[hist-analytic] Pirotologica

Roger Bishop Jones rbj at rbjones.com
Thu Jun 11 16:24:05 EDT 2009

On Thursday 11 June 2009 15:29:46 Jlsperanza at aol.com wrote:

>etc. etc. He is fighting against _all_ that: do  not multiply necessities
>beyond, er, necessities (what he calls the _equi_-vocal  theory of
>'necessity' to bridge the is/ought gap).

I'm afraid I'm against Occam here, and similarly Grice.
All this "have no more than necessary" is a bit parsimonious,
and in ontology one need no longer be so careful, since set
theory gives us an adequate grasp on consistency
(risk of losing this is the principle reason for caution).
All this is a Carnapian "tolerance", and connects
with the pragmatic resolution of "external questions".

In that context I prefer the much less incisive
(blunt razor) of not multiplying beyond consistent
convenience. Sometimes ontologically it is much easier
to have more than one strictly needs, and one can
comfortably leave to enthusiastic dogmatic nominalists
the task of showing how little suffices.

In necessities one can take a similar position.
It is convenient to talk about physical necessity,
provided one is clear what is meant by that, viz,
following necessarily from accepted laws of physics
(so long as there is no disagreement about what they
This usage extends into any domain in which there
is a body of theory relative to which necessity
can be judged.
The problem, if there is one, is then in the
identification of the relevant body of theory.

The problem then with fishy necessity, is not
in the relativisation of necessity, but in the
uncertainty about what constitutes the relevant
body of fishy theory.

Roger Jones

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