Observation Oriented Modeling
Book Commentary, Questions, and Errata


1. Lesser/greater error
2. Equation 6.3 typographical error, page 101
3. Descartes, Idealist?
4. Attributes, Variables, Constructs
5. Assumptions of c-value

  1. On page 180 (Chapter 8), the sentence "In this way, the intellectual move is always from what is lesser known to what is better known about the things of nature..." should read
    "In this way, the intellectual move is always from what is better known to what is lesser known about the things of nature...". I had the "Aristotelian move" correctly described in Chapter 6 but here transposed "lesser" and "greater." 
     
  2. Page 101, Equation 6.3. The numbers to the right of the equality should be 2.52  +/-  1.91  rather than  2 +/-  4.44.  I used the correct numbers in the computations because the 2.52 +/- 1.91 does translate to a confidence interval of 1.83 to 83.77 within rounding. This is why I refer to the error as a typographical error. I thank Dr. Bernhard Kitous of the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Rennes for finding this error.
     
  3. Throughout various places in the book I refer to Descartes as an "idealist." An OSU student found this a bit confusing since the term brought to his mind the so-called "German Idealists" (e.g., Fichte, Hegel) and also seemed to imply that Descartes denied a reality external to the senses. To clarify, then, by "idealism" I mean "Idealism distrusts the veracity of the senses and so breaks the contact they provide with external reality, elaborating itself systematically upon combinations of ideas." (Wallace, W. A., p. 270, The Elements of Philosophy). As Wallace states, Descartes' "starting point was a methodological doubt [beginning with doubting his senses] that led him to assert the clear and distinct ideas as the criterion of truth" (p. 301), so determining truth and falsity is a matter of the mind without direct regard to the senses and an external reality. Of course in his Meditation Descartes invokes God as "no deceiver" who guarantees, in a way, the existence of the external world which seems so clear to our minds. As is well known and pointed out by Wallace, however, Descartes introduced a dualism which he never resolved between mind and matter. Most important for OOM is that the realism of Aristotle and Aquinas is anathema to this sort of philosophy. Digging deeper on the topic, perhaps I have nonetheless unwittingly contributed to a confusion of terms in labeling Descartes as an idealist. As noted in the Catholic Encyclopedia, "The doctrine of Descartes has also per nefas been called idealism. It is true that Cartesianism is in line with the genuine idealism of the earlier schools, inasmuch as it postulates God, thought, and spatial reality. But, on the other hand, this system too employs idea only in a subjective signification and quite overlooks the intermediate position of ideal principles." Given the latter part of this statement, perhaps it would be best to refer to Descartes as a subjectivist...or perhaps to refrain from any sort of label at all! In closing, I must admit that my understanding of Descartes is colored (perhaps too greatly) by my reading of Jacque Maritain's Dream of Descartes (and to a lesser extent by Peter Redpath's scathing critique, Cartesian Nightmare).
     
  4. On page 153, 2/3 way down the page, you'll find the statement "Psychologists must similarly demonstrate the continuous quantitative structure of the attributes (variables and theoretical constructs) they study as well." This statement is confusing. According to philosophical realism, psychologists study attributes of existing people or other creatures. As discussed at in length in the chapter, if psychologists hold that the attributes they are studying can be measured as continuous quantities, then they must do the necessary scientific work to demonstrate that they can in fact analogously understand the attributes as dimensions (like measuring heaviness with a common scale). By lumping attributes together with variables and theoretical constructs, the statement makes it seem that all three are identical as objects of study. They are not.
     
  5. Footnote #7 on page 59 states that the only assumption underlying the c-value (derived from a randomization test) is complete independence. I now believe this statement to be false. In the context of the mock study being described in Chapter 4, I cannot reason how complete independence is required as an assumption. Indeed, throughout the book it seems that absolutely no assumptions are involved in the c-value. Once one dispenses with the idea of estimating population parameters (PCC indices are not necessarily considered estimates of population parameters) then the entire way of thinking about data analysis and the c-value changes. I have begun writing a paper on the c-value in the context of OOM in which I hope to spell out exactly why no assumptions are necessarily made in its determination. Any other statements in the book, then, that suggest an independence assumption for the c-value should be viewed with suspicion.