Sunday, June 17, 2012

Foundations and Theories

Foundations and Theories

L. Edgar Otto   17 June, 2012

"Carnap and Popper, among others, also saw that while
verification of general propositions (proving them true)
was out of the question as a goal of empirical investiga-
tions, there remained the problem of how to assess the
degree of confirmation or corroboration which favorable
instances do lend to a hypothesis.  Carnap and Popper both followed Jevons in trying to make use of some function of probability as a measure of confirmation or corroboration,
but they disagreed as to the way a corroborative coefficient
should be built out of a probability assessment. For exam-
ple, Popper maintained that the more improbable a state-
ment was, the more highly it would be corroborated by as
favorable instance.  It seems today that this is an unsolved
problem. Apparently it will have to be tackled afresh, free
of the entanglements of the past."

This is from the philosophy set of volumes that came with the Encyclopedia Britannica and Great Books ( To which I will refer as a refresher in this are where such books are becoming rare as we become more a virtual society- and before the string theory which in my eyes the foundations of that theories have analogs in the debate in philosophy of science historically.)  This set of which will post the documentation more formally, is a poem that has a lot of meaning concentrated in relatively few words of which it seems would be helpful for our young theorists.

For the theme of my illustration I use the red wing black bird and the corn, as if these in debate or in a relationship at some fundamental level when as in the  West we gamble the crop on one variety in a vast population of monoclonal agriculture.  The philosopher Mill had his challenger but who now recalls his name and in what context that echoed philosophers of the past or those with more refined positions to come?  This booster shot of my reading- and with better understanding and the realization in debates on line many have offered the party line of the day as if it the established truth of enquirey or as a matter of faith.

Do strings, as an entity or process at least, exist?  Is it a secure science that perhaps not able to observe them in their reductionist stance or realist position really give us a good theory from which to explain by experiment or experience.  For a long time most chemists denied the atomic theory and tried to formulate it on (Boolean) logical grounds alone for such observed effects.  This may be hard to believe in our day even if all is a matter of process and has little to do with sensations as mere focus of say energy.

In general these debates amount to what is regarded as necessity and quality and quantity tend to take sides or make workable compromises.  I added a third category, quasicity. I will however strive to discuss the ideas as philosophically developed and show here and there where some grounding statements may benefit from a refreshing if ancient alternative view.  I invite you to consider of your own theories its position in regards to your methods with our new awakening to more refined and modern problems of which the search for new particles and supersymmetry, ideas of entanglement and the role of information, this may imply.

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