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A General Image Theory of science theories.

4. Why have sets of image theories in science ?

signal theory graphic Homepage . William Gilbert . Rene Descartes . Isaac Newton . Albert Einstein .......... Information Physics .... Sitemap signal theory graphic
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This 'General Image Theory of science theories' involved substantial studies of especially science history, philosophy, language theory and signal theory. More from those studies is being presented over time as this website progresses.

In the spirit of William Gilbert this is not addressed to the crass multitude of mere-theoriser-scientists content to kick around the narrow range of ideas that science journals today consider fashionable, but to the free spirit happy to labour hard and dig deep to find real scientific truth. Because unfortunately today Wikipedia and Discovery Channel do have some good bits of truth, but with big chunks of rubbish mixed in - though not quite as bad as the anti-science History Channel with its repeatedly claimed false 'proofs of aliens' and 'proofs of conspiracies'.

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Science to date has stubbornly stuck to an 'only one valid theory' principle, so there have been no attempts to produce sets of valid image theories allowed by the fact that one thing can clearly have more than one valid description. Instead today many calling themselves scientists prefer to support 'multiple realities' when the experimental facts equally support a more logical multiple theories science.

Yet science is centrally concerned with describing causation, and both physics and philosophy have produced some basically differing theories of causation. In physics the active-matter causation of William Gilbert was opposed by the dead-matter causation of Rene Descartes. And similarly in philosophy George Berkeley's 'No matter' theory opposed Descartes' 'Never mind' theory, and 'determinism' theory opposed 'free will' theory. Could these opposed ways of thinking be, or be related to, one or more pairs of compatible valid image theories ? And how might we determine what kinds of science theories might make compatible valid image theories ?

One area deserving some study is how language and mathematics deal with causation. Hence in English we have eg ;

"A causes B."
"A makes B move."
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"B is caused by A."
"B moves because of A."

Now some might use these two sets of description as having identical meaning and describing the same actual causal event - especially so for the causes/is-caused-by case. But somebody might use the '1' descriptions intending that B is passive or 'dead' and all action is in A. And somebody might use the '2' descriptions intending that B is active in responding to A. (the latter especially so for the makes-move/moves-because case) Eg ;

"A pushes B, so making B move."
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"B responds to A by moving itself."

Or consider a dead bird on the ground and a child walking past sees the dead bird and is shocked and begins to cry. Many might say 'the dead bird caused the child to cry' although knowing that the dead bird did nothing. All might agree that the child responded to seeing the dead bird by beginning to cry so that 'the child seeing the dead bird caused the child to cry' or the child alone was active and was the cause. Of course it can be said that the dead bird did not do nothing in that it emitted dead-bird signals and the child receiving those signals was what caused the child to respond by crying. But that does still allow of alternative valid descriptions of the causal event.

Rene Descartes physics is clearly a '1' type physics, while William Gilbert's physics is clearly a '2' type physics. And equally clearly they are claiming proof of two quite different actual causal mechanisms. As such they did not intend to just produce different descriptions of the same causal mechanisms, and did not intend to produce 'image theories'. Descartes could claim that when you push something you clearly feel the contact push that makes it move, and that when a magnet repels another magnet that must work the same way by the contact of some particles pushing. And Gilbert working with magnets could claim that you can clearly see a magnet responding, without direct push contact, to signals received from another magnet by moving itself, and that when you push something there must actually be no contact but a response to proximity signals by the thing moving itself in the same way. Emitted signals when received establish a 'contact' without any pushing being involved. Though the two theories claim to describe very different causal mechanisms, both are basically attempted descriptions of the same universe so there is an issue of whether some modification of one or both theories might in fact make a pair of compatible image theories.

Some have produced modifications of these theories of 'dead matter' vs 'active matter', to 'matter' vs 'mind' and even to 'determinism' vs 'free will' theories - but that is perhaps going beyond science. And like Einstein and Newton, both Gilbert's and Descartes' physics theories are fully determinist.

In physics theory, the same question also arises perhaps less obviously with Wave Theory and Particle Theory, and the attempted merger of that contradictory pair in a Duality Theory, covering a smaller area of physics. Clearly the Wave and Particle theories are claiming proof of two quite different actual causal mechanisms. However these two theories are again basically attempted descriptions of the same bit of the same universe so there is an issue of whether some modification of one or both theories might in fact make a pair of compatible image theories also. Light theory looks a promising area for producing and testing a set of valid image theories, though that has not been done to date. They would need to be written up in a comparable manner, and might allow several versions :- waves-in-media, waves-without-media, simple-particles and responding-particles maybe ?

In sciences other than physics, there also seem to be possibilities of image theories as eg in animal behaviour with reflex theory vs learning theory ? Of our four major physicists only Rene Descartes ventured outside physics successfully to any extent, with his biological push theory of sensation, nerve action and animal behaviour. Hence Descartes basically claimed that light coming from food punched the animal eye, that punch travelled along nerves to the brain and then to the muscles giving a reflex behaviour. Biologists at first went with that theory, but later dropped it in favour of a William Gilbert style signal response theory. This was partly because Descartes push theory seemed not able to deal with memory and learning, and partly because nerve transmission was found to be electrical. Of course Descartes push theory did give a mechanism for electrical type behaviour, if not memory. Interestingly Gilbert's signal theory experiments did include magnetic induction which allows inanimate matter memory and became the basis of some modern computer memory and recording methods. But while advance in biological theory involved moving to signal theory, in physics signal theory got sidelined mainly by Descartes supporters falsely claiming that it assigned mind to matter to discredit it as they could not disprove it.

The important thing for science theory generally is that not merely can one thing be validly described in more than one way, but that different people tend to thinking differently or have different aptitudes so that one person might work best using one image theory while another person might work best using a different image theory. But this unlike much philosophical analysis is not just a sterile word game but is real philosophy of science and is significant actual science about actual experiment interpretation. Given different possible interpretations of any science experiment, it should be possible to define tests that will establish which of these interpretations if any are valid interpretations and which of these interpretations if any are invalid interpretations. Such testability makes this piece of 'philosophy of science' science and not just philosophy. And a science that uses several valid image theories should get more from more scientists than a science that uses only one valid theory. And a General Image Theory looks like giving the only reasonable resolution of Newton's classic Blackbox Dilemma and the more recent physics Duality Dilemma ?

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