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Old 15th October 2019, 02:40 PM   #201
Dr.Sid
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Solipsism does not deny reality, but rather presents a theory about what is real (or at least what can be confirmed as real, depending on the flavor).

In philosophy, it is not regarded as a worthwhile theory, but a warning sign. If one's theory leads to solipsism, so much the worse for the theory, not because solipsism is obviously false but because it is a dead end of sorts.

Idealism has a more respected pedigree because of its importance in the development of philosophy. I'm sure there are idealists around today, but this sort of program is not all that active, far as I can tell. I don't have a broad view of philosophy, so it may be a subject of more contemporary debate than I realize.

You are just plumb wrong in thinking that this is a matter of pseudoscience. It is not dressed up as science at all. Science remains unchanged whether one is a materialist, idealist, dualist or, indeed, a solipsist.
Well said, I tried myself but couldn't form it properly, so I didn't reply anything. Thanks.
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Old 15th October 2019, 04:19 PM   #202
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Explain how S is is falsifiable, but not B.
Let me focus on this question for now, and we'll return to the original question once that we come to agreement on this one. This is simpler.

Imagine that each second, we see one marble from the infinite bag. Assume further that each marble in the bag B will eventually be seen. The actual time sequence doesn't matter, all that matters is that in a finite time, we've observed only finitely many marbles, a perfectly reasonable assumption. (Infinite bags of marbles are unreasonable, but think of tests on the set N of natural numbers if you prefer).

Given a finite set S c B, there will be some time t at which every marble in S has been seen. At that moment, if the statement "S contains a red marble" is false, you know it's false, because you've seen every marble in S.

Now consider the sentence "There is some finite S c B such that S contains a red marble" and assume this claim is false. The question is: while we know it is false at any time t? The answer is no, since at any time t, there are still infinitely many unseen marbles. Any of those marbles could, far as we know, be red. Hence, we cannot say with certainty that the sentence (X) is false at any time. If we do so, the next marble seen could be read, making our pronouncement false.

Hence, if we write X_S for the statement "S contains a red marble", we see that

each X_S is falsifiable.

"There exists a finite S such that X_S" is not falsifiable.

Agreed?
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Old 15th October 2019, 04:24 PM   #203
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post

Scientific theories are, per definition, falsifiable. If they are not falsifiable, they are not scientific theories. If your definition of "uniformity" is not falsifiable, it is not part of the set of scientific theories.
I have repeatedly said that uniformity is not a scientific theory. It is a starting assumption for science, not a theory.
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Old 15th October 2019, 04:29 PM   #204
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
The falsifiability of a theory does not depend on my ability to imagine some example that might falsify it.
If you'll read carefully what I said, you'll find I did not say anything to the contrary.

Quote:
I have already told you the characteristics of a falsifiying observation.

I have already answered, but I'll try to make it more clear: A verified, repeatable observation that cannot be eventually ascribed to a current or future scientific law.

... Yes, that is a tall order, but the universe is that complex.

Hans
It is an impossible event. For me to prove it , we will need a clear definition of a scientific law. I'll hold off on that for now.

A rigorous proof will require an abstract model that takes some explaining. It comes from learning theory. Marbles are an easy first step.
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Old 15th October 2019, 04:37 PM   #205
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
I have repeatedly said that uniformity is not a scientific theory. It is a starting assumption for science, not a theory.
I'm not really educated in this area .. but is it ? You say "for science" .. for what science ? Is there set of axioms for 'science' ? I'm more familiar with math, and even in math, which is just one of the sciences, there is no one fixed set of axioms. There are several systems of axioms, and if you are free to come up with another one.
Uniformity might be axiom in common physics, but I can certainly see physics testing uniformity.
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Old 15th October 2019, 04:40 PM   #206
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
Well said, I tried myself but couldn't form it properly, so I didn't reply anything. Thanks.
Thank you for the kind words.
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Old 15th October 2019, 05:13 PM   #207
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
I'm not really educated in this area .. but is it ? You say "for science" .. for what science ? Is there set of axioms for 'science' ? I'm more familiar with math, and even in math, which is just one of the sciences, there is no one fixed set of axioms. There are several systems of axioms, and if you are free to come up with another one.
Uniformity might be axiom in common physics, but I can certainly see physics testing uniformity.
Science proceeds under the assumption that there are scientific laws to discover, that we can do so by observation and experimentation because laws are universal. As Russell puts it, we work under the assumption that the future resembles the past, so that our experience up until now gives information about what will happen in the future.

The notion of uniformity I have in mind is closely related to, perhaps equivalent to (not sure), the principle of induction, which is used not only in science[1] but in everyday life. When hungry, I reckon that the hunk of steak in front of me will sate my hunger, because hunks of steak (and things similar to them) have done so in the past. I am presuming, therefore, that my past experiences are useful predictors of future experiences.

I have discussed the problem of induction before on this site. The discussion tends to devolve quickly, with usual posters claiming that the whole issue is a curious attempt to justify "woo". I hope that by focusing not on induction broadly, but only on the assumption that some set of scientific laws describes the behavior of the universe will make the issue more tractable.

I'm also thinking in terms of learning theory, since the question at hand is similar to the domain of that theory. This is an interesting approach, but very abstract (essentially, a mathematical model of the scientific setting) and I don't know that it will get a receptive audience here. It also takes a primer in an unfamiliar mathematical setting. I've tried to avoid doing anything explicit here, but MRC_Hans isn't buying it and I worry that making my reasoning explicit will require rather a lot of effort for both me and the readers.

[1] Popper's philosophy of science tried to excise induction by focusing on falsifiability, but there are well-known issues with that. ETA: Even with Popper's program, the past is used to make hypotheses, but ends at that point, I think.

ETA: I'm not sure if I adequately answered your question. I kinda went off-topic there. Let me know if I need to address it more carefully.

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Old 15th October 2019, 05:16 PM   #208
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Well I think in general it's the old 'woo guys' against 'non woo guys'. Both in general agree with each other, and don't listen to the opposite camp. So what we are left is nitpicking :-D

I think I would say science studies what is same for all observers. Even if physical laws actually showed up to be different at some place, or at some time, all observes should arrive to the same conclusion.

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Old 15th October 2019, 09:35 PM   #209
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
You don't even have to model a complete brain. You just need a computer program that thinks it's a complete brain -
Exactly. And it doesn't have to be an accurate simulation, it just has to be consistent* to the simulated brain. And in truth, that's what 'real' brains do. What we think of as reality is a simulation we build up in our minds. Based on reality for sure, but not itself real.

* Or does it? There are so many things in our Universe that don't appear to be consistent - is it because we just haven't figured them out yet, or because we are actually part of a poorly constructed simulation? Perhaps we would gain better understanding by considering that we are in a computer simulation, and work from there?

But I say no. We only consider the possibility because we build computers and create simulations for them. The idea that we are in a simulation is actually a kind of anthropomorphism, no different from speculating that a god (with human characteristics) created the Universe. Because wherever there is a simulation, an 'intelligent' being must have created it - a being just like us. But when looked at objectively we see that the idea is ludicrous.

2000 years we had stories about talking animals, today we have The Matrix. Both are fantasies, and shouldn't be treated as anything more than that.
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Old 15th October 2019, 09:40 PM   #210
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
I have discussed the problem of induction before
Which is?
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Old Yesterday, 01:21 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
I wouldn't say solipsism is pseudoscience. It's philosophy. You can talk about silly ideas as long as you know what they do imply and what the don't imply.
I think the even more important -- and fitting the general Randi idea -- subset of that is to know that while one can talk about any silly ideas, for any argument to actually imply anything it has to be sound. I.e., needs to both connect validly all the way to one's desired conclusion, and it needs evidence. I think the OP misses both.

But otherwise, sure, I'm all for thinking hard about all sorts of silly ideas.
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Old Yesterday, 01:29 AM   #212
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Exactly. And it doesn't have to be an accurate simulation, it just has to be consistent* to the simulated brain. And in truth, that's what 'real' brains do. What we think of as reality is a simulation we build up in our minds. Based on reality for sure, but not itself real.

* Or does it? There are so many things in our Universe that don't appear to be consistent - is it because we just haven't figured them out yet, or because we are actually part of a poorly constructed simulation? Perhaps we would gain better understanding by considering that we are in a computer simulation, and work from there?

But I say no. We only consider the possibility because we build computers and create simulations for them. The idea that we are in a simulation is actually a kind of anthropomorphism, no different from speculating that a god (with human characteristics) created the Universe. Because wherever there is a simulation, an 'intelligent' being must have created it - a being just like us. But when looked at objectively we see that the idea is ludicrous.

2000 years we had stories about talking animals, today we have The Matrix. Both are fantasies, and shouldn't be treated as anything more than that.
I'm actually not against thinking about what the implications would be if we were in a poorly constructed simulation. But there's a way to be scientific about that too. Formulate a testable hypothesis of what could be different if that were the case, and then actually test it.

What I do have a problem with is the kind of thinking that go, "reality MAY be X, therefore magical thinking is the way to go." Where X can be "a simulation" or "a dream" or pseudo-scientific quantum woowoo or whatever. Or even "reality may be X, Y or Z, and since we don't know which, then magical thinking is the way to go."

Both of which actually have TWO major failures. First one being that one can't really go "therefore" from a "maybe". Second being that usually that X doesn't imply the conclusion either, even if it were true. I mean, even if it were a simulation, where is the evidence that it is programmed to make magic work?
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Old Yesterday, 03:22 AM   #213
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Which is?
That the principle of induction (roughly, regularities experienced in the past are likely to be experienced in the future) cannot be confirmed or refuted, at least not by appeal to experience (and there is no well-received argument in its favor on intrinsic grounds).

Usually, when I mention this, someone will reply, "I don't care. It works." This is the standard failed argument in favor of induction. What is clear is that it has been mighty successful in the past. We cannot infer that it will be successful in the future except by using induction itself, and hence such an argument begs the question.

I have not read this article so can't tell you whether it's good or not, but you can see this WP article. There's a genuinely good article, a chapter (four?) of Russell's Problems of Philosophy, available at Project Gutenberg. He was a wonderful writer, clear and precise.

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Old Yesterday, 05:19 AM   #214
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
I'm also thinking in terms of learning theory, since the question at hand is similar to the domain of that theory. This is an interesting approach, but very abstract (essentially, a mathematical model of the scientific setting) and I don't know that it will get a receptive audience here. It also takes a primer in an unfamiliar mathematical setting. I've tried to avoid doing anything explicit here, but MRC_Hans isn't buying it and I worry that making my reasoning explicit will require rather a lot of effort for both me and the readers.
Could you expand on this a bit? I formalize science in terms of a MML/MDL type model, where observations are considered as a sequence of symbols from a finite alphabet[*] and a scientific model is chosen which best compresses the observations. This doesn't actually say anything about how to arrive[**] at scientific models, it's merely a formalism for choosing which scientific models to use as well as formalizing what the goal of scientific inquiry is, but it has the advantage of not being limited to science but also encompassing non-scientific, yet still informative and useful, knowledge. For example Karl Marx's "All hitherto history is the history of class struggle" compresses history in an informative and insightful manner, and falls under the formalism, even though it's obviously not scientific - there are no mathematically precise experiments or predictions that can be made from it.


[*] For simplicity taken to be a binary sequence, given the existence of a trivial map from any sequence in a finite alphabet to a binary sequence. It also helps clarify the boundary between scientific knowledge and ontology as is relevant to this thread, since it makes it clear that the data are an abstract symbolic sequence and without making any assumptions about the ultimate nature of that which produces the sequence (materialism, idealism, solipsism, simulationism, ...)

[**] I assume this learning theory approach is, on the other hand, a formalism about how to arrive at scientific models?
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Old Yesterday, 09:24 AM   #215
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Could you expand on this a bit? I formalize science in terms of a MML/MDL type model, where observations are considered as a sequence of symbols from a finite alphabet[*] and a scientific model is chosen which best compresses the observations. This doesn't actually say anything about how to arrive[**] at scientific models, it's merely a formalism for choosing which scientific models to use as well as formalizing what the goal of scientific inquiry is, but it has the advantage of not being limited to science but also encompassing non-scientific, yet still informative and useful, knowledge. For example Karl Marx's "All hitherto history is the history of class struggle" compresses history in an informative and insightful manner, and falls under the formalism, even though it's obviously not scientific - there are no mathematically precise experiments or predictions that can be made from it.


[*] For simplicity taken to be a binary sequence, given the existence of a trivial map from any sequence in a finite alphabet to a binary sequence. It also helps clarify the boundary between scientific knowledge and ontology as is relevant to this thread, since it makes it clear that the data are an abstract symbolic sequence and without making any assumptions about the ultimate nature of that which produces the sequence (materialism, idealism, solipsism, simulationism, ...)

[**] I assume this learning theory approach is, on the other hand, a formalism about how to arrive at scientific models?
It has been literally decades since I did learning theory and I'm sure there's an awful lot I never learned.

The part I had in mind is similar to what you describe. The data coming into scientists is a string of natural numbers (the alphabet may be countably infinite rather than finite[1]). A theory is a set of such strings. A theory essentially asserts that the string representing the actual sequence of observations (of which we have only seen a finite initial segment) is in the set.

In practices, theories can be associated with logical formula such as "There exists a time when the marble observed is red" or "For all times t, there is a time t' > t such that the marble observed at time t' is red." The former says that there is a red marble in the bag, the latter that there are infinitely many. The logical structure of the formula (the alternation of quantifiers) is correlated to the degree of decidability. The former statement, of the form "E x P(x)" where P is quantifier free, is verifiable with certainty. The latter, "A x E y P(x,y)" is refutable in the limit. (These terms are easily explained if necessary.) Deeper nestings produce more complicated results.

There are other ways to use learning theory, including theory discovery and such, but I didn't learn about those as much.

I'm sure there are many errors in what I wrote here, but it should be close enough to give you a feel for the model and the analyses it gives.

[1] May be totally getting this wrong. It may be restricted to a finite set, same as the settings you describe.
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Old Yesterday, 12:07 PM   #216
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
It has been literally decades since I did learning theory and I'm sure there's an awful lot I never learned.

The part I had in mind is similar to what you describe. The data coming into scientists is a string of natural numbers (the alphabet may be countably infinite rather than finite[1]). A theory is a set of such strings. A theory essentially asserts that the string representing the actual sequence of observations (of which we have only seen a finite initial segment) is in the set.

In practices, theories can be associated with logical formula such as "There exists a time when the marble observed is red" or "For all times t, there is a time t' > t such that the marble observed at time t' is red." The former says that there is a red marble in the bag, the latter that there are infinitely many. The logical structure of the formula (the alternation of quantifiers) is correlated to the degree of decidability. The former statement, of the form "E x P(x)" where P is quantifier free, is verifiable with certainty. The latter, "A x E y P(x,y)" is refutable in the limit. (These terms are easily explained if necessary.) Deeper nestings produce more complicated results.

There are other ways to use learning theory, including theory discovery and such, but I didn't learn about those as much.

I'm sure there are many errors in what I wrote here, but it should be close enough to give you a feel for the model and the analyses it gives.

[1] May be totally getting this wrong. It may be restricted to a finite set, same as the settings you describe.
Thanks for the explanation, I think I got the gist of it. I had tried googling it but "learning theory" only got me results about psychological theories of education (how students learn etc).
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Old Yesterday, 01:41 PM   #217
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Thanks for the explanation, I think I got the gist of it. I had tried googling it but "learning theory" only got me results about psychological theories of education (how students learn etc).
Ah, quite different.

See The Logic of Reliable Inquiry.
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Old Yesterday, 02:10 PM   #218
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Let me focus on this question for now, and we'll return to the original question once that we come to agreement on this one. This is simpler.

Imagine that each second, we see one marble from the infinite bag. Assume further that each marble in the bag B will eventually be seen. The actual time sequence doesn't matter, all that matters is that in a finite time, we've observed only finitely many marbles, a perfectly reasonable assumption. (Infinite bags of marbles are unreasonable, but think of tests on the set N of natural numbers if you prefer).

Given a finite set S c B, there will be some time t at which every marble in S has been seen. At that moment, if the statement "S contains a red marble" is false, you know it's false, because you've seen every marble in S.

Now consider the sentence "There is some finite S c B such that S contains a red marble" and assume this claim is false. The question is: while we know it is false at any time t? The answer is no, since at any time t, there are still infinitely many unseen marbles. Any of those marbles could, far as we know, be red. Hence, we cannot say with certainty that the sentence (X) is false at any time. If we do so, the next marble seen could be read, making our pronouncement false.

Hence, if we write X_S for the statement "S contains a red marble", we see that

each X_S is falsifiable.

"There exists a finite S such that X_S" is not falsifiable.

Agreed?
No. While it may be possible to construct an example where the full set is unfalsifiable, your example is not that. Both the claim that there is no red marble and the claim that there is at least one red marble is falsifiable, regardless if there are any red marbles or not.

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Old Yesterday, 02:17 PM   #219
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
No. While it may be possible to construct an example where the full set is unfalsifiable, your example is not that. Both the claim that there is no red marble and the claim that there is at least one red marble is falsifiable, regardless if there are any red marbles or not.

Hans
Literally have no idea what you have in mind.

The statement "There is a red marble in this infinite bag" (equivalent to the statement "There is a finite subset of this bag containing a red marble") is not falsifiable. If it's false, there is no time at which I know that it's false, since at any time, I have seen only a finite number of marbles. I will thus know at each time that a finite number of marbles are not red, but I cannot know that none of the marbles in the bag are red.

I genuinely am puzzled why this isn't obvious. Do we need to go over the details of "falsifiability" in order to ensure that we have the same concept in mind?
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Old Yesterday, 02:25 PM   #220
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Literally have no idea what you have in mind.

The statement "There is a red marble in this infinite bag" (equivalent to the statement "There is a finite subset of this bag containing a red marble") is not falsifiable. If it's false, there is no time at which I know that it's false, since at any time, I have seen only a finite number of marbles. I will thus know at each time that a finite number of marbles are not red, but I cannot know that none of the marbles in the bag are red.

I genuinely am puzzled why this isn't obvious. Do we need to go over the details of "falsifiability" in order to ensure that we have the same concept in mind?
You are constructing an instance where we have only seen a finite part of an infinite set. However, falsifiability does not depend on accomplishment. If there is an infinite set of (otherwise white) marbles that does or does not contain a red marble, then it is falsifiable, although we may never find the red marble.

Awkward? Well, constructs invoking infinite sets usually are.

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Old Yesterday, 03:14 PM   #221
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
You are constructing an instance where we have only seen a finite part of an infinite set. However, falsifiability does not depend on accomplishment. If there is an infinite set of (otherwise white) marbles that does or does not contain a red marble, then it is falsifiable, although we may never find the red marble.

Awkward? Well, constructs invoking infinite sets usually are.

Hans
Perhaps we are not on the same page about the meaning of falsifiability.

I meant that if the proposition is false, then we will have (at some time) decisive evidence that it is false. Each X_S is falsifiable precisely because there is some time at which every element of S has been seen. The statement "E S . X_S is true" is not falsifiable on this definition, since there will always remain (infinitely many) X_S's which have not been seen.

If you mean merely that there may be some time t at which point the proposition is known to be false, this is quite a weaker condition. Such a condition would apply to propositions whose falsity could be discovered with probability 0. I'm not sure it's very useful as a notion of falsifiability.

Even if we take it as a notion of falsifiability, to prove that uniformity is falsifiable, you have to convince me that there is some possible set E of events which would entail that no possible set of physical laws could explain E. I don't see how you can do that, because I don't see how any possible event could not be explained by some set of physical laws.

You have not really said anything more than "Uniformity would be falsified if something happened that couldn't be explained by any possible set of physical laws" (not a quote, but a paraphrase). What I want to know is whether any such a thing is possible. I do not see how it is.

Tell me what you have in mind, if anything. Or else, we may leave this conversation. I am convinced that (1) you haven't shown that uniformity is falsifiable and (2) it is not falsifiable on the definition I had in mind.
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Old Yesterday, 03:34 PM   #222
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
In order to evaluate your hypothesis of existing for only one second, I need you to be a bit more specific. Which second are you claiming you exist in?
Why must everyone alter what I say. I said the Solipsistic One-Second-Agoism won the Occam stakes, not that I was claiming it.

If I was, the simple answer to the question would be one second before right .... now!
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Old Yesterday, 03:43 PM   #223
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Once you specify which second, the claim will become coherent enough to evaluate. Until then, you're presenting an ever-moving target which does not constitute any meaningful claim.
The proposition is perfectly coherent.

You cannot prove that the experience you are having at any time did not begin one second ago in perceived time.

It does not matter if that one second contains the recollection of this claim having been made in the past. That does not provide any further evidence that the experience you are having did not begin one second ago in perceived time.

I tried every variation of this trick myself. I said, OK, if I have only existed for one second then I will watch the sweep hand of a clock and not take my eyes off it until it has completed one revolution. That way, I said, I will know that I have existed for at least one minute.

But then how would I know that my experience did not begin one second ago complete with the memory of the sweep hand of a clock having travelled one revolution? I can't.

So it does not matter how many times you ask the question or how many moments you nominate and ask about and how many of my answers you read.

It still might be the case that the moment you have not been experiencing more than one second of time, complete with the memory of all those events.
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Old Yesterday, 04:04 PM   #224
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If you say that the claim "You have not existed for more than one second of perceived time" is not meaningful unless I have nominated a particular second, then you are saying, in effect "If I have not existed for more than one second of perceived time then one of my spurious memories would correctly tell me the time right now".

That does not follow.
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Old Yesterday, 04:09 PM   #225
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
Well I think in general it's the old 'woo guys' against 'non woo guys'. Both in general agree with each other, and don't listen to the opposite camp. So what we are left is nitpicking :-D
And don't forget that when you ask "Who are the woo guys?" they point at each other.
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Old Yesterday, 04:28 PM   #226
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I note in passing that the proposition that you have existed for more than one second of perceived time is not only unverifiable, but also unfalsifiable, so it doesn't even constitute a valid scientific hypothesis.

So Solipsistic One-Second-Agoism gets the Popper tick of approval as well as the Occam thumbs up.
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Old Yesterday, 04:31 PM   #227
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In fact the only real rivals for Solipsistic One-Second-Agoism are theories like Solipsistic Half-Second-Agoism (and so on).
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Old Yesterday, 05:16 PM   #228
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I have no experience of Fraternity members, intoxicated or sober and I am disappointed to learn that their discourse, while intoxicated, lacks subtlety.

However the present discussion surrounds properties like parsimony, verifiablity, falsifiability and so on.

I don't see how the subtlety or otherwise of the delivery is relevant.
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Old Yesterday, 05:56 PM   #229
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
The proposition is perfectly coherent.

You cannot prove that the experience you are having at any time did not begin one second ago in perceived time.

It does not matter if that one second contains the recollection of this claim having been made in the past. That does not provide any further evidence that the experience you are having did not begin one second ago in perceived time.

I tried every variation of this trick myself. I said, OK, if I have only existed for one second then I will watch the sweep hand of a clock and not take my eyes off it until it has completed one revolution. That way, I said, I will know that I have existed for at least one minute.

But then how would I know that my experience did not begin one second ago complete with the memory of the sweep hand of a clock having travelled one revolution? I can't.

So it does not matter how many times you ask the question or how many moments you nominate and ask about and how many of my answers you read.

It still might be the case that the moment you have not been experiencing more than one second of time, complete with the memory of all those events.

All of which demonstrates my point that a recalled coherent past is just as improbable for a functioning Boltzmann brain as ongoing coherent causality extending into the future. That improbable circumstance in the current instance (not the mere possibility of it taking place at some point in an indefinite universe) requires an explanation, which your "parsimonious" proposition does not provide. Citing one trivial inconsistent detail in your recollection that is nonetheless ordered enough to have air travel, road systems, and economic transactions is also quite inadequate to refute the level of improbability of such experiences being randomly generated. Choosing one random book from Borges's entire Library of Babylon and finding that it's a letter-perfect copy of Good Omens would be a minor coincidence by comparison.

Occam's Razor only rejects elements that are multiplied beyond necessity. You're disregarding such a necessity. It doesn't go away just because you claim to not care about it.

You're rolling an endless stream of 6's on what you claim is a fair die. When called to explain that, you claim it's adequately explained by the fact that rolling another 6 is always a possibility, and besides, you once rolled a 4 several years ago. That might get you somewhere in a philosophy seminar (although I doubt it), but in a casino in the real world it would get you beaten up and thrown into the street.
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Old Yesterday, 06:41 PM   #230
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
All of which demonstrates my point that a recalled coherent past is just as improbable for a functioning Boltzmann brain as ongoing coherent causality extending into the future. That improbable circumstance in the current instance (not the mere possibility of it taking place at some point in an indefinite universe) requires an explanation, which your "parsimonious" proposition does not provide. Citing one trivial inconsistent detail in your recollection that is nonetheless ordered enough to have air travel, road systems, and economic transactions is also quite inadequate to refute the level of improbability of such experiences being randomly generated. Choosing one random book from Borges's entire Library of Babylon and finding that it's a letter-perfect copy of Good Omens would be a minor coincidence by comparison.
We have moved back to Boltzmann brains and away from Solipsistic One-Second-Agoism have we?

So you are saying that the information content represented by a second or so of conscious experience represents so much computational complexity that it is orders of magnitude greater than selecting a specific full length novel from the set of all possible novels

No, it doesn't have to be something specified in advance.

More like the probability that some page from the Library of Babel being chosen at random being a reasonably consistent narrative rather than a semi-consistent narrative. (A complete jumble wouldn't be experienced at all)

And you are comparing it to the probability that a universe will begin to exist that has the right features so that some intelligent observer will eventually arrive.

Depends on the improbability of that universe beginning to exist.

Getting back to Solipsistic One-Second-Agoism, we don't need the hypothesis of a Boltzmann brain or any substrate.

Solipsistic One-Second-Agoism says simply "This bit of thinking happens" and nothing else.
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Old Yesterday, 06:46 PM   #231
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Say you have three states, X, Y and Z. Z is much more probable than Y but you know that Z has not obtained.

And you can't tell whether X or Y has obtained then you can't say "It must be X, because Z is much more probable than Y".

You first need to know the probability of X compared to the probability of Y.
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Old Yesterday, 07:05 PM   #232
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Why would you have to act like it's true?

Try the opposite and tell me how it goes. Or, if I'm just a sim in a computer that was turned on a second ago, have the programmers add to my memory how they want me to believe it went.
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Old Yesterday, 07:40 PM   #233
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Occam's Razor only rejects elements that are multiplied beyond necessity. You're disregarding such a necessity. It doesn't go away just because you claim to not care about it.
I don't claim not to care about it. I disagree with your estimation of the improbability but agree there is some improbability and handle it by saying that it just happens to be the case.

I don't know of any theory that would be better.

Say someone comes along and provides an alternate idea that a universe with just exactly the right properties that an observer like us will eventually arise.

Fine, but they have to show that this theory involves less improbability than mine.

They might say, it is not improbable at all because there is a multiverse in which infinitely many structures fluctuate into existence and there is no improbability at all in a universe like ours arising.

But then they still have to show that of these infinitely many structures fluctuating into existence it is not more probable that something will fluctuate into existence that can process about the same amount of information as is represented by a second or so of consciousness.

Otherwise any claim that it is more parsimonious than "this bit of thinking is happening" is dubious.
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