Re: Occam

From: John M <>
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2006 11:42:35 -0400


you mentioned the 'razor'man and I know you are a proven expert in
Occamistic ideas. So I ask for your opinion:

Is Occam's razor-thing not a perfect action of increasing the reductionist
limitations of a problem?
In 'cutting off' the 'nonessential' (pardon me for my layish expressions)
and copncentrate on the 'essence' we DO narrow the model of our observation
even further than it was. Indeed a 'limited model' is a razor-cut topically
partialized view of an otherwise unlimited interconnection which would be
beyond our present capabilities to comprehend.
Model-view (=the sciences, our common sense, our ways of thinking etc.) is
the useful tool for the evolving human views and knowledege base, however
with the caveat that it cuts off connections - MAYBE of importance. That may
lead to the paradoxes and misconceptions, when we consider the model 'as a
total' and draw conclulsions from in-model observation onto the totality.

Did 'Occam' not just increased the cut-off? "Razoring" does facilitate a
conclusion on the topic in question, but there may be relations of
importance we miss.

In my 'wholistic' agnosticism:

John M

----- Original Message -----
From: "Russell Standish" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, July 21, 2006 5:06 AM
Subject: Re: Bruno's argument

> On Mon, Jul 24, 2006 at 12:35:02PM +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>> What if we just say that there is no more to the supervenience of the
>> mental on the physical than there is to the supervenience of a
>> parabola on the trajectory of a projectile under gravity? The
>> projectile doesn't "create" the parabola, which exists in Platonia in
>> an infinite variety of formulations (different coordinate systems and
>> so on) along with all the other mathematical objects, but there is an
>> isomorphism between physical reality and mathematical structure, which
>> in the projectile's case happens to be a parabola. So we could say
>> that the brain does not "create" consciousness, but it does happen
>> that those mathematical structures isomorphic with brain processes in
>> a particular individual are the subset of Platonia that constitutes a
>> coherent conscious stream. This is not to assume that there actually
>> is a real physical world: simulating a projectile's motion with pencil
>> and paper, on a computer, or just the *idea* of doing so will define
>> that subset of Platonia corresponding to a particular parabola as
>> surely as doing the actual experiment. Similarly, simulating atoms,
>> molecules etc. making up a physical brain, or just the idea of doing
>> so defines the subset of Platonia corresponding to an individual
>> stream of consciousness. Your head suddenly turning into a bunch of
>> flowers is not part of the consciousness simulation/reality (although
>> it still is part of Platonia), just as the projectile suddenly
>> changing its trajectory in a random direction is not part of the
>> parabola simulation/reality, or "7" is not an element of the set of
>> even numbers. > > Stathis Papaioannou >
> So you consider it just a coincidence then that incredibly complicated
> structures (called "brains") are part of our observed reality, even
> though by Occam's razor we really should be demanding an explanation
> of why such complexity exists.
> Cheers
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Received on Mon Jul 24 2006 - 11:44:53 PDT

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