John Mikes wrote:
Brent, you don't REALLY put strange (implied?) words in my mouth, but
that gives the impression to the innocent byreader that I said anything
"Did I claim that we had reached a complete inventory??"
No, you only said:
"> It is only your opinion that the inventory is *necessarily* incomplete."
Presumably not YOUR opinion, implying completeness of our (cognitive)
I apologize for a typo: what I wrote 1006 was meant indeed 2006(AD), if
this number has some connotations in our minds. Now if (as you seem to
agree) we increase our cogniotive inventory even to date, it is
"necessarily" incomplete. QED
Of course I agree that it is incomplete. But you seem to assume that it can never be
complete - that even if reductionist physics bottoms out with a single unified field,
our "inventory" will be incomplete because it will not include all the complex
relations of those elementary inventory items. I think this is begging the question
" Does the fact that we don't now know everything prove that there are
things we will never know?"
You cannot paste this nonsense onto my neck. However we have limited
means in our mental arsenal - what you may call "material" tools eg. the
'brain' - which does not imply our capability to collect an
unrestricted, limitless (I almost wrote: infinite)
knowledge-base (=cognitive inventory).
Is this what you meant to write?: ~[limited means -> ability to collect
unlimited knowledge-base)] It certainly seems true - but trivial.
Such consideration, however, does
have nothing to do with *proving* what you asked upon the condition you
"Does the fact that a reductionist analysis is incomplete imply that a
wholistic theory is correct?"
Are you asking me, or are you just ironic? So far I did not experience
in your writings logical flaws, I valued your opinion for that. I read
in your sentence an affirmative to the incompleteness of a reductionist
analysis, so we agree. I pointed to this as a flaw that may be deducted
from not thinking wholistically enough.
I think reductionist/wholistic it is a false dichotomy. Reductionist theories are only
successful when they explain the more wholistic theory (which looked at from the other
end is called "emergent"); as statistical mechanics explained thermodynamics
and biochemistry is aiming to explain life. Physicist are motivated by wholism, as in
the current effort to find a unifying theory of quantum gravity. But a theory that does
not reduce the phenomena will be as much a mystery as the phenomena itself.
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