Hi Jerry, Thank you for your reply. I have to admit that I am not entirely clear about all the points that you are making, so please forgive me if I have barked up the wrong tree at any point.
You note Aristotle's foundation role in logic. I completely agree that he still forms the base upon which modern logic is built. However, I am not convinced that this has very much to do with the rise of modern science. Nor do I think that Aristotle's foundational role in science provides any reason for believing that ancient natural philosophy could ever, on its own terms, have developed into what we recognise as science. I'm also not sure that molecular biology helps you any more than the physics of motion. After all, Aristotle's excellent observational and categorising role in natural history was blighted by the same lack of experiment as his work on motion. And his rational/teleological viewpoint was also unhelpful (although supported by Christians up until the nineteenth century). His insistence upon spontaneous generation is an excellent example. For maggots appearing in rotten meat, at least, a controlled experiment would easily have demonstrated his error, even if the case of eels is excusable. I'm also confused by your term "the logic of calculus". Calculus, of course, is the mathematics of infinitesimals developed by Newton and Leibniz. And it is hard to imagine a science that thrives on calculus more than the physics of motion. So, while I can clearly see you disagree with me, I am afraid that I do not really follow why. Best wishes James <http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Science-Christian-Scientific-Revolution/dp/15 96981555/bedeslibrary> The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution by James Hannam is available for pre-order now. "Well-researched and hugely enjoyable." New Scientist "A spirited jaunt through centuries of scientific development. captures the wonder of the medieval world: its inspirational curiosity and its engaging strangeness." Sunday Times "This book contains much valuable material summarised with commendable no-nonsense clarity. James Hannam has done a fine job of knocking down an old caricature." Sunday Telegraph From: Jerry LR Chandler [mailto:jerry_lr_chand...@me.com] Sent: 02 March 2011 02:43 To: email@example.com Cc: ja...@jameshannam.com; Stan Salthe; Pedro Marijuan Subject: Hannam's Contentious Postulate, vol. 547, issue 1 (Pedro: Please Post to FIS) James Hannam, Stan, Pedro, List: Thank you for taking the time to express your point of view. For several years now, I have been studying the origins of molecular biology, seeking a coherent explanation for the meaning for its predictive powers and the methods which lead to scientific predictions. I certainly do not speak for the metaphysics of the physical information theorists, who, perhaps, may be more persuaded by your style than I. Your assertion that: "I sense some scepticism about my contentions that ancient science could never have developed into what we call modern science. " is simply illogical and necessarily false. Why do I confront your logic? The simple facts are that the basic ideas of Aristotle remain the foundations of Western science. The developments from Aristotle to the present day can be traced step-by-step. By the basic ideas of Aristotle, I mean five specific notions that Aristotle wrote of: 1. Rules of thought [identity, non-contradiction, excluded middle] 2. Categories [substance, quality, quantity, relation, time, place, situation, condition, action and passion] 3. Causality [formal, material efficient, telos] 4. Logic of premises (sorites, pathways of statements from antecedents to consequences, graph theory, theory of categories] 5. hierarchy [individual, species, genera, alone with ostension to greater levels] During the intervening 23 Centuries, our notions of all these terms have changed substantially. Our very notion of language itself, as well as our notion of symbol systems, especially mathematics and chemistry has greatly improved our ability to be specific. Nevertheless, modern science developed directly from these few simple concepts, particularly of the concept of identity. The scientific terms of Aristotle continue to serve the sciences well and continue to be discussed routinely in both the theory and in practice of modern science. If Western science did not develop from these Aristotelian concepts, what concepts did modern science develop from? Your focus on motion, as an example, is, in my opinion, ill-advised for your thesis. The philosophy of physics continues to churn, century after century, it remains unsettled today. Personally, I smile a wide grin whenever a physicist announces once again that the foundations of physics must be revised. As one of my friends loves to say, physics is the only metaphysics we ("modern science") have. The other sciences, intimately associated with the logic of calculus, thrive on the correspondence between observations and predictions. Is it possible, James, that your training has embedded your thinking so deeply in the logic of language that the historical role of the logic of calculus in the development of science is submerged in your writings? Stan: Two ideas are at issue: 1. The first is your most recent post on the role of the term, "properties." "There ARE NO "properties of things" unmediated by biology and culture." The concept of properties is, of course, the bedrock of predicate logic and the grammar of physics. If you deny the existence of properties in your ontology, your metaphysics becomes much clearer. 2. Secondly, the notion of the term, "ostensive"". What is it? The Latin roots suggests the meaning "stretch out to view", that is, demonstrable. In particular, are you using this term as if it is unrelated to the concept extension that merely stretches a concept out? Pedro: Your defense of the fertility of Western intellectual history of periods between Aquinas and Newton are important in understanding how our world views of today are rooted in the deep sense of community that developed during that historic timeframe. I would add that the idea of a "University", which developed more or less "ad hoc" from the Paris model, as place to transmit, reflect and create values should be acknowledged. The separation of the triverum from the quadriverum was a profound step in the history of thought as it separated the role of language (rhetoric, grammar and logic) from the logic of the calculus. James Hannam, as I noted above, appears to devalue this separation. It is important to keep in mind that the ancient Summerians (3 rd millenium BC) concept of informational symbols completely lacked this ability to separate concepts in this manner. I believe that this separation was critical to the development of our view of mind (the Modistae of the 1300's), the development of signs (John of Poinsot) and most especially the continual development of explication via the technics of disputation. I might also add that the conceptualization of "Syncategorimaticism" by Peter of Spain became the foundation for extending mathematical logic in the 19th Century (by C S Peirce). Of course, this is a further example of the role of Aristotle's notion of "relational" categories. Cheers to All Jerry
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