RE: Back to Existence: Physically Real vs. Platonic

From: Lee Corbin <>
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2006 19:04:19 -0700

Brent wrote

> > Okay, suppose that there are no observers, and the Earth
> > has been burnt to a cinder except for one copy of Milton's
> > "Paradise Lost", and one copy of the Oxford English dictionary.
> > It seems to me that we should say that just two books still
> > exist. Do you agree?
> >
> > Supposing that you do agree that these two book in our
> > spacetime still exist, then as you have said, all the
> > words in "Paradise Lost" can be found in the Oxford
> > dictionary.
> >
> > Next we begin the slippery slope argument where Paradise Lost
> > is broken apart into its separate pages and scattered
> > throughout the cosmos. I agree with you that in one sense
> > Milton's book no longer exists, but it still does exist in
> > the sense that there is enough redundancy to piece it back
> > together again were a new sentient life form to come into
> > being, and to find those pages, and to bind them.
> >
> > What I disagree with is your statement that the mind of the
> > observer really played any key role.
> I find that implausible. You're assuming that the pages could be put back in order without
> recognizing any meaning of the words. Do you think you could put the pages of a book written in
> Chinese in order? - I couldn't. I think you are implicitly assuming that rules of syntax and
> grammar are in the text itself. For a long book, it might be possible to infer those rules with
> some confidence - but not with certainty.

Yes, you're right. Assume that it's a long enough book that all
the hints from sentence length, apparent word usage, and so on
(e.g. who is speaking, if there are, say, quite a number of
characters and the hypothsis is that " " denote speech associated
with one particular capitalized Name). Then they might do it.

Thanks for the correction.


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Received on Mon Jul 03 2006 - 21:59:10 PDT

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