## Is Physicalism Incompatible with Physics?

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So can you sense any length--any extension of the tape measure, or do you just sense a point?
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I don't sense numbers.
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Numbers? I was asking you about a tape measure. You said you can sense a tape measure, including that you can sense markings on the tape measure. I'm simply asking you now if you can sense some length of the tape measure, that is, some extension of it, some section of it.
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I'm simply asking you now if you can sense some length of the tape measure, that is, some extension of it, some section of it.

No, length is a judgement.
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How would my eyes separate one section of the tape from another?
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So when you sense the tape measure, the markings on it, you're sensing a point?
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I don't understand your question. Why would I judge a tape measure to be a point?
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You agreed that you can sense the tape measure, and you agreed that you can sense markings on the tape measure. But you denied that you can sense any extension of the tape measure--that is, (at least) some arbitrary segment of it. So if you can't sense any extension, but nevertheless you can sense the tape measure, you must be somehow sensing a single point of it only, no? (That is, in the mathematical sense of a zero-dimensional point.) Because anything more than that would have some extension. (How there could be a nonextended marking on the tape measure is another issue here.)
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You agreed that you can sense the tape measure, and you agreed that you can sense markings on the tape measure. But you denied that you can sense any extension of the tape measure--that is, some arbitrary segment of it.

Right.

So if you can't sense any extension, but nevertheless you can sense the tape measure, you must be somehow sensing a single mathematical point of it only, no? Because anything more than that would have some extension.

This does not follow logically, because both "point" and "extension" require a definition, they are mathematical terms, like numbers, things which are not sensed, but understood by definition. If we agree that what I am sensing is called a "tape measure", there is no point to asking whether that tape measure is a point, an extension, or both, without defining the terms. Saying that the tape measure is one or the other, or both, would be to assign properties to the tape measure. With definitions we can make the judgement as to whether the tape measure has those properties.
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This does not follow logically, because both "point" and "extension" require a definition,

Wait, what's an example of something that would follow logically that wouldn't require a definition?
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I think we'd have to move to inductive logic, but inductive conclusions are debatable.

Anyway, you seemed to be applying deductive logic. Something like "It is not an extension, therefore it is a point". Do you agree that by standard geometrical definitions, the tape measure has both points and extension, and to mark off a particular segment of extension requires points, which by definition have no spatial extension and are not sensible?
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I think we'd have to move to inductive logic, but inductive conclusions are debatable.

Okay, but I'm still hoping you can give an example.

Do you agree that by standard geometrical definitions, the tape measure has both points and extension, and to mark off a particular segment of extension requires points, which by definition have no spatial extension and are not sensible?

That's fine. All I'm asking you about is the fact that you agreed that you can sense the tape measure, but you denied being able to sense some extension of it.
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Okay, but I'm still hoping you can give an example.

I didn't see how this question was relevant. To me it seemed like you were trying to change the subject. Perhaps all logic requires definition, I don't know, this would dependent on one's idea of logic, but that's not what we're discussing. Since I haven't implied that some logic does not require definitions I see no warrant for your request for an example, and I am not interested in determining whether or not all logic requires definitions.

All I'm asking you about is the fact that you agreed that you can sense the tape measure, but you denied being able to sense some extension of it.

Right, until you explain what you mean by "some extension of it", I cannot say that I can sense some extension of it. If you are asking me whether I can sense a particular extension, and you indicate to me, the particular extension you are referring to, then I may be able to answer yes, but I definitely cannot sense the vague and indefinite "some extension of it".

As I implied in the last post though, to talk about a particular extension requires the assumption of non-physical points, to separate that particular part from the rest of the tape measure. So I don't ever really sense a particular extensional section of the tape measure as separate from the rest of the extension of the tape measure.
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I didn't see how this question was relevant.

Your criticism of my comment was based on something not following logically because terms used require a definition.

So presumably, according to you, things only follow logically when terms used do not require a definition.

So I was wondering what an example of that would be. Otherwise, if there are no examples, then we're left with you effectively saying that nothing follows logically, period.
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Your criticism of my comment was based on something not following logically because terms used require a definition.

Right, I was saying that the logic you used could only be meaningful if you had some definitions. I was saying that you needed such definitions, requesting them.

So presumably, according to you, things only follow logically when terms used do not require a definition.

What? I requested definitions, saying you needed definitions for your logic to be valid. How does that lead to the conclusion that I'm claiming that logic can only proceed without definitions?
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The way you phrased the comment was "Due to the fact that these terms require definitions, this can not follow logically," as if any terms that would require definitions excludes those terms from arguments that follow logically.

If you just wanted definitions, you could have just asked that.

But aren't you familiar with the idea of extension(ality) in ontology? I'm asking because if this stuff is that unfamiliar/that new to you, it's going to be difficult to have the sort of conversation I was hoping to have.
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The way you phrased the comment was "Due to the fact that these terms require definitions, this can not follow logically," as if any terms that would require definitions excludes those terms from arguments that follow logically.

If you just wanted definitions, you could have just asked that.

Seems you didn't read the entire post.

But aren't you familiar with the idea of extension(ality) in ontology? I'm asking because if this stuff is that unfamiliar/that new to you, it's going to be difficult to have the sort of conversation I was hoping to have.

Yes I am familiar with extension. That's why I asked for definitions You seemed to be saying that "extension" and "point" were mutually exclusive. But as I understand geometry, a line has both extension and points. So I didn't see the premises (definitions) which were required to make your conclusion.
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What's mutually exclusive is that either you sense extension or you do not. If you do not, but you sense something, what's left? A point, right?
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I don't sense extension, nor do I sense a point. That's why I asked for definition, to be clear on what you were asking. These are properties, like other attributes, which must be judged according to some definition, as I've been arguing.
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So what do you sense?
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That's a good question. I don't think I really know.
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This is the sort of thing it's worth doing philosophy over--"Thinking hard" about what it is that you sense.
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Because what does not make logical sense to you may not be so illusive to others. If I could put a banner at the top of this site it would be "Your incredulity is not an argument".

In most of your arguments, it seems like you're trying to push the entire burden of proof onto me. I guess that's fair, since I'm the one making claims about the way the universe necessarily has to be. But if you're just gonna be a complete skeptic, then I can't think of any rational argument to convince you to change your mind. It seems like you're saying "maybe the universe is fundamentally inconceivable, so therefore there's no point in trying to use reason to understand it." If you're right, then I can't use reason to prove you wrong. Maybe reason is just a useful tool for building rocket-ships and laptops. I can't imagine how reason could be so useful without being capable of deducing authentic truths about reality. But maybe the only reason I can't imagine that is that I'm relying on my faulty powers of reasoning. So all I can think to do at this point is make an emotional appeal. Don't you want to understand the world you live in? The only reason that reason is such a useful tool is that we presume that it communicates truth about the way things really are. If we just treat it like an arbitrary construct of human subjectivity, then I suspect it will behave like one. Newton and Einstein didn't make their great discoveries because they thought they were merely using a tool. They believed themselves to be uncovering the secrets of existence.

But perhaps I'm misinterpreting you, and you're no really a skeptic and or pragmatist.

Assuming an external law wouldn't move us closer to an explanation. It would just raise the question of why there happens to be one particular law in effect rather than another.

I agree. And unless you think that there's an infinite regress of laws, you have to eventually ask why law A is in effect rather than law B or C. And regardless of what your answer is, I don't think you can attribute it to physical objects or their features. Laws are unchanging and exert control over all activity throughout the entire universe, whereas physical objects and their features change and they are limited to particular regions of space time.
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This is the sort of thing it's worth doing philosophy over--"Thinking hard" about what it is that you sense.

I think maybe it's the passing of time that I sense. What do you think?
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I agree. And unless you think that there's an infinite regress of laws, you have to eventually ask why law A is in effect rather than law B or C. And regardless of what your answer is, I don't think you can attribute it to physical objects or their features. Laws are unchanging and exert control over all activity throughout the entire universe, whereas physical objects and their features change and they are limited to particular regions of space time.

I attribute unchanging laws to the universe itself, one example being the law of non-contradiction. In its ontological sense, it's a form that is exhibited universally (i.e., in all objects).

I see no need to separate out form (laws/rules) from the universe. I think this comes down to a philosophical choice here - whether one prefers to conceptualize things in a unitary or dualist sense.
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I think maybe it's the passing of time that I sense. What do you think?

I think that we sense relations including extension. :wink:
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Seriously, though, it depends on the kind of physicalism we are talking about. Regarding the OP ↪Dusty of Sky I doubt many physicalists, or any sensible physicalist, would claim that nothing exists except "concrete objects in a material world" since elementary particles are not, according to current physical theory, any such thing; they are fields or waves or intensities in a field. On that conception of the physical, why could ideas, equations or theories not also be such?

They ought to, then, give up the term physicalism with its baggage. What gets called physical has been extended to include thigns that would not have been considered physical earlier in history - by materialists,say. Anything that is considered real, will be called physical, so the term has no meaning. It gets even worse if one considers equations real, because there is no way to observe them and there is not even a hypothesis about what they are made of. They are transcendent.
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Is physicalism incompatible with morality?
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No.

Also no to the OP.
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