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Epistemological Evolution (or the Chicken or the Egg)

  1. Nov 5, 2003 #1
    The trouble with epistemology is that it is tightly bound to metaphysics, and vice versa of course. Your epistemology is determined by your metaphysics, and your metaphysics is determined by your epistemology. The result of this indeterdependency is an evolutionary dynamic.

    Any particular system of epistemologies is based upon a set of suppositions the violation of which destroys the epistemological system. It becomes incoherent. There is only so much that a particular epistemological system can teach within a given discipline. As an example let us examine the method of producing computer chips. To maintain Moore's Law new methods are periodically required to produce faster chips. The old techniques have either reached their theoritical limit or their cost effectiveness.

    The underlying problem with any metaphysics/epistemology is that as its basis, some possibilities are excluded. None can answer all questions, some questions must be denied. When it comes to a Theory of Everything to answer means to become God. We are finite. Accept it. The infinite can not come from the finite. If there were to be a TOE, existence would expend greatly. But then a entirely new set of questions would arrise, which we could not conceive of today.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2003 #2

    Instead of "existence would expand greatly" it should read our understanding of existence would expand greatly.
  4. Nov 6, 2003 #3
    Why are you invoking the concept of infinity, a physical impossibility which gives rise to unrealistic conclusions?
  5. Nov 6, 2003 #4

    Infinity is impossible only under current epistemological systems. It may not be under others. Besides what makes you think the universe is merely physical?
  6. Nov 6, 2003 #5
    Re: yes

    Because a non-physical part of the Universe would have no way of interacting with a physical part, and would thus have no relevance to physical beings like us.

    Welcome to the PFs, H Crews. :smile:
  7. Nov 6, 2003 #6
    H Crew, I don't think you've fully grasped the concept of a Theory of Everything. You see, no one is trying to explain all natural phenomena with one theory. The ToE is really just an effort to unify the theories of matter and force (QM) with the theory of space and time (GR). Many new discoveries and theories will become possible with this discovery, but it will not explain everything and it's not expected to.
  8. Nov 6, 2003 #7

    My mistake. But I hope you can see that it was an honest mistake. TOE would then really be a Theory of the Empirical. If "we" are physical beings then I take it you subscribe to materialism. But another comment would appear that you don't.

    Mentant, just a friendly question. Materialism or Not?
  9. Nov 6, 2003 #8


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    Hm, should I answer that one?
  10. Nov 7, 2003 #9


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    I do want to comment on the status of the proposed TOE. In scientific monism there are no causes but material ones. If you then provide a complete underpinning for the material causes, haven't you (within scientific monism) explained everything? At least in principle? BTW I don't think the argument of the emergence fans destroys this argument; they seem to me to be making an epistomological argument - what we can know - rather than an ontological one -what exists.
  11. Nov 7, 2003 #10

    The trouble is when do you know you have provided the underpinnings for material causes. For instance Newtonian physics pretty much explained all the known material causes for a couple of centuries, give or take. Then observations were made with new technologies or rare phenomena occured that couldn't be explained by Newtonian physics. Therefore new physics were required, primarily QM.

    The fundamental problem with TOE is that it is unscientific. No theory no matter how comprehensive it might be, can never be known to be universally and eternally applicable to material causes. The best that could be hoped for would be a TOE at least for right now and the forseeable future. The forseeable future might be very short however.
  12. Nov 7, 2003 #11
    go ahead I won't tell anyone

    Come on now, fess up hypnagogue.
  13. Nov 7, 2003 #12


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    Perfectly true. No finite theory can ever be proved. The TOE I was talking about was like an ideal case; IF it existed THEN ...
  14. Nov 8, 2003 #13
    I'd considered that. It seems to me that you will have explained everything at it's most fundamental level, but things like molecular biology (for example) would not benefit greatly from this understanding. Am I completely mistaken ?
  15. Nov 8, 2003 #14
    I don't know how accurate you'd be. "Devil's Advocate" and Socratic inquiry have played a large role in my current form of debate (as has a long discussion with Manuel_Silvio about "Meta-paradigms", on the thread "I think therefore I am"). Basically, even if I was a die-hard anti-theist, I could debate the theistic side just as strongly as the anti-theistic side. So, though I am currently holding the Materialistic position, it is not (necessarily) my "actual belief", since I don't really have an "actual belief" on such things.
  16. Nov 8, 2003 #15
    a chicken and an egg were in bed. the chicken had a satisfied smirk on it's face and was smoking a cigarette. the egg grabbed the sheet, rolled over and said "well, i guess we answered THAT question".
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