On 06 Mar 2012, at 16:40, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:

On 06.03.2012 14:21 Bruno Marchal said the following:

On 06 Mar 2012, at 12:22, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:

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.

This is weird. Since the failure of Whitehead and Russell, it is
admitted that we cannot prove existence, even of the number zero, from
logic alone.


I have meant the history of such an attempt. It is interesting to learn how people have tried it and in what context. It was new for me.

OK.




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.

This is weirder. Engineers prove that things exist, in theory which
assume that some things exist. That is not different than proving the
existence of prime or universal number or relation, from the assumption of the existence of the numbers. It is always relative proof of existence.

Strictly speaking you are right. What I wanted to say is that engineers do not care about this but this does not prevent them from doing useful things. So in a way it is working.


OK, but be careful not to become an instrumentalist, which, to be short, defines roughly truth by useful.

The problem is that the notion of useful is subject dependent. In that sense, a proposition like "cannabis is dangerous" might be decided to be true, because it will work very well for a (large) category of persons (like pharmaceutical lobbies, jail lobbies, textile lobbies, steel lobbies, wood based paper lobbies, the underground untaxed economy, the children (who will find it everywhere and will not need to show the ID).

Lies work very well, for some term, for some people, but it can deform truth, if that exists, and led science and eventually everyone go astray. Instrumentalism leads to manipulism, or gangsterism. It leads to the confusion between truth and power.

Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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