Friday, April 18, 2008
The falling tree and knowledge
"To sense or not to sense/to exist or not to exist"--It is just the way we observe and analyze the universe in that we conceptualize and formulate laws that explain things whether we are there are not. It is an assumption--and a valid one--that events we quantify are valid throughout the universe until proven otherwise. That is our epistemology of the universe. All is subject to modification. Suppose a tape recorder was placed in the woods for one day. The next day, the tape was rewound and played back. Two things could happen: The sound of a falling tree or no sounds at all. The former would certainly support the epistemological hypothesis regarding trees falling in the woods...prediction via empirical evidence and historical regularity. No sounds at all would cause one to reevaluate current theories regarding unobservable events producing sounds or behaving in the realm of standard physics. The point is, theories can be modified or even discarded as soon as one event challenges the theory and provides a negative result. Thus, the epistemology of the universe is potentially in a forever state of change.