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Whose pulling your strings?

You
Someone else
Something else
There are no strings

Strings

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H

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« Reply #30 on: February 27, 2020, 09:50:15 pm »
Well there's a difference between "can" and "will". If nothing is holding the Laws in place then their immutability is inherently contingent.

One can argue the Laws are immutable by nature but I'd argue we already see this is questionably by observing the very fact that some aspects are probabilistic (the number of photons that bounce back vs go through a window) + the fact the picture of laws looked rather different at the beginning of the Universe.

Well, to me, that would seem to mean that they aren't "totally" contingent.  But I think I am operating with a different notion of contingent there.

With the example of laws at the beginning of the universe to laws now, the laws might have been different because they derived from conditions present then and not present now.  But here I think I am just screwing myself up by mentally conjoining the notion of contingent and a notion of arbitrary.  So, I do agree that since conditions continue to change, the laws could well change as well, especially since we know not what they derive from.

I think now I have a better idea that Meillassoux is saying, even if I do keep confounding myself.
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

sciborg2

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« Reply #31 on: February 27, 2020, 11:21:03 pm »
Well, to me, that would seem to mean that they aren't "totally" contingent.  But I think I am operating with a different notion of contingent there.

With the example of laws at the beginning of the universe to laws now, the laws might have been different because they derived from conditions present then and not present now.  But here I think I am just screwing myself up by mentally conjoining the notion of contingent and a notion of arbitrary.  So, I do agree that since conditions continue to change, the laws could well change as well, especially since we know not what they derive from.

I think now I have a better idea that Meillassoux is saying, even if I do keep confounding myself.

Do the conditions of the world determine the laws, or do the laws determine the conditions of the world?

I would equate contingent and arbitrary, and I think this is what Hyper Chaos is meant to signify as opposed to those outcomes that can be modeled using a Random Variable rather than the usual kind of functions we use in modeling when we figure the chance of a particular effect is 100% -> P(effect) = 1.

IIRC there's a 1 in 4 chance that a photon bounces back from the window instead of passing through, which is why you can see your reflection as well as the scene on the other side of the glass. Hyper Chaos would be the fact that this could easily shift to 1 in 100, or 3 in 4. Similarly an event that we assigned probability of 1 to could become uncertain.

After all, once you have a little bit of arbitrary contingency, how does that end up contained? What does it even mean to talk about probabilistic "laws"?

Even assuming there are Laws of Nature binding the cause-effect processes of the Real leads to issues, as noted by Stephen Talbott's Do Physical Laws Make Things Happen:

Quote
The Impossibility of Mere Obedience to Law

The conviction that laws somehow give us a full accounting of events seems often to be based on the idea that they govern the world's substance or matter from outside, "making" things happen. If this is the case, however, then we must provide some way for matter to recognize and then obey these external laws. But, plainly, whatever supports this capacity for recognition and obedience cannot itself be the mere obedience. Anything capable of obeying wholly external laws is not only its obedience but also its capability, and this capability remains unexplained by the laws.

If, with so many scientists today, we construe laws as rules, we can put the matter this way: much more than rule-following is required of anything able to follow rules; conversely, no set of rules can by themselves explain the presence or functioning of that which is capable of following them.

It is, in other words, impossible to imagine matter that does not have some character of its own. To begin with, it must exist. But if it exists, it must do so in some particular manner, according to its own way of being. Even if we were to say, absurdly, that its only character is to obey external laws, this "law of obedience" itself could not be just another one of the external laws being obeyed. Something will be "going on" that could not be understood as obedience to law, and this something would be an essential expression of what matter was. To apprehend the world we would need to understand this expressive character in its own right, and we could never gain such an understanding solely through a consideration of external laws.

So we can hardly find coherence in the rather dualistic notion that physical laws reside, ghost-like, in some detached, abstract realm from which they impinge upon matter. But if, contrary to our initial assumption, we take laws to be in one way or another bound up with the world's substance — if we take them to be at least in part an expression of this substance — then the difficulty in the conventional view of law becomes even more intense. Surely it makes no sense to say that the world's material phenomena are the result — the wholly explained result — of matter obeying laws which it is itself busy expressing. In whatever manner we prefer to understand the material expression of the laws, this expression cannot be a matter of obedience to the laws being expressed! If whatever is there as the substance of the world at least in part determines the laws, then the laws cannot be said to determine what is there.

All this gives you some indication why so many scientists, when stepping back from the rather messy reality of their daily work and considering the character of their science, show such great reluctance to reckon with the substance of the observable world. They much prefer to conceive the explanatory value of science in terms of abstract laws — equations, rules, algorithms — which naturally remain gratifyingly lawful in an uncomplicated way. The world disappears into a vague notion of "whatever gives material reality to the laws".

But a willingness to consider this reality in its own terms immediately reveals the impossibility of the all-explaining laws with which science supposedly has to do. We come to realize that a physical phenomenon and its lawfulness must be considered as a unity — a syntactic-semantic unity of a sort that receives little recognition within science for the simple reason that physical phenomena (as opposed to their "governing" syntax) receive little recognition.

See also Raymond Tallis' The Strange Idea that What Happens Has to be Made to Happen.

Francis Buck

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« Reply #32 on: March 10, 2020, 03:59:33 am »
I am inclined to view the strings or their hypothetical puppets being one thing, itself being a part of a larger system.

Here's a three hour lecture by Alan Watts that deals with these ideas precisely called "Do You do It or does It do You?" and it is essentially aligned with my own views on this topic, only described with far greater articulation and wisdom than I could actually ever achieve. Despite its length, the first 15 minutes are probably more than enough to get the jist of my beliefs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAFH_nwqSHQ