Friday, June 6, 2014

Philosophy of Science

I am reading the introductory chapters of Introducing Communication Theory, by Richard West and Lynn Turner, 3rd edition, 2007.  I find a wonderfully helpful review of the philosophy of science.

This seems helpful to me because of what I am trying to do now in this blog.  I am trying to express a model of life which has important sub-models pertaining to economics, communication, and perception.  I have found myself wondering:  What is a model?  When have I adequately expressed a "model"?

Please do not take me as a complete beginner.  I have read perhaps eight books in the philosophy of science.  I have read Uncle Milton's famous paper, The Methodology of Positive Economics, two and a half times, but I can not claim that I have understood it once yet.  I have looked up "epistemology" in dictionaries at least five times.  Lately I've looked up "ontology" around four times.  But there are some words, such as epistemology and ontology, the meaning of which I seem incapable of learning from dictionaries.  I still feel I do not understand even after reading the definition many times.

West and Turner's textbook has sections on ontology and epistemology in Chapter 3, "Thinking About Theory".   After reading these sections I am ready to make a bold attempt to use my new word "ontology" in a statement.

The Resource-Patterns Model starts from a few assumptions:

  • There exists the universe, which contains
  • living things and
  • resources distributed in patterns.

This, if I've got it right, is the ontology of my model.  What exists.

Now in this model the living things face a challenge.  Assuming the living things aspire to survive and thrive, the living things need to "learn" about the patterns in the resources.  This is their problem of epistemology.

Do I sound like an educated philosopher now?  What help do I need?