[FOM] Formalization Thesis

r l rlindauer at gmail.com
Tue May 6 00:45:13 EDT 2008

Here are some "philosophically significant theses" that are opposed to  
the notion of formalization simply for the sake of examination for  

If these are significant, philosophically, this formalization thesis  
is probably false because there is no hope of making any progress on  
these questions using formal methods:

"The sage experiences without abstraction" - Tao Te Ching

"There are true vague statements." - Noonan

Quid est veritas?

"Identity is primitive and undefinable" - McGinn

I take it that among the most significant "philosophical" "opinions"  
or "observations" is that our reality is simply beyond the scope of  
linguistic abstraction and formal definability.

Whether this informality thesis is true or not is not relevant to its  
significance.  But the question of deciding its truth formally is out  
of the question.

That this thesis is has "good" (if not compelling) formal and informal  
arguments in its favor is beyond dispute I think.  Deconstruction is  
old enough to have tapped every shoulder at the dance at this point.

If it is true (that reality is beyond the scope of linguistic  
analysis), then the question of making progress on philosophical  
issues with mathematical rigor is simply out of the question.  In  
fact, we could justifiably conclude the opposite - that formal  
analysis of questions might actually take us further from  
understanding reality.

Whether or not a given work or "thesis" is "significant" has always to  
be a political decision, though.

Of course some kind of "progress" can be made by ignoring these  
"hopeless" questions.

But that wouldn't be philosophical progress.

Best Regards,

Robbie Lindauer

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