• Marchesk
    1.6k
    But all that fundamental physics stuff still turns into a mostly classical world at our size.
  • Wayfarer
    4.8k
    Not the point. We had atomistic reductionism rammed down our throats by all the experts in white coats who were ready to assure us that the ultimate truth was simply a matter of deciding a few more decimal places. Then the whole spectacle disintegrated into the traces in a bubble chamber, and you want to say, it doesn’t matter, business as usual. Why do you think the Modern World is so weird?
  • Marchesk
    1.6k
    Why do you think the Modern World is so weird?Wayfarer

    Because people think a reality tv show host would make for a good president?

    But really, where the white coats saying the ultimate truth was only atoms in the void before the bubble chambers? You still have to deal with all those composite objects and events.
  • Wayfarer
    4.8k
    Because people think a reality tv show host would make for a good president?Marchesk

    The symptom not the cause. In that I would agree with Landru.

    where the white coats saying the ultimate truth was only atoms in the void before the bubble chambers?Marchesk

    We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes.

    — Pierre Simon Laplace, A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities

    Heisenberg has holed that idea beneath the waterline, but most people seem to believe that it's still true. It's just that hardly anyone has caught up yet.
  • Marchesk
    1.6k
    Heisenberg has holed that idea beneath the waterline, but most people seem to believe that it's still true. It's just that hardly anyone has caught up yet.Wayfarer

    Even if Laplace had been right, wouldn't Wolfram have dragged the idea underwater? What good is a single equation unless you can compute the result? And when it comes to the universe, you have to run the entire thing to see what happens.
  • Wayfarer
    4.8k
    And when it comes to the universe, you have to run the entire thing to see what happens.Marchesk

    Well, we know that now.

    But I still reckon that the idea of determinism and of life being the 'accidental collocation of atoms' is the go-to philosophy of the proverbial man-in-the-street.

    I remember years ago, on breakfast radio, the presenter, who is a math and science geek of note, was interviewing Lawrence Krauss about, you know, life, the universe and everything. The conversation turned to dark matter/energy. 'It's a fact that science now thinks that only 4% of the total mass and energy are known to us, right?' 'Yeah, that's what seems to be the case.' 'So, that missing mass could be all around us, and we'd never know it was there?' 'Yeah, could be'.

    The conversation moved on. :-O
  • gurugeorge
    26
    If something doesn't have any effect on perception, then it makes no difference to us human beings whether it exists or not; there can be no evidence for it, so there's nothing to discuss (other than in terms of speculation). Certainly, one cannot make intellectual, moral or political policy proposals based on it.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    2.9k
    Husserl said that each moment of experienced time( time consciousness) was a tripartite structure of retention, Immediate presentation and protention. In order to experience any 'now' , we are also experiencing g the passing of the just prior now, in he form of retention, a kind of trace of memory. The now also has a protentional component, an anticipating or intending beyond itself into the future. If you think about it, this makes some sense. Awareness is situated as anticipatory, as being directed toward the future.Joshs

    I agree with this. So let's begin with this assumption, this premise, as an approach toward looking at the physical world. Notice first, that this description does not describe the physical world, it describes our experience, memory, presence, and anticipation.

    The fact of the matter is that experienced reality never repeats itself exactly, not our perceptions moment to moment or our conceptually accessible world. So we are already used to the idea, from our own experience of it, that the future is going to evade our attempts to precisely duplicate our present or past. Rather than making future reality, however you want to characterize
    it, nonexistent, it does the opposite. EX-istence moment to moment implies a certain aspect of non-predictability, of exceeding the past in some qualitative way. But that isnt normally a problem for us. For instance, our perceptual system is designed to optimize for regularities, patterns, consistencies in the flux of incoming sensation. So we don't normally notice the fact that our perceptual world is not self-identical moment to moment. It apppears that way to us because our perceptions abstract the regularities.
    Joshs

    In relation to the physical world then, you had suggested that each moment of the present could not be predicted in an absolute sense. This would indicate that there is no linear continuity of physical existence between past and future. The present provides a discontinuity to physical existence. My point was that if what we understand as "physical existence" is provided by our experience of past events, and there is no necessary continuity between past events, and future events, then we cannot validly extend "physical existence" into the future.

    So it is not my claim that the future is not part of reality, or that the future is "nonexistent" in any absolute sense. What is my claim is that if the future is part of reality, and existent, then we must allow that the non-physical is part of reality and existent. And I see no reason to exclude the future from reality. So rather than excluding the future as unreal, and non-existent, we allow, from our experience of anticipation, that the future is very real, and existent, just like we allow from our experience of memory, that the past is very real. But this necessitates that the non-physical is also very real.

    That is what the physical world is, a reality of constant flux, out of which we are able to extract and construct regularities.
    If we try to turn these regularities into determinisms, we may preserve a prectability at the cost of a meaningful understanding of a constantly developing world.
    Joshs

    The "constant flux" refers to our presence. Presence consists of the reality of a determined, physical past, and the reality of an undetermined, non-physical future. Since the past is real, according to memory, and the future is real according to anticipation, the question we must ask is whether the present is real. Is our experience of presence anything more than just anticipation and memory? If there is a real difference between past and future, as I have described with "physical" and "non-physical", then necessarily the present, as the division between these two, is real. Then, the constant flux which we experience at the present may also be said to be real. But if there is no such difference between past and future, if the past and future are equally "physical" for example, then the present itself is nothing real, and the constant flux, which is a feature of our presence is also not real.
  • Janus
    4k
    I suppose for me multiplicity could work as an irreducible presupposition for the thinking of any reality, but number is already a derived, and more complex term.Joshs

    In ordinary parlance to say that there are. for example, multiple sheep is exactly the same as to say there are a number of sheep. I'm not claiming that an elaborated concept of number is inherent in nature (although if we are part of nature and such a concept is in us then in that restricted sense it is inherent) but that multiplicity (the fact that there are numbers of things) in nature which is inherent is the prior and necessary condition for any elaborated concepts of number.
  • Janus
    4k


    It can make a difference to us only in terms of our feelings. If we attempt to think those things and end up only with a feeling of mystery; that feeling itself can still make an enormous difference.If you think people are driven only by what can be apprehended rationally, then I would say you have a narrow, inadequate view of the human condition.
  • Janus
    4k


    See this:

    I suppose for me multiplicity could work as an irreducible presupposition for the thinking of any reality, but number is already a derived, and more complex term. — Joshs


    In ordinary parlance to say that there are. for example, multiple sheep is exactly the same as to say there are a number of sheep. I'm not claiming that an elaborated concept of number is inherent in nature (although if we are part of nature and such a concept is in us then in that restricted sense it is inherent) but that multiplicity (the fact that there are numbers of things) in nature which is inherent is the prior and necessary condition for any elaborated concepts of number.
    Janus
  • Janus
    4k
    What is my claim is that if the future is part of reality, and existent, then we must allow that the non-physical is part of reality and existent. And I see no reason to exclude the future from reality. So rather than excluding the future as unreal, and non-existent, we allow, from our experience of anticipation, that the future is very real, and existent, just like we allow from our experience of memory, that the past is very real. But this necessitates that the non-physical is also very real.Metaphysician Undercover

    This doesn't follow, because the future, when it becomes present will be physical in just the same sense as the present is and the past was. It is better to say that the future is non-actual; it exists only as potential, and if nature is not deterministic; what it will be is not yet determined.
  • numberjohnny5
    78
    I see. Are you an anti-realist with regards to mathematics?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    2.9k
    This doesn't follow, because the future, when it becomes present will be physical in just the same sense as the present is and the past was.Janus

    No, that's clearly contradictory. The future is what is always ahead of us, just like the past is what is always behind us. To say that the future becomes present is contradictory therefore. What is the case is that events anticipated may become present, but the future does not become present. Likewise, we say that past events were present, and events occurring now will be past, but it would be contradictory to say that the past was present.

    To avoid this type of confusion, I tried to be clear in my post, to distinguish between time as we experience it, and the physical world. What I was trying to do is to establish a relationship between these two, time and the physical world, not to conflate these two, as you are doing.

    It is better to say that the future is non-actual; it exists only as potential, and if nature is not deterministic; what it will be is not yet determined.Janus

    So, with respect to this statement. We cannot say that the future is non-actual, because the future is just as real as the past. It is only by referring to physical existence, that we can make statements like you have here. So physical existence in the past is actual, and physical existence in the future is potential. But when we refer to time itself, both past and future are equally real. The difference between future and past which we can describe in terms of actual physical existence, and potential physical existence, is a substantial difference according to this description. Because of this substantial difference, the present is necessarily something real, as the separator, the boundary. As Joshs stated, we observe the present as constant flux. This flux is described as activity, so here we have another sense of "actual existence", activity, which is not the same as the "actual physical existence" which I have just described as proper to the past.
  • Joshs
    20
    The notion of subatomic particles as forms or ideas rather than things can be situated more accurately under Kantian categories than under Plato's eternal forms. But if this is true of subatomic particles, according to Kant it is true of all 'things'. They are all understood via propositions of language. No thing in itself appears to us because we understand reality through transcendental categories of space, time, etc. and the constructive activity of conceptualization.
    THis does t really have much bearing on the naturalistic formulations of current philosophers of mind, most of whom are neo-Kantians anyway.
    These thinkers, while acknowledging that physics is not a direct contact with language-free objects, see our scientific concepts in terms of a correspondence or mirroring of something out there we can't have direct contact with as objects.
    The interesting debate is between these neo-Kantians and philosophers( and psychologists) who dont see out concepts as mirrors of an external nature but transformative interactions with an evolving world.
    They dont see mathematics and science as offering us a privileged language of description of the world in relation to philosophy or other disciplines. Instead these are special types of pragmatic discourses that are used for practical engagement with the world. Their potential as evolutionary tools, as achieving progress in understanding, is not in their use of math but in their inventing of new dimensional frameworks within which to order and predict the world. In this endeavor they are no more capable than philosophy. In fact, it has been philosophy that has taken the lead historically in anticipating new sciences(Descartes, Leibniz and Newton), Hegel and Darwin, Nietzsche and Freud,
    Husserl and cognitive science).
  • Janus
    4k
    To say that the future becomes present is contradictory therefore.Metaphysician Undercover

    It's not at all contradictory to say that is what now future will become present, just as what is now present will become past.

    We cannot say that the future is non-actual, because the future is just as real as the past.Metaphysician Undercover

    The past is determined whereas the future is not. The past is non-actual in a different way than the future is. Actual can mean present and in this sense past is non-actual. But actual can also mean something like capable of acting, and in that sense the activity, or actuality, of the past is determinable in the present. We can also say the future is capable of acting, but its activity is not determinable, because in itself it is only a possibility, yet to be determined. The future acts only on beings who are capable of anticipating it; whether consciously or unconsciously.
  • Janus
    4k


    What do you mean; an anti-realist in what sense? I don't believe numbers are 'out there' floating about in some 'realm' if that is what you mean. But I do believe natural complexes are real, and that they instantiate number (multiplicity and difference).
  • Michael Ossipoff
    645


    Sorry this reply took so long, but it’s a long reply.
    .
    I'm wondering how your model of if-then abstractions as a description of reality accounts for what it is that these abstractions are derived from. I don't mean an external world of material objects. I mean the moment to moment experiences that constitute all of our awarenesses, of changing perceptual features, of affective valenced dispositions and inclinations, of fragments of meanings, etc. Aren’t these building blocks of the abstract facts that populate your system in some sense more real than the concepts derived from them?
    .
    Yes. Experience first. It seems to me that it comes down to our experience (but that's the bias of an experiencing-being). Each of us is the center, the primary and essential component, of our world, our life-experience possibility-story and, secondarily, the possibility-world that is its setting.
    .
    I guess the main requirement of our experience is that it not be self-contradictory*, because a proposition can’t be true and false. For each of us, our own system of consistent inter-referring abstract if-then facts is subject to that fundamental requirement.
    .
    *But it isn’t obvious to me why that is. If there are infinitely many (consistent) possibility-stories, aren’t there also infinitely-many (inconsistent)impossibility-stories too? It seems to suggest that maybe logic is metaphysically-fundamental after-all.
    .
    We and our experience are what give meaning and relevance to the logical facts. …and that experience-story is more fundamental, as I mentioned above. …for us anyway, because, as animals, purposely-responsive devices, response to our environment is what we are.
    .
    Nisargadatta said that we don’t create the word, but we make it relevant. But, when “relevant” means relevant to us, and we purposefully-responsive devices are billed as the bestowers of relevance and real-ness, doesn’t that sound circular, and give un-due self-importance to us purposely-responsive devices? That’s what I call an “animal-chauvinistic”view.
    .
    And then there’s the fact that the abstract facts constituting our life-experience possibility-story aren’t really different from all the other ones. (…just as our bodies’ atoms aren’t different from those of our physical environment. We, our bodies, are part of the physical world, and likewise, in the same way, our life-experience possibility stories are part of the logical world.)
    .
    …and the fact that our life-experience story seems to have to be logically-consistent, not self-contradicting—suggesting that abstract logic governs, has authority over, personal experience.
    .
    And there couldn’t have not been abstract logical facts, because an abstract if-then fact, or a system of inter-referring abstract if-then facts, doesn’t need any outside justification, context, continuum, medium, or reality or existence in an outside context. It need only be self-consistent, within its own context.
    .
    So there couldn’t not be abstract facts, because each of those facts, and each system of inter-referring abstract facts, is independent of outside context, and needn’t be real or existent in any context other than its own. …and doesn’t need a medium or continuum in which to exist or be. …doesn’t need some sort of global permission that could be negated by a global fact that there are no facts.
    .
    Someone pointed out that if there were no facts, then the fact that there are no facts would be a fact.
    .
    But someone else pointed out that there could obtain a fact that there are no facts other than that one fact that there are no other facts.
    .
    …but such a fact would be a special brute-fact, in need of explanation, but not having it (how could it, if there are no other facts?).
    .
    Besides, for the reasons that I mentioned above, an abstract fact, or a system of inter-referring abstract facts, is completely isolated and independent of anything outside it, and doesn’t need a global permission that could be denied by a global fact like the one suggested in the 2 paragraphs before this one.
    .
    Those are reasons why I say that absolute Anti-Realism is out of the question.
    .
    For all these reasons, I feel that the Anti-Realist metaphysics that I propose can’t really be complete, even metaphysically. But I propose it anyway, because it’s still locally valid, as a subset of what metaphysically is.
    .
    …because, as I was saying before, a system of inter-referring abstract if-thens about hypotheticals that is my life-experience possibility-story is just as valid as any other abstract facts. And, because, from the special point of view of purposefully-responsive devices, our own experience is central, then our experience possibility-story is primary. …locally from out point of view, as purposefully-responsive devices.
    .
    So Anti-Realism makes sense locally, in the world of purposefully-responsive devices, but can’t be taken to obtain generally and objectively.
    .
    One other thing that I’ve got to say: One instance where I disagree with what Tegmark has said, is where he said that his metaphysics explains reality. No, a metaphysics can only explain metaphysical reality (where “metaphysical” means “describable and discussable”).
    .
    I don’t think any metaphysics can describe or explain Reality, and I don’t think Reality can be discussed, described, or explained.
    .
    I guess I'm wondering how your world changes and evolves. Is it through trying on for size new ways of talking about the world?
    .
    Isn’t that what philosophy is? Metaphysics is my main philosophical interest, though I don’t think it or its subject is everything.
    .
    Michael Ossipoff
  • Joshs
    20
    Think about what you're saying when, on the one hand, you want to use the notion of nature to secure our propositions to something foundational ( yes, there IS a real world that our concepts are about, we want to insist). On the other you have to acknowledge that when we talk about this real world we find that we use terms in different ways in different contexts. You certainly could continue to insist that, once we get the tricky problem of clarifying our language out of the way, then we can finally get down to securing some concept like 'number' to some aspect of that real world. But what would happen if instead, you toyed with the notion that its language all the way down. That is to say, that the trouble of coordinating what we mean with what exists 'out there' comes from the fact that 'our there' is already fundamentally entangled with our engagement with it before it is ever possible to tease out a clear subject and world. If interaction and embeddedness are not something that is added to an already constituted subject and already constituted world, but the pre-condition for understanding, then it becomes nonsensical to talk about a world beyond or prior to our changing ways of talking about it.
  • Janus
    4k


    So, you don't believe that our language practices emerged and evolved in a living world context at all then? Language is just "pouring from the empty into the void"?
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