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Re: [ontac-forum] Theories, Models, Reasoning, Language, and Truth

To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Smith, Barry" <phismith@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2005 13:52:24 -0500
Message-id: <>
At 01:49 AM 12/17/2005, you wrote:
>Thanks for the pointer to Stove's argument.
>But I'd like to mention that Peirce was very much
>a realist.  In fact, he maintained, contrary to Kant,
>that there is nothing that is in principle unknowable.
>Stove's conclusion, as stated, is unavoidable *iff*
>you are only allowed one look:
> >  We can know things only
> >    ● as they are related to us
> >    ● under our forms of perception and understanding
> >    ● insofar as they fall under our conceptual schemes,
> >  etc.
> >  So,
> >  we cannot know things as they are in themselves.
>But Peirce's point is that there is nothing that prevents
>us from going back again and again to test our hypotheses,
>to check the opinions of other people, to devise experiments
>that can be tested under widely varying conditions, and,
>most importantly, to make and test falsifiable predictions
>about what would happen in novel circumstances.
>When we look back in history, there are all kinds of
>hypotheses that seemed plausible at the time, but have
>been falsified by further testing:  that the earth is
>flat, the sun circles the earth every 24 hours, that
>phlogiston combines with ores to form metals, that a
>vibrating ether carries light waves, etc.    (01)

>All those hypotheses were plausible conclusions that
>seemed to be justified by sensory impressions.  It took
>a great deal of effort to prove them false, often by
>ingenious experiments with complex instruments that
>contradicted the "obvious" sensory experiences.    (02)

so far, so good    (03)

>In short, all our perceptions are signs, and the objects
>themselves are hypotheses that might turn out to be
>illusions.    (04)

something wrong with both grammar and logic, here, I think;
but in short: the fact that every single one of 
the hypotheses we have about objects might be 
false, does not mean that they ALL might be false;
also 'hypothesis', 'object', 'illusion' are terms 
referring to entities in different categories
BS     (05)

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