RE: virus: Social Metaphysics

Robin Faichney (
Mon, 29 Sep 1997 16:53:01 +0100

> From: David McFadzean[]
> At 08:25 AM 9/27/97 +0100, Robin Faichney wrote:
> >Don't confuse the general, theoretical scenario, with the
> >particular, practical one. Consideration of the existence
> >of undetected objects is necessarily entirely theoretical.
> Yes, but it doesn't have to be impractical or irrelevant.
> For example, the modern theory of evolution depends on the
> assumption that genes existed long before they were detected.
This epistemology vs ontology thing is, generally speaking,
a matter of principle rather than one of practice. At least
one planet was first suspected due to its gravitational
influence on another, so the existence of undetected
things does need to be considered. But then look at it
this way: wasn't the observation of the gravitational
effect, detection of a sort? And if we rule out all such
indirect detection, doesn't that make the existence of
undetected objects absolutely irrelevant to us? Depends
what you mean by detection. These are quite deep

> >Verification of actual existence is very, very far from
> >orthogonal to knowledge.
> Agreed.
> > It is obviously the case that
> >we can do all kinds of theoretical speculation. What
> You seem to be implying that "all kinds of theoretical
> speculation" are equally irrelevant. If so, I disagree.
See above.

> >actually exists in the objective universe is rather more
> >constrained. I say that, for us (which is who's
> >discussing this, isn't it?), actual as opposed to
> >theoretical objective existence is dependent upon
> >verification.
> Is your own objective existence actual or theoretical?
That question contains too many imponderables to be

> >That's also why thoughts don't make the grade, of
> >course (though the grade they do make is just as
> >good in its own way!). Focus on particulars.
> Isn't the existence of thoughts implied by evidence
> in the same way as stars, people and genes?
> Focus on particulars! You're talking about thoughts in
general, I'm talking about any particular thought.