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Thread: The last and final argument about reality.

  1. #6871
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    To distinguish between what is and isn't science, one needs a general notion of what science is. That general notion is your philosophy of science. For instance, if falsifiability is your criterion, then you are in the conceptual territory explored by Karl Popper, who was one of the best known philosophers of science in the 20th century.
    Then how does Realism account for its inability to produce a scientifically meaningful test of itself then?

  2. #6872
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Then how does Realism account for its inability to produce a scientifically meaningful test of itself then?
    The same question could be asked in relation to scientific instrumentalism. Instrumentalism is the pov being branded in this thread as MDR. Yes I know we've been told that MDR would be falsified if someone came up with an instance of a scientific concept produced without any conceptualising. That is rather like saying to a scientist: "Do you think you can cut your own head off, and then keep on doing science?" It's not a risky prediction to say that is not going to happen.

  3. #6873
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    The same question could be asked in relation to scientific instrumentalism. Instrumentalism is the pov being branded in this thread as MDR. Yes I know we've been told that MDR would be falsified if someone came up with an instance of a scientific concept produced without any conceptualising. That is rather like saying to a scientist: "Do you think you can cut your own head off, and then keep on doing science?" It's not a risky prediction to say that is not going to happen.
    Well it might if those much beloved ETIs show up.
    So I suppose that prediction is not risky enough, then eh?

    Oh well .. let's just call it an empirical law then. I don't see why it shouldn't be, actually(?)

  4. #6874
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Well it might if those much beloved ETIs show up.
    So I suppose that prediction is not risky enough, then eh?

    Oh well .. let's just call it an empirical law then. I don't see why it shouldn't be, actually(?)
    Yes you can call it an empirical law that science is done by scientists...

    I'm glad you mentioned ETIs. Quite possible, indeed, that there are other planets inhabited by scientists of different species. If we make contact and find a way of talking with them, it will be interesting to see how much or how little their scientific findings and ours corroborate.

  5. #6875
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    So I suppose that prediction is not risky enough, then eh?
    Exactly. Predictions used to test theories are supposed to be risky, otherwise it is not a serious test.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Actually, there is-- because the point is more than just that a mind is needed, the point is that the result depends on the mind. In other words, what MIR believers often claim is that the mind is a kind of passive vessel that you need in order to see reality as it truly is, but which does not play any fundamental role in what you see.
    No doubt some claim this. But surely it's possible to have a view of science which takes seriously both the human observer/theorist and the aspect of nature which is observed and theorised about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    And in the group which doesn't have consensus about it being an empirical demonstration, there is no consensus about what an 'empirical demonstration' is, because its tenet rules out 'empirical demonstrations' ... Ie there must be consensus on the truth of their beliefs.
    There can be a group that disagrees with the consensus of another group and has a consensus about empirical demonstrations that is their own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    Exactly.
    Wrong answer!
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson
    Predictions used to test theories are supposed to be risky, otherwise it is not a serious test.
    Then it is a serious test then .. glad we resolved that one ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    There can be a group that disagrees with the consensus of another group and has a consensus about empirical demonstrations that is their own.
    Right .. so that's how wars start. Always wondered about the cause of those .. (err not).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    No doubt some claim this. But surely it's possible to have a view of science which takes seriously both the human observer/theorist and the aspect of nature which is observed and theorised about.
    I agree that it's possible. It just isn't possible if we take the MDR point of view, which (as pointed out on page 228 post #6827) assumes a consensus that mind independent things cannot be part of scientific models and the contradictory consensus that scientific models can represent things outside of Minds.

    Many interesting aspects of "reality" that can be discussed from the MIR point of view. For example, what is the nature of probability in that context? Can there exist "nondeterministic" processes without any associated notion of probability?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    I personally do observe many groups of people who have a consensus about many things,
    Excellent, you can successfully use the word "consensus" in a sentence. That's the sole requirement here. I just don't see the problem that is bothering you.
    An empirical demonstration of MDR is a demonstration to people within a group that already has a consensus. It is within that group, that it is perceived to be an empirical demonstration.
    So you're saying that, when the group you refer to is "people engaging in scientific thinking", then those people build a consensus that we have an empirical demonstration of MDR? I'm glad you finally understand the thread!
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Sep-14 at 06:50 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Then how does Realism account for its inability to produce a scientifically meaningful test of itself then?
    Now there's an interesting question. I'm not going to hold my breath that any realists will take it on, however. Prediction: they'll have no clue how to answer that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    But surely it's possible to have a view of science which takes seriously both the human observer/theorist and the aspect of nature which is observed and theorised about.
    Certainly-- you just described MDR! Be sure not to fall into the fallacy that the MDR vs. MIR issue is idealism vs. realism. Remember, if the "thing that is theorized about" is mind independent, then we do not need to take into account the human/theorist at all, when we focus on that mind independent "thing" we are "trying to describe." But that's all MIR talk. The instant you include the human/theorist, you must immediately embrace the mind dependence, and that's all the MDR hypothesis has ever said. After all, it is perfectly clear that if you must take into account the mind/brain/behavior of the human observer in any fundamental way at all, you have mind dependence. Don't forget that mind "dependence" doesn't mean the mind is the only thing you have to worry about, any more than saying my ability to play tennis "depends on" my age is a claim that if I am the same age is Roger Federer, then I should be his equal! "Dependence" does not mean "sole cause of", does it?
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Sep-14 at 07:02 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    It just isn't possible if we take the MDR point of view, which (as pointed out on page 228 post #6827) assumes a consensus that mind independent things cannot be part of scientific models and the contradictory consensus that scientific models can represent things outside of Minds.
    Unfortunately, your post #6827 was totally wrong. You should stop summarizing the MDR perspective, because you only expose that you don't understand it when you try to do that. MDR thinking makes no assumptions of any kind. It makes models, and tests them-- it is scientific thinking. But you don't get that, so you keep talking about something else.

    MDR thinking does not "assume a consensus", it observes a consensus. If you want to understand that, simply follow these steps:
    step 1) Pick up a science book. It might do you good.
    step 2) Look into the book, and see what is there. You will find models, that have reached a consensus are good models that are well tested. Really, try it, this is just what you are going to see-- no assumptions necessary, you only need the ability to see.
    step 3) Notice the ways that the mind of the scientist plays a role in creating, interpreting, and testing those models, such that a very different mind would do it very differently. If you can't observe that, then you've obviously never tried to teach science.
    step 4) Also notice that you don't see anything in that science book that is mind independent. There is a very simple reason for that: mind independent things have nothing to do with scientific thinking, because they cannot be tested.

    Follow those steps, and notice how wrong your claim above is. Or don't look, it's up to you.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Sep-14 at 07:10 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Well, "determined" and "dependent" seem vastly different to me.
    hi mate, missed this

    in context they mean basically the same thing, because what we mean by reality is something we determine, thus it is mind dependent in that the word applies to our concept not what actually IS the case and thus we can all reach different conclusions.

    The only reason I prefer the term is because it doesn't carry with it the sense of idealism that mind dependent reality can carry, for those not in the know about its meaning. As you nicely demonstrated by saying the above. It was this realisation that caused me to swap sides in the debate, its plainly true that reality in the sense that we use the term always applies to our concept of what reality is.
    You're really not going to like it, the meaning of life the universe and everything is.... is.... 42!
    What??????
    is that all you have to show for 7.5 million years of work?????
    it was a tricky assignment.

    "Live Long and Prosper" in memory of Leonard Nimoy
    "I think I'll change my name to Cliff. "Cliff, I can't see anyone lasting in this industry with a name like Cliff" in memory of Terry Pratchett

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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    I agree that it's possible. It just isn't possible if we take the MDR point of view, which (as pointed out on page 228 post #6827) assumes a consensus that mind independent things cannot be part of scientific models and the contradictory consensus that scientific models can represent things outside of Minds.

    Many interesting aspects of "reality" that can be discussed from the MIR point of view. For example, what is the nature of probability in that context? Can there exist "nondeterministic" processes without any associated notion of probability?
    Perhaps the notion of probability, and other mathematical notions, express something which is not only in the human head. Something about the deep structure of the world we are part of. Otherwise, why do maths-based scientific models work — why do they succeed in making predictions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by malaidas View Post
    hi mate, missed this

    in context they mean basically the same thing, because what we mean by reality is something we determine, thus it is mind dependent in that the word applies to our concept not what actually IS the case and thus we can all reach different conclusions.

    The only reason I prefer the term is because it doesn't carry with it the sense of idealism that mind dependent reality can carry, for those not in the know about its meaning. As you nicely demonstrated by saying the above. It was this realisation that caused me to swap sides in the debate, its plainly true that reality in the sense that we use the term always applies to our concept of what reality is.
    I wonder how much this debate has been influenced by the use of the word "reality", which is an abstract noun, rather than terms whose referents are more concrete. Instead of considering "mind dependent reality", what if we consider "mind dependent rocks", "mind dependent stars", "the mind dependent Moon", and "mind dependent evolution"? After all, don't scientific notions of reality generally include rocks, stars, the Moon, and evolution?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    So you're saying that, when the group you refer to is "people engaging in scientific thinking", then those people build a consensus that we have an empirical demonstration of MDR?
    There is one particular group which has its own consensus of what "scientific thinking" means and people within that group someone can say "we" have an empirical demonstration of MDR to other members of that group. A group that has a different consensus about what "scientific thinking" means regards such an "empirical" demonstration as non-empirical since it assumes what it wishes to demonstrate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    Perhaps the notion of probability, and other mathematical notions, express something which is not only in the human head.
    This type of speculation came up often in the thread, but was shown, via actual evidence, why it is not relevant to the MDR hypothesis, or this thread, for several reasons:

    1) this thread is not about things that are "only in the human head", that's just the language some people continually insist on imposing on it. What it is about is looking for evidence that concepts, like probability, have a meaning that depends on the mind using it. Your comment would be relevant had you said "perhaps the notion of probability has nothing to do with the way we think about probability", in which case your use of the word "notion" would have exposed your own inconsistency.

    2) this thread is about what there is evidence of that we can actually observe, not specuations that begin with "perhaps." Starting sentences with "perhaps" is a common trick of pseudoscientific thinking-- like "perhaps ancient astronauts visited Earth", or "perhaps water has a memory of substances that used to be in it before they were diluted to oblivion." Now, this doesn't mean one cannot embrace hypotheticals in the process of valid scientific thinking, but it does mean at some point one must address some actual evidence, or it's just not scientific thinking at all.
    Something about the deep structure of the world we are part of. Otherwise, why do maths-based scientific models work — why do they succeed in making predictions?
    That question is at the heart of the fallacy of imagining that MIR thinking has anything to do with scientific explanation. Why would probability being in the "deep structure of the world" allow it to succeed making predictions? Maybe things in the "deep structure" are inaccessible to our limited minds, and the whole point of science is to find things that we can understand, that are not necessarily part of any "deep structure" at all. And why would being part of some "deep structure" be a requirement for probability to be successful? Maybe we just use successful notions whereever we find them, with no requirement at all for the notions to pre-exist within some "deep structure." For example, if you are good at a card game, it means you use probability notions, updated by information you infer-- does that mean there "really is" a probability that your opponent has the cards you imagine? This thread is completely riddled with examples from actual physics to show why concepts in physics do not need to be in some deep structure to be useful-- MIR belief does not predict that scientific theories should be successful, and the success of scientific theories does not show a connection to MIR thinking.

    Let's pick randomly from the existing list of actual examples. Say, Newton's concept of universal time-- was that not spectacularly successful in making predictions, and did not relativity destroy the idea that universal time was in the "deep structure of the world?" Why did I mention Ptolemy's idea that the Earth was totally different from the rest of the cosmos, and located at its stationary center? Why did I mention that if the "deep structure of the world" is to always be in a specific state, then the entropy of that "deep structure" is always zero, and the second law of thermodynamics cannot be used to rule out perpetual motion machines? The list goes on and on-- the answer to your question can be found by looking at physics.
    Instead of considering "mind dependent reality", what if we consider "mind dependent rocks", "mind dependent stars", "the mind dependent Moon", and "mind dependent evolution"? After all, don't scientific notions of reality generally include rocks, stars, the Moon, and evolution?
    Are you not aware that this thread goes into great detail about the mind dependence of rocks, stars, the Moon, and evolution? I've used all four of those in actual examples! Their mind dependence is easy to see in all cases-- you have only to look.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Sep-14 at 03:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    There is one particular group which has its own consensus of what "scientific thinking" means and people within that group someone can say "we" have an empirical demonstration of MDR to other members of that group.
    The beauty of science is that its methods are objective. One can actually point to them, you should try it. Scientific thinking does not look like "this is my opinion of what an empirical demonstration is, but I offer no evidence that this is what empirical demonstrations are", which is what your posts look like. Mine look like "here is an empirical demonstration, like the moons of Jupiter-- but you have to actually look." I have provided countless examples, and shown what is empirical about those examples. All you have is vague mentions of this group and that group, I just don't see any evidence behind anything you've said.
    A group that has a different consensus about what "scientific thinking" means regards such an "empirical" demonstration as non-empirical since it assumes what it wishes to demonstrate.
    All I can say is, I'm sure glad I'm not a member of a group that thinks an empirical demonstration is non-empirical, that group just sounds pretty confused to me. It's no matter, I see pretty confused groups all the time, this thread goes into a lot of detail about groups who embrace pseudoscience, creationism, etc., and it does that to show how MIR thinking has no necessary connection to scientific thinking. Of course, one has to be able to distinguish scientific thinking from pseudoscience and creationism, so that requires having a mind within a particular class of cognitive abilities, and not all have that. Fortunately for science, it muddles along anyway, due to that other group-- the scientific mainstream, who can tell what empirical evidence looks like. and doesn't just object "but that only holds for a group that respect empirical evidence" as you are saying here.

    Here's the basic problem with scientific thinking, that all scientists encounter eventually (and Galileo encountered in spades): people cannot be convinced of anything if they refuse to do it.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2015-Sep-14 at 03:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    I wonder how much this debate has been influenced by the use of the word "reality", which is an abstract noun, rather than terms whose referents are more concrete.
    It would be clearer to speak of "reality about..." something specific rather than "reality", mind dependent or otherwise, but when stating grand generalities, it would be too laborious to list specifics.

    There are is also a problem with using a noun to denote a set of statements and a similar convenience in doing so. For example, not all thread participants who advocate "MDR" express the same opinion about what statements constitute "MDR".



    Instead of considering "mind dependent reality", what if we consider "mind dependent rocks", "mind dependent stars", "the mind dependent Moon", and "mind dependent evolution"? After all, don't scientific notions of reality generally include rocks, stars, the Moon, and evolution?

    If people actually practice the theory of MDR, they have a hard time naming their "realities". For example, if there are two different models of "the" Moon then what makes them "different" models of the "same" thing? To mention "same" implies that there is some common "thing", of which two different models have been created. However, the correct application of "MDR" is that the model is the thing. There is no "thing" that "scientifically" exists independent of a model.

    If we assume that there is such a strong scientific consensus about "the" Moon that there is only a single consensus model for it , then "mind independent Moon" is a clear designation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Mine look like "here is an empirical demonstration, like the moons of Jupiter-- but you have to actually look.
    Yes, your "empirical" demonstrations do have the pattern "I am correct. Just look and you will see." Thus anyone who disagrees with your claim "can't see".


    An your evaulation "Well I'm sure glad I'm not a member of a group that things an empirical demonstration is non-empirical, that group just sounds pretty confused to me.
    I agree that you think people who don't agree with you are confused.

    It's no matter, I see pretty confused groups all the time, this thread goes into a lot of detail about groups who embrace pseudoscience, creationism, etc. Fortunately for science, it muddles along anyway, due to that other group-- the scientific mainstream.
    Are you claiming to be in the scientific mainstream?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    If people actually practice the theory of MDR, they have a hard time naming their "realities".
    Oh please, that is nothing short of preposterous. In actual fact, we navigate this problem constantly in real science. Just look at the recent flap over whether or not Pluto should count as a "planet"! In some ideas of what a planet is, Pluto is one, and in others, it isn't. We deal. This does not give us any great problem "naming our realities", naming realities is called "scientific language."
    For example, if there are two different models of "the" Moon then what makes them "different" models of the "same" thing?
    Hum, well let's see, why don't we consider an actual example that really comes up? Say, light? Light is pretty important in astronomy, it comes up rather a lot. Is astronomy crippled by the presence of an array of different models about what light is? (There are, by the way, quite an array of different models about what light is.) No, it is not crippled by this, we just go ahead and muddle along, even though there are many different models of "the" phenomenon of a telescope detecting light. But what makes them "different" models of the "same thing", you ask? Well, they are certainly different models, so what allows us to say they are models of the "same thing" (i.e., light) is that they make overlapping predictions. That's it, that's why we say they are models of the "same thing", not because that "same thing" doesn't depend on our minds-- every model of light quite clearly does depend on our minds, and it is our minds that adjudge all these models to have such overlapping similarities that we count them as models of the "same thing." After all, did not Ptolemy have a model of the Earth, as the stuff that goes to the center of the universe that is different from all the other stuff in the universe? And do we not say that was a model of the "same thing" as our modern model of what the Earth is, even though the two models are vastly different? Your questions are answered by looking at science.
    To mention "same" implies that there is some common "thing", of which two different models have been created.
    If you believe in MIR, yes. If you don't, no. If you don't believe in MIR, you say "same thing" means "shows substantially overlapping predictions", like Ptolemy's model of Earth, and the modern models of Earth. I'm not invoking any metaphysical principles here, just look at someone using a model of the Earth, whether it be a flat plane that they are using to get across the street, or a sphere, or an oblate spheroid, and actually notice the overlapping predictions that allow us to regard all those as models "of the same thing." Also notice the complete absence of any need to invoke MIR thinking to see those overlapping predictions.
    However, the correct application of "MDR" is that the model is the thing.
    Actually, MDR thinking does not say the model is the thing, it says the thing is a model. Subtle difference, but you are on the right track.
    There is no "thing" that "scientifically" exists independent of a model.
    Correct, that "thing" is a product of pure MIR belief, as has been demonstrated above in countless ways.
    If we assume that there is such a strong scientific consensus about "the" Moon that there is only a single consensus model for it , then "mind independent Moon" is a clear designation.
    No, that's false. As has been said many times, the consensus requires restricting the set of minds. Any time you restrict the minds to obtain agreement, you will create the illusion of mind independence. You may as well say that human anatomy is gender independent by looking only at men! The reason we restrict the minds to achieve scientific consensus is that the consensus so achieved appears to produce useful advantages, centered on "winning the bet" of successfully predicting objective phenomena. That's the sole reason we restrict the class of minds that "counts", but in so doing, it will fool some people into not seeing the mind dependence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    Yes, your "empirical" demonstrations do have the pattern "I am correct. Just look and you will see." Thus anyone who disagrees with your claim "can't see".
    And is that all I say? Or do I actually say what to look at? You kind of left that part out from your "argument". Your argument is, if someone says look through this telescope, and you will see the moons of Jupiter, that isn't an empirical demonstration-- it's just a claim that they are right and nothing more. You're leaving out the most important part of all-- the looking through the telescope part!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tashirosgt View Post
    The original poster didn't not specify that the thread was to be about "MDR", although perhaps his intention was to attract people interested in that topic to one thread.
    Yes, that's true. I think though, it didn't take long for this thread to turn into a continuation of the previous "blind man and elephant" thread which itself turned into a thread that was primarily focusing on a MDR. I think that thread finished unsatisfactorily because there was much dissent over the scientific legitimacy of the MDR model that didn't properly get aired I felt. At least in this thread there has been ample discussion concerning this point, for and against, but I take your point, in terms of the OP the question posed did not specifically invite a discussion of MDR, I think it was more to try and keep such questions of philosophy in science away from the rest of the forum.

    So in that more inclusive frame of mind on my part, perhaps I can just make this comment with regards to a post from Selfsim concerning realism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Then how does Realism account for its inability to produce a scientifically meaningful test of itself then?
    I wonder if realism (proper) gets a bit of a bad press sometimes. Does anyone know of any realists (who actually openly define themselves as realists) who are unaware that it is a philosophical structure? I perhaps would have said it more likely to be the case that many take on a realist stance without realising they are actually doing such a thing - they would see science as directly accessing that which lay outside of the means by which science is practiced and would not call themselves realists when taking on such an assumption because they wouldn't see it as being an assumption, they would see it as science in action.

    Karl Popper was a realist through and through, but he admits to it being a belief structure in his book "Unending Quest -An Intellectual Autobiography". This is what he wrote:

    "Apart from a restatement of my theory of knowledge, one of my aims in the Postscript was to show that the realism of my Logik der Forschung was a criticizable or arguable position. I stressed that Logik der Forschung was the book of a realist but that at that time I did not dare to say much about realism. The reason was that I had not then realized that a metaphysical position, though not testable, might be rationally criticizable or arguable. I had confessed to being a realist, but I had thought that this was no more than a confession of faith. Thus I had written about a realist argument of mine that it “expresses the metaphysical faith in the existence of regularities in our world (a faith which I share, and without which practical action is hardly conceivable)”.


    Realism has never had any need to account for its inability to produce a scientifically meaningful test of itself because it has never claimed to be a scientific structure.

    Of course, in the light of MDR (if accepted as a scientific model) and QM, representative realism is (in my opinion) put under great strain. Not in terms of it being a belief (which MDR "allows"), but rather in terms of the severe contradiction between the belief of a representative realism and the scientific model of MDR. A bit like believing the earth is flat yet accepting a scientific model of a round earth.
    Last edited by Len Moran; 2015-Sep-14 at 04:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    Perhaps the notion of probability, and other mathematical notions, express something which is not only in the human head. Something about the deep structure of the world we are part of. Otherwise, why do maths-based scientific models work why do they succeed in making predictions?
    In the context of MIR, It's interesting to consider probability with respect to predictions. The usual interpretation of probability is that an event has some probability of happening and then it either actually happens or doesn't. So can probability exist without a concept of "time"?

    Since MDR regards all concepts as mind dependent, then it's tempting to say that the MDR context agrees with the Bayesian interpretation of probability. However, the mathematical implementation of Bayesian methods is more specific that merely saying probability is mind dependent. As far as I can see, "MDR" has no specific model for probability. However some people define "MDR" to include the assumption that there is a consensus about things such as "evidence" and "scientific thinking". That brings up the question of whether any consensus about the applications of probability theory is assumed. For example, many human scientists reach conclusions by using the "frequentist" interpretation of probability theory rather than the Bayesian approach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    I perhaps would have said it more likely to be the case that many take on a realist stance without realising they are actually doing such a thing - they would see science as directly accessing that which lay outside of the means by which science is practiced and would not call themselves realists when taking on such an assumption because they wouldn't see it as being an assumption, they would see it as science in action.
    I agree. The realist point of view, whether consciously taken or not, is an effective model for the everyday world. The statement that realism is a "belief" is only significant if there are other views of the world that are not based on "belief". The presentation of MDR given by some participants tries to exempt MDR from any aspect of "belief" by addressing its remarks to a group that is assumed to have a consensus understanding of things like "evidence", "objective tests", "scientific thinking". These assumed "understandings", in common language, would be called "beliefs". As I pointed out earlier, a significant aspect of MDR beliefs about "scientific thinking" is that things outside minds can be represented in scientific models, but things independent of minds cannot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Is astronomy crippled by the presence of an array of different models about what light is? (There are, by the way, quite an array of different models about what light is.) No, it is not crippled by this, we just go ahead and muddle along, even though there are many different models of "the" phenomenon of a telescope detecting light.
    All that is consistent with the view that "light" is MIR phenomenon and there various different models for it. MIR also consistent with the view that models of light are constructions of human Minds. I agree that we just go ahead and muddle along, but the people doing the muddling may be taking the MIR point of view. You choose to interpret any account of conventional science an illustration of MDR, but the question whether science gets crippled involves the question of how human beings behave and that is influenced by what they think. The fact that science doesn't get crippled in a given field, could be taken as evidence of the effectiveness of "MIR thinking" in that field.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    The same question could be asked in relation to scientific instrumentalism.
    Here's the difference-- instrumentalism does not justify itself by claiming it explains why it works. It is just observed to work. Try that with realism! Selfsim's point was not that realism must be wrong because it cannot justify itself, it is that claims that realism is right because it does justify itself (as we saw Putnam claim, when he incorrectly claimed that all other approaches require miracles but realism doesn't) are wrong. A point about which he is completely right.

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    By the way, here's a perfectly on-target description of what is going on here: http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblo...hy-of-science/. Rosenhouse couldn't possibly be more right, and he hits many of the same arguments we've seen in this thread that show realism is a belief and is not any part of scientific thinking. And he does it while being a realist himself! It is as if I had made the same arguments I am making, except from the opposition position of belief in realism, and showing that the arguments are the same either way.

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