Simplicity under attack in sugar land
- There is an example in sugar land that indicates how little understanding Der Staudi has of the basic principles of thought. He doesn't believe that trying to explain a phenomenon with the fewest possible assumptions is a good thing - see the text around "presuppositions" here http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/21502. Unfortunately for him most of the world believes the oposite - that simplicity is at the heart of the elegance and explanatory power of any satisfactory rational system. Physics, for instance, has made the astonishing progress it has in the last four hundred years by questioning and then trying to reduce the number of assumptions in its theories. Einstein refined Newton by questioning the assumption of the existence of an absolute space-time existing 'out there'. Maxwell took the Biot-Savart law, Ampere's law, Faraday's principle of induction and others and unified them into a single mathematical framework. Kirchoff and others abstracted away the qualities of gases to create a simplified model in terms of the motion of Newtonian particles that accurately predicted important bulk properties of matter. The software industry takes the reduction of presuppositions as *the* guiding principle for creating high quality components. I would say that anyone that wishes to claim that an increase in pre-suppositions doesn't reduce the value of a theory, whether in physics, epistemology or anywhere else, simply doesn't understand how thought works.
There's so much else in this posting by Der Staudi that could be criticised that one is spoilt for choice. But this leaps out for attention:
"In Steiner's philosophy, 'thinking' sometimes shifts from a way of making sense
of the world into the very foundation of meaning for the world. "
Yes, well: without thought, such as that in the maths that underpins the simplification and consequent increase in power of understanding that has been brought to science since the Renaissance, what indeed would we know about the 'foundation of meaning' in the world. Statements like this indicate an awful lot about the unacknowledged epistemological biases and 'presuppositions' that Der Staudi suffers from and could explain why he finds Steiner's own pellucid and relatively pre-supposition free thought so opaque.