Wyman wrote:I am not nickpicking (I hope), but trying to make sure I have an understanding of how you and seagull are using terminology.
Well, as I said above, I have very little interest in language or logic, so I'm not sure how much fun this will be for either of us, but what the hell?
Wyman wrote:I understand 'ontology' as consisting of the objects (and relations of objects) of a deductive system or worldview or paradigm. So, I would say that physics does have an ontology.
That's one way of looking at it. It's a very broad definition of ontology and a very broad definition of physics. I think if you look at fundamental particles, what you say is true; there clearly are relations of objects, that have been measured to mind boggling accuracy. In that sense, the forces by which fundamental particles are identified a very real. However, as to what particles are made of, there is no consensus, nor, for the sake of physics, any need. In that specific interpretation of ontology, physics doesn't have one.
More generally, and more nit picky, 'physics' is not a thing in itself that has or hasn't anything; it is in essence 'what physicists do'.
Wyman wrote:Newton takes gravity as an element or object of his system. Elements are not defined, they are 'posited' as part of an axiomatic system. In being posited, he does not further define it - he tells us he cannot.
What do you mean by Newton's 'system'?
I think define gravity is exactly what he did do. It is the force any massive object exerts on any other and the action is described very accurately by his inverse square law. That is what gravity is
, regardless of what causes it.
Wyman wrote:Similarly, points and lines in geometry are undefined terms. Representing them as lines and dots on paper is called an 'interpretation.'
Maths. I'm afraid you've lost me.
Wyman wrote:F=MA, is an axiom of Newton's physics. Force, Mass, Acceleration and the objects described by them are posits and part of his ontology. The posited objects of his ontology are interpreted, but not defined.
I don't know what you mean by 'the objects described by them'.
Wyman wrote:In mathematics, if the interpretation of the axioms (think simple geometry with points and lines) is true, then the interpretation is called a 'model.' This is important when we talk of 'counter examples.' If a theorem is proposed and it can be shown that it would contradict the model, then the theorem is necessarily false .
If you say so.
Wyman wrote:Physics tries to be a deductive system.
Again: no 'it' doesn't
Wyman wrote:But unlike geometry, it's sole purpose is to support a model of reality (not to entertain eggheads and torture high school students).
Different physicists have different models of reality that some so driven, will try and find supporting evidence for. Many people think Einstein wasted the latter parts of his career chasing shadows and Newton's interest in alchemy is well documented. If physics can be said to have a purpose, it is to discover how the world works. What the world is, is a topic for ontology.
Wyman wrote:And unlike geometry, the 'axioms' are not taken as true by fiat. If a 'counter example' is produced, then the theorem is false.
That's a very brutal interpretation of Popper. It's rarely such a clean break. If a model has been successful, there is usually a reluctance, at least among some practitioners to abandon it. Newton's laws of gravity is good enough for many applications and is still good physics and until the world starts behaving radically differently, it will remain so. Unlike Newton, Einstein did propose a physical model that is supported by General Relativity, a substance called spacetime that is warped in the presence of matter/energy. Spacetime is the case or it isn't, either way, it makes no difference to the efficacy of the field equations.
Wyman wrote:But rather than stopping there, as we can do in geometry, scientists are free to tweak the whole system if the 'counterexample' is important enough - all the way down to the axioms in some cases (as in what is called by Kuhn a paradigm shift, I think), or in a fundamental shift in the interpretation of that system, or both.
I'm not convinced science is axiomatic in the way you appear to believe. True, we have to interpret the data and put it into a meaningful context or paradigm, but the final arbiter is the data; science is fundamentally empirical.
Wyman wrote:So Newton's system and its interpretation is useful in a limited context. But it is not a model of reality because of its (implicit) misinterpretation of time as absolute. His paradigm was flawed.
So is it just absolute time that is flawed?
Wyman wrote:Now, is your idea of a 'paradigm' and 'ontology' the same as mine - i.e. the deductive system (and its interpretation) of physics along with its posited elements?
Wyman wrote:I wanted to get this terminology straight so as to be able to meaningfully ask the following question: am I correct in my impression that you and seagull maintain the following:
that, although no one proposition within a paradigm (such as a physical theory) could be said to be 'absolutely' true, nonetheless, it is possible for the whole paradigm to be an 'accurate representation of reality' and therefore true with a capital 'T'?
Well, I wouldn't presume to speak for A_seagull, we too are different people, but for me, absolutely not.