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

From: <>
Date: Mon, 07 May 2007 19:27:05 -0700

On May 7, 4:06 pm, "Stathis Papaioannou" <> wrote:
> On 07/05/07, <> wrote:

> > We have here a clear example of an indispensible *physical* concept
> > which *cannot* be broken down or reduced to any finite lower level
> > descriptions. This proves that reductive materialism is false.
> 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

Say what!! this is not a valid analogy since the laws of physics are
absolutely the fundamental level of reality, where as dsecriptions of
chimpanzee behaviour are not.

'The Laws of Physics' don't refer to human notions (they certainly
are not regarded that way by scientists - the whole notion of an
objective reality would have be thrown out the window if we thought
that there were no objective laws of physics since as mentioned,
physics is the base level of reality), but are precise mathematical
rules which have to be (postulated as) *universal* in scope for the
scientific method to work at all.

If an election were merely 'inclined' to behave in a certain way
(which by the way is the pre-scientific world-view) , then what in
fact could be the cause of its behaviour? An election is not a
teleological (and non-fundamental) agent like a chimpanzee, it is a
fixed fundamental building block of reality! There could be no
explanatory theory of election behaviour without postulating some
external (and objective) laws of physics capable of 'acting upon' the

The whole scientific method is based on the notion *external* laws of
physics combined with empirical data. So in practice the term *laws
of physics* is definitely being used as if it as external objective
'thing' or ontological category. The whole point is that its use this
way in practice (indispensible for the scientific method to work)
means that it can't in fact be broken down into merely the sum of our
empricial observations.

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Received on Mon May 07 2007 - 22:27:27 PDT

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