Hi Bruno;

'intuition is always like believing that the earth is flat.'

I disagree. People believed the earth was flat because it looked flat, they didnt intuit this idea. Intuition is not just the absence of any doubt about a proposition, intuition is active not passive. I intuitively dismiss the DH, I intuitively sense someone is angry with me etc. Not raising questions about whether the earth is flat is experiential naivity, not intuition leading us astray.

In the case of deductive reasoning, Euclid's fifth postulate is intuitively troublesome, intuition begs us to examine it futher, Intuition is what reminds us that there is a problem in it somewhere. Intuition is not the thing that prevents us from examining the definition of 'point'.

But even if Im wrong on that, even if intuition is responsible for such errors, I think there is a danger of over emphesising examples like 'flat earth theory' as if it is common for intuition to lead to error, or that intuition is naive. For many reasons I think that is wrong. Intuition is experience in action, it is functioning wisdom. It is refined and precise, and almost always right.

'my intuition is that I should not follow my intuition :) But analytically, I tend to believe that the doomsday argument is a definite quite convincing argument that the doomsday is for soon'

Im troubled by the extent to which counter intuitive ideas are embraced seemingly /because/ they are counter intuitive. It almost becomes the case that the more counter intuitive a hypothesis is, the more we trust it. Theoretical physics is testament to that surely?

What is counter intuitive about the DH is that it offers no understandable mechanism for its conclusion. This is what immediately strikes one when you read the DH for the first time, there is an air of supernatural about it. How can the eventual population of the universe - however reference classes are defined - ever have a backwardly causal relationship with a cataclysm today? Johnathon touched upon this in one of his latest posts. Very really the DH supposes that unrealised futures effect the present. This is different from the supposedly 'counter intuitive' conclusion that the earth is an orb rather than flat. There is nothing illogical or conceptually difficult about the earth being spherical rather than flat, I can picture either, however, i cant picture how a possible population count in the future could effect what happens now.

Then when examining other baysean thought experiments, it begins to become clear that there is nothing unique about the DH and its superstitious conclusions. The supernatural infects many thought experiments like it, and again this just gets my intuition buzzing. The problem is with the logic, not the world.

Furthermore, im sure that your expressed belief in the truth of the DH doesnt /actually/ interfere with your day to day routine. You argue with folk like me, rather than build bunkers in preparation for the apocalypse. Why? If not because basically you dont agree with it. The DH is a conclusion we endevour to refute, not embrace. But, lets say the end of the world is next saturday. My point is really that of the many reasons that the world might end, there are no references to any of them in the DH that should lead us to trust it. We can perhaps talk about foxes and rabbits, of populations increasing and competition for food and it looks like the DH maybe has a point, but really the DH makes no reference to these things.

Its lack of explanatory mechanism is obvious. Intuitively then it collapses into superstition. Its an untempered bell curve being badly interpreted. This is quite obvious from the ease with which counter intuitive conclusions can be derived from baysean reasoning in conjunction with 1rst person perspectives generally.

Anyway Im arguing more than I wanted to about all this. I ought to go and download one of your papers.

Chris. :)

From: Bruno Marchal <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "chris peck" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
CC: everything-list@eskimo.com
Subject: Re: joining.
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 20:19:46 +0200

Hi Chris,

Le 29-juin-05, à 17:49, chris peck a écrit :

I'ld suggest its a matter of how intuition is used. My intuition can only guide me in my enquiries, your intuition only you in yours. I cant persuade you of the truth of a statement by appealing to my intuitive feelings about it, obviously. Nevertheless, I think it is the light that guides enquiry. I hope it is for everyone, though clearly with Leslie and others seem more attracted to the counter intuitive, I have no idea why.

I agree there is a sense where only intuition is really the root of "conclusiveness", but intuition is always like believing that the earth is flat. It is rooted in locality. So globally "the other of myself" is always, at first counterintuitive: the earth is not flat! The root of conviction are local but when you try to see the border of what the light can enlighten it is not so astonishing to be astonished, surprised, and eventually to develop some intuition on some counter-intuitive feature of reality (whatever it could be). Sometime I say that common sense is the unique tool to go beyond common sense, I could say that for intuition. I am attracted by intuition and counter-intuition. I am fond of both Cantor and Brouwer. (and I add for later: I love both S4Grz and G which are two systems of modal logic which go, arguably with the comp hyp) at the heart of intuition and conter-intuition.

Take the Doomsday Hypothesis, its wrong. Even if the world ended tommorow, it would still be the case that the Doomsday Hypothesis did not predict it to any satisfactory meaning of the word 'predict'. Intuitively, I'ld just say it was luck that someone considered the DH on the day before. Intuitively, I think that is obvious. But intuition doesnt explain WHY the Doomsday Hypothesis is wrong, just that it is. Intuition is not analytical and really it is this that prevents it from having much persuasive power. But looking at Bostrum and others, its clear how they rely on intuition. Unless the DH can be tempered in some manner, then they tend to agree that its conclusion is reason enough to dismiss it.

You illustrate a difficult idea (intuition) with a difficult problem (the Doomsday argument). Here, my intuition is that I should not follow my intuition :) But analytically, I tend to believe that the doomsday argument is a definite quite convincing argument that the doomsday is for soon, once we accept Newton (on matter) and Aristotle (on mind). I am agnostic about that, but I do think that the comp hypothesis makes quickly Newton wrong on matter and Aristotle wrong on mind, so comp is immune against the doomsday argument (confirming perhaps your intuition if comp is true).

'The best one, in my opinion are those theories which justifies the ultimate unnameableness of the first person.'

Do you mean private by 'unnameable'?

But I cannot even be sure it is private. I think I see what you mean, and the unameability of the first person by the first person will *appear* most probably private. But I'm open to the ide that we share the deepest intuition and I am neutral on the question how many persons exists really. At least with comp it is possible to explain why those questions are hard, even with (apparant) oversimplifications.

Are you talking about something akin to Nagel's characterisation of mind? That it is subjective and consequently indescribable by a 3rd person account?

I think it is related.

'as I show in my PhD thesis (see my url). comp can explain (meta-justify) why the
ultimate evidence is "conclusive" but ineffable.'

I'll give it a go, sounds interesting.

The game consists in taking the computationalist hypothesis, in some rather precise form, totally seriously. In the literature those who does that in general present it as an argument ad absurdo of the falsity of mechanism. They "prove" comp -> false. But actually if you look at the details they just prove "comp -> (Newton/Aristotle is false). Actually comp proves something "near false". We can expect that comp leads to counterintuitive propositions, but that is relative: Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus, and some other were open for the kind of reality which I suspect is made necessary by comp. In actual physics the closer conception to what comp makes inescapable is Quantum Mechanics without Collapse, that is Everett, Deutch... But neither Everett nor Deutsch takes the comp hypothesis "sufficiently" seriously. Deutsch is forced to a revisionist view on Church thesis to make it fitting with his physicalist conception of the multiverse for example.

'I have use the modal logics of self-reference (Solovay's G and G'). Have you heard about them?'

Nope, im new to a lot of this - thus my joining. Is self reference the same as self perception? you know as well as refering to myself, i can introspect to a degree too. Mind may well be inscrutable beyond introspection. I kind of think it is, though self reference is second nature.

I think so. Actually here I point on Godel's incompleteness theorem; including its statellite theorems in computer science. If you are open to logic there is a gallery of surprises. The best book is, imo, the apparently recreative Forever Undecided by Smullyan.

'Also, do you know the paper by Hardegree which shows that quantum
logic can be seen as a Lewis-Stalnaker logic of the counterfactuals?'

hmmm. I thought Stalnaker and Lewis were opposed to one another when it came to counterfactuals.

They disagree like all reseachers who discover that they tackle the same domain. It is an "expert" disagreement. Relatively to the shape of the disagreement in this list, to decide between Lewis and Stalnaker at this stage of the discussion would be falling in the 1004 fallacy. Well perhaps not because we are making progress I think.

Lewis believes they are in some sense real, sort of like Deutsche's multiverse, or infinate number of m-branes and so on, in which anything logically possible has been actualised at least in one universe or another.

I think you point on a recent paper by Lewis which I keep for july ;)

I think Stalnaker would disagree with that, possible worlds are just convenient ways of considering possibility, rather than actuality. im sure this is all obvious to you, I'll read your PHD and see if I agree with that. I hope there isnt too much math.:)

Perhaps. Stalnaker is physicalist. He told us in "Inquiry".
I am (mind-body)-problem driven. I take the best of Stalnaker and Lewis (and others). "Best" relatively to my inquiry.

I think comp makes physicalism wrong.

Have you read the posts of this list? I have made a very bad and unfair (but short and concise) summary recently:

Thanks for telling me that you will take a look at my papers (hope you are neither a dogmatic naturalist nor a logical-anxious) ...



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