Page 195 - MODES of EXPLANATION

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The distinction between the protocol in addressing scale and type as opposed to what
is observed under a given scale and type.
Rosen’s (2000) distinction between essence and the realization of an essence.
When all four distinctions are linked together, a scheme emerges that shows how a model is
created, and how models are used in general. It then becomes easier to evaluate how models
work and why they are so useful.
Pattee (1978) introduces the concept of laws, making it clear that he does not mean
“laws of nature.” He does not mean for laws to apply outside observation. Laws are an
epistemological device, not something from metaphysics. There are different laws in physics
than in biology, so laws are discourse specific. Carbon is a law in biology but not in physics.
Both laws and rules express limits, but of different sorts. The laws of physics are a special
case, but possess the general characteristics of all laws in Pattee’s terms. To Pattee, laws are:
Universal. They apply everywhere in the general discourse, beyond what the observer
chooses to recognize. Physics is a discourse, so we refer here to everywhere in the
discourse, not everywhere in nature.
Inexorable. They are offered to the observer in what is observed and cannot be
suspended for convenience. Gravity cannot be suspended, so even in an airplane the
coffee stays in the cup.
Structure-independent. Gravity, for instance, applies to all structures.
Rate-dependent. Again, gravity manifests itself as relative rates.
In contrast to laws, rules are more local and derive from observer decisions. They come from
restrictions in a narrower universe. Rules are:
Arbitrary, just as definitions are. Definitions are neither right nor wrong, they are simply
announcements of the observer.
Local. The discourse in which rules apply restricts things to only what is allowed, a
subset of possibilities. Consider for instance that the class to which small feline animals
belong might be spelled CHAT as opposed to CAT. The French and English universes are
local and different.
Linguistic. They invoke names for things. The names impose rules as to what is
recognizable and is recognized.
Rate-independent. They can invoke meaning, which does not have a rate. A cat is not a
cat at a rate, it just is a cat. Recognition, mentioned above, is instantaneous and does not
occur at a rate, so the linguistic and rate-independent aspects of rules are linked.
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