Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id PAA07947 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Tue, 17 Apr 2001 15:32:12 +0100 Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 15:13:50 +0100 To: email@example.com Subject: Re: The Tipping Point Message-ID: <20010417151350.A2079@ii01.org> References: <20010417131744.AAA15955@firstname.lastname@example.org> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Disposition: inline User-Agent: Mutt/1.3.15i In-Reply-To: <20010417131744.AAA15955@email@example.com>; from firstname.lastname@example.org on Tue, Apr 17, 2001 at 09:17:26AM -0400 From: Robin Faichney <email@example.com> Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
On Tue, Apr 17, 2001 at 09:17:26AM -0400, Wade T.Smith wrote:
> Joe said-
> > That is because, unlike the TV, we are dynamically recursive, and
> > feed back (and forward). A TV cannot change the picture sent to it
> > by a camera, but we can take actions which result in perceptual
> > change, just as all perception involves some action.
> That TV/camera dynamic can also be made to feedback, (and change the
> picture sent to it), by pointing the camera at the monitor. Controlling
> the 'tipping points' of luminosity and color can result in some rather
> beautifully kinetic images.
True. I've done that myself. But does that makes it a better analogy
in this case?
> Robin said-
> >Surely each [grain] is directly affected only by its immediate neighbours
> Surely each grain is also directly affected by its location in the
> universe- gravity, pressure of the mass around it, even perhaps tidal
> forces, at extreme levels of influence.
Of course. But, as usual, I was taking the word "significantly" as given.
> The idea that this is a universe of causes, one cause leading to another,
> cause into cause, with some result waiting for us at some omega point,
I don't get that last bit. What means "some result waiting for us at
some omega point"?
> interesting- leading me to wonder if 'effect' is not the illusion.
Only if you take "ultimate" to be implied, and if so, then "cause" is
equally illusory. These are mere links in a chain, or, slightly more
accurately, nodes in a net of influence, which in one sense is simply
the settling of the universe into the state of maximum entropy.
> >So how can you also claim that events on one level influence those on
> >another, when the former *is* the latter?
> At any reasonable level of explanation, calling the universe the ultimate
> cause is unwise, if not untrue.
That's absolutely true. This only works at the very highest level,
and of course, as I keep saying over and over again, the concept of
causation only really works -- or, at least, works best -- if both
cause and effect are at the same level. The universe (at one moment)
causes only the universe (at the next moment).
Actually, there is a very close parallel between the claims that (a)
a conscious decision causes neural activity, and (b) the universe
causes any particular event within it -- despite Joe's disparagment of
the latter notion. Both are top-down causation, and both, in my view,
are entirely *in*valid.
Having said which, I'm perfectly happy with conscious activity causing
neural activity where that can be seen as diagonal causation, i.e.
normal, horizontal causation *plus* conceptual framework translation.
At first glance, that *might* also be a way in which the universe could
be considered to cause particular events, but I tend to feel rather
sceptical about the real utility of such a tactic.
Perhaps its only use would be relatively rhetorical, saying something
like "given quantum non-locality, the universe as a whole (at one point
in time) can be considered to cause every event within it (at the next
point in time)". Or, discounting the quantum bit, influence is limited
to a volume defined by the distance coverable by light within the time
period concerned. But then we're no longer dealing with the universe
as a whole.
> But there is also some real reason for
> this scientific ape to deal with the universe from a single perspective.
Why should any particular perspective be given precedence?
> Such I think is the reason people like gods so much, although any unified
> theory is godlike. Bringing all explanations, levels, and causes together
> is the want of consilience, since scientific perspective is 360.
Sometimes the only way to reconcile differences is to acknowledge and
accept them, because trying to force a merger between dissimilars leads
to dissension and the exaggeration of difference.
-- Robin Faichney Get your Meta-Information from http://www.ii01.org (CAUTION: contains philosophy, may cause heads to spin)
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