On Sat, May 1, 2010 at 5:47 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> Fine.  You solve all problems by postulating that your consciousness is
> fundamental, it just IS,

I don't solve all problems.  I only solve all metaphysical problems.

But isn't that what physicalists attempt to do by postulating a
physical universe?

> and for some unknowable reason it is a sequence of
> experiences which happen to correspond to living in an orderly and time
> directed universe.

The reason isn't unknowable.  There is no reason.  Period.  Full stop.

This is in comparison to the two physicalist alternatives available to
explain *actually* living in an orderly and time directed universe:

1)  There was a first cause that led to our orderly universe, but that
cause was itself *uncaused*.

2)  There's an infinite chain of prior causes that led to our current
orderly universe.

Option 1 is not significantly different from my proposal.  It just
adds this extra "physical" component that in some way underlies the
conscious experience that we all know and love.

Option 2 is...also not significantly different.  There is no finite
"knowable" reason for our orderly universe's existence.  And this also
raises the further question of why our infinite causal chain instead
of some other?  And if you have an answer, then why that answer
instead of some other?

So not only does option 2 lead to an infinite causal chain - it also
requires an infinite chain of infinite chains of reasons to explain
why *our* infinite causal chain exists instead of some other infinite
causal chain.

If you ever stop and say "because that's just the way it is", then you
collapse back into option 1.


> And do you believe this sequence will persist in
> producing orderly and consistent experiences?

I do believe that.  BUT...why do I believe it?  Well, ultimately,
there is no reason I believe it.  I just do.

Do you believe it?  And if so, why?

I would expect an honest physicalist to say that he believed it
because, given the initial conditions of the universe plus the causal
laws of physics as applied over  ~13.7 billion years, it could not be

He has no *choice* except to believe it.  To not believe it would
require different initial conditions, or different causal laws.

> Do you imagine you are discussing this
> question with someone named Brent?

I go back and forth on whether I believe this.  I certainly believe
that there is a Brent out there somewhere who is experiencing the flip
side of this conversation, but not necessarily that there is any
causal connection between us.  And I certainly don't believe that
either of us has any choice in the path the discussion takes.

What would causality amount to in an Einstein-style static block
universe?  If it turned out that 4-dimensionalism was correct, what
would it mean to say that you and I are discussing this question?

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