Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Interesting stuff

There's stuff, in patterns. Patterns emerge from the stuff. Stuff emerges from the patterns. One or the other description may be more useful, depending on the goal. We differ from most stuff/patterns in an important respect: given sufficient time and effort, we can explain how stuff works with increasing accuracy. Our explanations are valuable because they allow us to correctly predict what stuff will do. Worrying about whether stuff is real wastes time that would be better spent understanding stuff. Stuff is real enough, and there's lots of it, and it's complicated and potentially lethal and moving fast, so there's no time to waste. This is the essence of pragmatism.

"A theory that proves itself more successful than its rivals in predicting and controlling our world is said to be nearer the truth. This is an operational notion of truth employed by scientists."
-Wikipedia, Pragmaticism

"Einstein liked to say that the Moon is 'out there' even when no one is observing it."
-Wikipedia, Local realism

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