 Dear professor von Glasersfeld,

 Thank you again. May I reply to your December V
 answer as follows. Essentially is, that Piaget's
 theory on intelligence is constructed totally
 abductionwise! He never
used any inferential
 statistics or any
nonabductionwise inferences.
Piaget worked for Simon en Binet who were the
 founding fathers of intelligencetests which are
 based on statistical inferences like the
 correlation coefficient. Simon asked Piaget to
 standardize tests. But what did Piaget do?
 Piaget was not interested in good or false
 answers  on which psychometrical tests are
 based by using statistical means en
 standarddeviations  but on the reasoning of
 the child in his answers: he looked at the
 reasoning of answers of many children to a
 particular question. Then it struck him for
 example  an unexpected experience of Piaget!! 
 that 11 year olds did not have any problem with
 partwhole problems, but all younger ones did!
 Why is that so, he asked? He was struck again
 and again, and finally came up wit his viable
 theory of intelligence
which you know so well.

 And did the sons of the founding fathers came up
 with any theory of intellgence? No. All they
 came up with was:
"intelligence is what this
 test measures"  can it more empty? Again, why
 is this so? They worked not
abductively, but
 statistical inferentially. They based their
 method on an unviable image of physics  but
 physics works abductively all the way, like
Piaget.

 What is meant by "inferential statistics" is
 ttest, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), Analysis
 of Covariance (ANCOVA), regression analysis, and
 the multivariate methods like factor analysis,
 multidimensional scaling, cluster analysis,
 discriminant function analysis, and so on.

 Your example of "making inferences from the
 statistics of observations" i.e. the theory that
 all swans are white, is not "inferential
 statistics", but if well understood a good
 example of abduction! I clarify: one can be
 struck by seeing many swans being white; then
 one tries to explain this: perhaps all swans are
 white; and then one goes to 'proof' it (nothing
 absolute implied), that is, one tries to find
 more swans and if they are white it is 'proven',
 for the time being: the theory becomes acceptyed
 as normal fact (nothing absolute implied).
 Indeed, it will be no longer viable as,
 unexpected in relation to the accepted theory, a
 black swan is observed (if the black swan is
 observed immediately while trying to 'proof' the
 theory, the theory is not viable at any time;
viabilty is a
 construction!).

 Regarding you reading me as looking for
 "absolute" viability; to my knowledge Newton's
theory of
 gravitation and the structure of the universe is
 also perfectly viable for NASA's enterprises: it
 has never been shown unviable by any unexpected
 finding at the level of unrelativistic speeds
 and by classical mechanical measurements! At
 that level it undecidable which theory has
 'better cards' (not anything absolute implied, I
 repeat explicitely): it has not been superseeded
on that level.
 The flat earth theory needs not to be replaced
 for a farmer. For fishermen traveling far it
 needs to be replaced, though. But on a
 scientific level the flat earth theory is not
 viable for it can be disproven (nothing absolute
 implied). So, as said, as long as an explanation
 holds empirically (is tenable, viable) it is
 accepted as a theory, that is, as long as not a
 new unexpected finding comes up.
 Respectfully, my suggestion is that you reading
 me as looking for absolute viabilty is an
 unviable 'theory' of yours about what I am
 saying. That can happen; we are all in a proces
 of constructing, for the time being.

 Regarding "the concepts of levers and pulleys
 and the mathematical theories to which they led
 were constructed for the simple purpose of
 moving or lifting heavy objects". You must keep
 in mind the purpose of a theory  which is to
 explain unexpected findings  and applications of
a viable theory.
 Regarding "The various theories of aerodynamics
 used in the building of cars and
 planes were developed for the purpose of
 reducing air resistance, not for explaining any
 unexpected events": see above. Did you study the
 historical development of these theories? Please
 give me references to literature. I exepct your
 ideas about this development are unviable.
 Regarding "There was
nothing unexpected about
 air resistance, it is a common experiential
 fact". Notice, 'common' it has become: you must
 turn to the development of children to
 understand how they came to the construction of
 such a famliar concept as air resistence. I do
 not know in what stage they are when they come
 to understand it. Children are surprised all the
 time  sometimes they keep
asking why and why
 and why ...  and surprise
us all the time...

 Please your respected comments.
R. Kooyman
 The Netherlands