Tuesday, February 2, 2010

And More


Larry, your emails are eloquent and self assured, usually—and here I am sure— the products and signs of deep thought and mastery of the issues.

That said, here is part of where I am in a nut shell: what are you saying—leaving aside for a moment the issue of construction versus formulation— that is not dealt with by the notion of science’s provisonality?

And why isn’t the claim that science’s undertaking is a final account of the nature of reality either:

(a) a straw man argument;

(b) or, some (attenuated) end point not in contradiction with the idea of provisionality;

(c) and not anything that causes principled or important problems?

Further, it will help me to know whether you completely agree with what you cite from the essay by Quine that you refer to: “The totality of our so-called knowledge or beliefs…is a man made fabric which impinges on experience only along the edges...."

Three immediate things about that for the moment:

1. It goes beyond science to a claim about the totality of knowledge.

2. Does this small extract get beyond the common assertion that part of the nature of science involves the scientist affecting to some extent what he perceives or observes in his doing of science?

3. And it seems a reversion to the claims of the subjectivity of reality, that reality exists only in our perception of it or in our subjective recreation of it.

Am I barking up wrong trees here?

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