Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
nameta9

Is science arbitrary ?

Recommended Posts

Science is a system of arbitrary symbols and interactions dependent on a mind interacting with the universe.

 

Imagine a mind A, having a completely different cognitive organization (memory, emotions, sense organs, thought processes) etc. This mind

would interact with reality according to a completely different set of rules

from our science, but as such it would always be completely coherent and valid for mind A. Thus a completely different and new science would be valid for mind A.

Therefore changining mind structures you can create an infinite number of

different sciences.

 

This came up when analyzing what would happen if we started to modify how our neurons are hard-wired and in general any degree of physical and direct modification of the brain - mind. This also comes up when considering an eventual alien species that is organized differently.

 

In fact our mind H has a science in which to describe and explain being A, while mind A has his science in which to describe and explain being H. Which is the correct description ?

Both because science becomes a system of arbitrary symbols and interactions dependent on the mind structure using the given science.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Science is a system of arbitrary symbols and interactions dependent on a mind interacting with the universe.

 

"Science is a system of arbitrary symbols".

Surely this is a tautology. Of course a symbol is arbitrary. We generally represent the speed of light by the letter 'c'. We could just as easily represented it by the letter 'y' or 'A' or any other arbitrary symbol. That would in no way effect the science that we developed relating to light.

 

"Science is a system of .............arbitrary interactions".

Very clever. Having softened us up on a statement so blindingly obvious in your pleonastic opening phrase' date=' you drop in a second phrase that is, at least, highly questionable.

I am, hypothetically, a biochemist, but I get up one morning, go to my lab and arbitrarily decide to investigate orbital mechanics of objects in the Kuiper belt. Or Severian (excuse me using you as an example) decides arbitraily to stop bashing baryons together and go off and look at sexual dimorphism in brachipods. I think not.

A central point about the interactions of science is that they are highly structured, planned, assessed and documented. There is nothing arbitrary about these interactions. The event with which science is interacting may be partially arbritary, but the interaction is not.

 

"Science is .....dependent on a mind interacting with the universe."

Well, good. We can agree on that. However, the [i']events[/i] science describes are, for the most part, not dependent on the mind. [Let's set aside the role of the observer in quantum mechanics for the moment.] But science itself is very much dependent upon the mind, since science is a methodology and methodologies require minds to implement them. But none of this implentation or interaction is arbritary.

 

With your premise flawed the rest of your argument is a logical non sequitor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No because mind senses, structures and organizes information, uses language and logic to interact with reality uses memory to position its logical path. But a different mind, with different neural crcuits and connections and eventually memory structures and different organization will interact with reality in ways which we cannot know. I am thinking of an alien mind maybe. Of course their science or knowledge or better experience is valid for them but not for us. They have a different science in their mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your original post was titled 'is science arbritary?' I believe I have demonstrated that it is not arbritary either through the use of symbols, nor through its interaction with events.

 

Your clarification suggests, if I understand you correctly, that the arbritary character of science arises from the peculiar character of the human mind. An alien mind, having a different structure, would perforce have a different science. And so we see that the science is a chance construct of the chance character of the mind, and is therfore arbritary. Is this a correct re-statement of your thesis?

 

Let's consider that. We might consider three aspects to this:

 

The character of the event or thing under investigation

The methodology by which we investigate it

The order in which choose to investigate and the relative importance we place on it

 

The character of the event or thing is wholly independent of the mind investigating it, so that aspect is not arbritary. Light still travels at c for all observers, no matter how we investigate it, if our investigation methods are valid.

The methodology we call science is, as noted in my earlier post, highly structured. I think you need to demonstrate clearly how a different methodology could still produce 'truth' about events or things and still be called science,

I would fully accept the order of discovery will be closely linked to the character of the mind. That will not alter the nature of the discovery. To me, the 'truth' we are seeking, followed by the way in which we seek it are what define science. The order in which events/things are investigated is of minor importance.

Since the first two are not arbritary, we cannot say that science is arbritary, though I concede that we can say the order in which we investigate phenomena is.

 

 

Note: the spelling of arbritrary throughout these posts is deliberately arbitary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your clarification suggests' date=' if I understand you correctly, that the arbritary character of science arises from the peculiar character of the human mind. An alien mind, having a different structure, would perforce have a different science. And so we see that the science is a chance construct of the chance character of the mind, and is therfore arbritary. Is this a correct re-statement of your thesis?

 

[/quote']

 

Yes. But the subjective experience of the alien mind may be wildly different from ours and the way the information is organized and manipulated. In that case theirs would be a different universe altogether let alone science. Our science is correct and coherent, but a different mind may have a completely different interpretation and manipulation of reality and its logic. Since the way these different minds may be different can differ wildy (there are trillions of possible combinations) so does their science. Keep in mind that different neural connections and circuits may also mean completely different emotions, sentiments, mind events and there is no telling how different and complex they may become. You must abstract away from our mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The methodology of science is intended to provide an objective, independent, 'real' view of the Universe.That is fails to do so some/much/all of the time is the reflection of the limited time and resource that have been applied; it is not a reflection of a failure of the methodology.

 

The charateristics of mind that you mentioned - emotions, sentiments, mind events - are precisely what the methodology is designed to circumvent. There are plenty of things that our mind cannot detect through its senses that we can nevertheless investigate, interpret and understand. This process of setting aside the 'mind events' is a central part of our science and must be a central part of the alien mind's science, if it is still to be called science.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you get out of our mind set and imagine to be within an alien mind set you would see things from their view which could be radically different and not incorrect be equally valid. I mean the alien mind could have a different organization such as memory and emotions and may not even use mathematics. Their mind is as valid as ours. Our mind is only one possible organzation and one possible science.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. I remain comfortable with the notion that science moves towards describing objective truth. Individual scientists may fail in this goal because of the limitations of perspective and paradigm you have described, but the science is the same regardless of the mind set. Can I prove this? No.

 

You would have got closer to convincing me if you had quoted J.B.S.Haldane "The Universe is not only queerer than we imagine, it is queerer than we can imagine."

icon7.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It appears that this thread is missing an important point, that we understand the universe in different ways, and in different sciences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everything you guys reply is correct. I am not denying our science, it is all correct. I am abstracting more. I am considering the system Mind + Reality (or universe). Mind has always been fixed. Our neural circuits, language, logic is fixed and with this fixed system we interact and discover reality and science. What happens if the Mind changes (different circuits). The system Mind + Universe changes. At that point it is hard to imagine the impossible, but a different Mind will see this same reality differently. And in this sense will create a different science or interpretation or maybe even live a different experience. We obviously cannot know because everything is filtered with our single mind, but a different mind can develop a different science altogether. And not a wrong science but different. Do they have atoms ? maybe not because maybe they associate a tree with a cloud as one thing that may have use and meaning in their view of the world. Being that there are trillions of different ways minds may be designed, there are trillions of different universes and sciences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps the best argument you could use for your viewpoint is that even though we are members of the same species, with very similar hardwiring, we are still perceiving reality differently in this instance. I think that would be misleading.

 

Consider the fable of the six blind men who go in search of an elephant. The have heard of the beast, but know little about it. The first blind man walks into its flank and declares that an elephant is a wall. The second finds its trunk and identifies it as a snake. The one who stumbles into a leg is sure it is a tree, and so on. And all because their limited perception limts their interpretation of what an elephant is.

Now, had these men been scientists the outcome would have been different. They would have discussed their findings, carried out experiments, approached the beast from different directions, investigated its behaviour in diverse conditions. Slowly they would have built up an improved, though never complete, picture of what an elephant was. The reality of the elephant would never change, their direct perception of it would change slightly, but their overall understanding would change enormously.

Does that have any resonance for you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think also that nameta's idea is only valid for direct observation ie. the blind men

 

however for indirect observation such as E=mc^2 that relationship will always be the same. with very small changes to the equation, for any units used

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have thought a lot about this as well nameta9. The objectivity of science is objectivity for us- or intersubjectivity. With vastly different minds, there is always the chance that we would have a vastly different science. However, there are a couple of issues here. First, from whose point of view would the sciences be "different"? Given that our minds organize data in very different ways, what exactly would count as "being the same" between the two sciences and how would we ever know if they are (or are not) "the same"? Given it is possible for there to be similarity between sciences, whatever remains invariant with respect to every (possible) transformation between sciences could safely be called objectivity. Sound reasonable?

 

The important questions are: How different can two intellegent minds (possibly) be? Is there a limit to the possible differences? Must there, of necessity, be strong similarities between any two minds, and must they always be reflected in the science(s)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 apple plus 1 apple always equals 2 apples

 

that is the limit to differences you could possibly have

 

 

 

unless you want to think of things in such an abstract manner as for instance the aliens in slaughter house V

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The important questions are: How different can two intellegent minds (possibly) be? Is there a limit to the possible differences? Must there' date=' of necessity, be strong similarities between any two minds, and must they always be reflected in the science(s)?[/quote']

Yes you got the point. I don't think there is any limit to the differences we may have. This same problem will emerge when humans start modifying their own minds by creating new and different neural connections. New sense organs, new mixtures between sense organs, memories (even messed up fast forward backwards memories; who knows...) new emotional states new mental organizations, virtual realities, chip implants , again there is no limit (this thing is aka "technological singularity"). The subjective experience of this mind (or minds or civilization because this may end up as a solid state civilization with the difference between a single mind and multiple minds dissappearing) can be wildly different from ours. Their science may have some relation with ours or even no relation whatsoever. I really think these minds would search in the directions of greater mental and spiritual experiences, emotions or pleasure or something like that. It is an unkown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

can you give me one situation where 1+1 does not =2

 

even if these creatures saw in different spectrums of light or saw atoms and molecules. they would still find 1+1=2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good luck with that line of questioning CPL (or may I call you Luke). Nameta9 seems unwilling to concede that there maybe an absolute reality. If we only perceive with our senses what he says is correct, but we go so far beyond that today, that his arguments are become meaningless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
can you give me one situation where 1+1 does not =2

 

even if these creatures saw in different spectrums of light or saw atoms and molecules. they would still find 1+1=2

 

First you have to specify how it is that the human mind and the developments through history lead us to such a conclusion, and then you need to show exactly what it is about such a process that is inevitable for any intellegent creature. You haven't done that. Sorry, but you don't have an argument here, all you have is an assumption- and a poor one at that! And given the nature of the first post and what is at issue here, your posts amount to nothing more than question-begging.

 

 

Try again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nameta9 seems unwilling to concede that there maybe an absolute reality. If we only perceive with our senses what he says is correct, but we go so far beyond that today, that his arguments are become meaningless.

 

Regardless, I'm more than willing to accept the possibility of a perfectly objective reality- and I even set out specific criteria of how it could- in principle- be established. Unfortunately, you fail to even accept the possibility that you are wrong, and you certainly make no strides to establish yourself as correct- you simply assume it. That is a shame.

 

I don't think you understood the argument if you think the argument is limited to perception- it isn't!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The real problem is not 1+1 but if a differently organized mind even has the concept of one or any mathematical concept at all. Maybe they would use a completely different logic, maybe this mind doesn't have the concept larger or smaller or sees discrete entities, and maybe it could still be very intelligent and complex. It is quite abstract, but the only way to start discovering would be to directly start modifying our neural circuits; I don't think there are many scientists who would want to start modifying their own brains...

 

Another similar problem that came to thought was, if another species evolved having complete control over their environment and a near infinite degree of manipulation of reality and had all this without having evolved through scientific investigation (maybe innate with instinct) they would not ever know that there is a science and formulas because they would never need them ... I think this is an even stranger situation ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Regardless' date=' I'm more than willing to accept the possibility of a perfectly objective reality- and I even set out specific criteria of how it could- in principle- be established. Unfortunately, you fail to even accept the possibility that you are wrong, and you certainly make no strides to establish yourself as correct- you simply assume it. That is a shame.

 

I don't think you understood the argument if you think the argument is limited to perception- it isn't![/quote']

To limit the size of of my response can you answer this specific question. In your opinion is there a reality that exists independent of observers? Your earlier posts imply that you think not, but I may be misinterpreting what you have said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes a reality seems to exist independent of observers. At least our mind percieves this. I don't think this independence of reality changes things much because, it is everything that comes after that (mind seeing, interpreting etc) that creates anything meaningful. This is closely related to the thread "is there a hidden layer ?". Maybe you would need a superset of all minds to find what is constant in all the sciences... Anyways it is quite abstract.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It really doesn't matter how abstract or subjective reality gets - intelligence is still predicated upon the ability to identify information in different states.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Imagine a species that evolved having as fundamental to their mind partial differential equations. They would use this mathematics without ever noticing it, hence they may not even know they had this ability. In this case mathematical physics would mostly all be solved automatically for them. We could say this species has a more evolved mind but we know they are using PDEs as the fundamental logic element in their mind. Now that would be a case where a less evolved mind knows more than a more evolved mind. So an insect maybe knows more than us ? This would also represent a "hidden layer" (like in the thread hidden layer in the universe) to this alien mind.

 

In general we could say that the science a species produces is dependent on the obstacles it has to overcome. If they had everything available to them, they would never even know science exists. If they had some capabilities but not others, those capabilites they had would be taken for granted (I am thinking of a species that had our CPUs already evolved in their mind). The combinations are endless and the problems are quite strange and far fetched.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now that would be a case where a less evolved mind knows more than a more evolved mind. So an insect maybe knows more than us ?

Knowing something another does not know doesn't actually require that you know more than they do.

 

 

This would also represent a "hidden layer" (like in the thread hidden layer in the universe) to this alien mind.

Would it? Are you sure you aren't just making up new names for things and not actually describing what is happening?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.