[ExI] Bad Epistemology?

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Mon Jul 16 04:27:13 UTC 2007

On 7/15/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> Is my epistemology really screwed up at a fundamental level?
> If so, it's got to be pretty subtle, and I would appreciate any
> help from anyone:  professional philosopher or armchair
> amateur alike.


> 1. There is a real world "out there" composed of all manner
>     of real things. We have names for these things, e.g., electron,
>     quark, photon, gluon, and so forth. We even have names for
>     conglomerations of these things, e.g. "table", "star", "desk",
>     "atom", and "galaxy".

This is an assumption, but an important one, and necessary at least
within the extents of our present best model.  In addition to assuming
it is "real", we assume also that it is coherent and consistent in its
interactions with any observer.  Note also that coherent and
consistent do not imply closed.


> 4. Objects as such---strictly speaking---do not reside in the
>     mind. Nor do they reside in 3-space, any more than the
>     number 6 resides in our minds or in space. Theories and
>     ideas and other patterns exist really and Platonically
>     whether or not people, or cameras, or quarks, or space,
>     or time, or any other things happen to exist


Lee, you're missing some of the following:

Any observer system, while embedded in "reality", is fundamentally,
ineluctably subjective. One can assume otherwise, but at the cost of
reduced information entropy. [1]

This means that any observation is always only defined in terms of the
observer.  Of course we humans are highly similar; individuals being
only the smallest of twigs on a common branch of the evolutionary

"Any observation" includes observation of the observer by the
observer.  Misconception of this point is the source of perennial
philosophical debates.

>From the above we can infer pragmatic meaning of meaning, truth, etc.
[2], all within a framework of maximizing information entropy, which
is about as fundamental and universal a principle as we know.

- Jef

1. Principle of maximum entropy, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum_entropy>

2. Semiotics, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiotics>

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