Stephen,

The life is full of paradoxes. My point was that while philosophers cannot solve apparently simple problems (well, these problems happen not to be simple), engineers continue doing their business successfully. How they do it? I believe, exactly this way, they try to understand what they do not know. Then they make trials, run tests, etc. and finally with some luck we get a new technology. Whether the theory of everything exists or not, happens not be essential for the success in engineering. I do not know why.


Right now I am at the end of Beweistheorien (Proof Theories) by Prof Hoenen

http://www.podcasts.uni-freiburg.de/podcast_content?id_content=24

At the end of his course, he considers the ontological arguments where the goal was to proof existence from pure logic. A pretty interesting attempt. Still there is a huge gap between logic and existence and it seems that engineers successfully fills it. Ask them, how they do it.

Evgenii

On 05.03.2012 14:34 Stephen P. King said the following:
On 3/5/2012 7:01 AM, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:
John,

It is not that bad to say that we do not know something. Yet, it might
be even better to specify more accurately what exactly we do not know.

Think of your younger colleagues that do chemistry research right now.
Chemists have been quite successful and the story continues. The
concepts of atom, molecule, macromolecule, electron density, etc. have
helped a lot along this way. We may take this concepts ontologically
or just pragmatically, this is after all not that important. Materials
science seems not to be affected.

Evgenii

...

Hi Evgenii,

This is a very fascinating statement to me and I find John's comments to
be very wise! "...it might be even better to specify more accurately
what exactly we do not know. " Does it not lead to a paradox? For if we
could state exactly what we do not know then it would be the case that
we do in fact know it and thus "we would known what we do not know",
which appears to be a contradiction.
Is this a sample of a more general kind of situation that is inevitable
given the idea of self-reference? It seems to me that we need to
consider that Bivalency
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_bivalence> can be a source of
error sometimes, or claim that knowledge is impossible. (note the
bivalence here! LOL!) I am focusing on this because it it part of my
overall critique of the idea of a Theory of Everything. For example,
what exactly does it mean for a sentence to have a definite truth value
absent the ability to evaluate that truth value? This is what I see your
hypothetical situation as discussing....

Onward!

Stephen


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