COMMON SCIENCE as Sustainable Applied Empirical Theory, besides ENGINEERING, in a SOCIETY

eJournal: uffmm.org
ISSN 2567-6458, 19.Juni 2022 – 15.September 2022
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

This is work in progress:

  1. The whole text shows a dynamic, which induces many changes. Difficult to plan ‘in advance’.
  2. Perhaps, some time, it will look like a ‘book’, at least ‘for a moment’.

CONTEXT and INTRODUCTION

In a rather foundational paper about an idea, how one can generalize ‘systems engineering’ [*1] to the art of ‘theory engineering’ [1] a new conceptual framework has been outlined for a ‘sustainable applied empirical theory (SAET)’. Part of this new framework has been the idea that the classical recourse to groups of special experts (mostly ‘engineers’ in engineering) is too restrictive in the light of the new requirement of being sustainable: sustainability is primarily based on ‘diversity’ combined with the ‘ability to predict’ from this diversity probable future states which keep life alive. The aspect of diversity induces the challenge to see every citizen as a ‘natural expert’, because nobody can know in advance and from some non-existing absolut point of truth, which knowledge is really important. History shows that the ‘mainstream’ is usually to a large degree ‘biased’ [*1b].

With this assumption, that every citizen is a ‘natural expert’, science turns into a ‘general science’ where all citizens are ‘natural members’ of science. I will call this more general concept of science ‘sustainable citizen science (SCS)’ or ‘Citizen Science 2.0 (CS2)’. The important point here is that a sustainable citizen science is not necessarily an ‘arbitrary’ process. While the requirement of ‘diversity’ relates to possible contents, to possible ideas, to possible experiments, and the like, it follows from the other requirement of ‘predictability’/ of being able to make some useful ‘forecasts’, that the given knowledge has to be in a format, which allows in a transparent way the construction of some consequences, which ‘derive’ from the ‘given’ knowledge and enable some ‘new’ knowledge. This ability of forecasting has often been understood as the business of ‘logic’ providing an ‘inference concept’ given by ‘rules of deduction’ and a ‘practical pattern (on the meta level)’, which defines how these rules have to be applied to satisfy the inference concept. But, looking to real life, to everyday life or to modern engineering and economy, one can learn that ‘forecasting’ is a complex process including much more than only cognitive structures nicely fitting into some formulas. For this more realistic forecasting concept we will use here the wording ‘common logic’ and for the cognitive adventure where common logic is applied we will use the wording ‘common science’. ‘Common science’ is structurally not different from ‘usual science’, but it has a substantial wider scope and is using the whole of mankind as ‘experts’.

The following chapters/ sections try to illustrate this common science view by visiting different special views which all are only ‘parts of a whole’, a whole which we can ‘feel’ in every moment, but which we can not yet completely grasp with our theoretical concepts.

CONTENT

  1. Language (Main message: “The ordinary language is the ‘meta language’ to every special language. This can be used as a ‘hint’ to something really great: the mystery of the ‘self-creating’ power of the ordinary language which for most people is unknown although it happens every moment.”)
  2. Concrete Abstract Statements (Main message: “… you will probably detect, that nearly all words of a language are ‘abstract words’ activating ‘abstract meanings’. …If you cannot provide … ‘concrete situations’ the intended meaning of your abstract words will stay ‘unclear’: they can mean ‘nothing or all’, depending from the decoding of the hearer.”)
  3. True False Undefined (Main message: “… it reveals that ’empirical (observational) evidence’ is not necessarily an automatism: it presupposes appropriate meaning spaces embedded in sets of preferences, which are ‘observation friendly’.
  4. Beyond Now (Main message: “With the aid of … sequences revealing possible changes the NOW is turned into a ‘moment’ embedded in a ‘process’, which is becoming the more important reality. The NOW is something, but the PROCESS is more.“)
  5. Playing with the Future (Main message: “In this sense seems ‘language’ to be the master tool for every brain to mediate its dynamic meaning structures with symbolic fix points (= words, expressions) which as such do not change, but the meaning is ‘free to change’ in any direction. And this ‘built in ‘dynamics’ represents an ‘internal potential’ for uncountable many possible states, which could perhaps become ‘true’ in some ‘future state’. Thus ‘future’ can begin in these potentials, and thinking is the ‘playground’ for possible futures.(but see [18])”)
  6. Forecasting – Prediction: What? (This chapter explains the cognitive machinery behind forecasting/ predictions, how groups of human actors can elaborate shared descriptions, and how it is possible to start with sequences of singularities to built up a growing picture of the empirical world which appears as a radical infinite and indeterministic space. )
  7. !!! From here all the following chapters have to be re-written !!!
  8. THE LOGIC OF EVERYDAY THINKING. Lets try an Example (Will probably be re-written too)
  9. Boolean Logic (Explains what boolean logic is, how it enables the working of programmable machines, but that it is of nearly no help for the ‘heart’ of forecasting.)
  10. … more re-writing will probably happen …
  11. Everyday Language: German Example
  12. Everyday Language: English
  13. Natural Logic
  14. Predicate Logic
  15. True Statements
  16. Formal Logic Inference: Preserving Truth
  17. Ordinary Language Inference: Preserving and Creating Truth
  18. Hidden Ontologies: Cognitively Real and Empirically Real
  19. AN INFERENCE IS NOT AUTOMATICALLY A FORECAST
  20. EMPIRICAL THEORY
  21. Side Trip to Wikipedia
  22. SUSTAINABLE EMPIRICAL THEORY
  23. CITIZEN SCIENCE 2.0
  24. … ???

COMMENTS

wkp-en := Englisch Wikipedia

/* Often people argue against the usage of the wikipedia encyclopedia as not ‘scientific’ because the ‘content’ of an entry in this encyclopedia can ‘change’. This presupposes the ‘classical view’ of scientific texts to be ‘stable’, which presupposes further, that such a ‘stable text’ describes some ‘stable subject matter’. But this view of ‘steadiness’ as the major property of ‘true descriptions’ is in no correspondence with real scientific texts! The reality of empirical science — even as in some special disciplines like ‘physics’ — is ‘change’. Looking to Aristotle’s view of nature, to Galileo Galilei, to Newton, to Einstein and many others, you will not find a ‘single steady picture’ of nature and science, and physics is only a very simple strand of science compared to the live-sciences and many others. Thus wikipedia is a real scientific encyclopedia give you the breath of world knowledge with all its strengths and limits at once. For another, more general argument, see In Favour for Wikipedia */

[*1] Meaning operator ‘…’ : In this text (and in nearly all other texts of this author) the ‘inverted comma’ is used quite heavily. In everyday language this is not common. In some special languages (theory of formal languages or in programming languages or in meta-logic) the inverted comma is used in some special way. In this text, which is primarily a philosophical text, the inverted comma sign is used as a ‘meta-language operator’ to raise the intention of the reader to be aware, that the ‘meaning’ of the word enclosed in the inverted commas is ‘text specific’: in everyday language usage the speaker uses a word and assumes tacitly that his ‘intended meaning’ will be understood by the hearer of his utterance as ‘it is’. And the speaker will adhere to his assumption until some hearer signals, that her understanding is different. That such a difference is signaled is quite normal, because the ‘meaning’ which is associated with a language expression can be diverse, and a decision, which one of these multiple possible meanings is the ‘intended one’ in a certain context is often a bit ‘arbitrary’. Thus, it can be — but must not — a meta-language strategy, to comment to the hearer (or here: the reader), that a certain expression in a communication is ‘intended’ with a special meaning which perhaps is not the commonly assumed one. Nevertheless, because the ‘common meaning’ is no ‘clear and sharp subject’, a ‘meaning operator’ with the inverted commas has also not a very sharp meaning. But in the ‘game of language’ it is more than nothing 🙂

[*1b] That the main stream ‘is biased’ is not an accident, not a ‘strange state’, not a ‘failure’, it is the ‘normal state’ based on the deeper structure how human actors are ‘built’ and ‘genetically’ and ‘cultural’ ‘programmed’. Thus the challenge to ‘survive’ as part of the ‘whole biosphere’ is not a ‘partial task’ to solve a single problem, but to solve in some sense the problem how to ‘shape the whole biosphere’ in a way, which enables a live in the universe for the time beyond that point where the sun is turning into a ‘red giant’ whereby life will be impossible on the planet earth (some billion years ahead)[22]. A remarkable text supporting this ‘complex view of sustainability’ can be found in Clark and Harvey, summarized at the end of the text. [23]

[*2] The meaning of the expression ‘normal’ is comparable to a wicked problem. In a certain sense we act in our everyday world ‘as if there exists some standard’ for what is assumed to be ‘normal’. Look for instance to houses, buildings: to a certain degree parts of a house have a ‘standard format’ assuming ‘normal people’. The whole traffic system, most parts of our ‘daily life’ are following certain ‘standards’ making ‘planning’ possible. But there exists a certain percentage of human persons which are ‘different’ compared to these introduced standards. We say that they have a ‘handicap’ compared to this assumed ‘standard’, but this so-called ‘standard’ is neither 100% true nor is the ‘given real world’ in its properties a ‘100% subject’. We have learned that ‘properties of the real world’ are distributed in a rather ‘statistical manner’ with different probabilities of occurrences. To ‘find our way’ in these varying occurrences we try to ‘mark’ the main occurrences as ‘normal’ to enable a basic structure for expectations and planning. Thus, if in this text the expression ‘normal’ is used it refers to the ‘most common occurrences’.

[*3] Thus we have here a ‘threefold structure’ embracing ‘perception events, memory events, and expression events’. Perception events represent ‘concrete events’; memory events represent all kinds of abstract events but they all have a ‘handle’ which maps to subsets of concrete events; expression events are parts of an abstract language system, which as such is dynamically mapped onto the abstract events. The main source for our knowledge about perceptions, memory and expressions is experimental psychology enhanced by many other disciplines.

[*4] Characterizing language expressions by meaning – the fate of any grammar: the sentence ” … ‘words’ (= expressions) of a language which can activate such abstract meanings are understood as ‘abstract words’, ‘general words’, ‘category words’ or the like.” is pointing to a deep property of every ordinary language, which represents the real power of language but at the same time the great weakness too: expressions as such have no meaning. Hundreds, thousands, millions of words arranged in ‘texts’, ‘documents’ can show some statistical patterns’ and as such these patterns can give some hint which expressions occur ‘how often’ and in ‘which combinations’, but they never can give a clue to the associated meaning(s). During more than three-thousand years humans have tried to describe ordinary language in a more systematic way called ‘grammar’. Due to this radically gap between ‘expressions’ as ‘observable empirical facts’ and ‘meaning constructs’ hidden inside the brain it was all the time a difficult job to ‘classify’ expressions as representing a certain ‘type’ of expression like ‘nouns’, ‘predicates’, ‘adjectives’, ‘defining article’ and the like. Without regressing to the assumed associated meaning such a classification is not possible. On account of the fuzziness of every meaning ‘sharp definitions’ of such ‘word classes’ was never and is not yet possible. One of the last big — perhaps the biggest ever — project of a complete systematic grammar of a language was the grammar project of the ‘Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR’ (‘Academy of Sciences of the GDR’) from 1981 with the title “Grundzüge einer Deutschen Grammatik” (“Basic features of a German grammar”). A huge team of scientists worked together using many modern methods. But in the preface you can read, that many important properties of the language are still not sufficiently well describable and explainable. See: Karl Erich Heidolph, Walter Flämig, Wolfgang Motsch et al.: Grundzüge einer deutschen Grammatik. Akademie, Berlin 1981, 1028 Seiten.

[*5] Differing opinions about a given situation manifested in uttered expressions are a very common phenomenon in everyday communication. In some sense this is ‘natural’, can happen, and it should be no substantial problem to ‘solve the riddle of being different’. But as you can experience, the ability of people to solve the occurrence of different opinions is often quite weak. Culture is suffering by this as a whole.

[1] Gerd Doeben-Henisch, 2022, From SYSTEMS Engineering to THEORYEngineering, see: https://www.uffmm.org/2022/05/26/from-systems-engineering-to-theory-engineering/(Remark: At the time of citation this post was not yet finished, because there are other posts ‘corresponding’ with that post, which are too not finished. Knowledge is a dynamic network of interwoven views …).

[1d] ‘usual science’ is the game of science without having a sustainable format like in citizen science 2.0.

[2] Science, see e.g. wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science

Citation = “Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[1][2]

Citation = “In modern science, the term “theory” refers to scientific theories, a well-confirmed type of explanation of nature, made in a way consistent with the scientific method, and fulfilling the criteria required by modern science. Such theories are described in such a way that scientific tests should be able to provide empirical support for it, or empirical contradiction (“falsify“) of it. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge,[1] in contrast to more common uses of the word “theory” that imply that something is unproven or speculative (which in formal terms is better characterized by the word hypothesis).[2] Scientific theories are distinguished from hypotheses, which are individual empirically testable conjectures, and from scientific laws, which are descriptive accounts of the way nature behaves under certain conditions.”

Citation = “New knowledge in science is advanced by research from scientists who are motivated by curiosity about the world and a desire to solve problems.[27][28] Contemporary scientific research is highly collaborative and is usually done by teams in academic and research institutions,[29] government agencies, and companies.[30][31] The practical impact of their work has led to the emergence of science policies that seek to influence the scientific enterprise by prioritizing the ethical and moral development of commercial productsarmamentshealth carepublic infrastructure, and environmental protection.”

[2b] History of science in wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_science#Scientific_Revolution_and_birth_of_New_Science

[3] Theory, see wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory#:~:text=A%20theory%20is%20a%20rational,or%20no%20discipline%20at%20all.

Citation = “A theory is a rational type of abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated with such processes as observational study or research. Theories may be scientific, belong to a non-scientific discipline, or no discipline at all. Depending on the context, a theory’s assertions might, for example, include generalized explanations of how nature works. The word has its roots in ancient Greek, but in modern use it has taken on several related meanings.”

[4] Scientific theory, see: wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory

Citation = “In modern science, the term “theory” refers to scientific theories, a well-confirmed type of explanation of nature, made in a way consistent with the scientific method, and fulfilling the criteria required by modern science. Such theories are described in such a way that scientific tests should be able to provide empirical support for it, or empirical contradiction (“falsify“) of it. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge,[1] in contrast to more common uses of the word “theory” that imply that something is unproven or speculative (which in formal terms is better characterized by the word hypothesis).[2] Scientific theories are distinguished from hypotheses, which are individual empirically testable conjectures, and from scientific laws, which are descriptive accounts of the way nature behaves under certain conditions.”

[4b] Empiricism in wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism

[4c] Scientific method in wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

Citation =”The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century (with notable practitioners in previous centuries). It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation. It involves formulating hypotheses, via induction, based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based statistical testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement (or elimination) of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings. These are principles of the scientific method, as distinguished from a definitive series of steps applicable to all scientific enterprises.[1][2][3] [4c]

and

Citation = “The purpose of an experiment is to determine whether observations[A][a][b] agree with or conflict with the expectations deduced from a hypothesis.[6]: Book I, [6.54] pp.372, 408 [b] Experiments can take place anywhere from a garage to a remote mountaintop to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. There are difficulties in a formulaic statement of method, however. Though the scientific method is often presented as a fixed sequence of steps, it represents rather a set of general principles.[7] Not all steps take place in every scientific inquiry (nor to the same degree), and they are not always in the same order.[8][9]

[5] Gerd Doeben-Henisch, “Is Mathematics a Fake? No! Discussing N.Bourbaki, Theory of Sets (1968) – Introduction”, 2022, https://www.uffmm.org/2022/06/06/n-bourbaki-theory-of-sets-1968-introduction/

[6] Logic, see wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logic

[7] W. C. Kneale, The Development of Logic, Oxford University Press (1962)

[8] Set theory, in wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Set_theory

[9] N.Bourbaki, Theory of Sets , 1968, with a chapter about structures, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89l%C3%A9ments_de_math%C3%A9matique

[10] = [5]

[11] Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein ( 1889 – 1951): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Wittgenstein

[12] Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1953: Philosophische Untersuchungen [PU], 1953: Philosophical Investigations [PI], translated by G. E. M. Anscombe /* For more details see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_Investigations */

[13] Wikipedia EN, Speech acts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_act

[14] While the world view constructed in a brain is ‘virtual’ compared to the ‘real word’ outside the brain (where the body outside the brain is also functioning as ‘real world’ in relation to the brain), does the ‘virtual world’ in the brain function for the brain mostly ‘as if it is the real world’. Only under certain conditions can the brain realize a ‘difference’ between the triggering outside real world and the ‘virtual substitute for the real world’: You want to use your bicycle ‘as usual’ and then suddenly you have to notice that it is not at that place where is ‘should be’. …

[15] Propositional Calculus, see wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propositional_calculus#:~:text=Propositional%20calculus%20is%20a%20branch,of%20arguments%20based%20on%20them.

[16] Boolean algebra, see wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boolean_algebra

[17] Boolean (or propositional) Logic: As one can see in the mentioned articles of the English wikipedia, the term ‘boolean logic’ is not common. The more logic-oriented authors prefer the term ‘boolean calculus’ [15] and the more math-oriented authors prefer the term ‘boolean algebra’ [16]. In the view of this author the general view is that of ‘language use’ with ‘logic inference’ as leading idea. Therefore the main topic is ‘logic’, in the case of propositional logic reduced to a simple calculus whose similarity with ‘normal language’ is widely ‘reduced’ to a play with abstract names and operators. Recommended: the historical comments in [15].

[18] Clearly, thinking alone can not necessarily induce a possible state which along the time line will become a ‘real state’. There are numerous factors ‘outside’ the individual thinking which are ‘driving forces’ to push real states to change. But thinking can in principle synchronize with other individual thinking and — in some cases — can get a ‘grip’ on real factors causing real changes.

[19] This kind of knowledge is not delivered by brain science alone but primarily from experimental (cognitive) psychology which examines observable behavior and ‘interprets’ this behavior with functional models within an empirical theory.

[20] Predicate Logic or First-Order Logic or … see: wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-order_logic#:~:text=First%2Dorder%20logic%E2%80%94also%20known,%2C%20linguistics%2C%20and%20computer%20science.

[21] Gerd Doeben-Henisch, In Favour of Wikipedia, https://www.uffmm.org/2022/07/31/in-favour-of-wikipedia/, 31 July 2022

[22] The sun, see wkp-ed https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun (accessed 8 Aug 2022)

[23] By Clark, William C., and Alicia G. Harley – https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-012420-043621, Clark, William C., and Alicia G. Harley. 2020. “Sustainability Science: Toward a Synthesis.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 45 (1): 331–86, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=109026069

[24] Sustainability in wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability#Dimensions_of_sustainability

[25] Sustainable Development in wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_development

[26] Marope, P.T.M; Chakroun, B.; Holmes, K.P. (2015). Unleashing the Potential: Transforming Technical and Vocational Education and Training (PDF). UNESCO. pp. 9, 23, 25–26. ISBN978-92-3-100091-1.

[27] SDG 4 in wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_Development_Goal_4

[28] Thomas Rid, Rise of the Machines. A Cybernetic History, W.W.Norton & Company, 2016, New York – London

[29] Doeben-Henisch, G., 2006, Reducing Negative Complexity by a Semiotic System In: Gudwin, R., & Queiroz, J., (Eds). Semiotics and Intelligent Systems Development. Hershey et al: Idea Group Publishing, 2006, pp.330-342

[30] Döben-Henisch, G.,  Reinforcing the global heartbeat: Introducing the planet earth simulator project, In M. Faßler & C. Terkowsky (Eds.), URBAN FICTIONS. Die Zukunft des Städtischen. München, Germany: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2006, pp.251-263

[29] The idea that individual disciplines are not good enough for the ‘whole of knowledge’ is expressed in a clear way in a video of the theoretical physicist and philosopher Carlo Rovell: Carlo Rovelli on physics and philosophy, June 1, 2022, Video from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Theoretical physicist, philosopher, and international bestselling author Carlo Rovelli joins Lauren and Colin for a conversation about the quest for quantum gravity, the importance of unlearning outdated ideas, and a very unique way to get out of a speeding ticket.

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OKSIMO APPLICATIONS – Simple Examples – Citizens of a County

eJournal: uffmm.org ISSN 2567-6458

27.March 2022 – 27.March 2022
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

BLOG-CONTEXT

This post is part of the Oksimo Application theme which is part of the uffmm blog.

PREFACE

This post shows a simple simulation example with the beta-version of the new Version 2 of the oksimo programming environment. This example shall illustrate the concept of an ‘Everyday Empirical Theory‘ as described in this blog 11 days before. It is intentionally as ‘simple as possible’. Probably some more examples will be shown.

FROM THEORY TO AN APPLICATION

To apply a theory concept in an everyday world there are many formats possible. In this text it will be shown how such an application would look like if one is applying the oksimo programming environment. Until now there exists only a German Blog (oksimo.org) describing the oksimo paradigm a little bit. But the examples there are written with oksimo version 1, which didn’t allow to use math. In version 2 this is possible, accompanied by some visual graph features.

Everyday Experts – Basic Ideas

This figure shows a simple outline of the basic assumptions of the oksimo programming environment constituting the oksimo paradigm: (i) Every human person is assumed to be a ‘natural expert’ being member of a bigger population which shares the same ‘everyday language’ including basic math. (ii) An actor is embedded in some empirical environment including the own body and other human actors. (iii) Human actors are capable of elaborating as inner states different kinds of ‘mental (cognitive) models’ based on their experience of the environment and their own body. (iv) Human actors are further capable to use symbolic languages to ‘represent’ properties of these mental models encoded in symbolic expressions. Such symbolic encoding presupposes an ‘inner meaning function’ which has to be learned. (v) In the oksimo programming environment one needs for the description of a ‘given state’ two kinds of symbolic expressions: (v.1) Language expressions to describe general properties and relations which are assumed to be ‘given’ (= ‘valid by experience’); (v.2) Language expressions to name concrete quantitative properties (simple math expressions).

This figure shows the idea how to change a given state (situation) by so-called ‘change rules’. A change rule encodes experience from the everyday world under which conditions some properties of a given situation S can be ‘changed’ in a way, that a ‘new situation’ S* comes into being. Generally a given state can change if either language expression is ‘deleted’ from the description or ‘contributed’. Another possibility is realized if one of the given quantitative expressions changes its value. In the above simple situation the only change happens by changing the number of citizens by some growth effect. But, as other examples will demonstrate, everything is possible what is possible in the empirical world.

SOME MORE FEATURES

The basic schema of the oksimo paradigm assumes the following components:

  1. The description of a ‘given situation’ as a ‘start state’.
  2. The description of a ‘vision’ functioning as a ‘goal’ which allows a basic ‘Benchmarking’.
  3. A list of ‘change rules’ which describe the assumed possible changes
  4. An ‘inference engine’ called ‘simulator’: Depending from the number of wanted ‘simulation cycles’ (‘inferences’) the simulator applies the change rules onto a given state S and thereby it is producing a ‘follow up state’ S*, which becomes the new given state. The series of generated states represents the ‘history’ of a simulation. Every follow up state is an ‘inference’ and by definition also a ‘forecast’.

All these features (1) – (4) together constitute a full empirical theory in the sense of the mentioned theory post before.

Let us look to a real simulation.

A REAL SIMULATION

The following example has been run with Oksimo v2.0 (Pre-Release) (353e5). Hopefully we can finish the pre-release to a full release the next few weeks.

A VISION

Name: v2026

Expressions:

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

Math expressions:

YEAR>2025 and YEAR<2027

This simple goal assumes the existence of the Main-Kinzig County for the year 2026.

GIVEN START STATE

Name: StartSimple1

Expressions:

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

The number of citizens is known.

Comparing the number of different years one has computed a growth rate.

Math expressions:

YEAR=2018Number

CITIZENS=418950Amount

GROWTH=0.0023Percentage

The start state makes some simple statements which are assumed to be ‘valid’ in a ‘real given situation’ by the participating natural experts.

CHANGE RULES

In this example there is only one change rules (In principle there can be as many change rules as wanted).

Rule name: Growth1

Probability: 1.0

Conditions:

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

Math conditions:

CITIZENS < 450000

Effects plus:

Effects minus:

Effects math:

CITIZENS=CITIZENS+(CITIZENS*GROWTH)

YEAR=YEAR+1

This change rules is rather simple. It looks only to the fact whether the Main-Kinzig County exists and wether the number of citizens is still below 450000. If this is the case, then the year will be incremented and the number of citizens will be incremented according to an extremely simple formula.

For every named quantity in this simulation (YEAR, GROWTH, CITIZENS) the values are collected for every simulation cycle and therefore can be used for evaluations. In this simple case only the quantities of YEAR and CITIZENS have changes:

Simple linear graph for the quantity named YEAR
Simple linear graph for the quantity named CITIZENS

Here the quick log of simulation cycle round 7 – 9:

Round 7

State rules:
Vision rules:
Current states: The number of citizens is known.,Comparing the number of different years one has computed a growth rate.,The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current visions: The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current values:
YEAR: 2025Number
CITIZENS: 425741.8149741673Amount
GROWTH: 0.0023Percentage

50.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states:
The Main-Kinzig County exists.,
And the following math visions:
None

Round 8

State rules:
Vision rules:
Current states: The number of citizens is known.,Comparing the number of different years one has computed a growth rate.,The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current visions: The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current values:
YEAR: 2026Number
CITIZENS: 426721.0211486079Amount
GROWTH: 0.0023Percentage

100.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states:
The Main-Kinzig County exists.,
And the following math visions:
YEAR>2025 and YEAR<2027,

Round 9

State rules:
Vision rules:
Current states: The number of citizens is known.,Comparing the number of different years one has computed a growth rate.,The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current visions: The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current values:
YEAR: 2027Number
CITIZENS: 427702.4794972497Amount
GROWTH: 0.0023Percentage

50.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states:
The Main-Kinzig County exists.,
And the following math visions:
None

In round 8 one can see, that the simulation announces:

100.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states: The Main-Kinzig County exists., And the following math visions: YEAR>2025 and YEAR<2027

From this the natural expert can conclude that his requirements given in the vision are ‘fulfilled’/’satisfied’.

WHAT COMES NEXT?

In a loosely order more examples will follow. Here you find the next one.

POPPER and EMPIRICAL THEORY. A conceptual Experiment


eJournal: uffmm.org
ISSN 2567-6458, 12.March 22 – 16.March 2022, 11:20 h
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

BLOG-CONTEXT

This post is part of the Philosophy of Science theme which is part of the uffmm blog.

PREFACE

In a preceding post I have outline the concept of an empirical theory based on a text from Popper 1971. In his article Popper points to a minimal structure of what he is calling an empirical theory. A closer investigation of his texts reveals many questions which should be clarified for a more concrete application of his concept of an empirical theory.

In this post it will be attempted to elaborate the concept of an empirical theory more concretely from a theoretical point of view as well as from an application point of view.

A Minimal Concept of an Empirical Theory

The figure shows the process of (i) observing phenomena, (ii) representing these in expressions of some language L, (iii) elaborating conjectures as hypothetical relations between different observations, (iv) using an inference concept to deduce some forecasts, and (v) compare these forecasts with those observations, which are possible in an assumed situation.

Empirical Basis

As starting point as well as a reference for testing does Popper assume an ’empirical basis’. The question arises what this means.

In the texts examined so far from Popper this is not well described. Thus in this text some ‘assumptions/ hypotheses’ will be formulated to describe some framework which should be able to ‘explain’ what an empirical basis is and how it works.

Experts

Those, who usually are building theories, are scientists, are experts. For a general concept of an ’empirical theory’ it is assumed here that every citizen is a ‘natural expert’.

Environment

Natural experts are living in ‘natural environments’ as part of the planet earth, as part of the solar system, as part of the whole universe.

Language

Experts ‘cooperate’ by using some ‘common language’. Here the ‘English language’ is used; many hundreds of other languages are possible.

Shared Goal (Changes, Time, Measuring, Successive States)

For cooperation it is necessary to have a ‘shared goal’. A ‘goal’ is an ‘idea’ about a possible state in the ‘future’ which is ‘somehow different’ to the given actual situation. Such a future state can be approached by some ‘process’, a series of possible ‘states’, which usually are characterized by ‘changes’ manifested by ‘differences’ between successive states. The concept of a ‘process’, a ‘sequence of states’, implies some concept of ‘time’. And time needs a concept of ‘measuring time’. ‘Measuring’ means basically to ‘compare something to be measured’ (the target) with ‘some given standard’ (the measuring unit). Thus to measure the height of a body one can compare it with some object called a ‘meter’ and then one states that the target (the height of the body) is 1,8 times as large as the given standard (the meter object). In case of time it was during many thousand years customary to use the ‘cycles of the sun’ to define the concept (‘unit’) of a ‘day’ and a ‘night’. Based on this one could ‘count’ the days as one day, two days, etc. and one could introduce further units like a ‘week’ by defining ‘One week compares to seven days’, or ‘one month compares to 30 days’, etc. This reveals that one needs some more concepts like ‘counting’, and associated with this implicitly then the concept of a ‘number’ (like ‘1’, ‘2’, …, ’12’, …) . Later the measuring of time has been delegated to ‘time machines’ (called ‘clocks’) producing mechanically ‘time units’ and then one could be ‘more precise’. But having more than one clock generates the need for ‘synchronizing’ different clocks at different locations. This challenge continues until today. Having a time machine called ‘clock’ one can define a ‘state’ only by relating the state to an ‘agreed time window’ = (t1,t2), which allows the description of states in a successive timely order: the state in the time-window (t1,t2) is ‘before’ the time-window (t2,t3). Then one can try to describe the properties of a given natural environment correlated with a certain time-window, e.g. saying that the ‘observed’ height of a body in time-window w1 was 1.8 m, in a later time window w6 the height was still 1.8 m. In this case no changes could be observed. If one would have observed at w6 1.9 m, then a difference is occurring by comparing two successive states.

Example: A County

Here we will assume as an example for a natural environment a ‘county’ in Germany called ‘Main-Kinzig Kreis’ (‘Kreis’ = ‘county’), abbreviated ‘MKK’. We are interested in the ‘number of citizens’ which are living in this county during a certain time-window, here the year 2018 = (1.January 2018, 31.December 2018). According to the statistical office of the state of Hessen, to which the MKK county belongs, the number of citizens in the MKK during 2018 was ‘418.950’.(cf. [2])

Observing the Number of Citizens

One can ask in which sense the number ‘418.950’ can be understood as an ‘observation statement’? If we understand ‘observation’ as the everyday expression for ‘measuring’, then we are looking for a ‘procedure’ which allows us to ‘produce’ this number ‘418.950’ associated with the unit ‘number of citizens during a year’. As everybody can immediately realize no single person can simply observe all citizens of that county. To ‘count’ all citizens in the county one had to ‘travel’ to all places in the county where citizens are living and count every person. Such a travelling would need some time. This can easily need more than 40 years working 24 hours a day. Thus, this procedure would not work. A different approach could be to find citizens in every of the 24 cities in the MKK [1] to help in this counting-procedure. To manage this and enable some ‘quality’ for the counting, this could perhaps work. An interesting experiment. Here we ‘believe’ in the number of citizens delivered by the statistical office of the state of Hessen [2], but keeping some reservation for the question how ‘good’ this number really is. Thus our ‘observation statement’ would be: “In the year 2018 418.950 citizens have been counted in the MKK (according to the information of the statistical office of the state of Hessen)” This observation statement lacks a complete account of the procedure, how this counting really happened.

Concrete and Abstract Words

There are interesting details in this observation statement. In this observation statement we notice words like ‘citizen’ and ‘MKK’. To talk about ‘citizens’ is not a talk about some objects in the direct environment. What we can directly observe are concrete bodies which we have learned to ‘classify’ as ‘humans’, enriched for example with ‘properties’ like ‘man’, ‘woman’, ‘child’, ‘elderly person’, neighbor’ and the like. Bu to classify someone as a ‘citizen’ deserves knowledge about some official procedure of ‘registering as a citizen’ at a municipal administration recorded in some certified document. Thus the word ‘citizen’ has a ‘meaning’ which needs some ‘concrete procedure to get the needed information’. Thus ‘citizen’ is not a ‘simple word’ but a ‘more abstract word’ with regard to the associated meaning. The same holds for the word ‘MKK’ short for ‘Main-Kinzig Kreis’. At a first glance ‘MKK’ appears as a ‘name’ for some entity. But this entity cannot directly be observed too. One component of the ‘meaning’ of the name ‘MKK’ is a ‘real geographical region’, whose exact geographic extensions have been ‘measured’ by official institutions marked in an ‘official map’ of the state of Hessen. This region is associated with an official document of the state of Hessen telling, that this geographical region has to be understood s a ‘county’ with the name MKK. There exist more official documents defining what is meant with the word ‘county’. Thus the word ‘MKK’ has a rather complex meaning which to understand and to check, whether everything is ‘true’, isn’t easy. The author of this post is living in the MKK and he would not be able to tell all the details of the complete meaning of the name ‘MKK’.

First Lessons Learned

Thus one can learn from these first considerations, that we as citizens are living in a natural environment where we are using observation statements which are using words with potentially rather complex meanings, which to ‘check’ deserves some serious amount of clarification.

Conjectures – Hypotheses

Changes

The above text shows that ‘observations as such’ show nothing of interest. Different numbers of citizens in different years have no ‘message’. But as soon as one arranges the years in a ‘time line’ according to some ‘time model’ the scene is changing: if the numbers of two consecutive years are ‘different’ then this ‘difference in numbers’ can be interpreted as a ‘change’ in the environment, but only if one ‘assumes’ that the observed phenomena (the number of counted citizens) are associated with some real entities (the citizens) whose ‘quantity’ is ‘represented’ in these numbers.[5]

And again, the ‘difference between consecutive numbers’ in a time line cannot be observed or measured directly. It is a ‘second order property’ derived from given measurements in time. Such a 2nd order property presupposes a relationship between different observations: they ‘show up’ in the expressions (here numbers), but they are connected back in the light of the agreed ‘meaning’ to some ‘real entities’ with the property ‘overall quantity’ which can change in the ‘real setting’ of these real entities called ‘citizens’.

In the example of the MKK the statistical office of the state of Hessen computed a difference between two consecutive years which has been represented as a ‘growth factor’ of 0,4%. This means that the number of citizens in the year 2018 will increase until the year 2019 as follows: number-citizens(2019) = number-citizens(2018) + (number of citizens(2018) * growth-factor). This means number-citizens(2019) =418.950 + (418.950 * 0.004) = 418.950 + 1.675,8 = 420.625,8

Applying change repeatedly

If one could assume that the ‘growth rate’ would stay constant through the time then one could apply the growth rate again and again onto the actual number of citizens in the MKK every year. This would yield the following simple table:

YearNumberGrowth Rate
2018418.950,00,0040
2019420.625,80
2020422.308,30
2021423.997,54
2022425.693,53
2023427.396,30
Table: Simplified description of the increase of the number of citizens in the Main-Kinzig county in Germany with an assumed growth rate of 0,4% per year.

As we know from reality an assumption of a fixed growth rate for complex dynamic systems is not very probable.

Theory

Continuing the previous considerations one has to ask the question, how the layout of a ‘complete empirical theory’ would look like?

As I commented in the preceding post about Popper’s 1971 article about ‘objective knowledge’ there exists today no one single accepted framework for a formalized empirical theory. Therefore I will stay here with a ‘bottom-up’ approach using elements taken from everyday reasoning.

What we have until now is the following:

  1. Before the beginning of a theory building process one needs a group of experts being part of a natural environment using the same language which share a common goal which they want to enable.
  2. The assumed natural environment is assumed from the experts as being a ‘process’ of consecutive states in time. The ‘granularity’ of the process depends from the used ‘time model’.
  3. As a starting point they collect a set of statements talking about those aspects of a ‘selected state’ at some time t which they are interested in.
  4. This set of statements describes a set of ‘observable properties’ of the selected state which is understood as a ‘subset’ of the properties of the natural environment.
  5. Every statement is understood by the experts as being ‘true’ in the sense, that the ‘known meaning’ of a statement has an ‘observable counterpart’ in the situation, which can be ‘confirmed’ by each expert.
  6. For each pair of consecutive states it holds that the set of statements of each state can be ‘equal’ or ‘can show ‘differences’.
  7. A ‘difference’ between sets of statements can be interpreted as pointing to a ‘change in the real environment’.[5]
  8. Observed differences can be described by special statements called ‘change statements’ or simply ‘rules’.
  9. A change statement has the format ‘IF a set of statements ST* is a subset of the statements ST of a given state S, THEN with probability p, a set of statements ST+ will be added to the actual state S and a set of statements ST- will be removed from the statements ST of a given state S. This will result in a new succeeding state S* with the representing statements ST – (ST-) + (ST+) depending from the assumed probability p.
  10. The list of change statements is an ‘open set’ according to the assumption, that an actual state is only a ‘subset’ of the real environment.
  11. Until now we have an assumed state S, an assumed goal V, and an open set of change statements X.
  12. Applying change statements to a given state S will generate a new state S*. Thus the application of a subset X’ of the open set of change statements X onto a given state S will here be called ‘generating a new state by a procedure’. Such a state-generating-procedure can be understood as an ‘inference’ (like in logic) oder as a ‘simulation’ (like in engineering).[6]
  13. To write this in a more condensed format we can introduce some signs —– S,V ⊩ ∑ X S‘ —– saying: If I have some state S and a goal V then the simulator will according to the change statements X generate a new state S’. In such a setting the newly generated state S’ can be understood as a ‘theorem’ which has been derived from the set of statements in the state S which are assumed to be ‘true’. And because the derived new state is assumed to happen in some ‘future’ ‘after’ the ‘actual state S’ this derived state can also be understood as a ‘forecast’.
  14. Because the experts can change all the time all parts ‘at will’ such a ‘natural empirical theory’ is an ‘open entity’ living in an ongoing ‘communication process’.
Second Lessons Learned

It is interestingly to know that from the set of statements in state S, which are assumed to be empirically true, together with some change statements X, whose proposed changes are also assumed to be ‘true’, and which have some probability P in the domain [0,1], one can forecast a set of statements in the state S* which shall be true, with a certainty being dependent from the preceding probability P and the overall uncertainty of the whole natural environment.

Confirmation – Non-Confirmation

A Theory with Forecasts

Having reached the formulation of an ordinary empirical theory T with the ingredients <S,V,X,⊩ > and the derivation concept S,V ⊩ ∑ X S‘ it is possible to generate theorems as forecasts. A forecast here is not a single statement st* but a whole state S* consisting of a finite set of statements ST* which ‘designate’ according to the ‘agreed meaning’ a set of ‘intended properties’ which need a set of ‘occurring empirical properties’ which can be observed by the experts. These observations are usually associated with ‘agreed procedures of measurement’, which generate as results ‘observation statements’/ ‘measurement statements’.

Within Time

Experts which are cooperating by ‘building’ an ordinary empirical theory are themselves part of a process in time. Thus making observations in the time-window (t1,t2) they have a state S describing some aspects of the world at ‘that time’ (t1,t2). When they then derive a forecast S* with their theory this forecast describes — with some probability P — a ‘possible state of the natural environment’ which is assumed to happen in the ‘future’. The precision of the predicted time when the forecasted statements in S* should happen depends from the assumptions in S.

To ‘check’ the ‘validity’ of such a forecast it is necessary that the overall natural process reaches a ‘point in time’ — or a time window — indicated by the used ‘time model’, where the ‘actual point in time’ is measured by an agreed time machine (mechanical clock). Because there is no observable time without a time machine the classification of a certain situation S* being ‘now’ at the predicted point of time depends completely from the used time machine.[7]

Given this the following can happen: According to the used theory a certain set of statements ST* is predicted to be ‘true’ — with some probability — either ‘at some time in the future’ or in the time-window (t1,t2) or at a certain point in time t*.

Validating Forecasts

If one of these cases would ‘happen’ then the experts would have the statements ST* of their forecast and a real situation in their natural environment which enables observations ‘Obs’ which are ‘translated’ into appropriate ‘observation statements’ STObs. The experts with their predicted statements ST* know a learned agreed meaning M* of their predicted statements ST* as intended-properties M* of ST*. The experts have also learned how they relate the intended meaning M* to the meaning MObs from the observation statements STobs. If the observed meaning MObs ‘agrees sufficiently well’ with the intended meaning M* then the experts would agree in a statement, that the intended meaning M* is ‘fulfilled’/ ‘satisfied’/ ‘confirmed’ by the observed meaning MObs. If not then it would stated that it is ‘not fulfilled’/ ‘not satisfied’/ ‘not confirmed’.

The ‘sufficient fulfillment’ of the intended meaning M* of a set of statements ST* is usually translated in a statement like “The statements ST* are ‘true'”. In the case of ‘no fulfillment’ it is unclear: this can be interpreted as ‘being false’ or as ‘being unclear’: No clear case of ‘being true’ and no clear case of ‘being false’.

Forecasting the Number of Citizens

In the used simple example we have the MKK county with an observed number of citizens in 2018 with 418950. The simple theory used a change statement with a growth factor of 0.4% per year. This resulted in the forecast with the number 420.625 citizens for the year 2019.

If the newly counting of the number of citizens in the years 2019 would yield 420.625, then there would be a perfect match, which could be interpreted as a ‘confirmation’ saying that the forecasted statement and the observed statement are ‘equal’ and therefore the theory seems to match the natural environment through the time. One could even say that the theory is ‘true for the observed time’. Nothing would follow from this for the unknown future. Thus the ‘truth’ of the theory is not an ‘absolute’ truth but a truth ‘within defined limits’.

We know from experience that in the case of forecasting numbers of citizens for some region — here a county — it is usually not so clear as it has been shown in this example.

This begins with the process of counting. Because it is very expensive to count the citizens of all cities of a county this happens only about every 20 years. In between the statistical office is applying the method of ‘forecasting projection’.[9] The state statistical office collects every year ‘electronically’ the numbers of ‘birth’, ‘death’, ‘outflow’, and ‘inflow’ from the individual cities and modifies with these numbers the last real census. In the case of the state of Hessen this was the year 2011. The next census in Germany will happen May 2022.[10] For such a census the data will be collected directly from the registration offices from the cities supported by a control survey of 10% of the population.

Because there are data from the statistical office of the state of Hessen for June 2021 [8:p.9] with saying that the MKK county had 421 936 citizens at 30. June 2021 we can compare this number with the theory forecast for the year 2021 with 423 997. This shows a difference in the numbers. The theory forecast is ‘higher’ than the observed forecast. What does this mean?

Purely arithmetically the forecast is ‘wrong’. The responsible growth factor is too large. If one would ‘adjust’ it in a simplified linear way to ‘0.24%’ then the theory could get a forecast for 2021 with 421 973 (observed: 421 936), but then the forecast for 2019 would be 419 955 (instead of 420 625).

This shows at least the following aspects:

  1. The empirical observations as such can vary ‘a little bit’. One had to clarify which degree of ‘variance’ is due to the method of measurement and therefore this variance should be taken into account for the evaluation of a theoretical forecast.
  2. As mentioned by the statistical office [9] there are four ‘factors’ which influence the final number of citizens in a region: ‘birth’, ‘death’, ‘outflow’, and ‘inflow’. These factors can change in time. Under ‘normal conditions’ the birth-rate and the death-rate are rather ‘stable’, but in case of an epidemic situation or even war this can change a lot. Outflow and inflow are very dynamic depending from many factors. Thus this can influence the growth factor a lot and these factors are difficult to forecast.
Third lessons Learned

Evaluating the ‘relatedness’ of some forecast F of an empirical theory T to the observations O in a given real natural environment is not a ‘clear-cut’ case. The ‘precision’ of such a relatedness depends from many factors where each of these factors has some ‘fuzziness’. Nevertheless as experience shows it can work in a limited way. And, this ‘limited way’ is the maximum we can get. The most helpful contribution of an ‘ordinary empirical theory’ seems to be the forecast of ‘What will happen if we have a certain set of assumptions’. Using such a forecast in the process of the experts this can help to improve to get some ‘informed guesses’ for planning.

Forecast

The next post will show, how this concept of an ordinary empirical theory can be used by applying the oksimo paradigm to a concrete case. See HERE.

Comments

[1] Cities of the MKK-county: 24, see: https://www.wegweiser-kommune.de/kommunen/main-kinzig-kreis-lk

[2] Forecast for development of the number of citizens in the MMK starting with 2018, See: the https://statistik.hessen.de/zahlen-fakten/bevoelkerung-gebiet-haushalte-familien/bevoelkerung/tabellen

[3] Karl Popper, „A World of Propensities“,(1988) and „Towards an Evolutionary Theory of Knowledge“, (1989) in: Karl Popper, „A World of Propensities“, Thoemmes Press, Bristol, (1990, repr. 1995)

[4] Karl Popper, „All Life is Problem Solving“, original a lecture 1991 in German, the first tome published (in German) „Alles Leben ist Problemlösen“ (1994), then in the book „All Life is Problem Solving“, 1999, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London – New York

[5] This points to the concept of ‘propensity’ which the late Popper has discussed in the papers [3] and [4].

[6] This concept of a ‘generator’ or an ‘inference’ reminds to the general concept of Popper and the main stream philosophy of a logical derivation concept where a ‘set of logical rules’ defines a ‘derivation concept’ which allows the ‘derivation/ inference’ of a statement s* as a ‘theorem’ from an assumed set of statements S assumed to be true.

[7] The clock-based time is in the real world correlated with certain constellations of the real universe, but this — as a whole — is ‘changing’!

[8] Hessisches Statistisches Landesamt, “Die Bevölkerung der hessischen
Gemeinden am 30. Juni 2021. Fortschreibungsergebnisse Basis Zensus 09. Mai 2011″, Okt. 2021, Wiesbaden, URL: https://statistik.hessen.de/sites/statistik.hessen.de/files/AI2_AII_AIII_AV_21-1hj.pdf

[9] Method of the forward projection of the statistical office of the State of Hessen: “Bevölkerung: Die Bevölkerungszahlen sind Fortschreibungsergebnisse, die auf den bei der Zensuszählung 2011
ermittelten Bevölkerungszahlen basieren. Durch Auswertung von elektronisch übermittelten Daten für Geburten und Sterbefälle durch die Standesämter, sowie der Zu- und Fortzüge der Meldebehörden, werden diese nach einer bundeseinheitlichen Fortschreibungsmethode festgestellt. Die Zuordnung der Personen zur Bevölkerung einer Gemeinde erfolgt nach dem Hauptwohnungsprinzip (Bevölkerung am Ort der alleinigen oder der Hauptwohnung).”([8:p.2]

[10] Statistical Office state of Hessen, Next census 2022: https://statistik.hessen.de/zahlen-fakten/zensus/zensus-2022/zensus-2022-kurz-erklaert