Re: An idea to resolve the 1st Person/3rd person division mystery - Coarse graining is the answer!?

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Sat, 5 May 2007 20:41:01 +1000

On Mon, May 07, 2007 at 02:06:36PM +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> I'm not sure that it is necessary to consider the laws of physics a separate
> ontological category. A zoologist might study the behaviour of chimpanzees,
> take notes, and summarise these notes in a paper for others to read and test
> by seeing if chimpanzees do indeed behave as claimed. The "rules of
> chimpanzee behaviour" is not separate to how chimpanzees actually behave nor
> does it have any causal effects of its own. Similarly, a physicist might
> study the behaviour of electrons and write a paper for others to read and
> test by seeing if electrons do behave in the way claimed, but these "laws of
> physics" regarding electrons are not separate to electron behaviour and have
> no causal role in electron behaviour. Electrons and chimpanzees behave in
> the way they are inclined to behave, and if we can discern patterns by
> observing them, that's just our good fortune.
> --
> Stathis Papaioannou

Electron is just our name for how certain quantum fields behave. The
rules about electron behaviour are about our notion of an electron, not
about something that is fundamentally existing.

OK perhaps electron is somewhat controversial, as some people might
think of electrons as fundamental. However, replace electron by proton
and there is no doubt.

Similarly, chimpanzees are names given to a certain collection of
chemicals that happens to behave in a particular way. The rules of
chimpanzee behaviour are fully emergent from the rules of chemistry.

A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
UNSW SYDNEY 2052         
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Received on Mon May 07 2007 - 00:17:20 PDT

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