On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 11:45 AM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> On 7/12/2010 10:54 PM, Allen Rex wrote:
>> 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.
> My beliefs are formed by reality - I'll take that as a compliment.

In that view, you know who else's views were formed by reality?
Charles Manson.  Ted Bundy.  John Wayne Gacy.  Stalin.  Hitler.  Every
murdering, molesting, schizophrenic, delusional, or psychopathic
deviant who has ever lived.

That's who.

SO.  I wouldn't take it as *that* big a compliment.  Don't pat
yourself on the back too hard.

> And if I'm right, there is no reason for the existence of your
> conscious experience of holding those beliefs.
> No, IF you're right there is no finite causal chain of explanations for
> that.

No, if I'm right (as opposed to the physicalists) there are no
explanations.  Just facts of experience.

>> 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.
> You've made a great leap from "I can't have a complete explanation of the
> world." to "There is no world".  You and Meillassoux are like the little boy
> who discovers that no matter what his mother says he can ask "Why?", except
> you consider it a profound discovery.

I think we're more like the little boy who points out that the emperor
wears no clothes.

>> 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?
> If you don't think it serves your pursposes, then don't believe.  I've found
> it serves mine.

Indeed...I imagine that the dogmas of religious belief can be a great comfort.

>> Occam's Razor is on my side.  Join us Brent.
> Us?  Who's us?  In any case I don't exist.  I'd explain why, but ....

You don't exist, but in my experience, emails bearing the name Brent
Meeker always have interesting content.

Speaking of which, you didn't respond to my previous email.  I was
particularly curious about your response to:

>> If every variant of dogmatic metaphysics is characterized by the
>> thesis that *at least one entity* is absolutely necessary (the thesis
>> of real necessity) it becomes clear how metaphysics culminates in the
>> thesis according to which *every* entity is absolutely necessary (the
>> principle of sufficient reason).  Conversely, to reject dogmatic
>> metaphysics means to reject all real necessity,
> Why "all"?  Quantum mechanics already rejects some necessity and replaces it
> with probabilities - but not "all"; instead it recovers necessities in
> certain limits (eigenfunctions, decoherence,...).

Quantum mechanical laws would still enforce the necessity of one
probability distribution instead of some other, wouldn’t they?

The probabilistic aspect takes place within the fixed and unchanging
context of quantum mechanics.

Like the randomness of the shuffle takes places within the
deterministic rules of poker.

Do the rules of poker change from one day to the next?  The suits?
The number of cards in the deck?  Are those aspects random?

Does quantum mechanics have similarly fixed aspects?  Do new
fundamental forces pop in and out of existence?  Are there days when
electromagnetism doesn’t work?

And if not, why not?  What enforces the consistent application of the
QCD and QED and gravity?  And what enforces the consistent application
of that enforcement?  And what enforces the enforcement of the
consistent application of the enforcement?  And so on.

Is there a sufficient reason for these things?  Or is this just the
way it works, for no reason?

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