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Posted by Harvey on September 17, 2002 16:12:05 UTC


***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.***

My head is spinning. Let's take this one by one.

***Theories are themselves Objects.***

I would classify a theory as a conceptual scheme that is communicated as a stream of symbols. The symbols, afterall, have meaning of something conceptually understood by someone else. The conceptual scheme can be treated as an 'object' - although it is an abstract object (not having physical properties).

***You learn about a Theory by Experiencing it.***

I agree. It is an abstract mental 'experience'.

***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.***

Do you have direct experiences of physical objects and mental objects without a theory (i.e., conceptual scheme)? I say no. Even at birth and even in the womb we are pre-wired with a primitive conceptual scheme by which we experience objects. If so, then this issue boils down to having conflicts in conceptual schemes. For example, the QM scheme conflicts with the GR scheme which conflicts with the Classical Physics scheme, and so on.

***Why some Theories are rejected by some people and it's not their fault***

'Not their fault' might mean that they are not responsible for the conceptual scheme which results in them rejecting a Theory (i.e., another conceptual scheme). For example, Aaron and Sam have a fundamentalist conceptual scheme which leads to their rejection of evolutionary theory. It is 'not their fault' in the sense that they were taught their conceptual scheme from their parents (e.g., Sam was home schooled and his parents were careful on how they exposed him to scientific theories by prejudicing his mind against scientists, saying that pseudo-scientists were more credible, etc). However, ultimately we all share a pragmatic conceptual scheme by which it is necessary to utilize in order to communicate with other human beings. Without this pragmatic conceptual scheme we couldn't even function in the world. I think people are ultimately responsible, to some degree, in making sure all of their conceptual schemes are rooted in the pragmatic conceptual schemes which makes human civilization possible. Hence, one could say that such a pragmatic conceptual scheme includes having respect for your elders (otherwise you couldn't survive your youth), having respect for science (otherwise we couldn't survive as a major civilization), etc. By contradicting that pragmatic conceptual scheme it can be interpreted as being responsible for being overly arrogant, or overly self-righteous, etc.

***Why Reality is, for the purpose of building Theories, isomorphic to a Language***

Well, by Reality, we are talking about the world of Objects that actually exist, and hence the world of conceptual schemes by which we know those objects as such. Since language is the vehicle by which to communicate conceptual schemes, it seems to me that the isomorphisms come in that respect.

***Why some aspects of Reality can only be known through Experience and are therefore beyond the reach of science***

Since the world of Objects is known through conceptual schemes, our experience is interpreted in light of those conceptual schemes. Science is a sub-conceptual scheme of a pragmatic conceptual scheme (i.e., pragmatic schemes yield scientific schemes), it is possible to 'know' certain things by the use of some conceptual schemes (e.g., pragmatic schemes) that are not scientific schemes.

*** 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.***

As I see it, conceptual schemes are communicatable, therefore we can share experiences by sharing in on someone else's conceptual scheme. For example, I might not have been in WWII POW camp, but my uncle was, and via his conceptual scheme of this event being communicated to me, I come to share in that experience via that communicated conceptual scheme. It isn't a 100% communicated (i.e., there is noise to the message), but I grasped enough of the conceptual scheme to have a very rough approximated version of my uncle's scheme. Therefore, whenever I think of a WWII POW, I might use that rough conceptual scheme by which to interpret it. Had I only seen Hogan's Heros on television, I might have a different conceptual scheme of being a WWII POW. That conceptual scheme is a much poorer approximation of the event since it doesn't properly model the event in a realistic fashion (i.e., it is further removed from the event since it is a comedy - which makes you realize how WWII POW's might have seen the television series as being insulting to their experience!).

Warm regards, Harv

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