SUO: Re: Question about Example in KR Book
What you are describing is *not* the nominalist answer, it is
the realist answer:
> The nominalist would say: the reliable ones do not stand alone.
> They are part of vast systems of laws -- physics, chemistry, biology,
> neuro-sciences, etc. -- which "hang together", which form a consistent
> system of laws. No newly proposed law would be accepted as worthy of
> scientific investigation if it contradicted the established body of
> laws (except in Kuhnian periods of "revolutionary science"). A
> coherence theory of the truth of causal laws.
As soon as you admit that there is any system of description that
reliably describes nature to the extent that you are willing to
risk your life on that description, then you have realism.
Once you make that assumption, the next step is to refine your
procedures for measuring and minimizing the experimental error.
Those are essentially the methods of science. But scientific
methodology is nothing more nor less than a refinement and
extension of the methods that all successful human societies
have used for thousands of years. The ones that had inadequate
methods have been eliminated. (Unfortunately, many good ones
have also been eliminated, but that is how evolution works.)
Bottom line: Nominalism is a dirty word. Don't use it
to tarnish the very effective methodologies of science.
Good science is the method for distinguishing what is real
to the limits of our abilities to observe, measure, and test.