On 7/20/2010 3:43 AM, Allen Rex wrote:
On Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 4:01 AM, Bruno Marchal<marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
Are you saying that the book provides evidences that we are not Turing
As far as I know, Cooper doesn’t state his position on this question.
Or that the prime character of the number 17 evolves in time/space?
So I don’t think this part of the debate is going too far. I’m
primarily interested in defending my position.
You never think about how to test and potentially falsify your theories
do you. Which makes these discussions fruitless.
I’m not as interested in defending Cooper’s position. :)
However, I will quote the passages that made me think he was probably
not in sympathy with your views. Also, see the quotes in my initial
response to Brent.
"Today, in the general drift of scientific thought, logic is treated
as though it were a central stillness. Although there is ambiguity in
current attitudes, for the most part the laws of logic are still taken
as fixed and absolute, much as they were for Aristotle. Contemporary
theories of scientific methodology are logicocentric. Logic is seen
common as an immutable, universeal, meatscientific framework for the
sciences as for personal knowledge. Biological evolution is
acknowledged, but it accorded only an ancillary role as a sort of
biospheric police force whose duty it is to enforce the lgoical law
among the recalcitrant. Logical obedience is rewarded and
disobedience punished by natural selection, it is thought. [...]
Comfortable as that mindset may be, I believe I am not alone in
suspecting that it has things backward. There is a different, more
biocentric perspective to be considered. In the alternative scheme of
things, logic is not the central stillness. The principles of
reasoning are neither fixed, absolute, independent, nor elemental. If
anything it is the evolutionary dynamic that is elemental. Evolution
is not the law enforcer, but the law giver.
The Principles of pure Reason, however pure an impression they may
give, are in the final analysis propositions about evolutionary
processes. Rules of reason evolve out of evolutionary law and nothing
else. Logic is a life science.
‘How do humans manage to reason?’ Since the form of this question is
the same as that of the first, it would be natural to attack it in a
similar two-pronged fashion. One part of the answer, with might
naturally be placed at the beginning of a treatise on the question,
would consist of logical theory. the different kinds of logic -
deductive, inductive, mathematical, etc. - would be expounded and
derived from first principles, perhaps in the form of axiomatizations
of the various logical calculi. These ideal systems would be taken to
define the rules of correct reasoning. The explanation of how humans
evolved in ways that exploit these principles would come later on.
The stages of adaptation to the rules of logic would be discussed,
including some consideration of how well or poorly the human mind
succeeds at implementing the fundamental logical principles set forth
in the first part. [...] There would again be two parts to the
exposition, a first part explaining the laws of logic and a second the
laws of evolution. All this seems, on the surface at least, in good
analogy with the explanation of bird flight.
What the Reducibility Thesis proposes is that it is a *false* analogy.
There are no separable laws of logic. It is tempting to think of the
power of reasoning as an adaptation to separate principles of logic,
just as flying is an adaptation to separate laws of aerodynamcis. The
temptation should be resisted."
SO...taken with the quotes I provided in my initial response to Brent,
how friendly do you think he sounds to your position?
I think he sounds friendlier to mine!
Which, to recap is this:
If our conscious experiences are caused by some more fundamental
underlying process, then no one presents or believes arguments for
reasons of logic or rationality.
Instead, one presents and believes arguments because one is *caused*
to do so by the underlying process.
The underlying process *may* be such that it causes us to present and
believe logical and rational arguments, but there is no requirement
that this be the case.
If the underlying process doesn’t cause us to present and believe
rational arguments, there would be no way to detect this, since there
is no way to step outside of the process’s control of one’s beliefs to
independently verify the "reasonableness" of the beliefs it generates.
In other words: crazy people rarely know that they’re crazy. Wrong
people never know that they’re wrong.
Further, this is true of every possible position that has conscious
experience caused by a more fundamental process.
1) The universe’s initial conditions and causal laws *may* be such
that they cause us to have true beliefs about reality, but there is no
requirement that this be so.
2) Our God *may* be such that he causes us to have true beliefs about
him and reality, but there is no requirement that this be so.
3) Our fundamental and uncaused conscious experiences *may* be such
that they hold the experience of true beliefs about reality, but there
is no requirement that this be so.
In all cases, we are depending on luck. Luck that we live in a
universe with "honest" initial conditions and causal laws. Luck that
we have a "honest" God (but then how to explain schizophrenics and
manic-depressives?). Luck that our uncaused experiences are of true
Because in *no* case, can we step outside of our beliefs (be they
caused *or* uncaused) and verify that they are logical and rational.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-l...@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at