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Messages - H

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General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« on: March 22, 2019, 05:02:17 pm »
Second season of The OA is out on Netflix today.  Might try to watch it this weekend.

Yeah I think the issue of semantic determinacy is related to the challenge of providing causal accounts of Intentionality. And of course how is it that any clump of matter in the brain can, somehow, be about some other clumps of matter in the world.

But Causation is wonky enough without trying to suss out mental causation...

And that is sort of a problem, because math and language are sort of the tools we are using to investigate.  So, if everything we find is a mathematical/linguistic answer, that makes sense, because we are looking at everything through a sort of math/language lens.

I mean, maybe, I don't know...

I think the universe has events, and while the mathematical modeling is useful the actual events are better described via Aristotle's ideas of causation and entities having particular natures & causal powers.

Re: Intentionality, I think of it just as having Aboutness of Thought, as in Thoughts about the World. Given most of our cause-effect descriptions pre-suppose consciousness due to their interest-relativity it suggests there is something...interesting...going on there...

Yeah, I'd be willing to buy something like a "limit to math."

I'm just unclear if it could be that Intentiality could rise of things unIntentional.  Kind of how the "infinite" nature of language seems it could arise from, well, no language at all...

I agree, though back to the OP this does undermine the idea that deterministic/random dichotomy exists in nature. Our calculations, as you say, are based on our expectations that are underpinned by a priori considerations.

Though there is a bigger challenge with consciousness and its ability to seek interest-relative cause/effect relations. How do you get that kind of consciousness *without* the very interest-relative seeking consciousness provides...As Putnam once said to explain Intentionality arising you need Intentionality...

Hmm, so maybe it all just is an issue of "frame of reference" in the same way that Relativity "redefined" Netwonian physics?

On Intentionality though, well, I am a bit in the dark, because I'm not exactly clear what that is off the top of my head.

But this begins to eat away at the very idea of causation, since - as noted by Tallis in Of Time & Lamentation - when you remove interest relative causes all you have is a single cause - the Big Bang. Then the rest of causation is just like an arrow flying from a bow.

OTOH, this picture makes it difficult to account for how we discern cause-effect relations to build machines and do science in general.

And how can one even measure the probability of necessity failing? Certainly not mathematically.

All to say Lapace's demon is an entity we can conjure only when we've already observed cause-effect relations. I suspect there's some bit of question begging in the demon's make up...

Well, indeed, there is something a "problem" of perspective, given such knowledge even undermines the notion of temporallity at all.  As always, the right level of perspective is needed for the right job.  So, the view from the Big Bang is likely not helpful in building a computer, if we consider that there would be a "cost" to such a vast amount of knowledge.

I do think one could not evaluate the probability of necessity failing, which is why I say, there is no real "sense" in considering it's "chance" of happening.  If we can't evaluate what would make it happen, we can't evaluate it's likelyhood of happening.  This is why I say, it doesn't really make sense to even factor it in to a calculation, it simply must be the case that anything we figure must consider it a fact as a precondition.

Well we could, in theory, have knowledge enough to make predictions with 100% confidence of all outcomes. But this would only be determinate in the sense of probabilistic expectation.

The actual "Why?" of causation would still be a mystery. We seem to agree on that?

So it would be determinate Luck, randomness of a special kind, given that we will be unable to explain at some fundamental level of observed change why something else doesn't happen.

Ultimately I think the problem is there is a space between Cause and Effect. Going back to Aristotle change is the actualization of something potential, which can only be done by something that is actual. Possible fire cannot change ice into water, nor water into steam.

Yet once we acknowledge issues with the idea of binding Natural Laws, why can't the freezing/boiling points of water be different in different places? After all even with Laws there has to be something about water that knows of and accepts the Law, yet that something would need other Laws to keep it from "revolting".

Aristotle would then say the fire is the Efficient Cause, and the determination of what happens to the water is the Final Cause.

I guess the nagging issue for me is the idea of a brute fact, just so Order to the world that is really just us being Lucky the natural state of Hyperchaos has let things be ordered. What fixes the Final Causes?

Do we then reach toward the Absolute for answers...I do feel more theist than atheist nowadays...

Hmm, well, in the case where we are Laplace's demon and know everything, I'm not sure what intercedes to give us indeterminacy.  All I can think of it the failure of necessity.  Which isn't really a given.  In fact, I don't think I'd even consider it if I were the demon, given that it is possible but in not something which could be considered as probable.

If we consider that the universe is somewhat homogeneous, then laws should apply everywhere the same.  Now, we don't necessarily know that, but we have also, no reason to doubt it.  So, we don't seem to have hyperchaos because if we did, we wouldn't exist to even know it.  So, sure it's "lucky" that it doesn't apply, but that isn't really luck, there wasn't another option, likely for some reason given in the beginning (whatever that is or was).

General Misc. / Re: DUNE movie cast revealed
« on: March 21, 2019, 08:11:23 pm »
I see, yes. I initially kind of felt like it would be DoA just because I thought Blade Runner 2049 had a lame plot and Frank Herbert's hack son was 'advising', but I'm more optimistic now, but yeah, we'll see.

Well, I think Blade Runner 2049 was entertaining, but indeed far from perfect.  My guess will be that Dune ends up like that.

Yet for any structure/field/etc, would we not have to wonder why it has particular outcomes and/or tends the universe toward particular outcomes?

If we say it is the ultimate brute fact of reality, we are then speaking once more of indeterminism of a special kind.

Well, I think that is exactly what we are doing.  It might be the case that there is a never-end series of "but why?" questions to be asked.  So, why do particles have mass?  Higgs effect.  But why?  Higgs boson.  But why?  Higgs field.  But why?  Well, we don't know yet.

I'm looking at a bunch of Hegel now, myself, so I can't help but see this as a sort of dialectic.  The end of which would be total knowledge, a sort of Absolute.  Now, practically speaking, such an Absolute might just not be possible, in the sense of knowing it.  But that doesn't make it not exist, in theory.  There just simply isn't enough particles and energy in the universe to represent the complexity of the universe as it is.  Because that would be the universe, again.

So, perhaps things are all determinate.  But we can't prove them so empirically, because we can't know everything well enough to know everything.  So, throwing a ball is determinate enough to play baseball, usually.  But our minds, for example, are so complex that even the slightest unknown blossoms into full on lack of any knowledge of the outcome.

In the future though, perhaps that won't be the case, that we will know so much about the mind that we will know essentially what anyone will do almost all the time.  Then, we'll have a sort of "Newtonian revolution" to the idea of what indeterminacy even would be, in the same way that Newton redefined what it took to consider something "true."

Truth, determinate, these are things we are imposing a certain criterion of "proof" on.  What that criterion is, might well change in the future.  In fact, it seems almost assured it will, given history.

General Misc. / Re: DUNE movie cast revealed
« on: March 21, 2019, 03:07:55 pm »
In what sense? This is where personal bias comes in. I wouldn't mind if they ditched the whole 'other memory' thing because I think it's kinda lame (which is a bit ironic given that it's a focal point of the series /and/ that it's my favorite series), but if you're talking about e.g. ditching Fremen suicide attacks then I vehemently disagree.

Well, I wasn't actually talking about anything in particular, just taking literally everything that is in the book and attempting to display it visually on screen.  I mean, prima facie, that is nonsense of course, but I think that is something like what many people would "want" even if they know that such a thing can't exist as a matter of fact.

So, all I am saying is that Villeneuve seems to know how to make somewhat entertaining movie and so I'll trust him to do what he thinks would be "best" until he shows me that maybe he doesn't.  I don't know what his vision of "Dune the Movie" is, but I think he knows enough about movies to know it isn't a literal translation of the book.  I can't pretend to know for a fact which elements are better in or out, so I'll leave it to a dude who seems to have a clue.  Again, until he shows me that my trust is misplaced.  There is no "necessity" here though, nor do I imagine any though.  Just because he did well with things before means he must do well with the properties of Dune.  But I do think there is a fair chance he will.

As you like to say, something like "we'll see what happens."

Literature / Re: Books for Sale
« on: March 21, 2019, 01:19:17 pm »
Yeah see, I don't think I could ever bring myself to do that. Its part of the entertainment I get out of collecting Bakker ephemera. My sets of unique stuff like artwork, posters, books, whatever, quite literally one of a kind in most cases, wouldn't be worth much if I tried to sell it. That's the ideal collectable for me - something I value greatly that isn't actually worth very much lol.

Well, part of it is that the "collectibles" I have are also game pieces, and were actually bought by me as such.  In that way, I still treat them as such, even if their value has sort of skyrocketed.  Despite this, to me, they are still what I bought them as: parts to play a game with.

Oh I am not trying to retell Hume's argument, I do think there is something more than arbitrary Luck holding the universe together.

Re: Electron Position Clouds, to clarify not saying the electron's indeterminism, nor other indeterminate examples like radioactive decay, are necessarily without some unknown variables. My point is that the very way we usually think of determinism is an expression of our confidence in randomness of a special kind.

The issue with the Laws goes beyond assumption of their existence I think? If they exist are they dualistically interacting with matter? If "laws" are descriptive, and just talking about patterns we find, then they aren't binding. The question you ask - if not Laws then what? - is a good question and I admit I am not 100% sure of the answer. I do suspect we need to think of the causal power and restriction of possibilities as within the entities under observation rather than "out there" in the laws.

I think, at the least, Aristotle's ideas of Four Causes + Act & Potency deserve a revisit.

Indeed, I think you'd have a hard time convincing me that we don't have a priori senses of time and space which lead us to particular notions about what seems determinate or not.  As something of a Kantian thinker most of the time, I do think such concepts mediate essentially all of our knowledge.  Watching videos about space-time really drives this home to me, how our intuition about what time, gravity and space are is laughably incorrect, even if it gets things right enough so we can live.

Well, it could be that basic "Laws of Nature" are something like the byproduct of an underlying substructure (or superstructure) of the universe.  So, something like the Higgs Field, or other effect, might inform the rest of reality on how to behave.

In the end though, in the same way that Relativity redefined Newtonian physics, partly by way of a difference in considering the frame of reference.  So the same might be the case for many things.  Our frame of reference might well be having us consider things that are not really universal laws.

But what is force/energy? It seems to me that ultimately was is happening is the observation of change and then a lot of circular concepts that are explaining measurement of change but can only be observed through that very measurement.

We call the electron's position indeterminate because it doesn't move predictably to our expectation within the mathematical/experimental apparatus of physics. So "random" here doesn't mean Hyperchaos, just the limit of our predictability.

Yet there is no ultimate reason why the "deterministic" process of the ball happens - it is just as random in the sense of being arbitrary because the "Laws of Nature" are just arbitrary brute facts. Our claim of "laws" is also just a probability expectation, just that here we are confident of assigning 100% of a particular outcome.

Right, I mean, I follow that there is no real way for us to know that causality does not break down in the next moment.  Or that there is a rational way to prove necessity, a priori.  However, when one does throw a ball, it still, as far as we know it does what we think it would do, if we know the "forces" acting upon it.  The moment it doesn't is the moment we then know that contingency has well broken down.

I think we call the electron's position indeterminate because we simply cannot measure both it's velocity and it's position at a given instance, a la Heisenberg.  This doesn't mean that an exact position and velocity does not exist.  Rather, it means that we simply cannot measure it.  Certainly, it would seem farsical to suggest that when we do not know it's position it does not have one, or that when we do not know it's velocity it does not have one.  In the same way that if I do not know the current contents of Paris does it mean that there are no contents to the city of Paris.

We assign probabilities, because these are methods by which to approximate where it seems the particle might be.  In a low energy state, it will be more likely in certain positions and in a higher one, different positions.  This is essentially just motion.  Speed, that is, motion over time.  In a way, temperature.  Something cannot (it seems) not be moving at all.  If it did, it would be absolute zero, which would mean it would have something like infinite momentum.

What is a force and what is energy?  Man, I am not a physicist.  I'd highly recommend this video it might help.

I think I run into trouble with calling the "laws of nature" arbitrary.  Because, then, in that sense, so is everything else.  Then, nothing is really arbitrary, because things seem to be flowing right from them.  So, start with the "Laws" and throw a ball and we get the outcome the "Laws" seem to proscribe.  Again, I know that these laws are not necessary in the provable sense, but they exist, in the sense that they do seem to exist now, until they don't, then they won't.

My only point with the ball is that I can causally effect the "random" electron by translating the stochastic/indeterminate cloud that represents its possible positions and I can do so in a "deterministic" manner. Just pushing my point that the terms "randomness" and "determinism" represent our expectation rather than genuine knowledge of causation.

The other point was that if something was truly random it would be impossible to assign it a stochastic variable where positions are given probabilities of occurrence. True randomness is Hyperchaos, where anything could happen.

Not trying to say anything too deep, I think you got it but maybe you felt I was making a better point than I really was. *cry*

Well, that's the thing, though, the electron's position is not random, it's just in a position that is not known precisely, right?

I mean, certainly the election is in motion.  That motion is because of something.  That something is not nothing.  Then it stands to reason that the electron is in a single position at any moment in time, not indeterminately in many places at once.  We only evaluate it as such, because it is how we can conceptualize it.  I mean, maybe I am misunderstanding a great deal of things here, but the reason the results are probabilistic is because the forces/energy level of the particle means it will be withing a given range.  Just where exactly is hard to say, because we can't know it's position and velocity at a given moment.

But like you say, if it were truely random, a la Hyperchoas, atoms would have electrons here, there, in this valence level, in that, and even in one's on the other side of the universe.  And then also, right back where they were.  I don't think that really happens.

As always, note that I am specifically not a quantum physicist.

Let's say I throw a ball in an arc in my backyard. The arc of the ball is classic and thus held to be theoretically predictable.

But there's an electron helping to constitute whose positional cloud is held to be inherently unpredictable and thus the possible positions are probabilistic.

So I am translating the probability space of the electron by my tossing of the ball. Isn't this thus neither fully deterministic nor indeterministic? Heck, since we can assign a Random Variable to the position of the electron isn't that itself not truly random in the sense of Hyperchaos?

I'm afraid you have lost me here.

So, in the first case, you throw the ball with a certain force, at a certain angle, and there are certain forces upon it, which renders it's path relatively certain.

I'm not sure where you are going from here though.  By tossing the ball, you toss all of it's electrons too.  They, I think, only have a certain range of distance from the constitute nuclei, so each electron is still probabilistic in it's location along the path of that ball.  I don't see how being in a moving object or a stationary one changes things here.

Although, again, I think I am missing your point entirely.

Ah you are an adult though in that you are working to reason these things out, and from what I've seen nobody has a good handle on these matters.

Putnam and Popper have made arguments against conceptual thought being reducible to what is usually regarded as physical, at least as moderns define the term.

Yeah, I think that is the position I'd be likely to take, because it doesn't seem clear to me that there must be a direct and necessary physical mapping of neuronal activity to the content of thought.

So, in a way, perhaps it could be that neuron-group X firing in a particular way in your brain means something in particular, where neuron-group X firing in my brain something different.  If it's true that certain brain parts do align with certain brain function (so group X is associated with moving hand Y) that doesn't necessarily mean that the mental contents are identical.

In this way, perhaps consciousness, as recursive, compounds what likely start as minor differences into demonstrable different behaviors (and mental contents).

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