On 9/4/2010 5:28 PM, Rex Allen wrote:
On Sat, Sep 4, 2010 at 7:38 PM, Brent Meeker<meeke...@dslextreme.com>  wrote:
On 9/4/2010 12:45 AM, Rex Allen wrote:
In what way are my proposed explanations "quasi-physical" instead of
just physical?

Brain-in-vat and the-universe-as-a-computer-simulation are not really
physical theories since they assume that everything we consider physical
just exists at the whim of some mad scientist.
That still makes them physicalist theories, not quasi-physicalist.  As
long as the mad scientist and his vats/computers are physical.

Does this mad scientist have free will, i.e. can he act independent of any physical constraints in our universe? Then he's *super* our natural.



And honestly I find my proposed explanations more plausible than
supernatural ones.  While God would explain the Sikhs prayer thing,
that also runs into the problem of evil.

Who said God is omnibeneficient?
The Sikhs.
I never heard that. Pick another supenatural being to pray to then - it's just an example.
The simulation argument alone is enough to see off any God-based
competition.
No, it's just a another conception of God - the world is still created and
formed by a supernatural agent.
We'd just be inside the Matrix.  Nothing supernatural about that.

Yes it is. It's "super" our natural. Anything can happen - no physical laws.



I think all "many worlders" would take this interpretation of events
if there were an outbreak of miracles.  Do you disagree?
And the many world interpretation isn't that different than the
infinite universe option.

That's one of the criticisms of many-worlds.  If the theory can't derive the
Born rules then it's not falsifiable, even in a probabilistic sense.
See?  Physicalism isn't falsifiable.  It falls into the same category
as idealistic accidentalism.

But you're equating "naturalism" with a particular theory.

And thus, according to Quentin, is worthless.

Specific scientific theories that posit the existence of particular
physical entities are falsifiable, but in no sense does physicalism
stand or fall with them.


I think this argument though is ill defined.  "Physicalism" or "naturalism"
isn't a particular theory anymore that "supernaturalism" or "everythingism"
or "Platonism" is.
The Merriam Webster dictionary shows 9 definitions for the word
"theory".  I'm pretty certain that our usage here fits at least one of
them.


It's kind of metaphysics which says some things exist
and some don't, and things that exist are ones we can in some sense interact
with (If you kick it, it kicks back. is the slogan).  But generally
metatheories aren't testable in the same sense that theories are.
This is fine.  As long as you're not claiming that physicalism is
superior to idealistic accidentalism by virtue of being falsifiable.

I'm not. But I claim that particular physical theories are falsifiable, whereas idealistic accidentalism either has no theories or has ones that are not falsifiable - depending on how you look at it.


If you
want to test whether God exists, you first need to make your definition of
"God" sufficiently precise to make some inferences about what would or
wouldn't be the case if God did or didn't exist.
Indeed.  The same goes for the "physical".

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Exactly my point.  What's your definition of "physicalism"?

Brent


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