--- In email@example.com
, "John J. Gagne"
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "jrstern" <jrstern@> wrote:
> > That is quite sufficient, for the purposes of AI, even for
> > of philosophy of mind. Do you know "the" answer to ontological
> > questions? Does your neighbor? Does your dog? Yet all can
> > experience their own versions of, say, "delicious". Does
> > "delicious" exist in some universal manner? I would think not.
> OK, but certainly there is a difference between saying there are
> things for which there can be no universal standards, such as
> "delicious" or "beauty", and saying there are no universal standards
> at all. For instance, no self respecting physicist would deny the
> speed of light in a vacuum and zero degrees K are universal
The ontological nature of the "isotropic speed of light" and "zero
kelvin" hinge on definitions of many other things, i.e. they are not
universal standards (independent of other assumptions).
A simple related example is the geometry of a box. A geometry is
defined by where do we find different extents of the box
*simultaneously*. Simply put, we cannot measure the location of the
back end of the box at one moment and the front end of the box 10
seconds later (in the case of a "moving" box we would always get
different results). -> With a different definitions
of "simultaneity", the geometry of the box is also different.
I gave this example because this is exactly the reason why there is
such a concept as "length contraction" in special relativity (=length
contraction in relativity is a direct consequence of "relativity of
Likewise, that the speed of light is thought as isotropic, is also a
direct consequence of defining simultaneity in a specific way. It is
more like a convention to define it in such way. That is to say,
there are many (more or less complex) ways to explain why the speed
of light is measured as constant by natural observers.
Absolute zero temperature from a nominalist view is just a particular
(useful) definition, i.e. it exists when the microscopic elements of
an object are not jiggling. If you place a teapot on the table, the
table and the teapot are "at rest with each others", and you could
invent a name for that particular state that "exists" between these
objects. Is that state a universal, or a particular definition?
Even if you try to use inertia to come up with a universal
temperature, that will hinge on a particular definition of inertia.
But referring to what Richard said, if we can find (and express)
constraints that any worldview must obey in order to be internally
coherent, perhaps those constraints could be referred to
as "universals" in some sense. Albeit there would be many ways to
express those constraints...