....... What is it about 'modern' views that all of a sudden become 'approximately true'? What trait do they possess that completely false ideas didn't also possess? Maybe our equipment just isn't sensitive enough to show how false are theories are."

Lol, that struck me as quite funny. Yes, that's true. If any theory is approximately true in a given margin of error, than it's also approximately false. But that goes for every theory. Harv, I'm not trying to lend as much credence to current theory as you think I am. Ptolemic astronomy IS approximately true, but has a greater margin of error than our current models. Of course, we can never know how big that margin is. But since our current model supports more use statements and observations, it's a reasonable postulation that that margin is smaller.

"we cannot clearly demonstrate that are living in a priveleged period where our theories are 'approximately true' whereas the past periods were 'approximately false'."

I agree. However, I never said what you are refuting.

"So, here we are a mere 97 years since Einstein introduced his gravitational theory of relativity, and already it is not exactly the picture. Is it an approximate truth? "

Sure it is. But a newer, MORE approximate truth is developing. :) I don't understand what problem you have with this idea.

"Sorry the philosophical jargon"

Sorry, but I drowned in it. The philosophical jargon is precisely what drives me away from philosophical conversations most of the time. Think you could redefine the terms?

"Improve our vision, increase our sound sensitivity, give us instruments, etc and we are no longer satisfied with those invented truths. "

Correct.

"We toss them aside and say that they no longer satisfy our classification of an approximate truth."

No, any truth statement is an approximate truth, just with varying margins of error. The more observable use statements that support that truth statement, the smaller the margin of error.

"Mario, I think you are trying to live on both sides of realism and antirealism. You want theories to express basic truths (albeit approximate) of the universe, but on the other end you don't want to commit to their truthfulness but rather only want to assert their applicability to being true in a certain range ..... If theory's are selected by means of some selective criteria, that doesn't make them approximately true. It only makes them appropriately selected based on the current empirical evidence to date. "

Yes, and if that current empirical evidence corresponds to the external universe (which I hold must happen) then a theory describing that evidence has some bearing in the external universe, be it almost right or glaringly wrong (but with a grain of truth)

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