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Two terminology questions

  1. May 8, 2012 #1

    1. What is the technical term for two things (concepts/ideas/phenomena) that depend on one another and cannot be reduced further? I was going to use this in relation to "Physical Evidence and Reasoned Logic" as neither seems more fundamental than the other. Without logic, evidence cannot be interpreted, and without evidence logic becomes hopelessly theoretical, with no hope of improving the predictive power of its models.

    2. Is there a term for the phenomenon of few "correct" claims, but infinitely many "incorrect" ones? I know this is one of the main motivations behind the burden of proof, but was wondering if there was a term for it.

    Thank you for your time.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 8, 2012 #2


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    There are a variety of terms. The Greek dichotomy (mutually exclusive, jointly exhaustive). Hegel's thesis and antithesis. Complementaries (used in quantum theory mainly). Kant's antimonies (not exactly what you mean here, but related). Yin Yang in Taoism. Category theory in foundations of mathematics also has this dyadic relationship.

    As for the dichotomy of models and evidence, Robert Rosen's modelling relations might be a useful cite here.
  4. May 9, 2012 #3


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    I don't know of any term for that, but it sounds like something that might be a subject of "evidentialism".
  5. May 9, 2012 #4
    To get a definition you’ll probably need to better define your idea. Logical propositions inductively depend on evidence. I presume this is not the relationship you are looking for though.
  6. May 10, 2012 #5
    With regards to logic I thought of a relevant term:


    The dependency you describe is a dependency between relations and particulars. I can’t think of a way this is generalized.
  7. May 12, 2012 #6
    All of this is relevant but not quite what I was looking for. Robert Rosen's modeling relations are indeed a useful cite. :-)

    The Ying Yang is very appropriate, some sort of irreducible dichotomy.

    Yes. I am looking at the "infinite regress" argument against evidentialism, foundationalism and coherentism.

    I think coherentism is correct, but I want to get as close to a foundation as possible.

    I agree.

    Can you elaborate on this?

    I was thinking that more fundamentally physical evidence is something external to mind, while logic is a fundamental property of mind.

    I strongly suspect that I simply need to read/think a lot more than I have. :-)
  8. May 12, 2012 #7
    What's an example of an irreducible concept/idea/phenomenon?

    To me, the physical world seems fundamental to logic.

    Don't know. But I'm intrigued. Can you give an example of something wrt which there are a few correct claims and infinitely many incorrect ones?
  9. May 12, 2012 #8
    Take a square for example. It needs three parts, the space inside the square, the space outside the square, and the border between the two. Without any of these the square becomes void.

    If a square was somehow the fundamental building block of all reality, I'd have the "problem" of reality being dependent on three things instead of one, since I would supposedly maintain the ability to differentiate between the three parts. Perhaps the border is extemporaneous to the example, but you get the idea.

    I can make an evidence based argument for logic, but this requires logic itself. The two seem inseparable. Without both, no knowledge can be had, and perhaps even mind itself ceases to exist. An epistemological dead end.

    I don't want any a priori truths, and want to hold nothing as self-evident. If I were to say that the physical world was the most fundamental, it would render the physical world self-evident. Maybe this is acceptable via basal assumptions, but I still need logic to explain why the assumptions are necessary.

    Logic and evidence appear to depend on each other as the yin and yang do. I suspect though that what's being used here, "evidence" and "logic" may not be fundamental enough. Still whatever they break down to I feel like the same relationship will apply, an irreducible dependence on one another.

    Pretty much everything that would fit the reasonable definition of having a correct claim, from mathematics, to history, to physics. Any model I can think of with predictive power ends up having a (relatively) narrow range of what is considered correct. Without this the model tends to lose its predictive power.

    What inspired me was talkorigins.org, where we see many creationists claims, and a great deal of energy is spent refuting them. It seems that one or two quick statements that make up a scientific, or logical claim can take pages to refute, and there appears to be infinitely many.

    It seems to me that mind must be finite, whereas nature may not have this restriction (thinking outside the multiverse or other dimensions). The number of beliefs mind has seems finite, whereas the number of beliefs mind does not have seems infinite.

    The signal to noise ratio is a good analogy here. I just thought it would be handy if there was a simple term for this idea.
  10. May 12, 2012 #9
    1. symbiosis
    2. fluke
  11. May 13, 2012 #10
    I looked at symbiosis before but I don't think it quite captures the idea. Symbiosis would indicate that each needs one another to survive, that if one dies the other dies as well. It's more a case of if one would cease to exist then knowledge itself would too :-)

    Fluke is an "unlikely chance occurrence". I don't think it is chance that 2+2 = 4, that if x = 2+2, y ≠ x, {y ∈ C | y ≠ 2}
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