Re: MD Intersubjective agreement

Date: Tue Aug 19 2003 - 23:40:11 BST

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    Since you seem to agree with me by the end of the post, I'll just go through and redesribe things from the point of view of a pragmatist.

    Paul said:
    Exactly, [pragmatists] have no concept of Poincare's and Pirsig's sense of "intellectual quality". So, according to pragmatists, if you put enough nice people together in a lab they will eventually arrive at the quantum theory?

    If those nice people are geniuses like Newton and Einstein and Heisenberg, then yes. I don't like Pirsig's discussion of Poincare in ZMM because I think Pirsig needlessly hitches his cart to a mule that don't pull. I don't think we can get any mileage out of a pre-intellectual, intuitive sense of quality. I do think, however, that we get plenty of mileage of an undefined sense of betterness that only can be defined satisfactorily later on.

    Paul said:
    All I'm saying is that, in the west, broadly speaking, the "scientific method" that pragmatists don't believe in, is socially approved. For modesty, if you wish, I can limit that to the UK and my own experience of education in both the physical and social sciences.

    All the pragmatists are saying is that they've been asking what "scientific method" means for the last 100 years and they've yet to receive a satisfactory answer. I agree, people in the west do believe that "scientific method" does pan out to mean something more than a few moral virtues. But a lot of philosophers of science have been working a long time to explicate the term to really nobody's satisfaction.

    Paul said:
    Where did I say there is a fixed criterion?

    The only sense I could make out of asking, "If intersubjective agreement is seen as the approval process itself, it must be asked, what directs the process? What do they intersubjectively see in a theory that they agree on?" was if you were asking for a defined answer. I think for people like you and I, who both agree on "undefined betterness," it is best to leave those questions unasked, mu. So, since you asked them I interpreted them as if you really wanted them answered.

    Other than that, I think we're on the same page...?


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