[FOM] Formalization Thesis
rlindauer at gmail.com
Tue May 6 00:45:13 EDT 2008
Here are some "philosophically significant theses" that are opposed to
the notion of formalization simply for the sake of examination for
If these are significant, philosophically, this formalization thesis
is probably false because there is no hope of making any progress on
these questions using formal methods:
"The sage experiences without abstraction" - Tao Te Ching
"There are true vague statements." - Noonan
Quid est veritas?
"Identity is primitive and undefinable" - McGinn
I take it that among the most significant "philosophical" "opinions"
or "observations" is that our reality is simply beyond the scope of
linguistic abstraction and formal definability.
Whether this informality thesis is true or not is not relevant to its
significance. But the question of deciding its truth formally is out
of the question.
That this thesis is has "good" (if not compelling) formal and informal
arguments in its favor is beyond dispute I think. Deconstruction is
old enough to have tapped every shoulder at the dance at this point.
If it is true (that reality is beyond the scope of linguistic
analysis), then the question of making progress on philosophical
issues with mathematical rigor is simply out of the question. In
fact, we could justifiably conclude the opposite - that formal
analysis of questions might actually take us further from
Whether or not a given work or "thesis" is "significant" has always to
be a political decision, though.
Of course some kind of "progress" can be made by ignoring these
But that wouldn't be philosophical progress.
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