On 12/16/2013 2:05 PM, LizR wrote:
On 17 December 2013 10:43, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto: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.

True, the models /might/ be accurate. But even if they are we can't know it with any certainty. That's one thing that bothers me about Bruno's definition of knowledge as "true belief". We may have true beliefs by accident. But notice that the 'laws of physics' don't describe everything - in general they rely on 'boundary conditions' which are not part of the laws. Most theories of cosmogony put forward rely some randomness, e.g. 'quantum fluctuations', as boundary conditions.

Secondly, note that even as physics becomes more successful in predictive power and more comprehensive in scope, it's ontology changes drastically, from rigid bodies to classical fields to elementary particles to quantum field operators. What stays roughly constant are the experimental facts.


    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).

I don't think the supervenience of mind on material processes is any more problematic than its supervenience on computation. The nice thing about Bruno's theory is that it provides a model which might explain the incommunicable nature of consciousness. And he even provides a critereon, Lobianity, for whether a computer is conscious. But it leaves so much of the physical aspects of consciousness and perception unexplained, except by hand-waving "it must be so", that I find plenty of room for doubt.

Brent

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