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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Mar > Mar 29

Re: Defending The Indefensible - Reason

From: Cathy Reason <CathyM.nul>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 13:59:52 +0100
Fwd Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 08:01:02 -0400
Subject: Re: Defending The Indefensible - Reason

>From: Cathy Reason <CathyM.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2007 18:22:07 +0100
>Subject: Re: Defending The Indefensible

>>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 17:06:12 +0100
>>Subject: Re: Defending The Indefensible

Just a quick clarification:

Martin had written:

>>This is to me so self-evidently and exhaustively true of all
>>activities as to take the definition of "trivial" to a new
>>level. The predispositions of human beings are involved in all
>>their productions, good and bad, right and wrong, the
>>and the refutation. "Character is fate". Individually,
>>culturally and specifically we are in hock to our past.

And I'd answered:

>It may be more than trivial, Martin, but it's also more than
>occasionally overlooked. I have the feeling you're trying to
>have your cake and eat it. On the one hand, you say that
>scientists are imperfect but conscientious human beings. If one
>suggests therefore they may be subject to arbitrary metaphysical
>assumptions, you reply that scientists aren't interested in
>metaphysics and what counts is only what works and is testable.

Reading through this again I can see this is very unclear, and
doesn't get at the problem I have with what Martin appears to be

As I understand it, Martin is acknowledging that scientists, as
individual human beings, may have unjustified a priori
assumptions but that science as a collective process will always
find these out and test them. I agree that sometimes this will
happen. But I'm not at all sure the process is inevitable in the
way Martin appears to be claiming. It seems to me in the nature
of philosophical assumptions, in particular those which are
shared throughout a culture, that they tend to remain untested
for a very long time and that they tend to be self-reinforcing.
It may sometimes be the case that the weight of evidence against
these assumptions will eventually become so overwhelming as to
trigger a scientific revolution in the Kuhnian sense. I'm just
not convinced there's anything inevitable about this process.

This is the crux of our disagreement, I believe.


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