On 8/4/2011 9:41 AM, David Nyman wrote:
Hi Stephen

Thanks for the link - very enjoyable talk.  As far as I could follow
it, he seemed to be saying that the differentiation of decoherent
"worlds" is in the final analysis a "psychological" matter - i.e. that
quasi-classical "reality", as ordinarily experienced, is consequent on
the selection of particular "best-fit" or "most fruitful"
interpretations of functional or structural features of the underlying
micro-physical state-of-affairs.

I don't see how life (including us) could exist except at a quasi-classical level. Evolution needs reliable replication to work with. Given that we evolved as quasi-classical beings, it follows that our perception, psychology, and interaction with the world must be quasi-classical.


Whereas I did take to heart his
admonitions as to the differing explanatory priorities of physics and
philosophy, and particularly the centrality of functional explanations
to science in general, I was a bit troubled by the seeming assumption
that the requirement for such interpretation and selection just
"bottoms out", as it were, at the level of micro-physics (although he
did speculate at one point on the subject of "deeper" ontological
bases below this "substitution level").  I couldn't quite decide
whether he was actually "sweeping the 1st-person under the rug", in
Bruno's terms.  He didn't address this aspect directly, but perhaps
this signals an implicit belief that micro-physical-functional, or
ontological/epistemological, elements must always play a dual role in
any intelligible account of our situation.

I wonder what you thought.


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