Re: this very moment

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000 09:59:05 +1000 (EST)

        I think Alistair has already posted a response, which seems to
concur with mine. The Plenitude is a compelling idea with a number of
predictions eg fine-tuning with the Anthropic Principle and the efficacy of
Occam's razor. It would seem from these posts that the success of
induction is related to the issue of efficacy of Occam's razor.

So we have a situation where A => B, where A is the idea of Plenitude
+ Anthropic Principle, and B is the success of induction. About all we
can draw from this is that -B => -A, ie that A is falsifiable. This is
the usual meaning of some observation "supporting" a theory. However,
I don't see any circularity here.


Brent Meeker wrote:
> On 13-May-00, Alastair Malcolm wrote:
> >> In any case our reason for supposing the world to be law like is already
> >> because we believe in induction; not the other way around. Hence in using
> > what
> >> we know of science and life, which is all based on induction, in step 4 we
> > already introduce circularity into the argument. But maybe not vicious
> > circularity
> >> - that's what makes it interesting.
> >
> > I am afraid I fail to see any relevant circularity here, vicious or
> > otherwise. Note that the particular argument in my post takes the AUH
> > (plenitude) as a premise, so there cannot be circularity at that point.
> > Perhaps you might like to spell out exactly where you think the circularity
> > arises, and then I could comment further.
> >
> The circularity I referred to arises from my presumption that you intended to
> explain the reliability of induction from the plentitude; and at the same time to use the fact that we observe induction to be reliable as supporting the existence of the
> plentitude. As I said, I'm not sure it's vicious circularity (in which you
> assumed that which was to be proved); rather it is of the form A implies B, and
> B, therefore (probably) A. I would like to see some discussion of what else
> implies B - and also some definition of what B is. It seems that most of the
> discussion on this forum consists of assuming a plentitude/multi-verse/TOE,
> assuming it to conform to some general ideas
> simplicity/generality/computatbility and then showing that this explains or
> makes probable some apparent features of the world
> fine-tuned-constants/induction/collapse-of-the-wave-function. This is
> interesting but I would like to see some consideration of alternative
> explanations of these features. Why is the plentitude/multi-verse or whatever
> preferred? Otherwise the discussion tends to resemble theology - "We have seen
> God and He explains everything."
> Brent Meeker

Dr. Russell Standish Director
High Performance Computing Support Unit, Phone 9385 6967
UNSW SYDNEY 2052 Fax 9385 6965
Room 2075, Red Centre
Received on Sun May 14 2000 - 17:01:18 PDT

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