On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 12:13 AM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
>> On 7/12/2010 8:00 PM, Allen Rex wrote:
>>> On Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 9:33 AM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
>>> I don't think we can use reason to defeat reason.
>>> What machines can do is to use reason to go beyond reason, and find some non
>>> provable or non rational truth.
>>> This is not a defeat of reason. It is the complete contrary, I would say.
>> I don't think he's trying to use reason to defeat reason, but rather
>> to show that that reason indicates that there is no reason for what we
>> observe.
> He's arguing that if we don't have a reason for everything we can't have any
> reason for anything.  In which case I have no reason to believe him.

But in that case you have no reason to disbelieve him either.

So, if the deterministic physicalists are right then given the initial
conditions of the universe plus the causal laws of physics as applied
over ~13.7 billion years, you could not believe other than you do at
this moment.  You are bound to your beliefs and to your destiny by
unbreakable causal chains.

And if the indeterministic physicalists are right then that's still
basically true, but there were also some coin flips involved in
chaining your beliefs down to their current configuration.  You are
bound to your beliefs and to your destiny by...constant coin flips.  A
bad run of luck, and there's no telling how you'll end up.

And if I'm right, there is no reason for the existence of your
conscious experience of holding those beliefs.  There's no mysterious
"physical world" that underlies and explains what you oberve but has
no explanation itself.  Instead, your conscious experience exists
fundamentally and uncaused.  There is no you.  There is no future.
Only the conscious experience of these things.

Again, to me it looks like all three possibilities amount to the same thing.

The first two options just have a lot of extra
inferred-from-experience "behind the scenes" infrastructure which
serves no purpose except...what?

Occam's Razor is on my side.  Join us Brent.

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