Harv (and whoever wants to join),
I may have found a way to explain myself (then again, I may not) Think of these things:
- Object: that which we want to know about
- Experience: a combination of physical and mental activity which increases our knowledge of an Object
- Theory: a stream of symbols
- Language: a set of symbols that can be used to create theories about Objects
I may be fooling myself, but I think I discovered something quite amazing (but not, as far as I can see, extraordinary). What makes it amazing is the fact that it is an all-pervasive issue which can't be communicated, as it makes its presence felt in any attempt to explain it.
Think of an Object, according to my definition above. The Object can be anyting you want to learn about: food, wines, Chinese culture, history, geography, cosmology, anything. The only requirement is that it must be something that "exists", in the sense that you can use Experience to gain knowledge of it. You can learn about food by tasting it, visiting farms, watch it being cooked, and so on. You can learn history by visiting places, looking at old objects. You can learn about cosmology by watching the stars. You get the idea (so I hope)
Now let's get to the point. Your Experience is never enough, because unless the Object happens to be very small and limited in scope, there's just too much to Experience. Here is where Theory enters. If people are clever and do a good job, they can come up with Theories which give you Experiences you can't have, thereby providing you a way to dramatically increase your knowledge of Objects using someone else's Experiences.
And here things start getting ugly...
Theories are themselves Objects. You learn about a Theory by Experiencing it. And when people Experience a Theory about an Object they already have some Experience of, it often happens that they Experience of the Theory about the Object conflicts with their Experience of the Object.
This is as clear as I can make it. If you can understand it, possibilities are open to explore some very important and fundamental issues, such as:
- Why some Theories are rejected by some people and it's not their fault
- Why Reality is, for the purpose of building Theories, isomorphic to a Language
- Why some aspects of Reality can only be known through Experience and are therefore beyond the reach of science
- And much, much more
Do you find this issue worth talking about?