Friday 26 October 2018

Are things essentially different? Or the same? (Be careful what you assume.)

A lesson of science ought-to-be that as soon as one assumes a distinction, a separation - it can never be overcome unless that assumption is removed.

For as long as the assumption lies-in-place (ignored, forgotten, undetected), a whole world of empirical investigation and hypothetical modelling cannot ever heal the breach made by that assumption.

The same applies to failure to acknowledge a distinction - when one has assumed that two are really one-and-the-same... A whole world of 'evidence' cannot break that assumed unity apart.

Yet one or the other is true - so we must know which!

1 comment:

Chiu ChunLing said...

Well, it depends quite a bit on what you consider "essential" about them.

Any two things are similar in some ways and different in others. Even opposites are only opposite by virtue of being the same in terms of magnitude or scale in some measure, but having inverted vectors.

A unicorn and a dragon are both similar in being commonly found in fantasy. But is that what is essential, or is it instead that one is commonly (or in specific instance) "good", while the other is evil? Is it essential that I have neither of them chopped into lunchmeat in my fridge, or is it essential that I prefer things that taste like chicken to things that taste like venison?

What is essential about a thing depends on our purpose towards it. That means that it is entirely dependent on a fully subjective decision, though we may state our intention of how to use/treat/dispose the things in question, there is no logical difficulty in anyone else choosing to disagree with our purpose and choose a different one, with a variant idea of what is essential about them as a result.