[FOM] Platonism and Formalism
V.Sazonov at csc.liv.ac.uk
Mon Sep 29 16:15:00 EDT 2003
Torkel Franzen wrote:
> Vladimir Sazonov says:
> >It is Platonism, "the unique" absolute standard model of PA independent
> >on anything - what is mysticism and meditation.
> In everyday life, and in ordinary reasoning, we take many things for
> granted. It is open to you, or to anybody, to question what we take
> for granted, but such questioning will be of little interest (to most
> people) as long as it does not provide any workable and
> fruitful alternatives.
What if it is unclear WHAT REALLY is taken for granted?
I believe that the most reasonable scientific question is
WHAT DOES IT MEAN in seemingly evident situation (for the
majority). By the way, Einstein has demonstrated to all of
us how it is fruitful.
In the present case, a metaphysically sensitive
> person will reject the idea that "the number"
> (which is the RSA $200,000 challenge number) has a determinate
> factorization which we don't as yet know, and perhaps will never
> know. Such metaphysical sensitivity is fine, but it will not have any
> impact on people's thinking unless it can be used in some illuminating
> alternative explanation of the relation or correlation between theory
> and practice in computation. Ethereal metaphysical misgivings about
> the "mysticism" involved in ordinary thinking about numbers are in
> themselves just unworldly complaints divorced from practical
> intellectual concerns.
The discussion on Platonism and Formalism has a different character.
Such kind of particular examples can be considered here too.
But the most general questions may have their own value and
even practical enough. See comments below.
Since you mention absolute time, let us note
> that Einstein spent no time or effort arguing about the mystical
> character of the idea of absolute time.
To the time when Einstein came to his Special Relativity Theory
there were some experiments which required some URGENT explanation.
The most of the strongest scientists were waiting for an explanation
and quite ready to accept his theory. But, there was another
experiment, much long time before, which could lead people to
such a theory. This was determining that the light has a finite
speed. There was known no faster signals than the light. There
were a lot of great scientists before Einstein. Why they did not
come to this theory? (Another story, why the greatest Gauss,
did not publish his Non-Euclidean Geometry before Lobachevsky
and Bolyai, although he seems to came to it earlier?)
Of course, the history cannot be changed. But should not we
learn NOW something from the history of science? The main
particular lesson from this case is that the idea of absolute
time was at least scientifically doubtful from the very beginning.
As I know, it never had been asked (before Einstein) the question
WHAT DOES IT MEAN AT ALL this absolute time. I guess, if this
would be asked, the majority preferring mysticism would strongly
resist even to stating such a question. Who knows what would
happen with such a questioning person?
I think, the general lesson for us is: let us ask such questions
in all doubtful, mystical cases. (We have so good teachers like
Einstein!) Then we will have more chances to come to something
really important in more concrete situations. This seems quite
sufficient reason for such questions.
Why do YOU resist to such questions and to attempts to resolve
them in a rational way? Why do YOU continue to insist that even
if some views are mysticism, let them be? Let us wait for
something more concrete. Then we will see what to do.
Let me hope that this is only some misunderstanding.
I believe, we need at least a more fresh scientific air.
It is highly strange to me that it is a problem at all
whether to allow mysticism in (or around) science or not.
> Torkel Franzen
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