Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

induction, deduction, conduction?

Author:Nick Sweeney
Posted:9/18/2000; 9:19:00 AM
Topic:scriptingNews outline for 9/18/2000
Msg #:21465 (In response to 21462)
Prev/Next:21464 / 21466

In mathematics you prove theorems.

And there's the catch, since mathematical proofs are self-contained and deductive: classical geometry proceeds from Euclid's "self-evident truths", Newton's laws of motion from the Principia's axioms.

What seems to happen in disputes over the nebulous matter of Open Source is that people on all sides try to apply deductive principles to a subject that can only be treated inductively, where judgements proceed from the accumulation of discrete facts and opinions, that are tested in the manner of a legal case: proved beyond reasonable doubt, or decided on the preponderance of evidence.

We'll only be able to treat Open Source like geometry when we agree on a set of Euclidian axioms. I don't see that happening too quickly. And that's probably a good thing.

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