From: Ian Wright (iwright@GMAIL.COM)
Date: Wed Sep 14 2005 - 12:40:56 EDT
Paul, When I get the chance I'll take a look at your paper and some of the Hayekian stuff. But straightaway there's a simple answer to objections such as: He says: > Any theoretical explanations and predictions of social processes require > taking > into account intelligent behaviour of the actors involved. (iii) Hence, > computer > simulation of social processes requires an algorithm to simulate > intelligent > behaviour of the actors involved. Replace "social processes" with "physical processes" and "intelligent behaviour of the actors involved" with "quantum mechanics", and re-read the paragraph. It would then be an argument for denying classical mechanics. Yet we know that classical mechanics is a very successful predictive theory (upto very small and very large scales) and talks about real entities, such as forces, momentum etc. Computer simulations of physical processes (e.g., for industrial design, computer games etc.) employ classical mechanics. There's no need to simulate the quantum level upon which the classical ontology is ultimately implemented because this is an unnecessary level of detail for most purposes. The paragraph in isolation represents as an extreme form of reductionism, the "flat ontology" that Bhaskar dissects in "realist theory of science". The history of science teaches us that reality has levels, and that simple processes may be implemented upon a lower level of complex processes (e.g., Mexican wave at soccer stadiums), and complex processes may be implemented upon a lower level of simple processes (e.g., deterministic chaos from a driven pendulum), and there seems to be relative autonomy between such levels. This is also why we have people called "biologists", "chemists", "physicists" etc., who although talk to each other, have their own scientific ontologies. Everybody doesn't work at the "bottom level", if there is such a thing. I look forward to reading your piece on Turing. -Ian.
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