On 17 December 2013 10:43, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

> Is that another way of saying you don't think Arithmetical Realism is
> correct? (Which is fair enough, of course, it is a supposition.)
>    Yes. I think it is a questionable hypothesis.

Yes, I think so too on days with an 'R' in them.

Well if you don't think AR is correct, then of course it sounds magical
> (although that leaves the problem of how those equations which somehow
> (magically?) control the behaviour of atoms actually do so.)
> I don't think they 'control' them, I think they describe them (to the best
> of our knowledge).  Notice that this explains "where the laws of physics
> come from"; they're invented by us.
> Bad phraseology on my part. What I meant was, there is a possible problem
of "unreasonable effectiveness" that AR purports to explain, but which
otherwise remains "magical".

Obviously the laws of physics as written down and taught and understood by
us were invented by us, but we have this hope that they correspond to
something real out there, and it's at least possible that the "something
real out there" comes in a form (something like) the laws we've invented to
describe it, and may be in a form *exactly* like some laws we will one day
invent. On that glorious day it may seem like splitting haris to say that
mass, energy, space and time are in some magical way different from the
equations describing them, assuming such equations exist.

Bruno, has a good point about 'primitive matter'.  It doesn't really mean
> anything except 'the stuff our equations apply to.'; but since the
> equations are made up descriptions, the stuff they apply to is part of the
> model - not necessarily the ding an sich.  To say physicist assume
> primitive matter is little more than saying that they make models and some
> stuff is in the model and some isn't - which of course is contrary to the
> usual assumption on this list.  :-)

Yes, some people on this list seem to read far more into the existence of
matter (energy, etc) than that it's just the object referred to in some
equations. (Arguments that the UD couldn't really exist because there
aren't enough resources in the universe to build one, for example.)

Bruno et al may also have a good point about the (lack of) supervenience of
mind on matter, although I'm still trying to get my head around that one
(appropriately enough).

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