Dear Bruno, Dear List,

> You could be right. The point we are addressing is the question of 
> making our hypotheses clear enough so that we can refute them or make 
> sense of how we could have them refuted at least in principle.

>> I also keep away from ANY thought experiences, they are products of 
>> OUR state of the mind at the time they are 'invented'. 
> All proof in math are particular case of thought experiments. In 
> philosophy-of-mind, theology, theoretical physics and math, the only 
> tools available are the thought experiments.

The problem is: in math what follows from the axioms is true per 
definition (that is what following from the axioms mean).

How would you be able to "refute" comp? There is no way to do that, one 
can only call the axioms into question (and that is what John is doing).

>> because the Flat Earth did not prove true later, either.
> We have no proof that the earth is round, only solid evidence that the 
> roundity of earth is a solid *local* truth.

In which models would the Earth not be round? (I am speaking here of 
models which have the property "roundness" in them and which other 
objects similar to Earth are also round - I guess that is as close to 
what we can call as something being true.) In this sense I would call 
the Earth as being round true.

> No serious scientist will ever try to convince others (except for the 
> mundane purpose of getting some funds). As I said a scientist, not only 
> does not want to convince others, he want others to show him wrong 
> instead. You confuse scientists, and mediatico-pseudo-scientists, which 
> can exist still today due to 1500 years of abandon of the fundamental 
> question to political pseudo-religious authorities. Of course they have 
> had no choice, because it is best to do pseudo-science than to burn 
> alive ... (I don't judge them here).

I agree strongly with you Bruno that science is about doubt and modesty. 
But I do not think that a scientist has to be so agnostic as to never 
want to convince anybody else of some positions (which is what teaching 
essentially is);

I am adopting a critical rationalist position here: a scientist can look 
at the models and assign different plausibilities to them; he can say 
that the evidence speaks more for A than for B. But he sometimes can 
also say that C is strictly ruled out (of course, this is often said too 
soon in practice, but if one is careful one can nevertheless say this, 
of inconsistent theories for instance).


Günther Greindl
Department of Philosophy of Science
University of Vienna


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