Rex Allen wrote:
On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 1:52 AM, Brent Meeker <> wrote:
Rex Allen wrote:
The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than the
idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
accepts happens in dreams).

What is the problem with this solution?

The material world didn't lead to solipism.

Is hard determinism as bad an outcome as solipsism?  If not, why not?

I don't know about good or bad - but since you post on the internet I infer that you are not a solipist.

It would seem to me to be about the same.

And further, how would quantum indeterminism improve things?

But, regardless, if you mean solipsism in the sense that only I exist,
then that's not entailed by my position.

Why not? You (I assume) have experiences which you regard as only yours. You don't have any other experiences. If for some reason, or on mere faith, you suppose there are other people then you may on the same bases suppose there is an external world.

And it proved to have a lot of predictive power.

If deterministic physicalism is true, then your experience of having
made a successful prediction is entirely a result of the universe's
initial conditions plus the causal laws that govern it's change over
time (if there are any such laws).  The only significant part is that
you have an experience of it.  Not the prediction itself.

If the universe is completely indeterministic, then the success of
your prediction is pure luck.

If the universe is has probabilistic laws, then the success of your
prediction is due entirely to the interplay of luck, initial
conditions, and the particular nature of the probabilistic laws that
we have.  Like the card game example.  In poker, whether you are dealt
rags or a Royal flush is due to luck.  BUT, there's no chance of you
getting 5 Aces of the same suit, because the rules of the game don't
allow for that.

You can say you still have a choice in how you play your hand, but
that's is putting yourself outside the game.  Which is not an option
with the universe.  Inside the game there are no choices...there is
only luck and the rules.


So.  There's no significance to predictive success.  It just *seems*
that way to you.

Having significance to me and *seeming* to have significance to me are the same thing - even under your theory.

However, let me put in a modest word for a third possibility - instead of a
first cause, and instead of an infinite regress, let me recommend the
circular explanation; in this case:  1-p => 3-p => 1-p =>...  I realize
these are in disfavor and are given the name "vicious circle",  but I'd like
to suggest that when the circle is so large as to encompass all the
explandums it integrates them into a kind of cyclic monism and is no longer
vicious, but virtuous.

Wellllllllllllll. I don't find this possibility very compelling.

But you didn't find a first cause or an infinite regress compelling either.

there are still "laws" that govern the transitions from 1-p to 3-p and
back, right?  I think the same argument applies.

Why this particular virtuous circle with it's particular causal laws
and not some other virtuous cirlce?

Not necessarily causal laws - I think the "laws" of science we infer are descriptions. So if we can find explanations of 1-p experiences in terms of 3-p events and our experience of 3-p events in terms of 1-p experiences and we don't have to introduce any other "stuff" besides 1-p experiences and 3-p events I'd say we have a virtuous circle of explanation.

If you find a law that explains
it, why does that law hold and not some other?

Because a law is a description. Your question is like asking why is orange the color of an orange.
And why not no circles at all?

You were the one that said there must be either an infinite regress or a first cause. Why not neither?


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