On Sun, Nov 28, 2010 at 2:45 PM, 1Z <peterdjo...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> On Nov 27, 7:40 pm, Rex Allen <rexallen31...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 2:08 PM, 1Z <peterdjo...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> > On Nov 27, 6:49 pm, Rex Allen <rexallen31...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> >> Given that there are an infinite number of ways that your information
>> >> could be represented, how likely is it that your experience really is
>> >> caused by a biological brain?  Or even by a representation of a
>> >> biological brain?
>> > Occam's razor: BIV, matrix and other sceptical scenarios are
>> > always more complex, and therefore less likely than
>> > "things are the way they seem to be"
>> Actually not.  We have our experience of the world, which is not
>> direct (e.g. colors, illusions, delusions, dreams, etc.).
> How do you know? You can't maintain
> that indirect realism is true independent
> of any metaphysical presumptions.

I don’t maintain that indirect realism is true.  Only that direct
realism isn’t, as it can’t account for colors, illusions, delusions,
dreams, hallucinations, etc.

> You can't maintain that it is true because
> that is the way the brain works, since it
> is a metaphysical presumption that there is such
> a thing as a brain as distinct from experience.

I can maintain that if conscious experience is caused by the brain,
then direct realism isn’t plausible.  And if conscious experience
isn’t caused by the brain...then direct realism still isn’t plausible.

> You can't maintain that it is a direct subjective
> fact that your experiences are only of mental
> representations. There is nothing about
> an experience that labels it as indirect. You
> experience would be the same if it actually
> was direct experience of objects.

I see no way that my experience of a chair in a dream could be a
direct experience of a real object.

>>  And then we
>> have the cause of our experience.
>> This is true in all cases:  scientific realism, scientific
>> materialism, BIV, matrix, other skeptical scenarios.
> It is not the same in all cases.
> World+Experience
> is simpler than
> World+Vat/Matrix+Experience

The Vat/Matrix is part of the World, not something that exists in
addition to the World.  That’s obvious enough.

Assuming functionalism/computationalism (which is necessary for the
BIV/Matrix scenario to even get off the ground), consciousness isn’t
in the quarks and electrons of the brain.  If you smush the brain, the
quarks and electrons are still there but the consciousness is gone.

Rather consciousness is associated with the arrangement of the quarks
and electrons of the brain.

Therefore the question is: what kinds of arrangements of quarks and
electrons will give rise to a particular experience...say of sitting
under a tree.

One such arrangement is a person actually sitting under a tree.  But
most of the quarks and electrons in this scene are only there to
provide surfaces for photons to bounce off of before reaching the
persons eyes and to provide surfaces for skin contact.  To generate
sensory inputs in other words.

For the BIV scenario, we leave the brain intact, but reorganize all of
the other quarks and electrons so that the sensory inputs are
generated by a computer and fed to the brain directly.

Note that we don’t need a perfect simulation of the tree and ground
and air molecules and intestinal bacteria.  Only good enough to
produce the same experience...and experience is obviously pretty
course-grained.  Many different microscopic states will produce the
same macroscopic experience.  Theoretically we don’t even need a
simulation...just a table of time indexed sensory input values to feed
to the brain.

Given this, it’s not clear that a real body sitting under a real tree
on a real planet orbiting a real sun is even the simplest way to
generate the experience of sitting under a tree.

Where would the Vat/Matrix come from?  Well, where did the tree,
planet, and sun come from?  It just takes a rearrangement of initial
conditions to get a vat/computer instead of a tree/planet/sun.  What
would make one set of initial conditions more complex than the other?

I assume that you somehow feel that the BIV scenario must be more
complicated because it is a vat AND it is somehow a
representation/simulation of the environment that the brain
experiences.  But this is false.

The vat/computer is just what it is.  The fact that it can be
interpreted as representing an environment adds no additional
complexity.  It’s just another way to arrange things.

>> BIV, matrix, etc. don't introduce additional elements, they just
>> arrange the "causal" elements differently.
> Wrong. The vat is an additional element

Wrong.  It’s just a different arrangement of quarks and electrons.

>> None are more or less complex than the others.
> Wrong

How so?

>> *My* preferred option is simpler.  Only conscious experience exists,
>> uncaused and fundamental.  There is nothing else.
> That's non-explanatory. No-one thinks Occams' razor means you should
> give up on explanation. "Explanations should be as simple as possible,
> but no simpler"

The Physical World Hypothesis doesn’t explain anything, as it is just
a bunch of terms that are themselves in need of explanation.

I’ll agree that there appear to be recurring patterns in our
observations, and that these patterns can be described via
mathematical equations.  And that we can assign catchy labels like
mass, spin, and charge to the various parts of the descriptive

But this is all description, not explanation.  You can construct
speculative metaphysical theories about how the various equations and
variables represent real things that exist in the world, but these are
just fanciful stories.  Mathematical metaphors not real explanations.

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