RE: Philosophy vs. rigor

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sun Oct 24 2004 - 11:52:08 MDT

> Actually, let me amend that question. According to your given
> definition,
> we can never make a "rigorous" statement about any real-world issue.
> The
> empirical probability of a physicist's prediction is not certainty - it
> can't be, not in an uncertain universe.

The real-world observations made by experimental physicists go into the
ASSUMPTIONS based on which the correctness of mathematical physics is

So when I ask you to accept my physics theory as rigorous, I'm asking you to
accept that my theory makes correct deductions from its assumptions about
experimental data.

You could consider it rigorous but wrong, if you disagree with me about what
experimental data is valid.

I've written at length about philosophy of science, so you can read my views

But I don't address the issue of "rigor" there.

> So, again, do you think you could give a *rigorous* definition of the
> distinction you had in mind when you worried that I was too
> "philosophical"?

As I said, the notion of rigor is in part cultural, therefore tricky to
define in a rigorous way ;-) I don't think this makes the notion useless,

For example, math theorems as published in math journals aren't 100%
rigorous -- they're not fully formalized like in Mizar -- yet they're
culturally accepted as rigorous...

-- Ben G

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