On Nov 4, 4:40 am, Rex Allen <rexallen31...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 5:50 PM, Stephen Paul King <stephe...@charter.net> 
> wrote:
> > On Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 8:24 PM, Rex Allen <rexallen31...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> "if laws were contingent, they would change so frequently, so
> >> frenetically, that we would never be able to grasp anything
> >> whatsoever, because none of the conditions for the stable
> >> representation of objects would ever obtain. In short, if causal
> >> connection were contingent, we would know it so well that we
> >> would no longer know anything. As can be seen, this
> >> argument can only pass from the notion of contingency to the
> >> notion of frequency given the presupposition that it is
> >> extraordinarily  improbable  that the laws should remain
> >> constant rather than being modified in every conceivable way
> >> at every moment."
> > Here we have what appears to be a well reasoned argument until
> > we inquire as to the definition of the term "to know" that is
> > used. If an entity exists in a universe subject to frequent
> > and contingent change what is to allow the mind of that entity
> > the ability to have the ability to know anything at all? The
> > entity and its brain/mind would be subject to the very same
> > capricious randomness that the rest of that universe undergoes
> > and thus the notion of knowing becomes null and void.
> If an entity exists in a universe that is subject to unchanging causal
> laws, how can it have justified true beliefs (a.k.a. knowledge)
> either?
> If the entity's beliefs are the result of some more fundamental
> underlying process, then those beliefs aren't held for reasons of
> logic or rationality.

That doesn't follow.

> Rather, the entity holds the beliefs that are necessitated by the
> initial conditions and causal laws of it's universe.

That doens;t stop them being logical or rational.
It only stops them being the result of a free choice
to adopt logic or rationality

> Those initial conditions and causal laws *may* be such that the entity
> holds true beliefs, but there is no requirement that this be the case
> (for example, our own universe produces a fair number of delusional
> schizophrenics).

OTOH, it;s  more likely than not. Organisms with delusional
beliefs would have trouble surviving and reproducing, so
organisms are more likely than not to lack them (or not
have many, or compartmentalise them into areas that
don't effect survival too much).

> So holding true beliefs, even in a universe with causal laws, is
> purely a matter of luck - i.e., is the entity in question lucky enough
> to live in a universe with initial conditions and causal laws that
> lead to it holding true beliefs.
> Further, if the initial conditions and causal laws don't cause the
> entity to present and believe true rational arguments, there would be
> no way for the entity to ever detect

except if the causal laws caused it to

> this, since there is no way to
> step outside of the universe's control of one's beliefs to
> independently verify the "reasonableness" of the beliefs it generates.
> Again...schizophrenics are generally pretty convinced of the truth of
> their delusions.
> Even in a lawful universe how do you justify your beliefs?  And then
> how do you justify your justifications of your beliefs?  And then how
> do you justify the justifications of the justifications of your
> beliefs?  And so on.  Agrippa's Trilemma.

Would apply to a non-causal universe

> So.  Given the capricious randomness involved in the selection of the
> entity's universe's initial conditions and causal laws (of which the
> vast majority of conceivable combinations would result in false
> beliefs) the notion of knowing becomes null and void.
> Neither Meillassoux's scenario nor the "lawful universe" scenario
> allow for knowledge.  In both cases, holding true beliefs is a matter
> of luck, and no belief can be justified (not even the belief that no
> belief can be justified).
> > Does Meillassoux not understand anything about
> > calculus, analysis, computational complexity
> > theory or other higher mathematics?
> Perhaps you could be a little more specific in exactly how you feel he
> exposed his ignorance?
> > OTOH, to wonder which infinity the set of all
> > possible worlds belongs to is not trivial matter
> I think Meillassoux's main point with this digression into Cantorian
> set theory is that just as there can be no end to the process of set
> formation and thus no such thing as the totality of all sets, there is
> also no absolute totality of all possible cases.
> In other words, there is no "set of all possible worlds".  And thus
> "we cannot legitimately construct any set within which the foregoing
> probabilistic reasoning could make sense."

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