On 27 February 2010 14:59, Rex Allen <rexallen...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 5:55 AM, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> 
> wrote:
>> On 26 February 2010 16:41, Rex Allen <rexallen...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Could our universe *actually* produce such a being by applying our
>>> presumably deterministic laws to any set of initial conditions over
>>> any amount of time?
>>
>> Of course it could. People could have any belief whatsoever, and the
>> day-person belief can't even be shown to be logically or empirically
>> false. It's just a contingent fact about human psychology that it is a
>> rare belief.
>
> Assuming Physicalism:
>
> People can only have beliefs that supervene onto one of the physical
> configurations that it is possible for a human brain to take.  What
> determines the set of possible physical brain configurations?  Well,
> first, the laws of physics that govern the interactions of the quarks
> and electrons that constitute such a brain.  And second, whether such
> a configuration is reachable from the initial state of the universe.
>
> So physical laws plus initial conditions determine what beliefs are
> actually possible vs not possible for people.  People cannot have any
> belief whatsoever.
>
> Evolution has no causal mechanism, and thus doesn't add any
> explanatory power to physicalism.  It's just a convenient fiction - a
> kind of short hand, or a metaphor - for fundamental physical laws plus
> initial conditions.

I'm not sure what you're saying here. Is it that peoples' beliefs
could not be other than what they actually are given initial
conditions and physical laws? I suppose that is true, but even in a
deterministic single universe we generally use the term "physically
possible" to mean that something could have been the case if initial
conditions had been different, while in a multiverse "physically
possible" means that it occurs in at least one universe. In either of
these two senses, it is physically possible that a person believes
that he lives for only a day.


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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