Sunday, May 8, 2016

On Yablo "Never Mind the Synthetic A Priori, Here Comes the Analytic A Posteriori"

His paper can be found at:
https://www.academia.edu/16460670/Never_Mind_the_Synthetic_A_Priori_Here_Comes_the_Analytic_A_Posteriori

Clarifying a point where I thought at first Yablo was wrong.

Whether gold is an element may depend on whether it is possible that gold isn't an element.

This statement does not always accept only one definition.

(Such as that gold is an element or a compound).

In fact, multiple possibilities suggests multiple definitions.

Without multiple possibilities, it is fair to accept only one definition.

Quantum mechanics is not the only way to see that there could be multiple definitions.

As Lewis says, we can imagine other worlds with different laws as long as they are independent of ours.

But that's a dead end, isn't it?

Yablo doesn't reject the idea that gold could be a compound.

And he affirms the idea that mere definitions are not the concern.

The point, as a scientist would say, is that gold ISN'T a compound.

But at this point it may be a matter of definition:

The sense in which gold is more than just an element.

The scientist would insist that gold is only not-an-element by being a compound.

But this is an outright tautology.

Why wouldn't gold-as-element be a spiritual compound, or the like?

We can't argue that because life is simple, it can't be complex.

Deference to the most reasonable explanation may also be a form of analytic a posteriori, creating a Observing-Life-Inside-A-Terrarium Problem similar to Plato's Cave, only with scientists as the protagonists.

Hence the need for disciplines like Exceptionism, Metem-Physics, Arbitrary Mathematics, and Objective Coherentism.


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