[lit-ideas] Re: Philosophy Of Maths

  • From: wokshevs@xxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2008 15:49:37 -0230

Almost makes perfect sense to me. The fact that I don't know the constituents of
DNA does not entail there is no objective knowledge of DNA. The harder part is
generalizing my ignorance across all cognitive beings, past, present and
future. In what sense would "knowledge" of DNA "exist" in such circumstances?
Surely only as a possibility. And is possible objective knowledge really
objective "knowledge?"  

(We wouldn't act on such a belief were we members of a search cttee for
candidates for positions as airline pilots or brain surgeons: "Well, no, I
don't know much about brains or surgery, now that you ask. But I am certain
that objective knowledge of these things does exist in a world of its own."

Note that to caricature a position is not necessarily to demean or discount it
in any way. One can believe the position or idea to be itself quite profound,
as I do in this cae, and try to gain further clarity about it by exaggerating
some of its features within analysis. All good caricatures, after all, do bear
a moment of truth.

Walter O.

P.S. If nobody has ever known P, and nobody at present does know P, and nobody
ever will know P - note this latter claim is to be differentiated from "nobody
could ever know P" - does the knowledge of P (or P as it could be known?) still
exist somewhere/somehow? And would a claim to that effect be a transcendental
claim? What a set of questions for a day when family demands my full

Quoting Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>:

> I realise you are probably all by now spending your Saturday evening indoors
> sharpening your pencils ready to enter this great debate. (I am not - I use a
> pen, and sharpening really messes it up; as for the computer keyboard, the
> sharpener can't even get proper purchase). 
> The article is fairly excellent imo (would anyone bother the list with less,
> unless it were a palindromic pastiche of Dylan?). But not infallible.
> Consider:-
> "Clearly, objective knowledge (world 3), that is, the objective contents of
> theories, can exist only if those theories have been materially realized in
> texts (world 1), which cannot be written nor be read without involving human
> consciousness (world 2)."
> This is not quite Popper's view, and for a number of reasons. One of which is
> Popper's explicit claim in _Schilpp_ that there is a W3.3 i.e. 'objective
> knowedge' that has thus far (and perhaps forevermore) never been 'thought' or
> 'been in anyone's consciousness' (W2); nor has it been "materially realized
> in texts" or 'physically embodied'(in W1).
> As a subsidary question to the broad topic raised: let us say '^%' is the
> symbol for 'an infinity of numbers'. By writing '^%' have I thereby
> physically instantiated 'an infinity of numbers'? Or have I merely
> instantiated a symbol for 'an infinity of numbers', whereas that infinity
> cannot (in a finite physical realm) ever be instantiated?
> "Start with something basic even on the big questions." - Brian Clough.
> Donal
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