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A Letter About Science...


Legion
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My fellow heathens I could use your feedback and reflections. I am currently speaking about Robert Rosen's work with a guy (whom we will call Gary). He makes computational models and simulations for a living. He's a strange cat in my opinion, but not a bad guy. I know it's not a lot to go on. It's just one letter of several that have been exchanged so far, but could you read this last email I sent to him and give me your general impressions? How does Gary seem to you? How do I seem to you? Can I improve the way I interact with him?

 

Gary: ... it is not scientific.

 

Legion: I think RR's 1958 paper on (M, R)-systems made some predictions.

 

Gary: ... I pointed out that _all_ measures will produce RR-simulations and there is no such thing as an RR-model except in our imaginations. This is a very specific criticism you refuse to acknowledge or talk about....

 

Legion: My silence on this stems from not understanding your assertion. I don't know what an RR-simulation is. It seems to me that a measure produces a proposition. And I agree that the modeling relation is itself a construct. There is an element of artifice in measurement, inference, and in predictions too, I would think.

 

Gary: I'm not saying that there is _no_ causal entailment. I'm simply saying that it has nothing in common with inferential entailment.

 

Legion: I suspect that of all possible formal systems most are nearly useless for modeling. And even if we had a very rich formal system with a great potential to model nature, in general we are going to find that measurement, inference, and prediction will not agree with nature. However the potential still exists for formal inference to mirror causality because both natural systems and formal systems are systems of entailment.

 

Gary: To presume that nature acts anything like the way we think it acts is dangerous.

 

Legion: But Gary, we make vast numbers of predictions constantly, constantly in common experience, right here on the surface of the Earth. Sure, we do it by means of common thought ("natural inference"?) instead of using formal systems, and our common thought is often plagued with inconsistency, nevertheless we often manage to succesfully guide our own behavior based on our predictions. In other words, some of our vast number of predictions are, in fact, somewhat accurate.

 

Gary: What I hear you saying is "you should just believe what I believe and we'd all be happy".

 

Legion: You are free to believe and be absurd as you wish. I'm the clown sometimes too. But I have doubted things which are certain. I have hung question marks on things I long took for granted and some of them have held.

 

Thank you again Gary.

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