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Constructing the World Week 7
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  1. Constructing the WorldWeek 7 • David Chalmers

  2. 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?

  3. Heuristics • 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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

  6. Microphysics • 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?

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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).

  12. 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

  13. 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?

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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, ...

  17. 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?

  18. Quiddities • 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

  19. 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

  20. 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)

  21. Compression Using Laws • Given determinism: boundary conditions plus laws? • Given probabilistic laws: boundary conditions plus laws plus ... • Specifiable using description of countable length?

  22. Other Minimization Issues • Which indexicals? • Which logical expressions? • Which mathematical expressions? • Categorical expressions? • That’s-all expressions?

  23. Packages • 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.

  24. 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

  25. 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