# Re: Probability, Necessity, and Infinity

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On Nov 16, 3:27 am, Rex Allen <rexallen31...@gmail.com> wrote:```
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> >> "Logical" and "rational" are adjectives.  You're confusing descriptive
> >> labels with causal forces.
>
> > Your argument still doesn't work. You re tacitly assuming that
> > being the result of causal laws is exclusive of being the result
> > of logic/.reason. But that is , to say the least,  not obvioius.
>
> How can it not be exclusive?  Either the causal laws explain the
> result -or- logic and reason explain the result.

or both

> If logic and reason reduce to causal laws, then ultimately causal laws
> alone explain the result.

If causal explanation and rational explanation
are categoreally different, they don't exclude each other.
We can explain the operation of  a calculator in terms of
electrical currents, or we could explain it in terms of
the laws of arithmetic. The two operate in parallel.
What makes a calculator a calculator is that its
operation is susceptible to an arithemtic description.
How can you infer from that that there is no valid arithimetical
description?

> If causal laws reduce to logic and reason, then ultimately logic and
> reason alone explain the result.

> If causal laws and "logic and reason" are entirely different things,
> and causal laws are sufficient to explain the way that events
> transpire, then what do we need "logic and reason" for?  They are
> superfluous, except as descriptive categories.

We need logic and reason to explain how premises lead
to conclusions. That is different from explaining how
causes lead to effects, although the two can run in parallel,

That you can eliminate talk of forests in terms
of talk of trees does not mean there are no forests.

Any word is "superfluous" individually, since it can
be replaced by its definition. That does not make
all words superfluous, and it has nothing to do
with the inapplicability of the word. "Unicorn"
doesn't apply to anything because of the way
the world is, not because of any linguistic
substitutability.

> > OTOH, it *is* obvious that being the result of causal
> > laws is exclusive of being freely chosen. You need, but
> > don't have, an argument to the effect that free choice is essential
> > to rationality.
>
> Actually I would say that the burden of proof is on you to show that
> abstract concepts, like logic and rationality, can also be causal
> forces.

Not at all. If L&R were causal, then they *would* exclude other
causal explanations. But their compatibility with causal
explanations is based on the fact that they are not a kind of
casual explanation.

> Is a computer executing a chess program logical or rational?  Does
> logic cause the computer to select one move instead of another?

It doesn't cause it but it does explain it. It may be "just"
description but it is a valid description. Talk of forests can be
replaced with talk of tress, but that doesn't mean there is no
forest.

>OR do
> specific arrangements of electrons and quarks that make up the
> computer, and the laws of physics, cause the computer to enter one
> physical state instead of another, and we merely categorize and
> interpret these physical states using  abstract concepts like logic
> and rationality?

You can't infer that there is no logic from
the fact that it doesn't do something -- explain
causally--that it isn't supposed to do.

> Logic and rationality are in the mind beholder if they are anywhere,
> and certainly not in the quarks and electrons of computers, which are
> the same as the quarks and electrons of rocks or clouds, and are
> *literally* unmoved by reason.

There are objective facts underpinning the applicability of the
concept "logical"
There are objective facts underpinning the applicability of the
concept "quark"
There is a sense in which all concepts are in the head, but it is not
useful
to look at things that way.

> >> D.  "Bob believes X because believing X is rational" - FALSE
>
> > Saying it doesn't make it so. If Bob goes fishing because of
> > causal laws, he still goes fishing. If Bob is rational because of
> > causal laws, he is still rational. (Whether he *chooses* to go
> > fishing is another matter...)
>
> This is, of course, Case E.  Bobs actions may fall into the category
> of "rational", but he didn't take those actions because they were
> rational.

That depends on what you mean by "because"
If it labels causation, no. If it labels a psychological
motivation, quite possibly yes.

> > If double checking is unmiraculous, it can be caused as well
> > as anything else.
>
> But how do you double check your double check?  If you doubt the
> assumptions and reasoning that led to your initial belief, why
> wouldn't those doubts apply equally to your double checking process?

I don't disupute that. If you think scepticism follows
from the fact that you can't infinity-check, then it follows,
since you can't. But I don't think that is a strong form of scepticism
since it only means you can't be certain, not that you can't be right.
Also, it has nothing to do with determinism and freedom

> You can't step outside your beliefs to independently verify them.
> Crazy people don't know their crazy.  Often, they think it's you who
> is crazy.

> >> Put succinctly, if we have knowledge we must accept beliefs only
> >> because we understand them to be true; but if determinism is correct,
> >> then we automatically accept whatever beliefs that our constituent
> >> micro-particles impose on us.
>
> > But there is nothing to stop them imposing understanding
> > and justification too. Our beliefs aren't necessarily true
> > or justified under determinism, but they aren't anyway.
> > What would be the difference between the deterministic
> > universe and the free will universe? Are you seriously
> > assrting that in the FW universe, our beliefs would be more
> > universally true and justified?
>
> NO!  I'm not arguing for free will.  I'm arguing for skepticism.
>
> 1.  If there is no free will, then all that's left is skepticism.
>
> 2.  There is no free will.
>
> 3.  All that's left is skepticism.

But your arguments for scepticism actually have nothing to
do with FW!

> > But FW wouldn't force that on us.
> > Are you saying that in a deterministic universe they would
> > be less true and justified? But determinism doesn't force any
> > particular
> > level of error on us. We could be determined to be 0% right.
> > 10% right, up to 100% right. (Although evolutionary considerations
> > would indicate a higher figure).
>
> Evolution is nothing except initial conditions and causal laws.
>
> Either our initial conditions and causal laws are such that we are
> right, or their not.
>

Given the very reasonable
assumption that having correct beliefs promotes
survival, evolution predicts that just because
you are an organism, you probably have a lot
of correct beliefs.

It doesn't  necessarily give you FW, but
you are unable to explain how FW would resolve scepticisism

> >> It might be the case that those
> >> micro-particles coincidentally make me believe true things, but the
> >> truth would not be the ultimate causal agent acting upon me.
>
> > Or it might be the case that you have FW and freelly choose
> > to make mistakes.  How would that look different? FW
> > can't force people to be correct and justified and right
> > all the time  -- where's the freedom in that?
>
> Free will isn't a coherent concept so there's no point in spending
> much time on it.

If it isn't a coherent concept, how can its absence imply scepticism?

> >> Determinism, then, leads to skepticism, the denial of the possibility
> >> of justified true belief. "
>
> > That's a non-sequitut. THat it isn't necessary(under either
> > assumption!)
> > doesn't make it impossible.
>
> If it isn't necessary then how do you justify your belief in it?

Contingently.

scepticism tends to unravel once you detach truth from certainty

> True belief isn't impossible.  Justified true belief seems to be.

If you want justification to be infinite yes. If not, no.

> >> Some organisms are caused to hold delusional beliefs by the same

> What does evolution add to a deterministic universe?  Either the
> initial conditions and causal laws lead to some particular outcome
> (e.g., intelligence) -or- they don't.  There's nothing for evolution
> to do.

It's a kind of anthropic principal. Since you are an evolved
being, you must have evolved from a long line of organisms
that weren't massively deluded. The fact that you are in the universe
tells you something about the universe. You could not just pop up
in any old universe.

> What's more, evolution adds nothing to a probabilistic universe either.
>
> What is evolution, beyond causal laws acting on state over time?

A specific kind of causal law that tends to promote rationality.

> Again, you've taken a figure of speech (natural selection) and
> interpreted it literally.
>
> No "selection" actually takes place.  Things just happen, per the
> governing causal laws (if there are any).

That's a massive non-sequitur. If causal laws cause
dinosaurs to die out that's selection occuring.

That the forest is  a bunch of trees does  not
mean there is no forest.

> Evolution is history, it's not a causal force.

It doesn't need to be. That it occurred tells you
something about the way causal laws operate
on you.

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