'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
Anyway Im arguing more than I wanted to about all this. I ought to go and
download one of your papers.
From: Bruno Marchal <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "chris peck" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Re: joining.
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 20:19:46 +0200
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
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
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
I think it is related.
'as I show in my PhD thesis (see my url). comp can explain (meta-justify)
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,
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
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
'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
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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