Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
That seems likley, but it's hard to know it's true. It may happen that
the laws of physics are such that persons (animals like us) believing
(falsely) that they only live for a day cannot evolve. Or maybe you
only mean that some individuals could have this belief as a kind of
mental pathology - as some people believe they don't exist.
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
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
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
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.
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