align-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcamerachatcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-crosscrosseditfacebookglobegoogleimagesinstagramlocation-pinmagnifying-glassmailmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1outlookpersonplusImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartwitteryahoo

Cosmology, Quantum Mechanics & Consciousness Message Board › The methodology of physics and the (other) natural sciences

The methodology of physics and the (other) natural sciences

Camilla M.
user 7151822
London, GB
Post #: 33
Here is but one entry pertaining to explanatory reduction from many in Stanford:
http://plato.stanford...­

Prior to evaluating any reduction of one body of knowledge to another, a conception of those bodies of knowledge and what it would mean for them to be “reduced” must be explicated. A number of different models of reduction have been proposed.
Thus, the debate about reduction in biology has not only revolved around whether epistemic reduction is possible, but also which notion of epistemic reduction adequately corresponds to actual scientific reasoning.

Two basic categories can be distinguished:
(a) models of theory reduction maintain that one theory can be logically deduced from another theory (Section 3.1); and,
(b) models of explanatory reduction focus on whether higher level features can be explained by representations of lower level features (Section 3.2).


b) explicitly states what you call Strong Reductionism.

As I previously said there are many stripes of reductionism or reduction may be the word employed in the text.
I picked out just the two to keep it simple, you can read up on the nested rest. Like this continuation:

Other models of explanatory reduction have been put forward by philosophers, many with an explicit eye to capturing how reduction occurs in scientific practice (e.g., Bickle 2003, 2006, 2008).
In some ways the most unique defense of explanatory reduction is found in the recent work of Alex Rosenberg (2006), which departs from his earlier critical focus on theory reduction (1978, 1985, 1994). Rosenberg's argument has multiple components.
First, strict laws (universal, exceptionless, spatio-temporally unrestricted) are required for explanation and the only candidate law in biology is the principle of natural selection (PNS).
Second, why-necessary explanations are better than how-possible explanations in historical sciences such as biology, but why-necessary explanations are only available at the molecular level because structure becomes decoupled from function above this level.
Therefore, all how-possible explanations in “functional biology” (i.e., non-molecular biology), even those invoking the PNS, and any descriptions from functional biology involving higher levels of organization get explained (why-necessarily) by the PNS operating on the molecular level (often occurring at some relatively distant point in evolutionary history).


That's the first two queries covered. OK?

Now turning to your numbered Qu)s.


1. Whether or not Explanatory Reductionism is is "true" is a purely semantic question. If you are happy to regard scientific laws in (say) biology, medicine or sociology as part of Physics once they become sufficiently well defined and robust, then the answer is "yes";

Yes, I agree with your last statement.
I particularly like: sufficiently well defined and robust
excellent turn of phrase that admirably captures empiricism I'd say!

May I add, as I think it importantly follows, that the empirical project is inductive, never formally truth finding in the deductive nomic form. Which means that whilst methods applied to checking features in the world may be repeated enough for their existence to be accepted, there is no logical limiting factor. At some point your word sufficient just has to come into play.
Sufficiency itself allows contingent conditions, ad hoc occurrences, into the actual states of affairs.

That is why I suggested Andrew remember the difference between the nomic discourse of logical necessity that he has elsewhere referred to as "elementary logic", and nomologically 'looser' or wider scoped 'necessity', with sufficiency brought in for causality referring to what we find actually exists. The point being, states of affairs are "true" in that they happened whilst not logically necessary. He will keep accusing me of being "Shall I just say it - wrong" about logical necessity in the scientific method, when no, he is incorrect.

In the world, I think in your terms the system:
"Truth flows to propositions from the way the world is.
Propositions ‘take their truth’ from the world; they do not impose their truth on the world.
If two days before an election, Tom says “Sylvia will win”, and two days after the election, Marcus says, “Sylvia won”, then whether these statements are true or false depends on whether or not Sylvia is elected.
If she is, both statements are true;
if she is not, then both statements are false.
But the truth or falsity of those statements does not bring about her winning (or losing), or cause her to win (or lose), the election. Whether she wins or loses is up to the voters, not to certain statements."

That's nomological. The reason Popper favours inference. Wouldn't use it if logical necessity held.

nom·o·log·i·calˌ Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Adjective:
"Relating to or denoting certain principles, such as laws of nature, that are neither logically necessary nor theoretically explicable,...
stating or relating to a nonlogical necessity or law of nature. "

More for Andrew: Perhaps we can suspend insistence that the scientific method requires logical necessity.
We can take nomological deduction and keep inference to best hypothesis.

but if you think that this, while logically valid, is not helpful, then the answer is "no".
Either way, nothing substantive about Science
(eh?)
or about the Universe has be said.

Disagree as above.

Have I got these formal definitions right?
system = the real world system?
system = the state function?
Because I had them round the other way. I thought words with underlining had in common that they were the abstract functions you see.
This is now how I'm going to be using them for this message, so put me right later if it's wrong.
I do have trouble using different shades of the same word for a completely different meaning, it doesn't sit naturally with me.

2. With the sole exception of Strong Reduction, Reduction is general is not a theory, but a totally innocuous description of a common, useful, intellectual process. I have not, and I do not think Andrew has (though I cannot be certain) ever sought to attack or refute it. Indeed, it is a description; there is nothing there to attack or refute.

Yes, it's a pretty good rule of thumb, what an explanation amounts to in a loose sense.
It was attacked in its strong form as you call it, which is the claim that so far ALL explanations fit the weak form. Not an additional claim that it is exceptionless in perpetuity, we cannot know that.

But, the prior claim (strong reduction) also stakes high inference on there NOT being irreducible emergents. Meaning that whilst unusual and upredictable, even upredictable, systems emerge from n/a systems, these would most likely turn out to be reducable after the fact.
Can you say why unforseeable systems should have to also be so strange as to produce new laws of physics that we cannot work out in an explanatory reductionist way?
Why should we press for such irreducibles?
A former member
Post #: 26
Wotcher Ian

I don’t think there is any misunderstanding. I’m with the late-Pleistocene savannah-wanderer. I accept that I have no warrant to assume so, but I don’t believe that ‘The correlation between the variables is what’s happening.’ I think it’s ironic that because I believe there is some ‘stuff’ that physics is ‘about’ I am a metaphysician.

The (effectively unrevisable) empirical facts are the same whether there is an over-arching theory or not, and irrespective of what that theory is.

I disagree: the kinds of observational facts that we seek …are dictated in advance by the theory. Pertinent facts come to light only because of the theory.


Well yes, but no planets were found sunward of Mercury, because there are no planets sunward of Mercury.

You and l Will have both accepted that the bottom line in certain knowledge at least as far as the aspirations of positivism extend is sensation. However, conceivably even that claim is over-ambitious. Presumably, very young children --- find themselves in the world. They don't know anything about "sensation". That's a scientific abstraction.

I don’t think you have to reflect upon sensation for it to be real.

Thinking is not fundamental – we can simulate that to any desired degree of accuracy using existing Turing machines – no, it’s sensation – i.e. consciousness – which is epistemologically speaking absolutely fundamental.

I agree that consciousness is epistemologically fundamental, but I would argue that knowing demands a knower. Likewise I understand consciousness to be a condition of things, animals mostly, but not necessarily. Sensation on the other hand is ontologically atomos. This is why I think it looks like the cogito; true, thinking is not fundamental, but nor are knowing and meaning. It is epistemologically more parsimonious, but epistemology presumes something like dualism, epiphenomenalism, self/non self, that there are 2 distinct domains. In each case the empirical facts requiring explanation are the same.

“Self” doesn’t necessarily imply “thinking”. Nor, indeed, the converse. (Just consider once more software and the chunks of chemically modified silicon which run it!)

When I do I still get the impression of software being imprinted on another piece of chemically modified silicon.

I suspect this sort of reasoning explains my indifference to rigour, look where it gets you.

None of which makes much of a dent in your idea that we are modeling systems, which in the sense of fun I shall flippantly call espisteme engines; nor, I believe, does it have much effect on your epistemological hierarchy. I am not one of those that thinks the “awful” truth matters.

Interesting, then!
A former member
Post #: 116
Looking at your latest, Camilla, you suddenly seem to have agreed with the point I have been making it. Extraordinary. Maybe you will tell me again that I don’t understand anything and that I am wrong about this as well. But let us see.

I picked up on your piece about thermodynamics and reductionism and wrote a comment (#112) which then gave rise to comments and disagreements from you. My messages #113 and 114 reiterated and hopefully established beyond doubt that my point was just this: that reductionism, or strong reduction, to follow Peter, cannot be claimed for all future scientific discoveries, because we cannot know that. I wish I had used that form of words before because you have now said:

“Yes, it's a pretty good rule of thumb, what an explanation amounts to in a loose sense.
It was attacked in its strong form as you call it, which is the claim that so far ALL explanations fit the weak form. Not an additional claim that it is exceptionless in perpetuity, we cannot know that.”


Your last sentence there is not grammatically correct, another problem with your style of comunication. But it does seem from that quote that you have just agreed with what I was saying all along. In which case why did we have such difficulties along the way? Obviously because of poor communication and understanding between us. Now, I have made quite an issue of avoiding philosophy-speak on this forum, and Ian is very good at switching between the different lingos when he sees fit. In your case you seem to speak in a single language that includes a heavy dose of Stanford Enc and now another new-to- me reference called the Merriam-Webster Enc. You also used the Latin word ‘dictum’ and you have probably used more Latin elsewhere. So I have given up asking you to speak plain English because you obviously feel unable to do so and you clearly believe that you cannot convey your thinking without using such technical language. As it happens I think you are mis-guided in that respect, I think you would do well to communicate on this message board in simple English, for several reasons which I may have touched on elsewhere. But the other participants don’t object so I will leave it.

I’m wondering if the misunderstanding is occasioned by ambiguity in the philosophy language itself. I looked up ‘reductionism’ and found these two definitions:

Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary. Reductionism: explanation of complex life-science processes and phenomena in terms of the laws of physics and chemistry; also : a theory or doctrine that complete reductionism is possible.

Wikipedia: Reductionism can mean either (a) an approach to understanding the nature of complex things by reducing them to the interactions of their parts, or to simpler or more fundamental things or (b) a philosophical position that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts, and that an account of it can be reduced to accounts of individual constituents.

Much apology if I was mistaken from the outset but I thought you were arguing from one or more examples of reductionism to say that it is a reliable principle on which we can depend for future analysis of scientific hypotheses, such as about consciousness for example. I thought your position on consciousness is that it is an emergent feature that one day will be explained somehow in terms of understood neural processes. You and Ian, and indeed Peter, all believe there is nothing ‘weird’ like quantum or other unknown effects to explain the phenomenon. Hence the attempt to defend reductionism in your own case. That I thought was you adopting definition (b) of Wikipedia. And that defence is what I attacked because I believe that we cannot know future developments. I think it is reasonably clear that was the single target of my attack. But your latest comment, as above, looks to me like definition (a) of Wikipedia, merely a descriptive term relating to the progress of science to date. Of course I have no argument against that, exactly as Peter has just surmised.

If you regard reductionism as a term of description of the scientific method and not as a ‘dictum’ or ‘given’ then I have no quarrel. Nor will I quarrel with you if you lean on the principle and say: we should look first for explanations of consciousness or whatever which build on this principle. No objection at all. My objection comes in where, as I said before, the trust in the principle slides into a belief that other types of scientific explanations, as yet unknown and perhaps very difficult to comprehend, must be ruled out. Or, in Wikipedia terms, where definition (b) slides into version (a) without the transition being noticed. What a pity that philosophy-speak is not so precise after all.
A former member
Post #: 123
Hi Andrew,


Well done - you beat me to it this time.


Yes - it does seem that Camilla has just agreed that Strong Reductionism is false.


I know that these defined terms with precise definitions and denoted by typographical convention are very booring. But they do help to tie down exactly what people are saying.

I defined Strong Reductionism in an absolutist way, because nothing less is capable of asserting that "no Strong Emergent Phenomenon can ever exist".

There is no room for doubt (I hope you agree) in what Strong Reductionism asserts. Assuming Strong Reductionism enabled Camilla to attack my view (shared by others, it transpires) that "Strong Emergence can explain sensations" on the grounds that "no Strong Emergent Phenomenon can ever exist". Modifying this to an assessment of all current known phenomena both accepts that Strong Reductionism may be false and completely invalidates the attack.

Indeed, I have proposed a number of candidates for Strong Emergent phenomena, including at your suggestion (thank you), the Mandlebrot Set. To date no-one has seen fit to dispute any of my suggested candidates; so as of now, given Camilla's new position, it seems to me that we have a mild presumption (subject to further discussion) that Strong Emergent Phenomena do in fact exist.

Actually, of course, we don't need to bother with that: all we have to do is return to my view:

Strong Emergence can explain sensations

and discuss, constructively, whether or not we like this idea based on the results/effects/consequences of this view.

Great: the intervening 10 pages or so of pointless haggling occasioned by the attempt to prove that this view must fail can all now be discarded: and useful discourse can commence. O joy!



Peter




lan B.
user 10895495
London, GB
Post #: 172

(From Andrew):

>I don't mind being told where I am going wrong in plain English but I do mind being told that I misunderstand 95% of what I read and being told to go off and study philosophy.

Point taken!

I think it would be not only more productive but “nice” if we could feel that we are actually friends on this board rather than simply anonymous, green-backgrounded text-boxes trying to outdo each other. (I hereby profusely apologise for any perceived implicit emotional blackmail at this point!)

In all honesty l thank that we’re “a cut above the rest” when you consider the typical levels of expertise and styles of mutual address which characterise non-professional bulletin and discussion boards on the internet, and we have an example to set!

Back to more serious and challenging stuff in a couple of hours. (If l get time!)

Ian

A former member
Post #: 124
Dear Camilla,


Explanatory Reduction



Well... at least that explains why I was a bit confused.


When you originally introduced the term "Explanatory Reduction" you associated it with Thermodynamics:

I suggested not merely on my own account but on the above that explanatory reductionism had survived otiose rival theories to date, citing thermodynamics as a general example widely used in practice, hence continually being put to the test if you like.

but it turns out you were referring to a variant of reductionism mentioned only (and not indexed) in an article in stanford.edu on reduction in biology

Here is but one entry pertaining to explanatory reduction from many in Stanford:
http://plato.stanford...­biology/

There may be other entries in Stanford, but they are not indexed under "reduction" and nothing at all is indexed under "explanatory". I am not currently willing to concede that "Explanatory Reduction" is a term that is commonly known or understood even among Philosophers. I can think of no legitimate reason for you to introduce it.

A Google search lead to an entirely different meaning of the term "Explanatory Reduction".

Yet apparently you believed that Andrew and I would be able to determine what you had in mind.

But if we did in fact posses direct access through the aether to your mind, what would we need this message board for?

Lets assume, (just a hypothesis, you understand) that you realized you were losing the argument, and wanted to muddy the waters by introducing new terminology whose meaning we could not accurately determine, and make grand plausible sounding assertions, which we could not refute because we had no means of knowing exactly what you were saying. Just suppose.

Can you see that, if so, your plan was perfect. I can see no possible way to improve on it. Brilliant.

lol


Carrying on:


I replied to you (my post #117) quoting in full the only definition of "Explanatory Reduction" that Google turned up.

You in turn replied (your post #33), and in that post, linked, for the first time, to the stanford.edu article containing the description of "Explanatory Reduction" you actually had in mind. OK?

I trust you concede that your post #33 was a reply to my post #117, and was posted after it?

Because you then did something that truly make me question your sanity:

You assumed in your reply (post#33) that in my post #117 I used your definition "Explanatory Reduction" rather than the definition included in my post; even though I could not possibly have known of your definition at that time.

Yes - you did. Read your reply carefully and in full and you will see that you applied your definition to parts of my earlier post.

Of all the techniques so far employed to change the meaning of things I said in order to prove me wrong, this is without doubt the most audacious. First Prize. Congratulations.


I suppose I should be gratified that you seriously believe that I am prescient, or that I am equipped with a Tardis. Sadly, I have to inform you that no Tardis currently in my possession has a properly functioning power supply.

{note: the preceeding statement is 100% true.}


Enjoy



Peter
lan B.
user 10895495
London, GB
Post #: 173

(From Peter):

>Yes - it does seem that Camilla has just agreed that Strong Reductionism is false.

Camilla has repeatedly stressed that she does not believe in strong reductionism, in the sense that given (say) the unifying successor theory to both QM and GR it would be possible to deduce the evolution of the duck-billed platypus, and that Ronald Reagan would have been doomed not only to sport such a ridiculous hairstyle but also become President of the USA. For instance, as l pasted in from one of her recent postings during either yesterday’s or the previous day’s tranche of orange-red replies:

>”There may be unknown composite phenomena, as you want to claim whilst I would deny but their behaviour would not necessarily have to be called new laws of physics either. There may be new arrangements still leaning on existing lower laws. The laws of physics are by convention regarding lower classical levels. [If every combination of existing behaviour were to be called a new law we would have a combinatorial explosion.]”

Peter again:


>I know that these defined terms with precise definitions and denoted by typographical convention are very booring. But they do help to tie down exactly what people are saying.

I defined Strong Reductionism in an absolutist way, because nothing less is capable of asserting that "no Strong Emergent Phenomenon can ever exist".

There is no room for doubt (I hope you agree) in what Strong Reductionism asserts. Assuming Strong Reductionism enabled Camilla to attack my view (shared by others, it transpires) that "Strong Emergence can explain sensations" on the grounds that "no Strong Emergent Phenomenon can ever exist". Modifying this to an assessment of all current known phenomena both accepts that Strong Reductionism may be false and completely invalidates the attack.

Indeed, I have proposed a number of candidates for Strong Emergent phenomena, including at your suggestion (thank you), the Mandlebrot Set. To date no-one has seen fit to dispute any of my suggested candidates; so as of now, given Camilla's new position, it seems to me that we have a mild presumption (subject to further discussion) that Strong Emergent Phenomena do in fact exist.

The Mandelbrot Set is an iterative map. It no more “exists” than does the number pi, or the addition sign! (From which it of course does not follow that we are unable either to recognise or indeed use such self-invented “abstract furniture”. To be blunt, the word “the” also “exists” in the sense used by Peter – which on pain of being perceived as hurling insults l will on this occasion label, not “vacuous” but “trivial”, a well-respected mathematical term!)

[Not wishing to evoke umbrage from other, more sensitive readers, l have chosen in accordance with an apparent democratic consensus not to bandy philosophical terminology around! Otherwise, l would feel myself unable to resist succumbing to the temptation of saying things like:

“If you espouse such thinking about “abstract objects”, then you will find yourself in the position of espousing mathematical platonism (which l am almost certain that you have denied following such an accusation 2 or 3 months ago)” ..

.. but l won’t! wink ]

Peter:


Actually, of course, we don't need to bother with that: all we have to do is return to my view:

Strong Emergence can explain sensations

and discuss, constructively, whether or not we like this idea based on the results/effects/consequences of this view.

Great: the intervening 10 pages or so of pointless haggling occasioned by the attempt to prove that this view must fail can all now be discarded: and useful discourse can commence. O joy!

Not so fast, Peter! You have recently accused some of the rest of us of making unsupported assertions, but in nearly 3 months of correspondence regarding consciousness and associated spin-off subjects such as the methodology of science you have never even once indicated how we can get to the destination – a physical explanation of consciousness – from the starting line which you are still offering.

If “strong emergence” were true, then by definition any strongly emergent, truly novel feature – as opposed to some acknowledgement, say, that this thunderstorm now is raining at its heaviest point 3.7 km southwest of the last one, even though as near as we can tell the atmospheric initial conditions were as-near-as-dammit identical to those preceding the earlier storm – would constitute actual new physics on a par with, say, SR or the Standard Model of Particle Physics, because anything else would be a (trivially) “weak” reduction, wouldn’t it? This follows from the logic of the situation.

Physics tells us the basic way that the world seems to be, by telling us – by means of a set of presumed-universal generalisations from thus-far exceptionless lists of observation-statements pertaining to identical phenomenology on each occasion – what is not possible, not what is possible.. The laws do not predict outcomes. Instead, they are conjoined to initial conditions – either simulated or real-observational – in order to calculate specific outcomes in specific circumstances.

Some of the systems which attract attention are chaotic. OK, we accept that. The evolution of some thunderstorm in any particulately specific way is not predictable, but only the general features. The thing is, that as we survey the entire family of chaotic attractors, we find that within each category, the end-result might be individually different on each occasion but each attractor configuration produces always “the same kind” of outcome! The difference which manifests on each occasion isn’t physically interesting. (Although in the case of, say, tornado damage no-one’s denying that it can certainly be circumstantially interesting, particularly as far as insurance companies are concerned!)

If, Peter, you sincerely believe that “strong emergence can explain sensations”, then you need to tell us precisely how. Thus far you have given us no deductive schemata (after the manner of mathematics) as proof, and nor have you shown – as in the hallowed philosophers-of-science example of the The Evening Star and the Morning Star – that 2 distinct presntations of the same object or phenomenon are in fact identically the same physical state of affairs, but that we simply hadn’t realised it until you happened to make the connection.

So .. over to you?



A former member
Post #: 125
Dear Camilla,


Have I got these formal definitions right?
system = the real world system?
system = the state function?
Because I had them round the other way. I thought words with underlining had in common that they were the abstract functions you see.
This is now how I'm going to be using them for this message, so put me right later if it's wrong.
I do have trouble using different shades of the same word for a completely different meaning, it doesn't sit naturally with me.


Hmmmm... we really do need to construct and maintain a glossary of terms. May I again invite you and Ian and anybody else who cares to contribute to come here and spend a day working on this and on trying to drink some of my wine cellar.


system: As I recall, it was you and/or Ian who supplied the definition. It was a broad abstract class of things intended to encompass any entity that might exhibit intelligece or consciousness by virtue of having memory + processing + feedback and self-modification capability. The definition included (I think) the phrase "engineering, chemical or biological" and we all agreed that humans are systems. This definition was intended to supplant "machine" because others tended to associate rather a lot of baggage with the word "machine".

But I cannot find the original definition.


system: Any reasonably well defined real world system (i.e. what you think it means or should mean, (I think))


the state function: I genuinely don't know what you mean by this, but what I'm guessing you want to refer to is either the Equations of State of the system or (more probably and more usefully) the Solution to the Equations of State.



Peter
Camilla M.
user 7151822
London, GB
Post #: 34
The reason for tighter wording is that it is specific. "Exceptionless" for example has a self-evident meaning. The term is in use, not my invention. Perhaps sometimes it is a straightforward choice between crisp accounts and grammar. And more useful for reference. In the limit, formulae do not pass grammatical muster, even written in longhand.

Most of your messages recently have been ad hominem. Little critical thinking proceeded between us.
When I summed up:

It (explanatory reductionism) was attacked in its strong form as you call it,
which is the claim that so far ALL explanations fit the weak form.
Not an additional claim that it is exceptionless in perpetuity, we cannot know that.


This was to clarify two points:

1) Peter's view that no form of (explanatory) reduction had been queried, whereas one type had.

2) That I was NOT seeking (& I don't think Ian or anyone else was either) to foreclose the possibility of finding an exception to and thereby refuting so-called Strong Reductionism. That term had been Peter's thesis, it is not named as any sort of theory in literature, Stanford Enc for example, where the closest you will find is the word "strong" applied to explanatory reduction.

Whilst the rest of my writing was to sort out:

A) The difference between epistemology and ontology in Peter's use of
Strong Reductionism and Strong Emergence because there are important consequences for his thesis.

[And currently he has reconflated them, so it needs looking at again, statistical mechanics NOT being ontological but epistemic, thereby NOT subsumed in the manner that he hopes into physics - get Ian to review this paragraph below leant on where I think his comment might be causing a misunderstanding.

Peter: Any attempt to incorporate into the laws of physics the statistical processes by which (according to some people) Strong Emergent Phenomena arise, clearly runs some risk of both eliminating Strong Emergence by allowing these emergent phenomena to be derived while simultaneously embedding Strong Emergence within Physics by incorporating the mechanism by which it arises.

Ian: Yes, a good point and well expressed.]

B) That "elementary logic" was not part of the scientific method (a claim you called "ludicrous" Andrew) so that nomological empiricism implicating the use of induction does not require knockdown refutation of anyone's possible future project.
Commenting that explanatory reduction has perhaps counter-intuitionally covered the metaphysically non-reductionist natural sciences (physics, chemistry and biology) to date & referring to thermodynamics as the working example are valid reasons to suppose inductively that explaining consciousness ought to start under this umbrella.

Here we might recall Ian's dismissal of "promissory notes" because they might turn out to be the case but that doesn't help our present day discussion. If you prefer, they're not furnished with one good example to be tested and falsified; this is not like the Higgs Boson signature range.

The onus now is on Peter (& cohorts) to answer my question as to why we have even the hint that we should go beyond explanatory reductionism rather than metaphysical reductionism about the bio systems, which to date have all been subsumed or explained by the former?

One slight problem I have with your plain English Andrew is the qualifiers, adjectives that will of course get thrown in for scansion. Such as when you refer to the Wiki* entry and thereby to my statement in the coloured extract above as:

'"merely" a descriptive term relating to the progress of science to date.'

Why that word? If I didn't know better, it's almost as if you have not agreed to the validity of inference to best hypothesis that we have just spent pages sorting out.

I thought you were arguing from one or more examples of reductionism to say that it is a reliable principle on which we can depend for future analysis of scientific hypotheses.

Not quite, from the general principle inductively, that it is reliable, not future proof.
We would need good, testable hypotheses to go beyond. None as yet provided.
I hope we have now all agreed on these points?


*For lengthier process definitions, Stanford Enc is better than Merriam-Webster. The chunk I copied in is fine.

Here is but one entry pertaining to explanatory reduction from many in Stanford:
http://plato.stanford...­.

Prior to evaluating any reduction of one body of knowledge to another, a conception of those bodies of knowledge and what it would mean for them to be “reduced” must be explicated. A number of different models of reduction have been proposed.
Thus, the debate about reduction in biology has not only revolved around whether epistemic reduction is possible, but also which notion of epistemic reduction adequately corresponds to actual scientific reasoning.

Two basic categories can be distinguished:
(a) models of theory reduction maintain that one theory can be logically deduced from another theory (Section 3.1); and,
(b) models of explanatory reduction focus on whether higher level features can be explained by representations of lower level features (Section 3.2).


STOP PRESS Peter has just written a load of codswallop ad hominem to me:
Above, this IS the accepted definition by philosophers of science.
Stop trying to move the goalposts yourself, Peter.

Cut down for character lmt:
Lets assume that you realized you were losing the argument wanted to muddy the waters by introducing new terminology whose meaning we could not determine & make grand plausible sounding assertions.

Look, I try hard to fit in with your formal defs, nobody else here has even bothered.

You are completely mistaken in imagining I want or need to win some trivial argument here.
I am trying at the moment to get simple scientific matters of the sort that everyone else reading this no doubt has long had under their belt, straight.
Want to know the reason? Because submissions in so far as there have been any proper theses so far are radically changed by these errors. To the extent that certain claims are not as solid, as you Peter for one, hope.

I'd be only too pleased when you understand and stop flogging the dead horse for example of mixing epistemic prediction with ontological outcome, to get sensation too simply out of your magician's hat!
At that stage, you might think about modifications. Or at least realise that following Hofstadter's hierarchical thinking for years nevertheless can be fitted in by separating the standard definitions of
explanatory reduction
from
metaphysical (systems) reduction

I don't relay that by fiat; it is accepted by the science community.
As for thinking a few people on the net go in for sloppy emergence, consciousness gets written about a lot on the net, more in hope than as proper testable speculations.

No, I would not deliberately obfuscate. Ian will back me up on that.
But I cannot deal with your formal defs, too personally ascribed.
I've done with sp
A former member
Post #: 126
(From Peter):

>Yes - it does seem that Camilla has just agreed that Strong Reductionism is false.

Camilla has repeatedly stressed that she does not believe in strong reductionism...

I have not observed her do this, but she has repeatedly invoked Strong Reductionism in attempts to prove my views must fail.

in the sense that given (say) the unifying successor theory to both QM and GR it would be possible to deduce the evolution of the duck-billed platypus, and that Ronald Reagan would have been doomed not only to sport such a ridiculous hairstyle but also become President of the USA.

But this is not what Strong Reductionism means. I defined this term in order to capture and precisely target without ambiguity this key assertion: Strong Emergent Phenomena can not exist.

For instance, as l pasted in from one of her recent postings during either yesterday’s or the previous day’s tranche of orange-red replies:

>”There may be unknown composite phenomena, as you want to claim whilst I would deny but their behaviour would not necessarily have to be called new laws of physics either. There may be new arrangements still leaning on existing lower laws. The laws of physics are by convention regarding lower classical levels. [If every combination of existing behaviour were to be called a new law we would have a combinatorial explosion.]”

I cannot see that any of this bears on Strong Reduction. I have asked Camilla what she means by "unknown composite phenomena" but so far received no answer. I have no idea what she means by "new laws of physics" - see my reply (Post #121) to you on p 7 if you don't understand the scale of that problem.



Peter
Powered by mvnForum

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy