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Re: Characteristics of a theory of absolutely everything.

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  • Stan Kelly-Bootle
    Al: thanks for the helpful clarification. There¹s no need to apologize about ³waffling.² There are areas where we all ramble on a bit seeking nirvana! I
    Message 1 of 22 , Nov 3, 2008
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      Al: thanks for the helpful clarification. There¹s no need to apologize about
      ³waffling.² There are areas where we all ramble on a bit seeking nirvana! I
      share your general view and apologize for my earlier misreading. As you say,
      the Cosmos was around long before any ³observers² evolved to measure and
      ponder and ask WHY?

      Rather than being bogged down with terms like ³Theory of [absolutely]
      Everything,² I prefer the tFoR ³feeling² that PROGRESS can be made, even if
      occasionally it¹s ³two steps forward, one step back!² There is a sense in
      which Science [capital S] must remain OPTIMISTIC, and can be seen as
      converging to some ideal target of ³complete understanding² or, rather,
      ³less incomplete understanding,² via improved explanations. This is not the
      tidy convergence of some mathematical series where we can often specify
      precisely ³how near² we are to a known ³limit.²

      There are enough deep unsolved problems with quantum-gravity, dark
      matter/energy before we can hope to
      crack the ³subjective² or ³self-awareness² problems e.g., explaining how
      certain groups of molecules combined to behave in the complex ways we all
      KNOW as La Condition Humaine.

      skb

      On 28/10/2008 18:42, "hibbsa" <hibbsa@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      >
      > Hi Stan,
      >
      > IMHO in the special case of a theory of absolutely everything, if we
      > [humans] want to maximise our chances of inventing enabling
      > methodologies capable of facilitating the discovery of True
      > Nature...then yes, fundamental to those discovery methods would have to
      > have been a fulling accounting for the reality of ourselves doing the
      > observing/reasoning. An accounting for ourselves as the observer; as
      > evolved creatures with profoundly subjective physiological and
      > psychological experiences, and limited sensory and processing apparatus.
      >
      > In that sense I believe 'observer' is at the core of the search for a
      > theory of everything. But in my understanding, the reason we must put it
      > at the core, is so that in our search for the ToE we can maximise
      >
      > a) our chances of eliminating subjectivity from the final theory and
      >
      > b) our chances of compensating for our human limitations
      >
      > c) our chances of harnessing any and all advantage from our human
      > condition.
      >
      > In our search for true nature there surely are possibilities for turning
      > our natural disadvantages as humans, into natural advantages. We are
      > after all, products of this reality...so inherant in us, our very
      > nature, there may be clues.
      >
      > Anyway, yes I'm waffling, I admit it. But it is such a beautiful thing
      > that Life emerged and oneday tried to know the world at all. What a
      > Universe man!
      >
      > Just thinking
      >
      > Al



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Elliot Temple
      I think you may have confused Popper and Deutsch s views. For example, chapter 3 of Objective Knowledge is titled Epistemology Without A Knowing Subject .
      Message 2 of 22 , Nov 7, 2008
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        I think you may have confused Popper and Deutsch's views. For example,
        chapter 3 of Objective Knowledge is titled 'Epistemology Without A
        Knowing Subject'. Popper's theory of knowledge is about ideas, not
        people. The people aren't important. What's important is the process
        the ideas go through. It can be all in one person's head, with no
        social aspect.


        On Oct 29, 2008, at 1:44 PM, Stan Kelly-Bootle wrote:

        > Elliot: YES! Chapter 3, tFoR; esp. steps 3 & 4 in the Problem Solving
        > process, Fig 3.2, p 64. Theories and Explanations are "criticized" and
        > "improved" via social interactions, papers/debates/seminars/emails
        > between
        > human scientists OBSERVING each other's data & speculations.
        >
        > Al seemed to be denying the notion of the "observer." He may be
        > using that
        > term in a different sense from mine. I await his clarification. MY
        > "observers" include you, me, Deutsch, all active scientists, and Al
        > himself.
        > After all, among the things we are trying to EXPLAIN are
        > "observations"
        > (tFoR: pp 224-5) and it's no semantic trick to define MY
        > "observers" as
        > those humans (and supporting instruments where appropriate) making
        > those
        > "observations." And, yes, I include the possibility that such
        > observations
        > may be erroneous or mistaken for various reasons. MY observers are
        > fallible
        > humans (as are their fallible instruments.) The social aspects
        > implied by
        > Chapter 3 and throughout tFoR: a scientific COMMUNITY evolving better
        > explanations, ONE tool of which is refining experimental methods
        > (see DD's
        > definition of the "purpose of science," p 71, ibid)
        >
        > Even if Al is a SOLIPSIST, denying the "reality" of OTHER observers,
        > he must
        > accept the existence of ONE observer, namely himself. Deutsch
        > convincingly
        > rebuts solipsism (pp 83-4 ibid) as indefensible!
        >
        > Stan Kelly-Bootle
        >
        >
        > On 26/10/2008 17:51, "Elliot Temple" <curi@...> wrote:
        >
        >> On Oct 25, 2008, at 10:35 AM, Stan Kelly-Bootle wrote:
        >>
        >>> Al: surely * some * notion of observer is required before we can
        >>> meaningfully discuss theories and explanations. You have been
        >>> observing (reading and analyzing) Russell's splendid book, and we,
        >>> in
        >>> turn, are observing your comments. This is all part of the social
        >>> side of
        >>> science noted by Popper & Deutsch (scientists interacting & problem-
        >>> solving
        >>> in print and seminars, evolving better explanations.)
        >>
        >> Can you support that attribution with a Deutsch quote?
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >> -- Elliot Temple
        >> http://curi.us/
        >>
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >

        -- Elliot Temple
        http://curi.us/
      • Stan Kelly-Bootle
        Elliot: Ideas without people? Thoughts without thinkers? One wonders why the Popper you describe bothered to lecture and publish. And defend his views against
        Message 3 of 22 , Nov 9, 2008
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          Elliot: Ideas without people? Thoughts without thinkers? One wonders why the
          Popper you describe bothered to lecture and publish. And defend his views
          against other peoples¹ criticisms?

          Stan Kelly-Bootle

          On 08/11/2008 04:38, "Elliot Temple" <curi@...> wrote:

          >
          >
          >
          > I think you may have confused Popper and Deutsch's views. For example,
          > chapter 3 of Objective Knowledge is titled 'Epistemology Without A
          > Knowing Subject'. Popper's theory of knowledge is about ideas, not
          > people. The people aren't important. What's important is the process
          > the ideas go through. It can be all in one person's head, with no
          > social aspect.
          >
          > On Oct 29, 2008, at 1:44 PM, Stan Kelly-Bootle wrote:
          >
          >> > Elliot: YES! Chapter 3, tFoR; esp. steps 3 & 4 in the Problem Solving
          >> > process, Fig 3.2, p 64. Theories and Explanations are "criticized" and
          >> > "improved" via social interactions, papers/debates/seminars/emails
          >> > between
          >> > human scientists OBSERVING each other's data & speculations.
          >> >
          >> > Al seemed to be denying the notion of the "observer." He may be
          >> > using that
          >> > term in a different sense from mine. I await his clarification. MY
          >> > "observers" include you, me, Deutsch, all active scientists, and Al
          >> > himself.
          >> > After all, among the things we are trying to EXPLAIN are
          >> > "observations"
          >> > (tFoR: pp 224-5) and it's no semantic trick to define MY
          >> > "observers" as
          >> > those humans (and supporting instruments where appropriate) making
          >> > those
          >> > "observations." And, yes, I include the possibility that such
          >> > observations
          >> > may be erroneous or mistaken for various reasons. MY observers are
          >> > fallible
          >> > humans (as are their fallible instruments.) The social aspects
          >> > implied by
          >> > Chapter 3 and throughout tFoR: a scientific COMMUNITY evolving better
          >> > explanations, ONE tool of which is refining experimental methods
          >> > (see DD's
          >> > definition of the "purpose of science," p 71, ibid)
          >> >
          >> > Even if Al is a SOLIPSIST, denying the "reality" of OTHER observers,
          >> > he must
          >> > accept the existence of ONE observer, namely himself. Deutsch
          >> > convincingly
          >> > rebuts solipsism (pp 83-4 ibid) as indefensible!
          >> >
          >> > Stan Kelly-Bootle
          >> >
          >> >
          >> > On 26/10/2008 17:51, "Elliot Temple" <curi@... <mailto:curi%40curi.us>
          >> > wrote:
          >> >
          >>> >> On Oct 25, 2008, at 10:35 AM, Stan Kelly-Bootle wrote:
          >>> >>
          >>>> >>> Al: surely * some * notion of observer is required before we can
          >>>> >>> meaningfully discuss theories and explanations. You have been
          >>>> >>> observing (reading and analyzing) Russell's splendid book, and we,
          >>>> >>> in
          >>>> >>> turn, are observing your comments. This is all part of the social
          >>>> >>> side of
          >>>> >>> science noted by Popper & Deutsch (scientists interacting & problem-
          >>>> >>> solving
          >>>> >>> in print and seminars, evolving better explanations.)
          >>> >>
          >>> >> Can you support that attribution with a Deutsch quote?
          >>> >>
          >>> >>
          >>> >>
          >>> >> -- Elliot Temple
          >>> >> http://curi.us/
          >>> >>
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >> > ------------------------------------
          >> >
          >> > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >
          > -- Elliot Temple
          > http://curi.us/
          >
          >
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Elliot Temple
          ... In those cases, I guess we better say knowledge rather than ideas . For example, cow genes contain knowledge in them. ... He wasn t opposed to social
          Message 4 of 22 , Nov 9, 2008
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            On Nov 9, 2008, at 6:54 AM, Stan Kelly-Bootle wrote:

            > Elliot: Ideas without people? Thoughts without thinkers?

            In those cases, I guess we better say 'knowledge' rather than 'ideas'.
            For example, cow genes contain knowledge in them.

            > One wonders why the
            > Popper you describe bothered to lecture and publish. And defend his
            > views
            > against other peoples’ criticisms?

            He wasn't opposed to social things. I'm saying they aren't necessary
            to always have -- they don't have a fundamental role in epistemology.
            Knowledge can be created without them. It can also be created with them.



            -- Elliot Temple
            http://curi.us/
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