• Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    Part of this post is a spin-off from the recent thread on Self-explanatory facts. In it is the following post by @StreetlightX paraphrases Meillassoux's argument:

    I'm borrowing here from Meillassoux's 'argument from power sets' in his After Finitude, but the idea is that for every set of facts S, we can always generate another, additional fact by taking the power set of S (the set of all subsets of S), which will always yield a set S' with more elements than our original set S: that is, it will always contain one additional fact not contained in our original set of facts S. This procedure can be repeated to generate sets of ever-increasing cardinality (set size) so that from S' you can generate S", and from S'', S''' and so on ad infinitum.StreetlightX

    In regards to Meillassoux's argument, can epistemic closure ever occur given a set that is always ever-increasing?
  • apokrisis
    4.2k
    It's not a failure if what you require - semiotically - is a machinery of infinite potential reference coupled to constraint of semantic indifference.

    So epistemology wants these two complementary things.

    It wants a syntax that can generate endless variety. An alphabet of 26 letters can be used to generate every possible word and sentence. Four DNA bases can generate every possible protein molecule.

    Then that unlimited openness gets coupled to the thing that then epistemically closes it. There is the other thing of a semantics - a purpose to be served, a reason to care, a distinction that is actually worth marking, a difference that in fact makes a difference.

    So any sentence or protein could be produced. For a natural system, that is a huge freedom. And that semiotic possibility in turn allows a system of limitation which decides some statements or molecules are noise, or junk, while others are signal, or have intentional value.

    Epistemic closure thus becomes a reasonable choice. Rather than worrying that the world is "some totality of facts", facts become distinctions or individuations that could materially matter. Facts aren't definite in themselves in some realist fashion. They are simply what is "true" - or worth us knowing - to the degree that we have some reason to care.

    Facts thus are always intrinsically self-interested. While also being "about the world".

    It is this double-headed nature that often confuses. Realism vs idealism tries to make facticity all a thing of the world, or all a thing of the mind. But semiotics shows that "facts" are the signs by which we relate to the world. Indeed, epistemically, it is the relation that creates the self and its world.

    But anyway, the way it works is that syntax gives you your referential openness and semantics gives you your referential boundedness. Together, they compose an epistemic system.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    Hence Meillassoux's assertion is invalid since epistemic closure cannot come about?
  • tim wood
    1.1k
    Epistemic closure thus becomes a reasonable choice. Rather than worrying that the world is "some totality of facts", facts become distinctions or individuations that could materially matter. Facts aren't definite in themselves in some realist fashion. They are simply what is "true" - or worth us knowing - to the degree that we have some reason to care.

    Facts thus are always intrinsically self-interested. While also being "about the world".

    It is this double-headed nature that often confuses. Realism vs idealism tries to make facticity all a thing of the world, or all a thing of the mind. But semiotics shows that "facts" are the signs by which we relate to the world. Indeed, epistemically, it is the relation that creates the self and its world.

    But anyway, the way it works is that syntax gives you your referential openness and semantics gives you your referential boundedness. Together, they compose an epistemic system.
    apokrisis

    One of the occasional excursions into clarity of thought, expression, and content that make TPF worth the effort. Thank you for a piece of instruction that cost waaay less than what it's worth. Now I just have to remember it!
  • apokrisis
    4.2k
    Thanks Tim. Nice to hear.
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