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Why are there laws of nature?
Posted: 20 October 2011 01:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 181 ]
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StephenLawrence - 19 October 2011 11:11 PM
Write4U - 19 October 2011 04:50 PM

Do we have to understand it?  Do we understand why 2 + 2 = 4?

The important point is 2+2 necessarily = 4.

A brute fact?

So it is with all Naturals (universal laws). We may not fully understand the why of gravity, but the fact remains that today gravity permeates the universe and has done so since the beginning. We can observe the effects of gravity wherever we look. Thus one thing is sure, gravity is alive and well today, which gives it “gravitas” as opposed to speculation if gravity can or will disappear tomorrow.

The gravitas comes from the belief that it can’t change or at least it can’t change without a reason. Or at the very least it’s highly unlikely to change. The gravitas does not come from simply it hasn’t changed.

There’s the rub, as far as we can tell it will not change without a “reason to change”. I can’t come up with a reason why gravity should change from how it functions today. Can you?

Why do we need to pose the why as if some sort of motive is required for something to function?

Because if there is no reason why, gravity is a contingent brute fact. If it’s a contingent brute fact we seem to get a very perculiar result. Gravity might change at 9 am tomorrow and it might not, there is no reason that pushes the probability either way and so the probability is 50/50. Same goes for 9.30 am, 10 am and so on.
So we end up with, it is highly likely that gravity will change tomorrow. grin

I would not call it “a contingent brute fact”. I would call it “inherent property or ability” (potential). Today, tomorrow for eternity, Gravity is contingent only on the very existence of the universe itself and vice versa.
This why it is a Universal, a latent dynamic excellence of the Cosmos.

[ Edited: 20 October 2011 01:28 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 20 October 2011 01:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 182 ]
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Gravity is the cradle of the Universe….... cheese


ps. IMO (ll + ll = llll)  is an abstract function of gravity. The environment must allow for pairing to occur, i.e gravity.

[ Edited: 20 October 2011 01:48 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 20 October 2011 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 183 ]
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Write4U - 20 October 2011 01:03 AM

There’s the rub, as far as we can tell it will not change without a “reason to change”. I can’t come up with a reason why gravity should change from how it functions today. Can you?

No I can’t.

What you are doing is coming up with a theory that 1) it can’t change without a reason to change. And 2) There is no reason that could make it change.

Which means it can’t change.

That seems fine to me.

But many philosophers are saying laws of nature are contingent brute facts and that coming up with the additional theory you have adds nothing.

Stephen

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Posted: 20 October 2011 02:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 184 ]
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StephenLawrence - 20 October 2011 12:14 PM
Write4U - 20 October 2011 01:03 AM

There’s the rub, as far as we can tell it will not change without a “reason to change”. I can’t come up with a reason why gravity should change from how it functions today. Can you?

No I can’t.

What you are doing is coming up with a theory that 1) it can’t change without a reason to change. And 2) There is no reason that could make it change.

Which means it can’t change.

That seems fine to me.

But many philosophers are saying laws of nature are contingent brute facts and that coming up with the additional theory you have adds nothing.

Stephen

But can we not say that because gravity is a contingent brute fact, it would take a change in the existing universal condition on which gravity is contingent. Thus the question cannot just be that gravity will disappear tomorrow. The entire universe would have to disappear for gravity to cease to exist as a contingent brute fact.
And how does one make the universe disappear? Now I have identified a causality which would negate gravity as an expressed dynamic force and reduce it back to a potential (latent) state. But is the disappearance of the universe a reasonable assumption? The universe itself is a contingent brute fact. Every particle in the universe is a contingent brute fact, etc, etc.

[ Edited: 20 October 2011 03:01 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 20 October 2011 11:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 185 ]
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Write4U - 20 October 2011 02:51 PM


But can we not say that because gravity is a contingent brute fact, it would take a change in the existing universal condition on which gravity is contingent.

No. Brute facts arent contingent upon anything, they might be this way they might be that way and they happen to be this way for no reason.

If gravity was contingent upon something that something would be the reason why gravity exists but brute facts have no reason why.

But is the disappearance of the universe a reasonable assumption? The universe itself is a contingent brute fact. Every particle in the universe is a contingent brute fact, etc, etc.

If there is nothing to reduce the probability of it disappearing then it’s a reasonable assumption, yes. grin

Stephen

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Posted: 20 October 2011 11:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 186 ]
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StephenLawrence - 20 October 2011 11:00 PM
Write4U - 20 October 2011 02:51 PM


But can we not say that because gravity is a contingent brute fact, it would take a change in the existing universal condition on which gravity is contingent.

No. Brute facts arent contingent upon anything, they might be this way they might be that way and they happen to be this way for no reason.

If gravity was contingent upon something that something would be the reason why gravity exists but brute facts have no reason why.

I believe that universal laws reveal themselves when events demand. Until then they lay dormant as potential. As long as energy exists, there will be physical reality with its attendant universal laws.

But is the disappearance of the universe a reasonable assumption? The universe itself is a contingent brute fact. Every particle in the universe is a contingent brute fact, etc, etc.

If there is nothing to reduce the probability of it disappearing then it’s a reasonable assumption, yes. grin

Stephen

I disagree on a statistical basis. If the universe was in a static condition, yes, then the logical probability of 50/50 would hold. But the universe is a dynamic self creating “Being”. The probability of it ending suddenly is somewhat less than zero. i.e. a negative probability factor.

Strangely, I do believe that Beginning was suddenly, if not inevitable, i.e. a single mega quantum event. But I do not believe that it could end in a single mega quantum event. Perhaps more like a burning amber, fading slowly, from old age. Becoming “Dark Matter”.... cheese

[ Edited: 21 October 2011 12:14 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 24 October 2011 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 187 ]
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GdB - 25 September 2011 11:36 PM
StephenLawrence - 25 September 2011 10:59 AM

there is no way we can tell that the universe will continue as it has done from induction itself.

You are completely right, if you fill in:
there is no logical way we can prove that the universe will continue as it has done from induction itself

Completely right is that there is no way the epistemic probability of the universe continuing as it has done can be raised from 50/50 from induction itself.

Stephen

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Posted: 25 October 2011 12:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 188 ]
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Stephen,

I think you must flesh out what a ‘brute fact’ is, and what a law of nature.

1. Under what circumstances do we say an expression about a ‘brute fact’ is true?
2. When do we say an expression of a law of nature is true?

What is the difference between them?
Are both contingent? When yes, In the same way?
Examples are always handy…

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Posted: 26 October 2011 03:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 189 ]
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GdB - 25 October 2011 12:19 AM

Stephen,

I think you must flesh out what a ‘brute fact’ is, and what a law of nature.


We are thinking about implications of assuming gravity is a brute fact.

The implication is apparently that the epistemic probability of it changing tomorrow is 50/50 or even worse.

The challenge is to escape the conclusion.

If we assume Gravity is a law of nature then gravity won’t change tomorrow but gravity could, in which case it would not be a law of nature. This is the same as a deterministic world could be indeterministic but isn’t.

 

1. Under what circumstances do we say an expression about a ‘brute fact’ is true?

If there is no explanation for it.

2. When do we say an expression of a law of nature is true?

If it fits closely enough with the way the world is and is exceptionless.

What is the difference between them?
Are both contingent?

I’m assuming brute facts are contingent because necessitated brute facts is a contradiction and we do appear to have only two options and introducing a third option doesn’t help because it doesn’t help with the problem of raising the epistemic probability of gravity remaining the same tomorrow from 50/50.

So brute facts are nomically contingent.

Assuming Laws of nature are brute facts then they are nomically contingent in precisely the same way.


The point is if gravity were to change it would not be a law of nature but that is banal, it’s a law of nature (assuming it is) because it never does not because it can’t.

When yes, In the same way?
Examples are always handy…

I’m sticking with gravity as an example.

Stephen

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Posted: 26 October 2011 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 190 ]
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StephenLawrence - 26 October 2011 03:39 AM

1. Under what circumstances do we say an expression about a ‘brute fact’ is true?

If there is no explanation for it.

Sigh… Again and again. You make no difference between our expressions, or in this case our knowledge, and what happens in nature.

The correct answer is when I have no explanation for it.

And now you must go one step further: what does it mean to have an explanation for something?

It means that I can understand some event by knowing the laws of nature involved, and by knowing the previous conditions that led to the event, for short that I understand its cause. So rephrasing my original answer: a brute fact is fact of which I do not know the cause. So the expression of a ‘brute fact’ is true, when it describes an event that really happened, and I do not know the cause. Which does not mean there is no cause.

StephenLawrence - 26 October 2011 03:39 AM

2. When do we say an expression of a law of nature is true?

If it fits closely enough with the way the world is and is exceptionless.

No. Laws of nature cannot be ‘brute facts’, because they are not caused. So they cannot be ‘brute facts’ or ‘explained facts’ in the sense above. They can be true by induction (or if you want lack of falsification), and by logical consistency with other laws of nature.

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Posted: 26 October 2011 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 191 ]
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GdB - 26 October 2011 07:49 AM

Sigh… Again and again. You make no difference between our expressions, or in this case our knowledge, and what happens in nature.

The correct answer is when I have no explanation for it.

You’re wrong. Of course there are things we haven’t explained, that is not what philosophers mean by brute facts. (in this context)

And now you must go one step further: what does it mean to have an explanation for something?

It means that I can understand some event by knowing the laws of nature involved, and by knowing the previous conditions that led to the event, for short that I understand its cause. So rephrasing my original answer: a brute fact is fact of which I do not know the cause. So the expression of a ‘brute fact’ is true, when it describes an event that really happened, and I do not know the cause. Which does not mean there is no cause.

That’s not true. You’re making this up.

No. Laws of nature cannot be ‘brute facts’, because they are not caused. So they cannot be ‘brute facts’ or ‘explained facts’ in the sense above.

I don’t understand what you’re saying at all here.

They can be true by induction (or if you want lack of falsification), and by logical consistency with other laws of nature.

This is the same mistake Karl Popper makes. You have to imagine two competing theories 1) Gravity will change tomorrow. 2) Gravity will not.

Both theories have equally not been falsified. As lack of falsification applies to both it makes no difference.

It’s that simple, your intuitions about induction are preventing you from seeing it.

Stephen

[ Edited: 26 October 2011 12:09 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 26 October 2011 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 192 ]
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Trying to understand the philosophy.

Is “attraction”  a brute fact? Or is it an expression, contingent on the presence of causal relationships?

attraction [uh-trak-shuhn]   Origin
noun
1. the act, power, or property of attracting.

2. attractive quality; magnetic charm; fascination; allurement; enticement: the subtle attraction of her strange personality.

3. a person or thing that draws, attracts, allures, or entices: The main attraction was the after-dinner speaker.

4. a characteristic or quality that provides pleasure; attractive feature: The chief attractions of the evening were the good drinks and witty conversation.

5. Physics. the electric or magnetic force that acts between oppositely charged bodies, tending to draw them together.

Would one say that “attraction” is a brute fact? Or is it an expression, contingent on the presence of causal relationships.

I submit that gravity, like attraction, is not a brute facts at all. It is an attractive relationship between bodies, created by the causal impact of the mass and size of those bodies on the spacetime fabric. Without the bodies, there is no gravity. Thus we know the cause of gravity and we know its expression in spacetime, i.e. attraction.

Gravity is not a “brute fact” in that it presents itself only in certain circumstances. It is a contingent expression of relativistic motion of bodies.

Gravity is a latent (metaphysical) ordering characteristic of spacetime geometry. It is a fundmental aspect of universal potential, but in and of itself Gravity is just a noun and name identifying the action between bodies, contingent on their relative mass, size, distance, speed, and direction. All these elements need to be present for gravity to be able to express itself in reality.
But it is the conditions which create the phenomena we call gravity. Always have. No reason to think that the laws of Causality itself would fail.
Is Causality a “brute fact”?

[ Edited: 26 October 2011 03:27 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 26 October 2011 11:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 193 ]
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StephenLawrence - 26 October 2011 11:57 AM

No. Laws of nature cannot be ‘brute facts’, because they are not caused. So they cannot be ‘brute facts’ or ‘explained facts’ in the sense above.

I don’t understand what you’re saying at all here.

Then there is no point to go on.

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Posted: 26 October 2011 11:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 194 ]
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Write4U - 26 October 2011 03:15 PM

Is Causality a “brute fact”?

On the regularist view the answer appears to be yes.

The regularist is saying causes don’t necessitate their effects it’s just the case that under certain conditions the effects follow the causes every single time. (or most of the time in the case of probabilistic causation)
This presents the same problem of induction, how is it that epistemic probability of this continuing into the future is raised?

Stephen

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Posted: 26 October 2011 11:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 195 ]
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GdB - 26 October 2011 11:08 PM
StephenLawrence - 26 October 2011 11:57 AM

No. Laws of nature cannot be ‘brute facts’, because they are not caused. So they cannot be ‘brute facts’ or ‘explained facts’ in the sense above.

I don’t understand what you’re saying at all here.

Then there is no point to go on.

There is no point in going on whilst you hang on to falsification as a means of raising the epistemic probability of gravity remaining the same tomorrow.

Falsification is, as a matter of fact, the wrong answer for the reasons given. All theories regarding the future are unfalsified!

Stephen

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