On Sat, May 15, 2010 at 6:43 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> I don't know what "fine tuned" means in this context.  You're back to the
> measurement problem.  If it is observed that unsorted lists of words (for
> example) sort themselves alphabetically, then one might hypothesize a "law
> of physics" to explain this.  And physicists seeking to test this law might
> hypothesize different ways it works.  One might speculate it works like
> Quicksort while another hypothesizes it works like Bubblesort.  This quickly
> leads to an experimental test.  By preparing different initial lists and
> seeing how long it takes for them to be sorted the test may favor Quicksort
> over Bubblesort.  But of course there are infinitely many different sort
> algorithms which would produce the same results.

Except in this case, we're not observing the sorting process from the
outside.  Instead, our observations are a side-effect of the sorting

We aren't free to develop experimental tests...instead the "underlying
process" dictates our selection of which tests to perform, our
execution of those tests, and our interpretation of the results.

Our learning about the process would have to be hardcoded into the
process from the start.

Pretending otherwise is just fantasy and wishful thinking isn't it?

> So one just takes the more favored, simplest one.

Isn't the simplest explanation that our experiences are fundamental
and uncaused?

If our experiences aren't fundamental and uncaused, then the process
that underlies them must be.

But, that being the case, what good does it do to insert this
hypothetical underlying process, except as a calculational device?

If you take reality as a whole, then it makes no difference whether
there is a material world (or a platonic world) that underlies the
world of subjective experience or not.  What difference does it make
if there "really" is a layer of rule-driven particles (or numbers and
logic) between our experiences and reality's foundation?

Ultimately the result is the same...things just are the way they are,
and there is no answer to the question "why?"

>> It is inconceivable to me that I could be wrong about what I experience.
> It's inconceivable that "I am looking at a real book." can have any meaning
> unless there are real books and real looking at them and a real "I".  So you
> can only have certainty at the price of losing all reference.

It'd still be a bargain at twice the price!

"By what argument can it be proved, that the perceptions of the mind
must be caused by external objects, entirely different from them,
though resembling them (if that be possible) and could not arise
either from the energy of the mind itself, or from the suggestion of
some invisible and unknown spirit, or from some other cause still more
unknown to us?"  -  David Hume

"As the sceptical doubt arises naturally from a profound and intense
reflection on those subjects, it always increases, the farther we
carry our reflections, whether in opposition or conformity to it.
Carelessness and inattention alone can afford us any remedy. For this
reason I rely entirely upon them.” -- David Hume

"Now, while it happens, sometimes, that anti-realism drives people to
skepticism, actually, it usually goes the other way. As Rorty once
explained, 'people become Pragmatists for the same reason they become
idealists or verificationists: they hope to frustrate the skeptic.' If
we can know nothing about any mind-independent, external world, then,
if we say the world is inside the mind, maybe we can know about it!
So, historically, it’s been a dread of the demon that scared
philosophers off the pedestrian realism of less enlightened folk." --
Quee Nelson

>>>> I wonder why you have
>>>> that preference?  What causes you to be that way?
>>> The laws of physics and reality.
>> What are "the laws of physics", do you think?  Are they real things,
>> which we approximate with our scientific theories?  Or is there really
>> no necessity behind how events transpire?
> I think "the laws of physics" are our inventions to explain the regularities
> we observe.  Is there *really* some necessity in how events transpire.  I
> don't know how to answer questions with *really* in them.  It's my best
> theory that there is some necessity in how events transpire and I'm willing
> to use it as a guide to thought and action.

If there was a necessity, what enforces it?  What makes it necessary
for events to transpire according to that rule?

If the answer is "nothing", then I'd say it wasn't actually a
necessity...it was just a contingent pattern.

If the answer is "something", then I'd ask what enforces that
"something".  And what enforces what enforces it.  And so on.  Again,
the infinite chain.

>>>>>> Tangentially:  isn't your claim that you are only interested in theory
>>>>>> to the extent that it is "useful", essentially a skeptical position?
>>>>> That's not my only interest in theories, but it's one.
>>>> What are your other interests with respect to theories?
>>> Coherence, scope, simplicity.
>> I don't see my position as lacking in any of these categories when
>> compared to physicalism.
> No, it only lacks usefulness because it implies that nothing can refer, can
> be given an operational meaning.  Which is why I only cited usefulness.

But really, how useful is your theory?  That you are a rule-driven cog
in an implacable machine who cannot do or think other than he does -
whose entire existence, whose every experience and every thought is a
necessary consequence of that machine's initial conditions and causal
laws, which are themselves inexplicable and uncaused?

That doesn't sound any more useful than what I propose!

In fact, at the bottom line, it sounds exactly equivalent.

The only significant difference being that your theory adds an
unexplained machine whose sole purpose is to underlie and "explain"
the facts of our subjective experience.

God from the Machine?  Machine from God?  God Machine?  Machine God?
Some combination of "Deus", "Ex", and "Machina", I'm sure...

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