iSoul In the beginning is reality

Universe of limits

If we accept that the actual infinite does not exist except as an attribute of God, then the universe is finite. And if the universe is finite, then any use of the infinite or infinitesimal in physical science is a reference to an indefinite unknown or a manner of speaking, which at a greater level of precision should be replaced with finite concepts.

If we accept that physical science proceeds through simplifying and downplaying particulars in order to articulate universals, then there is always something missing or not given its due significance. This is a limitation of physical science, which should be represented in any theory of physical science as a limit on its domain of applicability.

Yet it is part of the culture and method of physical science to posit open theories that are universal, even though they will have a domain of applicability that is less than universal. The purpose of this method is to push the concepts and laws of a theory to their maximum extent, and stop only where the theory breaks down in practice.

The ancient approach to science kept science within the confines of deduction but the modern approach allows science to extend into hypothetical domains supported by inductive experience and experiment. But ultimately a theory of science should be fully demonstrable, and so developed as a deductive system that encapsulates inductive experience and experiment.

Therefore, science proceeds from data collection to hypothesis to further data collection to revised hypothesis until a stable theory is developed. Then science further proceeds to push the theory to its limits until its domain of applicability is known. At that point an axiomatic system may be constructed that defines its concepts and attributes, which constitutes a closed theory.

Werner Heisenberg was the first to describe open and closed theories. Closed theories have achieved an axiomatic form and cannot be falsified. The set of closed theories constitute the permanent achievement of science, which open theories endeavor to extend.

The goal for an open theory is to become a closed theory, which occurs as its concepts become clarified and its limits found. One should not give full assent to any open theory because it lacks clarity and its limits are unknown. Full assent should be given to any closed theory but their truth is only axiomatic.

Science progresses from open to closed theory, from universal to limited domain, from induction to deduction, with a growth of knowledge and humility, that is, knowledge of limits and humility at how much is yet to be known.

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