On Sat, Jul 17, 2010 at 2:09 AM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
>> On 7/16/2010 8:51 PM, Allen Rex wrote:
>> So, he seems to imply that initial conditions and causal laws must
>> give rise to rational actors.  But as he says, there is no independent
>> standard of rationality.
> Yes he does.  Rationality is what conduces to survival.  You insist on
> reductive chains of "laws", but I see it as a virtuous circle of
> explanation.

Rationality is correlated with survival.  You are rational, and you survive.

But to say that rationality causes survival?

What if rationality and survival are both caused by the same
underlying processes?

Processes involving quarks and electrons being acted on by fundamental laws?

>> So rational is a meaningless label.  In his formulation above it just
>> means “whatever ends up being the most commonly manifested behaviors.”
>> But it’s not commonly manifested because it’s rational.  Rather, it’s
>> labeled rational because it’s commonly manifested.
>  Only by successful organisms.

Successful is just a synonym for “common” here.

>> Assuming physicalism, the causal laws of our universe applied to a
>> suitable set of initial conditions will, in time, exhibit features
>> that we categorize as “evolutionary”.  Some of these evolutionary
>> processes may give rise to entities that have conscious experiences,
>> and some of those conscious experiences will be of holding this, that,
>> or the other beliefs about logic.  But those beliefs are a result of
>> fundamental laws acting on fundamental entities, and not associated
>> with any sort of independently existing platonic standard of “logical
>> reasoning”.
> I don't understand that last sentence.  Does "fundamental laws" refer to
> those theories we use to explain physical processes.

No, it refers to the physical processes that are approximately
described by our theories.

> What fundamental entities do you refer to?

Those involved in the physical processes you refer to above.

> And why should not the beliefs we experience be associated with logical
> reasoning.

What are you logically reasoning about?


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