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Three protagonists in dialog...

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  • Médéric Laitier
    Dear Jim, Thank you for your very matter of factly answer. The laws in question are most definitely a solid common ground on which we should be able to build.
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 15, 2004
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      Dear Jim,

      Thank you for your very matter of factly answer. The laws in question are most definitely a solid common ground on which we should be able to build.

      Since you might have read my answer to Een's first, you probably know already that my concern was however somewhat different (and deceivingly formulated I fear) in my first contribution. Nevertheless your answer was not plain waste of time since it allows me to retune my questioning.

      You wrote: "The sort of laws I think of when I use the term 'natural laws' are the laws of physics, chemistry and biology"

      The examples you gave are very relevant and help understanding the absolute involved in the predictions based on their prescriptions (planets, gases...)

      My concern is that the examples all happen to come from the physics area. Do think that the term "law" could rightfully be applied in the context of other sciences, even biology as you suggest it may.

      As for myself, I find it very difficult. The difficulty may rest upon my faulty knowledge of biology, although, I would rather assume that it comes from a deeper problem, namely the less strictly pre-determined character of reactions in the biological field, the somewhat functional and aim-oriented features of organic processes.

      A too hasty generalisation of the use of the term "law" to cover all form of scientific knowledge risks to induce debates that should lack of substance for all knowledge, beit scientific, does not imply such a degree of mecanical necessity as the newtonians laws.

      This was more accurately formulated my concerns when I asked Een and you to precise what you meant by laws and the extent of the field where it is relevant to make use of the term law.

      Sincerely,
      Médéric


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    • Jim Stuart
      Dear Mederic, I don t know much biology, but I assume biological laws are not essentially different from the examples I gave from physics and chemistry. I
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 16, 2004
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        Dear Mederic,

        I don't know much biology, but I assume biological laws are not essentially different from the examples I gave from physics and chemistry.

        I agree that as one moves up from basic physics to chemistry, then to biology, then (perhaps) to geology and psychology, the laws become 'less strict'. This, I assume, is due to the larger chance of 'outside factors' interferring.

        Yours,

        Jim


        Note to Een: I don't have a particular view about the debate concerning the nature of laws - i.e. laws as descriptions of regularities vs. laws as determinants of those regularities. Is this distinction relevant to our current discussion?


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