Stephen writes

>     Just one point while I have some time and mental clarity. Can a Realist 
> accept that "a wholly independent world "out there" exists and existed 
> before he did" and yet can admit that the particular properties of this 
> "independent world" are not *definite* prior to the specification of a 
> particular observational context?

My opinion is that realists, even those completely up to speed on quantum
physics, will assert that many macroscopic properties of the "independent
world" are indeed *definite* before specification of an observational
context (as you write).

For example, if today I ascertain certain properties of, oh, say, the
relative sizes and populations of a number of North American cities,
then it is best to regard those as entirely fixed. That is, that they
are *completely* unaffected by measurement. (Which is entirely true
up to bone-picking.)  Evolution in fact did not at all prepare me to
deal with things whose properties emerge only upon measurement, as
witnessed by the absolute and dumbfounded astonishment of early 20th
century physicists.

My bottom line: the specification of a particular observational context
makes a difference *only* on the microscopic level. Now yes, it's true
that solid objects---according to our best theories---retain their
integrity only because of quantum effects, but in this and all normal
macroscopic effects, stability emerges as a statistical and overwhelmingly
probable phenomenon.

>     I am claiming that we should not conflate *existence* with *property 
> definiteness*.

What is the harm for other than microscopic phenomena?

Lee

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