Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Which laws govern the thoughts of a material thinker

I'm not begging the question when I say mental acts cannot be physical acts. A brain is what? An arbitrarily defined collection of physical particles. What are physical particles governed by, the laws of physics or the laws of logic? Last I checked, it was the laws of physics. So the laws of logic, which are presumably obeyed by a material thinker, are really inoperative.

I think numbers are ideas in the mind of God, which he puts into our minds.

See this essay by Plantinga. 
http://www.andrewmbailey.co...

12 comments:

John Moore said...

The laws of physics are the laws of logic. How could it be otherwise?

We never actually violate the laws of logic, but we merely say illogical things. Saying you'll be in two places at the same time is easy, but doing so is impossible.

Saying is a kind of doing, of course, so how can anyone even say something that violates the laws of logic? It's because the laws of logic don't specify what a given symbol must mean.

It's like shooting an arrow - how is it ever possible to miss the target? The laws of physics don't specify which direction an arrow must be pointed in.

William said...

Spoken like a realist, John. If the laws of (I assume you mean classical) logic are just physical laws, then is a Liar sentence a black hole in the logic-sphere?

David Brightly said...

I suggested this once before. Let me try again. I think we would say that repeated coin-tossing is governed both by the laws of physics and the laws of probability. They are both operative. What is it about the laws of logic that makes them inoperative in a 'material thinker' obedient to the laws of physics?

Hal said...

I think you make a good point, David.

I can understand distinguishing between things such as the Laws of Physics or the Laws of Nature or the Laws of Logic. But I fail to understand why following the Laws of Physics would entail that one cannot follow the Laws of Logic.

One can follow the rules of chess and still be following the laws of physics. Do the laws of physics prevent one from calculating a sum?

Would sentient creatures such as ourselves be able to exist in a non-uniform world in which the laws of physics were continually changing?


I suppose that if there is a God she would be quite capable of thinking of numbers. Not sure why she would have to "put them in our minds". Aren't humans capable of thinking of numbers on their own?






William said...

The conclusion of the argument from reason should not be that, if all were determined by classical or quantum physics, that there could be no laws of logic unless the logic laws were also quantum or classical physics (as John Moore seemed to say they were).

There could still be such rules of logic, since, as David correctly points out, the issue of what is logical is independent of the physics of the world.

The argument from reason instead seems to be saying that there is no purely classical-or-quantum-mechanical-physical-law reason that we should __know__ the rules of logic for certain, enough to know that we were indeed being logical.

Mortal said...

Aren't humans capable of thinking of numbers on their own?

Short answer: No.

We are only capable of those things the Creator has deigned we be capable of. On our own, we wouldn't even exist, let alone be "capable of" doing anything.

David Brightly said...

What do we mean when we say that our thought is (sometimes) governed by the laws of logic? When we say that matter is governed by the laws of physics we mean that changes in measurable physical quantities go in accordance with certain mathematically expressed rules. The mental analogy would be that changes in our thoughts go in accordance with the rules of logic. But they don't. My thought is pretty chaotic and it takes a great effort to concentrate on a specific line of thought, such as writing this brief piece. When working on a formally logical development such as a mathematical proof or a legal or philosophical argument, in order to stay within the rules of (deductive) logic I have to coerce my thinking into a quasi-mechanical mode wherein I check that later thoughts follow from or are at least consistent with earlier thoughts. In fact, the more logical I want to be, the more mechanically I need to constrain my thought. In the limit, at least for mathematics, I can use a computer system to check my proof. Isn't this rather ironic?

Stardusty Psyche said...

OP I'm not begging the question when I say mental acts cannot be physical acts.
--Yes you are.

" A brain is what? An arbitrarily defined collection of physical particles. What are physical particles governed by, the laws of physics or the laws of logic?"
--People tend to invent things they call "laws", as though there is some grand puppeteer enforcing all these sorts of legal systems.

The most fundamental structures quite apparently have properties. That's all there is. Everything else is a result of those fundamental structures acting on a sub-microscopic scale according to their basic physical properties.

All the so called "laws" of physics we have are approximation models of larger scale structures, which are merely descriptive, not prescriptive.

So called "laws" of logic are provisionally postulated, not proved, and not imposed. The are derivatives of observations of physical actions and our internal abstractions, which might not even have an external physical realization.

Other supposed "laws" are even more tenuous, such as the so called "laws" of probability.

William said...

Dusty:
"Everything else is a result of those fundamental structures acting on a sub-microscopic scale according to their basic physical properties."

What empirical evidence do you have for this assertion? Or is this an article of faith for you?

Stardusty Psyche said...

William said... August 11, 2017 11:28 AM

Dusty:
"Everything else is a result of those fundamental structures acting on a sub-microscopic scale according to their basic physical properties."

" What empirical evidence do you have for this assertion? Or is this an article of faith for you?"

--The whole of science. Naming all the specifics would be impossible for one person to do. But I will provide a couple examples.

Have you ever noticed that hot things glow? In fact, the glowing coals in a fire glow the same as the iron in the fire. One is composed mostly of carbon, a non-metal, the other is iron, used most commonly in various steel alloys. A brick glows the same as does pottery, and tungsten, and a wide variety of materials. Why?

The question puzzled humans for centuries, perhaps millennia. Closer examination of the spectrum revealed that these bodies share a common spectral distribution called black body radiation. The color of a black body radiating at a particular temperature is called the color temperature. But why?

It was not until the development of the standard model and quantum mechanics that this effect could be described and modeled and in that sense explained. It has to do with the way temperature is a measure of atomic motion, how that excites electrons, and how electron emit photons when they lose energy after having gained energy.

So, that is one example of a macro scale observable effect that is dependent on the properties of actions of the very smallest structures we know of.

In another example, have you ever noticed that children look like their parents? Of course, everybody knows that. Breeders know that traits are inherited. These things have been known for many centuries. But why? What makes it so?

It was just very, very recently in history, just the middle of the 20th century, that we identified the key to this ancient mystery. A molecule. DNA. It was detected and modeled not with a photograph, rather, with x-ray crystallography, and chemical techniques. By examining certain patterns of images on x-rays and applying known science of electromagnetic propagation the structure of the molecule could be determined.

Since then a very great deal of work has been done such that the structure of DNA has been analyzed down to the atomic and subatomic level. The structure of the atoms in your DNA are a result of the properties of their subatomic constituents. Those atoms bind together due to the actions of their subatomic constituents interacting with each other. These myriad interactions give rise in turn to the double helix with its many structures and it overall structure. This molecular structure in turn gives rise to cellular actions and the multitude of your cells makes up you.

You are a multitude. A multitude of cells, which are in turn a multitude of molecules, in turn made up of atoms, in turn made up of subatomic constituents.

You are a collection of subatomic constituents whether you know it or not.

My article of faith? Hardly. It is the ignorance born of faith that leads to denials of these established scientific facts.

William said...

Dusty:

A few textbook style examples while vaguely gesturing toward general scientific explanations does not satisfy your sweeping "everything else" claim.

Nor do you EVEN BEGIN to show universal reduction to particle physics by a few such examples of __partial__ reduction.

I see no basic physics or quantum mechanics in the genetics example, so no reduction to particle attributes was actually given. And, regarding the reduction to mere DNA you claim, I doubt you have even imagined just how complex _real_ genetic science has become the last 15 years.

Finally, regarding your parting statement. I come from a the kind of group which is more justifiably able to claim you are ignorant of the real meat of science than the reverse. It's sophomoric in the extreme to think you are supporting your claim the way you think you did.

Stardusty Psyche said...

William said...August 13, 2017 6:41 PM

" Nor do you EVEN BEGIN to show universal reduction to particle physics by a few such examples of __partial__ reduction."
--Perhaps I should have written a book and posted it here 4096 characters at a time.

" I see no basic physics or quantum mechanics in the genetics example,"
--I seen no explication of logical principles or English grammar in your statements.

At some point the reader must think for himself.


" I doubt you have even imagined just how complex _real_ genetic science has become the last 15 years."
--I doubt you are able to read my mind.

" Finally, regarding your parting statement. I come from a the kind of group which is more justifiably able to claim you are ignorant of the real meat of science than the reverse."
--WTF is that supposed to even mean. Do you have a point to make?

" It's sophomoric in the extreme to think you are supporting your claim the way you think you did."
--It is idiotic in the extreme to assert you know what I am thinking.