Re: Abstractism

From: Dace (
Date: Tue Jan 29 2002 - 05:57:06 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Abstractism
    Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 21:57:06 -0800
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    > On Fri, Jan 25, 2002 at 11:24:02AM -0800, Dace wrote:
    > > > On Wed, Jan 23, 2002 at 05:51:40PM -0800, Dace wrote:
    > > > >
    > > > > To be real a thing must exist whether or not we believe in it. An
    > > > > abstraction, by definition, is a product of consciousness. It
    > > > > cannot exist unless we imagine it-- precisely the opposite of the
    > > > > ontological criterion.
    > > >
    > > > That's wrong. Objective abstractions are explained here:
    > > >
    > >
    > > Robin,
    > > You seem to be suggesting that the information of a thing is whatever
    > > could potentially be extracted from that thing. Yet potentiality is
    > > precisely the opposite of actuality. That which is potential cannot be
    > > said to have any objective existence.
    > What is potential constrains actuality. If we don't know about
    > potentiality, we have no way to distinguish between what's possible and
    > what's not. If potentiality is not objectively real, then there is no
    > between what's possible and what's not. Science is as concerned
    > with discovering what's potential, as what's actual.

    I'll agree that some things have greater potential than others, particularly
    as we approach the time when an event will likely occur. But until it
    occurs it's not objective. Making predictions, by itself, isn't science.
    Science is when they come true (and they didn't have to).

    > > But let's say all the potential information in an object has been
    > > extracted through experiments. You're still faced with the problem that
    > > the physical characteristics of the object become information only in
    > > the mind of the experimenter. Take away the experimenter, and the
    > > information is nothing more than the physical characteristics
    > That's what physical information is.

    This is tautological. You're defining information as physical and then
    finding it everywhere you look in the physical world. Information is
    mental. It exists to the extent that we generate it through our
    interpretations of the world. It's a product of mental representation, and
    all animals produce it, though only humans understand it as such.


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