Is There Progress in Philosophy?

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Skip
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Skip » Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:24 am

uwot wrote: Philosophy isn't about progress. The point is to construct a coherent narrative that is consistent with your experience. Since that changes with time, so should philosophies. Those which don't are called dogmas. Having said that, the tools of analysis, primarily logic, are more sophisticated than Aristotelian syllogisms.
I'm inclined to agree - I think I have agreed, on page one - that the concept of progress isn't applicable. That's why I challenged the OP question.

Risto ---
[the mental acuity and clarity of an average citizen of Athens, Greece in 500BC to an average citizen of Athens, Georgia in 2016AD, the latter would show a considerable improvement.]
Not sure if that'd be a fair comparison. A better one would be to compare past philosophers and contemporary ones. The progress in philosophy doesn't come from citizens but from philosophers just like progress in science doesn't come from citizens.
Not sure this is a fair analogy. Scientists formulate principles from which engineers and doctors produce benefits for ordinary citizens. That's how you measure their progress - or that's one obvious benchmark. Another is the legacy upon which subsequent generations of scientists build.

Are you saying that philosophers don't need to come up with a product that benefits anyone but the next generation of philosophers?
[methods, not aims.]
I think an analogy fits here nicely. I do Brazilian Jiu-JItsu. The end-point of this sport could be to submit your opponent using the least amount of force/energy.
Submit him to what? It would be quantifiable if it were better defined.
Can I notice progress? Yes. The first times I did it I was completely tired in the first few minutes, now I can do very active 10-minute rounds without breathing heavily.
So, there you go. You can very easily measure your heart-rate, breathing, time elapsed and work done.

Risto
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Risto » Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:31 am

Skip wrote:
Not sure this is a fair analogy. Scientists formulate principles from which engineers and doctors produce benefits for ordinary citizens. That's how you measure their progress - or that's one obvious benchmark. Another is the legacy upon which subsequent generations of scientists build.

Are you saying that philosophers don't need to come up with a product that benefits anyone but the next generation of philosophers?
If you accept science's progress, not just engineering's, because it formulates principles, then shouldn't you accept philosophy's progress as sciences grew out of philosophy? Philosophy is the mother of intellectual endeavors, but it seems not to get any credit for that.

I actually do think philosophers provide such products. For example, you could have all the facts about animal suffering, and yet you'd still need philosophical arguments to claim that's it's wrong. Eventually with the help of public policy and individual mindset/lifestyle change the treatment of animals gets better. Hard to think that something like this wouldn't count as progress.

Risto
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Risto » Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:35 am

Skip wrote: I'm inclined to agree - I think I have agreed, on page one - that the concept of progress isn't applicable. That's why I challenged the OP question.
On page one you said the following:

"Thee is progress in ethics, political and social philosophies, because the perspective is broader. It becomes possible, with increased communication and accumulated literature, to take a longer, less parochial, less partisan look at human affairs, relationships and organizations."

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Greta
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Greta » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:17 am

Most thought provoking, Leo. I'll need time to pull some of that together. Some of it has clarified aspects in your manifesto.

I do like the non-distinction between science and philosophy that you push. Is there progress in philosophy? Every new scientific breakthrough - and they are coming thick and fast now - potentially opens up new philosophical questions about the nature of reality, life etc.

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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Obvious Leo » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:00 am

Greta wrote:Most thought provoking, Leo. I'll need time to pull some of that together. Some of it has clarified aspects in your manifesto.
It's all in the Mandelbrot set, Greta. Understand the Mandelbrot set and you'll understand my story. The mathematics of non-linear dynamic systems theory is way above my pay grade but one doesn't need a very deep understanding of fractal geometry to get a good grasp of the basic principles of it. The critical metaphysical point that I make about modelling reality in this way is that it is a transparently better fit for the evidence. In Mandelbrot's non-Newtonian world the arrow of entropy points irrevocably from the simple to the complex and only such a model as this can account for the fact that our universe has come to life. This is a universe which mandates its own comprehensibility through the agency of no law other than the doctrine of causality, which I regard as a truth bigger than god. (As did Spinoza).
Greta wrote:I do like the non-distinction between science and philosophy that you push.
One is utterly useless without the other, Greta, It never struck me as remotely possible that the incompatibility of the different models of physics were a problem for physics to solve. There are some things that equations just can't tell us but formal logic can.

cladking
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by cladking » Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:40 pm

Obvious Leo wrote: One is utterly useless without the other, Greta, It never struck me as remotely possible that the incompatibility of the different models of physics were a problem for physics to solve. There are some things that equations just can't tell us but formal logic can.
Surely you aren't suggesting that philosophy, natural philosophy, or metaphysics can begin progressing if we simply employ "formal logic".

Getting over a little hump in cosmology or getting physics back on track seems child's play in comparison to such progress.

Skip
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Skip » Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:12 pm

Risto wrote:If you accept science's progress, not just engineering's, because it formulates principles,
My point wasn't that engineers make progress, but that scientists formulating principles enable engineers, doctors, farmers. sailors, etc. to build better tools. Each formula is a milestone in progress.
then shouldn't you accept philosophy's progress as sciences grew out of philosophy?
Giving birth is one milestone, yes. Steps along the route of nurturing might be identified also.

I didn't deny their existence or refuse them credit. I asked what they are.
The reason I asked was not to denigrate or belittle, but to promote clarity. I think it's useful, before answering a question, to know what it is we're talking about: the meaning of the terms and the units of measure.
Didn't you say that's an important aspect of the philosophical endeavour?
I actually do think philosophers provide such products. For example, you could have all the facts about animal suffering, and yet you'd still need philosophical arguments to claim that's it's wrong.
I agree with the statement - in the field of ethics. The quote you cite in the next reply box is a good enough expression a of my agreement. (Though, if I remember correctly, that applied to only one branch of philosophy.)

But to the example, I have to disagree - in bold italics, if necessary, since it's a subject matter close to my bone.
In pre-philosophical times, everybody already knew that animals suffer just the same as we do - until priests (which were pretty high on the philosophical food-chain at that time) and scientists, and a still-popular two-faced philosopher, established a precedent, which became a dogma, which played very nicely into capitalism, that since animals have no souls, they are no more than animate machines.
Eventually with the help of public policy and individual mindset/lifestyle change the treatment of animals gets better. Hard to think that something like this wouldn't count as progress.
This was mostly done by ignorant, soft-hearted old ladies. The philosophers limped along behind. The laws are still weak and economic policies are nowhere.

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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by PoeticUniverse » Tue Mar 08, 2016 6:23 pm

Smolin's and Unger's general thrust, similar to Leo's:

It is the causal connections, not the laws of nature, that are primitive and fundamental, though also time-bound, diverse, and mutable.

…structure results from history. Historical explanation is, thus, more fundamental than structural explanation. Cosmology affirms its ambition to be the most comprehensive natural science when it understands itself as a historical science first, and as a structural science only second.

The first part is that there is no absolute beginning. Time, we argue in this book, is not emergent.

In this respect, the new physics reinstated what had always been a tradition, although a suppressed or recessive one, within the old physics: the relational view, most famously associated with Leibniz.

According to this view, each event is the sum total of its relations to other events. Spacetime forms part of that relational grid; it is not its changeless seat.

There is no place outside this one real world from which to deliver the specified initial conditions. Nothing remains other than the universe and its history.

General relativity, under its most influential interpretations, was more inclined to spatialize time than to temporalize space, as the geometrical metaphor of time as the “fourth dimension” suggests.

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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by PoeticUniverse » Tue Mar 08, 2016 6:30 pm

Their take on the misuse of math and more in general:

The willingness to see mathematics, with its core focus on number and on space, as a vehicle of privileged access to fundamental and hidden truths about nature only reinforced the anti-temporal bias.
What we find in mathematics is a peerless body of conceptions of the most general relations among features of the world, robbed, however, of all phenomenal particularity and temporal depth: a lifeless and faceless terracotta army. Mathematics is powerless to suggest how nature can escape any one established order without falling into anarchy, how the rules of nature can change together with the ruled phenomena, and how there could ever be something new in the universe that is not just a ghostlike possible – a pre-reality – waiting to be made actual.


(There are no pre-established laws to the universe because there is is no point for them to have been handed down, given that time had no beginning.)

There is better reason to believe today in a succession of causally connected universes than there is to believe in a plurality of causally unconnected universes.

…causation is never interrupted; it ever goes on.

…violates the principles of recip-rocated action: we imagine that part of nature – the laws, symmetries, and constants – acts without being acted upon.

Time, however, we argue, is best regarded as non-emergent, in the sense that it derives from nothing else and thus, as the susceptibility of what is to change, represents the most fundamental aspect of natural reality.

…causal connections, rather than being instances of immutable laws of nature, constitute primitive features of nature.

…that regularities do not antedate the structures manifesting them.

Such a succession makes it possible for the unified history of our universes to extend backward into a history of successive universes, or of phases of contraction and expansion of the single universal reality.

For a preferred cosmic time to have a legitimate cosmological role, the universe must also be so arranged, by virtue of its relative isotropy and homogeneity, that it provides a clock of cosmic time, in the twin forms of its equal recession in all directions from preferred observers, situated in positions expressive of that homogeneity and isotropy, and of the equal temperature with which its cosmic microwave radiation background strikes these same preferred observers from all directions in the sky. The clock of cosmic time is the universe itself, viewed with regard to some of its features. We have reason to believe that we live in such a universe: one in which cosmic time can in principle be recognized and measured, not simply asserted as a theoretical pre-commitment or dissolved into the many-fingered time of the predominant interpretations of general relativity.

Historical explanation includes the possibility that the laws of nature change, in the course of time, together with the phenomena that they govern. It is not just the content of the laws of nature that may change; it is also the law-like character of causal connection (according to the thesis of causality without laws).

…if history means anything it means causal succession in real time.

The single, unique universe must contain all of its causes, and there is nothing outside of it. This assertion, together with the reality of time, has a further implication, which is that there are no immutable laws, timeless and external to the universe, which somehow act as if from the outside to cause things to happen inside the universe. Instead, laws of nature must be fully part of the phenomena of nature.

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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Risto » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:48 pm

Skip wrote: Giving birth is one milestone, yes. Steps along the route of nurturing might be identified also.
I didn't deny their existence or refuse them credit. I asked what they are.
The reason I asked was not to denigrate or belittle, but to promote clarity. I think it's useful, before answering a question, to know what it is we're talking about: the meaning of the terms and the units of measure.
Didn't you say that's an important aspect of the philosophical endeavour?
Yes, absolutely!

Other potential measurements could be convergence (for example, more philosophers agreeing with atheism, scientific realism, and a few other positions), new ideas (for example, easy and hard problems of consciousness, Gettier cases, etc.), better empirical premises (as science improves so can philosophy), new tools (as I suggested earlier), objections to positions/new positions (through dialectic better positions can arise).

Skip
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Skip » Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:07 pm

Risto wrote: Other potential measurements could be convergence (for example, more philosophers agreeing with atheism, scientific realism, and a few other positions), new ideas (for example, easy and hard problems of consciousness, Gettier cases, etc.), better empirical premises (as science improves so can philosophy), new tools (as I suggested earlier), objections to positions/new positions (through dialectic better positions can arise).
Yay! Every one of those is a credible benchmark, with well documented instances and traceable results. I bet a good historian could point to examples of all of those criteria and show where they have been successfully introduced to move human thought forward. (Perhaps, indirectly and eventually, to the benefit of that Cruz-enthusiast in Athens, Georgia.)
Now I wonder how many amateur philosophers care to look at the long view.

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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Obvious Leo » Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:23 pm

cladking wrote:Surely you aren't suggesting that philosophy, natural philosophy, or metaphysics can begin progressing if we simply employ "formal logic".
No. What I'm suggesting is that our observations of nature must be interpreted in such a way that the conclusions which we draw from then are compatible with the rules of formal logic. If they aren't then these conclusions are false.
cladking wrote: Getting over a little hump in cosmology or getting physics back on track seems child's play
If the philosophers weren't such a supine and self-indulgent gang of navel-gazers then physics would never have got off-track in the first place. The spacetime paradigm was logically unsustainable from the very outset, even before QM was derived from it, and yet barely a single philosopher has raised a voice in protest for the past century. The historians of science will be left to write leaned dissertations on this distressing fact but neither the physicists nor the philosophers of the 20th century will be favourably represented in these histories, history always having a tendency to be wise after the event.
PoeticUniverse wrote:What we find in mathematics is a peerless body of conceptions of the most general relations among features of the world, robbed, however, of all phenomenal particularity and temporal depth: a lifeless and faceless terracotta army.
Nicely phrased. I have my own phrase for this, which I've also become quite fond of. Physics examines the universe as if it were a cadaver on a slab being presented for dissection. It is a dead universe because a dead universe is exactly what the observer observes. This fact is scale invariant and completely explains the so-called "quantum weirdness". There's nothing weird going on inside the atom. Effects are merely being preceded by causes in an orderly and generative fashion, but because the relativistic motions of the particles are taking place at very close to light-speed some effects are being raised to a power of their causes. This is basic GR but this is also how the principle of emergence works and it is these emergent effects which the physicists are misinterpreting as causes. When we look backwards down the arrow of time at our cadaver on the slab we're simply getting cause and effect arse-about. We imagine we see a reality being made according to a suite of physical "laws" but this is a Platonist fantasy. Reality simply makes itself because the relativistic motion of every single physical entity in the universe is causally determined by the relativistic motion of every other. It is this self-organising behaviour of matter and energy which physics then attempts to codify mathematically in the language of physical "laws" but the laws themselves have no ontological status.

There is no valid reason to suppose that one way of codifying such a self-generating reality should be in any way preferable to another. All that matters is that it works until we find a way of doing it which works better. This is the point that the philosophers need to be driving home to the physicists because this is simply the basic Kantian metaphysic. We are modelling Noumena as Phenomena and conflating the two.
PoeticUniverse wrote: (There are no pre-established laws to the universe because there is is no point for them to have been handed down, given that time had no beginning.)
Once again this is a basic metaphysical first principle. Either the universe had a beginning or it didn't. If it didn't then it must have always existed and if it did then it must have had an external causal agent. There exists no third option but only a universe which has always existed is accessible to the tools of the philosopher and the scientist. A universe with an external causal agent lies beyond the scrutiny of human knowledge and is therefore neither a scientific nor a philosophical hypothesis.
PoeticUniverse wrote:…violates the principles of recip-rocated action: we imagine that part of nature – the laws, symmetries, and constants – acts without being acted upon.
These principles are explored in great depth by two of the greatest theoretical physicists of the 20th century, Lars Onsager and Ilya Prigogine. Although both won Nobel prizes for their work they have gone largely ignored by the broader community of academic physics. However in theoretical chemistry and theoretical biology they are held in the very highest of esteem because these two sciences are exclusively about reciprocated action between different hierarchies of emergent causal domains. All matter and energy is both ACTOR and ACTED UPON but the nature of such emergent behaviour is specified in embedded hierarchies of informational complexity. For example, the behaviour of the electron within the atom will effect the behaviour of the emergent atom, which in turn will effect the behaviour of the emergent molecule of which the atom forms a part. This chain of causation cascades all the way up to the largest of physical structures in the cosmos but it works BOTH WAYS. The molecule has properties which its constituent atoms don't have and these molecular properties also cause a change in the behaviour of the constituent atoms which then cause a change in the behaviour of the electrons within the atom which then cause further changes at the Planck scale.

This is the basic mechanism for a dissipative structure, which is exactly what our universe is. It is an entirely self-generating system which spontaneously evolves from the simple to the complex. Our planetary biosphere is the most obvious example of such a system as it operates in nature.
PoeticUniverse wrote: …that regularities do not antedate the structures manifesting them.
I've already made this point but it's worth stressing again. It is nature which makes what the observer defines as the "laws of physics", not the other way around.
PoeticUniverse wrote:For a preferred cosmic time to have a legitimate cosmological role, the universe must also be so arranged, by virtue of its relative isotropy and homogeneity, that it provides a clock of cosmic time, in the twin forms of its equal recession in all directions from preferred observers, situated in positions expressive of that homogeneity and isotropy, and of the equal temperature with which its cosmic microwave radiation background strikes these same preferred observers from all directions in the sky. The clock of cosmic time is the universe itself, viewed with regard to some of its features. We have reason to believe that we live in such a universe: one in which cosmic time can in principle be recognized and measured, not simply asserted as a theoretical pre-commitment or dissolved into the many-fingered time of the predominant interpretations of general relativity.
I'm not crazy about the way this has been phrased, although I agree with the general principle. The universe is neither perfectly homogeneous nor perfectly isotropic, although this will almost certainly never be measurable by using the temperature of the CMB. However it is measurable by the phenomenon of gravitational lensing, which in a spaceless universe is no more mysterious than the bent stick in the water of our high school days. The speed of light becomes the same thing as the speed at which time passes and we already know that the speed at which time passes is determined by gravity. The observer observes the slowing down of light as it passes through a gravitational "field" as bent light but what he's really looking at is a region of the universe where time is passing more slowly. In GR this is called a "curved space" but this notion is nothing more than a mathematical metaphor for a very simple temporal phenomenon.
PoeticUniverse wrote: In this respect, the new physics reinstated what had always been a tradition, although a suppressed or recessive one, within the old physics: the relational view, most famously associated with Leibniz.
Not just Leibniz, PU, although indeed most famously so. There has barely been a philosopher of science since the pre-Socratics who hasn't adamantly insisted that space must never be regarded as physically real. The most enlightened of these philosophers were the philosopher/mathematician/poets of early Islam but Newton simply ignored them all. To Newton the map and the territory were one and the same thing and 300 years later physics is still proceeding from this fundamentally flawed metaphysical assumption. It's well past time to acknowledge this.
PoeticUniverse wrote: General relativity, under its most influential interpretations, was more inclined to spatialize time than to temporalize space, as the geometrical metaphor of time as the “fourth dimension” suggests.
Let me make it clear that I regard GR as a masterpiece of mathematical ingenuity. However it was always conceptually hamstrung by SR and its representation of time as a spatial dimension. Poincare never bought it for a moment and Einstein should never have bought it either. All the clues were there in the Michelson-Morley experiment but nobody could make the conceptual leap which would have given physics the new paradigm it needed. The physicality of the Newtonian space had become so hard-wired into the mindset of the thinkers of that time that even an empirical proof to the contrary was insufficient to redirect their thinking.

Space is not physically real. That's all there is to it. There are NO paradoxes, counter-intuitive conclusions or metaphysical absurdities in physics when the Cartesian space is seen as a mathematical object rather than a physical one. Everything makes perfect sense.

PoeticUniverse
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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by PoeticUniverse » Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:52 am

Their take on uniqueness:

On cosmological scales the universe is unique and laws evolve; so the Newtonian paradigm breaks down. On fundamental scales events are also unique; so the Newtonian paradigm breaks down here also. Events are distinguished by their relational properties and thus must be fundamentally unique: there can be no simple and general laws on the fundamental scale.

Repeatable laws only arise on intermediate scales by coarse graining, which forgets information that makes events unique and allows them to be modeled as simple classes which come in vast numbers of instances. Hence the Newtonian paradigm works only on intermediate scales.

Finally, it may happen that uniqueness might sometimes not wash out on intermediate scales, leading to a breakdown of lawfulness, arising from novel states or events. This idea is developed below as the principle of precedence.



On qualia demonstrating the 'now':

Qualia can only be real properties of a world where “now” has an intrinsic meaning so that statements about now are true non-relationally and without contingency. These are the case only in a temporal natural world.

It has been objected that eternalists can see the history of the universe having “temporal parts” with intrinsic qualities. This misses the key point, which is that any reference to one of those timeless parts in a block-universe framework must be contingent and relational, whereas our knowledge of qualia are unqualified by either contingency or relation to any other fact.

We have direct experience of the world in the present moment. Just as the fact that we experience is an undeniable feature of the natural world, it is also an undeniable feature of the natural world that qualia are experienced in moments which are experienced one at a time. This gives a privileged status to each moment of time, associated with each experience: this is the moment that is being experienced now. This means that we have direct access to a feature of the presently present moment that does not require relational and contingent addressing to define it. We can define and give truth values to statements about now which are not contingent on any further knowledge of the world.

How can these facts about nature – that each qualia is an aspect of a presently privileged present moment, that does not require contingent relational addressing to define or evaluate – be incorporated into our conception of the natural world? This fact fits comfortably in a temporal naturalist viewpoint, because in that viewpoint all facts about nature are situated in, or in the past of, presently privileged present moments and no relational and contingent addressing is required to define those that refer to the present.

This fact cannot fit into a timeless version of naturalism according to which there are no facts situated in presently privileged present moments, except when that can be defined timelessly through relational addressing. The same is the case for Barbour’s moment pluralism.

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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:41 am

PoeticUniverse wrote:Repeatable laws only arise on intermediate scales by coarse graining, which forgets information that makes events unique and allows them to be modeled as simple classes which come in vast numbers of instances. Hence the Newtonian paradigm works only on intermediate scales.
Only on intermediate scales and only to a finite order of probability. Ironically it was Newton himself who showed us that the universe is non-Newtonian. Both in Newton's model for gravity as well as in Einstein's it remains an unshakable truth that what determines the relativistic motion of cosmological bodies in the universe is ONLY the relativistic motion of other cosmological bodies in the universe and nothing else. There simply are no laws of any sort which mandate where a given planet, star or galaxy must be because the motions of these bodies are self-determining. It simply beggars belief that the same would not apply to the relativistic behaviour of matter and energy at all scales but what this conclusion actually mandates is a re-definition of the nature of determinism. Instead of Newton's creationist notion of a universe which unwinds according to a rigidly defined suite of laws like a gigantic cosmological clock we now see a universe which simply creates itself. This is non-linear, or chaotic determinism, and this sort of determinism is utterly impossible to model with the mathematical tools used in modern physics. Thus the problem of physics is not only metaphysical but also meta-mathematical, a problem well known to Henri Poincare over a century ago.
PoeticUniverse wrote: Qualia can only be real properties of a world where “now” has an intrinsic meaning so that statements about now are true non-relationally and without contingency. These are the case only in a temporal natural world.

It has been objected that eternalists can see the history of the universe having “temporal parts” with intrinsic qualities. This misses the key point, which is that any reference to one of those timeless parts in a block-universe framework must be contingent and relational, whereas our knowledge of qualia are unqualified by either contingency or relation to any other fact.

We have direct experience of the world in the present moment. Just as the fact that we experience is an undeniable feature of the natural world, it is also an undeniable feature of the natural world that qualia are experienced in moments which are experienced one at a time. This gives a privileged status to each moment of time, associated with each experience: this is the moment that is being experienced now. This means that we have direct access to a feature of the presently present moment that does not require relational and contingent addressing to define it. We can define and give truth values to statements about now which are not contingent on any further knowledge of the world.
This neatly disposes of Chalmers but it should come with the appropriate caveat. What we cognitively experience as the moment "now" is strictly speaking the moment "then". We can't experience an event until after it's already occurred and our neural architecture has then had the time to process the information from it. It may seem like a trivial point but from a metaphysical point of view it very much isn't. It means we live in the wake of time rather than in its flow and that all of our conscious experiences are of a world which no longer exists. Because the speed of light is so bloody fast this is of no consequence in our everyday lives but on the cosmological scale this is not the case. When we look at a distant star a million "light-years" "away" through our telescope we can make no meaningful statement about its current momentum or location because this has been chaotically determined for the past million years or so. The bloody thing could be anywhere. Even more unsettling is the distinct possibility that it blew itself to smithereens half a million years ago and we'll have to wait another half a million years before the news of this event reaches us.

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Re: Is There Progress in Philosophy?

Post by PoeticUniverse » Wed Mar 09, 2016 3:55 am

More from Smolin (seems like he needs help for some items, such as fluctuations and persistence of causes):

…there are no gravitational waves initially, so all gravitational waves that are detected can be assumed to have been radiated by matter sources.

…no electromagnetic radiation has ever been observed that does not plausibly point back to matter sources. If imposed, this condition would be time-irreversible as well, and would account for the electromagnetic arrow of time, independent of the thermodynamic arrow.

In these models, the baryons fall into potential wells formed by the growing structure in the dark matter distribution to form galaxies, whose distribution is highly clustered. The galaxies are in the present day dominated by dark matter, which is necessary to explain both their rotation curves and how they are bound into clusters. It appears that the seeds of this structure formation are imprinted in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and that the whole story of large-scale structure is remarkably simple, because it evolves from an initial distribution of fluctuations in the density of dark matter which has the following characteristics.

*  The fluctuations are small, with initially δρ/ρ ≈ 10−5.
*  The fluctuations are nearly scale-invariant.
*  The fluctuations are Gaussian, which is to say they have no other 
structures. 


A major challenge of cosmological theories is to explain the origin and features of these fluctuations.

The universe, we will assume, has a history which is a single causally connected set of events. This implies that the set of events forms a causal set, by which we mean a partially ordered set. By causally connected we mean that any two events have at least one event which is in their common causal pasts. We also require that the universe contain all the causes of its events so that it satisfies the principle of causal closure.

The world has then no properties which are not properties of a moment. To the extent that a general law is true, that is a property of a moment or moments. That is to say that a physical law is at best part of or an aspect of the state of the universe at a given time.

The future is not now real and there can be no definite facts of the matter about the future.
The past is also not real, but is different from the future because it has been real. Consequently, there can be facts of the matter about past moments. This is possible within temporal naturalism if we regard something having once been real sufficient for facts to exist about the properties of once real events. However, we can have evidence about the truth or falsity of propositions about the past only to the extent that records, fossils, memories or remnants of it are parts of a present moment. When we propose and investigate hypotheses about general laws we seek to confirm or falsify them by comparing them to records of past experiments and observations. The most secure knowledge we can have about a general law is that it has been confirmed by records of past experiments and observations – and this is a property of a present moment.

A law of motion is a property of a present moment because it is a summary of or explanation of records of past experiments, records which are themselves aspects of the state of the world at a present moment.
This does not preclude the possibility that the universe could have properties – such as a law – which hold in all moments. But there is no special category of timeless truths about nature. More to the point we know we need a new paradigm for a cosmological law to avoid the cosmological dilemma and cosmological fallacy.

Within this present perspective what requires explanation is why objects and other features of the universe persist. Furthermore, the fact that laws do succeed to explain features of the universe persistent over billions of years suggests that there are physical processes which facilitate, if not guarantee, the persistence of causes. To explain these, the novel paradigm we seek must rest on a hypothesis that there are causal processes which relate present events and properties to past events and properties.

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