Re: [OPE-L] is algebra dialectical and vice versa?

From: Ian Wright (iwright@GMAIL.COM)
Date: Wed Sep 14 2005 - 12:40:56 EDT


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 

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.


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