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Posted by Mario Dovalina on August 25, 2002 15:24:01 UTC

"Surely one cannot talk of a "world that is 'out there'" at all if one does not have access to it?"

I think Harv's (and, to a certain extent, my) opinion on the matter is that while we do have access to the external universe, we cannot know if our observations correspond directly to the genuine state of the universe. That is, we cannot know how accurate our theories are in describing it, nor can we know how much of our input is irrepairably damaged by our senses. For example, I would argue that there MUST be a real object in the universe that corresponds to the concept of "The Planet Jupiter." However, whether the planet truly exists in the way we think of it or whether it is just a subroutine in the Matrix's CPU is another matter entirely. Knowledge is unverifiable past 99% certainty. (and even that certainty is based on, to wince while using a word that has been, up until now, exclusive to Harv, epistemology) Harv's "ontological bias" is a method of describing how we humans require at least some statements about reality in order to function. I get the impression from him, though, that he holds all ontological biases on the same level, which I disagree with. I would personally choose biases (namely, the idea that the pragmatic value and obsevational validity of our theories is a measure of how ontologically accurate they are) that correspond best with what we have observed so far.

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