Yet Another Quick and Dirty Proof – The World is Understandable

Only a thing which is in principle understandable, can be partially understood. (There is no sense in partially understanding something which in principle can’t be understood).

Hence, if we believe that we understand something partially, we should believe that that something in principle can be understood.

We believe that we understand the world partially. So we should believe that world is in principle understandable.

6 thoughts on “Yet Another Quick and Dirty Proof – The World is Understandable”

1. What about if we introduce the notion of infinites? If we use the cliche of an infinitely “filled” universe (which I’m not asserting exists), then no matter how many laws/variables/objects/species we understood, there would be more to understand. Wouldn’t it only be possible to understand it in part?

2. Hi Ray, thanks for the comment.

Really if there is actual infinity of things to understand, it may be a problem for the argument.

But maybe one can argue that,

a) If we can acknowledge actual infinity of things to understand, why can’t we assume an agent with infinite ability to understand?

b) The actual infinity of things to understand, will either share a common ground which can be understood.

If they don’t share common ground, the world can’t be understood because there is no reason why this, and not some other actual infinity of facts is there. But, then that means that there is no sufficient reason for any of those facts, and that one can’t really understand any of them. So, they must share a common ground. (I guess this argument is similar to the one I sketched in the previous post). And if they share common ground, we can have understand of all of them, by understanding of the common ground.

3. John says:

I’m not sure that I understand your reasoning completely. Do you think that you could simplify your proposition?

4. Aki says:

I do not see how this argument resolves problems stated in Gödel’s incompleteness theorem.
I assume (from your argument that properties of parts are properties of system as a whole) that you are proponent of atomism, and from that base I simply ask the same question Gödel did – if we understand atomic principles of universe, how can we explain them inside of our universe. In order to do that we need to leave it, and thats impossible. (I haven’t read your previous arguments, so I have no idea what your philosophy is, I simply comment this argument alone.)

P.S. English is not my native language so… :)

5. Hi Aki,

That is a very interesting issue you raise! I will have to think about how Gödel’s theorem affects this argument. What comes in mind now, is that maybe when we talk about universe being *in principle* understandable, we don’t need to assume that it is understandable from the agents within itself.

The other thing is that I’m not proponent of atomism. On contrary.
For discussion of alternatives of atomism, check here.

6. Aki, thanks for the further comments!

I transfered them to the Philosophize by Numbers post, and added my comments there, as I think they might be more interesting for some (assumed) reader of that post.