'Yeah, the contrafactual stuff is one of the most
counterintuitive aspects of QM that we have to fit into our philosophical
well im not sure that possible world stuff is just the province of QM or
that we have to fit QM necessarily into any philosophical model. but perhaps
those are other arguments.
I feel a bit out of my depth. I did mean to stay out of the debate for a
while, but, I think the Sophists have been given a bad rap so im going to
have to defend them a little.
For a moment consider Mr. Einstein. Now he just assumed space/time was
relative. He had no evidence to suppose it was, Newton's stuff predicted
celestial orbits fine. Well, within a narrow margin of error, the kind of
margin all theories need, but his equations are as workable now as they were
then. We still use them.
So why did Einstein just assume that space/time was relative? Why did he
assume that Newton had made a mistake at such a fundemental level? What
reason did he have? In truth he didnt have any justifiable reason beyond:
'Why the heck not?' or in otherwords: Sophistry. Real sophism, as opposed to
the legal wrangling we all associate with it.
Now, suppose Einstein was right. Suppose space/time actually is relative. We
dont /know/ that. We accept it on the basis of the accuracy of the
predictions of Albert's equations, but then where does that leave us with
regards to Newton? Thats the really buzzing question in my opinion.
It suggests that the accuracy of Newtonian equations do not depend on the
/truth/ of his assumptions. Newton got into a big row with Liebniz I think
about whether space had a frame of reference. Newton believed it did as we
know. Well, if we accept Einstein, the we have to accept that Newton was
wrong, AND that this didnt matter. Its this latter result that is a little
suprising. We are taught that the truth of a conclusion follows logically
from the truth of an arguments premises. Clearly the fact of the matter is
more complicated than that. In the realm of inductive reasoning that isnt
Can truth then follow from falsehoods? This is a counter intuitive idea that
is difficult to cope with. For the life of me I cant actually see a way out
of concluding that in science at least, if not math, truth is not as
dependent on the truth of premises as we might like. The situation just gets
worse if we protect Newton by attacking relativity. Whats more, I'ld go so
far as to say that the accuracy of Newton's equations /depended/ on premises
that in fact were false.
Is this really counter intuitive? Perhaps a little bit. I dont think it is
counter intuitive in the manner that say wave particle duality is, or that
spookynatural quantum entanglement is. Sure, I can accept intuitively that a
theory can be wrong in a certain sense but still yield predictions that are
for me Sophistry is about asking 'What if....'. For me Einstein was the
epitome of sophistry. Sophistry is about sifting through possibilities to
see how the world could be. Listing the lot, and seeing what follows.
When we talk about the world being a 10 dimensional place existing in an
11th dimension, like bed sheets flapping on a laundry line, I can assure you
that some kind of sophistry is at play. Im just sure of it.
In a sense we have the math and we interpret it some way. but there would
appear to be a distinction between the accuracy of an equation, and the
truth of its interpretation.
I dont know. These are heady issues impossible for one soul to solve. but
the upshot for me is that I just can not agree that:
'any model that ignores the implications of QM that have empirical support
that we have of the world is sophistry. ;-)' in any sort of perjoritive
We should spare time to ignore the implications of QM, and do that before we
spend money building another atom smasher. We should spare some time to be
as disrespectful towards QM as Einstein was towards absolute space time.
'BTW, are you familiar with Hintikka's work?'
Nope. I'll google on it.
From: "Stephen Paul King" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "chris peck" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 13:53:00 -0400
Yeah, the contrafactual stuff is one of the most counterintuitive
aspects of QM that we have to fit into our philosophical modeling.
Personally, I think that any model that ignores the implications of QM that
have empirical support that we have of the world is sophistry. ;-)
BTW, are you familiar with Hintikka's work?
----- Original Message ----- From: "chris peck" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 11:54 AM
Subject: Re: joining.
Im going to hang about and find my bearings for a while. Im new to this
counterfactual stuff. but im looking forward to your posts too. :)
Winks & nudges are here - download MSN Messenger 7.0 today!