Re: Meanings, mechanisms, and Ockham's razor

Charles Cairns (
Tue, 7 Apr 1998 15:31:03 -0400

Hi Ted,

Lurking and finally compelled to offer a thought.

>...If we assume, as Will and his school do, that mechanistic science really
>does explain everything (if I may use those words), and that human freedom
>is an illusion (Will certainly says this) and love, etc is nothing more
>certain biochemical interactions (I don't know if Will said this, but some
>other people say equivalent things); then we could apply Ockham's razor and
>rule out "higher" explanations in terms of meaning and purpose, since there
>is no need for them at the only level that counts, and these would be

They cannot of course be extraneous, or the very mechanisms by which we
determine mechanisms are suspect (and I presume you would agree.) If our
reason arose by chance, how can we be sure that exercising it produces
reasonable results? We can't.

We are stuck, IMHO, with either accepting human reason as meangful, or as no
more than cognitive autoerotica.

Will: I've read a number of your posts. You might agree (as should others on
this list, I imagine) with Nietzsche, "A man has no ears for that to which
experience has given him no access." We're prisoners of our own paradigms;
being liberated depends on who you think the jailor is.