On Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 12:08 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> Rex Allen wrote:
>> 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.

Since posting on the internet produces interesting "responses", I
would do it even if I were a solipsist.

Maybe I have no choice but to post on the internet...deterministic solipsism?

>> 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.

The external world could very well exist, and be the cause my experience.

But as I've said, this just changes my questions from "why do my
experiences exist?" to "why does the external world exist, and why
does it cause my experiences?"  SO...the external world hypothesis
doesn't provide a satisfactory answer, and it introduces new

If I have to eventually say, "the external world exists uncaused and
for no reason", then I could just as easily have said that about my
conscious experience...it exists uncaused and for no reason.  So what
have I gained by introducing this whole external world thing?

Saying that I am willing to believe that conscious experiences other
than mine exist doesn't really introduce any new questions.  By
allowing the possibility of their existence I'm not introducing any
new *kinds* of things, and thus no new questions.


>> So
>> 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.

Well.  Maybe.  IF such explanations exist.   See the Heller quote in
my response to David.

>> 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?

It seems like the "circular explanation" is just a special case of
"infinite regress".  In that you can follow the circular chain around
an infinite number of times...which would seem to be the same thing as
following an infinite chain with a repeating pattern.

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