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Constructing the World Week 7. David Chalmers. Minimizing the Base. So far I’ve argued that all truths are a priori scrutable from PQTI- microphysics, phenomenology, that’s-all, indexicals How much further can we narrow the base? Is there a principled minimal basis?. Heuristics.

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minimizing the base
Minimizing the Base
  • So far I’ve argued that all truths are a priori scrutable from PQTI-
    • microphysics, phenomenology, that’s-all, indexicals
  • How much further can we narrow the base?
  • Is there a principled minimal basis?
  • Heuristics for suggesting that B is scrutable from A
    • Knowability: Knowing A enables knowing B
    • Conceivability: A without B is inconceivable
    • Analysis: B-expressions are approximately analyzable in terms of A-expressions.
conceptual priority
Conceptual Priority
  • A heuristic for further narrowing the base
    • Aim for conceptual priority in a base
  • A is conceptually prior to B when...
    • Grasping B requires grasping A?
    • Articulating B requires articulating A?
    • B can be approximately defined in terms of A?
twin earthability
  • A is twin-earthable when intrinsic duplicates can use A nondeferentially with different content
    • ‘water’, ‘Godel’
    • not ‘philosopher’, ‘circle’, ‘conscious’?
  • Arguably: Twin-earthable truths are scrutable from non-twin-earthable truths plus indexical truths
  • Aim for non-twinearthable expressions and indexicals in the base
  • Microphysical expressions are approximately analyzable, by the Carnap-Ramsey-Lewis method, in terms of observable and nomic expressions
    • Charge = what plays the charge role
    • Repeat for various theoretical terms
    • Grounded in laws, primary and secondary quality expressions?
observational truths
Observational Truths
  • Observational truths involving secondary qualities
  • Functionalist view: Analyzable via and scrutable from phenomenal and causal truths
    • e.g. redness = normal cause of red experience, or disposition to cause red experience
  • Primitivist view: Not analyzable in this way
    • red is a primitive concept, such that red things normally cause red experiences is not a priori
spatiotemporal truths
Spatiotemporal Truths
  • Are spatiotemporal truths scrutable from nonspatiotemporal truths?
    • Functionalist view: a priori scrutable from phenomenal and nomic truths
      • e.g. length/distance = what causes experiences as of length/distance
    • Primitivist view: Not analyzable/scrutable in this way. Primitive spatiotemporal concepts.
spatiotemporal twin earthability
Spatiotemporal Twin-Earthability
  • Spatiotemporal Twin Earth cases (Brad Thompson):
  • Doubled Earth: Everything is twice as big. Big Oscar is a functional/phenomenal duplicate of Oscar.
    • Claim: When Big Oscar says ‘That is two meters long’ he speaks truly.
    • So Big Oscar refers to two meters with ‘one meter’. Suggests: ‘one meter’ = (roughly) what normally causes experiences as of one meter.
el greco world
El Greco World
  • What about shape and relative size?
  • El Greco World: Everything is stretched out by a factor of two on one dimension. Stretched Oscar is twice as tall as Oscar.
  • Claim: When Stretched Oscar says ‘That is square’ he speaks truly.
  • So his ‘square’ refers to what we call rectangles.
intuition pump
Intuition Pump
  • Say that we turn out to be in Stretched Oscar’s situation: our galaxy is stretched relative to rest of the world, macrophysical length is nonuniform with respect to microphysical length.
  • Claim: even if so, our ordinary claims re squareness are true and experiences are veridical.
    • We’d distinguish macrosquareness from microsquareness (etc), and hold that ‘square’ refers to macrosquareness.
  • Even better: if fundamental physics doesn’t use spacetime (cf. the Matrix).
choice point
Choice Point
  • Functionalist view: Spatiotemporal expressions are Twin-Earthable and analyzable, like color (on functionalist view):
    • spatiotemporal properties = those properties that normally cause relevant experiences
  • Primitivist view: Spatiotemporal concepts are primitive, non-Twin-Earthable, unanalyzable
    • spatiotemporal expressions in base
causal and nomic truths
Causal and Nomic Truths
  • Humean scrutability: Nomic truths are scrutable from non-nomic truths (e.g. spatiotemporal truths)
    • Base involves spatiotemporal mosaic?
  • Non-Humean view: Nomic truths are not scrutable from non-nomic truths
    • Base involves laws of nature?
conceivability heuristic
Conceivability Heuristic
  • Test case: Can we conceive that all the non-nomic truths obtain and the nomic truths are different?
    • E.g. conceivability of Giant Cosmic Coincidence world
    • Pair of Tooley worlds with different laws of nature for uninstantiated interactions
which nomic expressions
Which Nomic Expressions?
  • If we need nomic expressions in the base, then which?
  • Arguably, law (or it is naturally necessary that) is more fundamental than cause?
  • If the world is nondeterministic, we may also need chance.
phenomenal truths
Phenomenal Truths
  • Type-A materialist: Phenomenal truths are a priori scrutable from physical truths (and from nomic/spatiotemporal truths?)
    • analytic functionalist, eliminativist, ...
  • Phenomenal realist: Phenomenal truths are not a priori scrutable from physical truths (or...)
    • Type-B materialist, dualist, panpsychist, ...
analyzing phenomenal truths
Analyzing Phenomenal Truths
  • Are phenomenal concepts analyzable in some other (non-functionalist) way?
  • Intentionalist: phenomenal redness = phenomenally representing (external, primitive?) redness
  • Naive realist: phenomenal redness = veridical perception of red object, or hallucination thereof?
  • Panprotopsychist: phenomenal truths scrutable from protophenomenal truths?
  • Quiddities: The “hidden” categorical bases of fundamental microphysical dispositions
    • E.g. property X plays the charge role
  • View 1: No quiddities distinct from roles
  • View 2: Numerically distinct quiddities
  • View 3: Substantial graspable quiddities
  • View 4: Substantial ungraspable quiddities
quiddistic scrutability
Quiddistic Scrutability
  • Are all quiddistic truths scrutable from role truths?
  • Arguably yes on views 1, 2, 4 (though...)
  • Plausibly no on view 3 (thick quidditism)
    • View 3 involves conceptual quidditism and plausibly leads to epistemological quidditism
    • It’s conceivable that X plays the charge role and that Y plays that charge role
quiddistic expressions
Quiddistic Expressions
  • If epistemological quidditism is correct, we’ll need quiddistic expressions in the base
    • Phenomenal? (panpsychism)
    • Protophenomenal? (panprotopsychism)
    • Secondary qualities? (pancolorism)
    • Other? (humility re intrinsics)
compression using laws
Compression Using Laws
  • Given determinism: boundary conditions plus laws?
  • Given probabilistic laws: boundary conditions plus laws plus ...
  • Specifiable using description of countable length?
other minimization issues
Other Minimization Issues
  • Which indexicals?
  • Which logical expressions?
  • Which mathematical expressions?
  • Categorical expressions?
  • That’s-all expressions?
  • Four major choice points:
    • Spatiotemporal expressions: yes or no
    • Nomic expressions: yes or no
    • Phenomenal expressions: yes or no
    • Quiddities: yes or no
  • Sixteen resulting potential bases?
  • N.B. Pluralism remains possible, depending on issues about conceptual priority.
sixteen packages
Sixteen Packages
  • SNPQ, SNP, ..., S, N, P, -
  • -: yields Newman’s problem?
  • P: yields phenomenalism or Humean panpsychism?
  • S: Lewis’s Humean scrutability?
  • N: nomic structuralism
  • My view: NP, or NQ (with protophenomena), or perhaps NPQ
principled scrutability bases
Principled Scrutability Bases
  • Narrow Scrutability: Base is non-Twinearthable
  • Primitive Scrutability: Base involves primitive concepts
  • Acquaintance Scrutability: Base involves objects of acquaintance (epistemically rigid concepts?)
  • Fundamental Scrutability: Base involves metaphysical fundamentals (plus...)
  • Structural Scrutability: Base involves relations