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Laws of Nature: Regularity vs. Necessitarianism
Posted: 26 March 2010 06:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Kaizen - 25 March 2010 07:10 PM

We can only observe events occurring and cannot see any relationship other than coincidence.

I agree.  However both the regularist and the necessitarian produce laws based on observation of coincidence.  You seem to be saying that both are metaphysicians when the model is applied to imminent or hypothetical situations.  That’s where we disagree.  The regularist is as a gambler, the necessitarian as a theologian.  One is making a truth claim, the other is not.

You’re implicitly saying that when one billiard ball hits another, the 2nd billiard ball will react according to physics, by the very act that you can maintain a conversation with me through the internet.

Can you develop that first part better for me.  Do you feel that I am making truth claims when I make predictions?  I do not see it that way.

[ Edited: 26 March 2010 06:33 AM by the PC apeman ]
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Posted: 26 March 2010 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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question:
I always thought that “induction” was thinking forward (recognizing a possibility or a probability), and “deduction” was thinking backward (recognizing a causality).
Am I wrong here or is there more to it?

[ Edited: 26 March 2010 01:31 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 26 March 2010 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Write4U - 26 March 2010 01:25 PM

question:
I always thought that “induction” was thinking forward (recognizing a possibility or a probability), and “deduction” was thinking backward (recognizing a causality).
Am I wrong here or is there more to it?

I hadn’t thought of them that way.  I do think they are often used as you described but that’s probably not the best way to distinguish them.  I’m a bit oxygen deprived just now having bicycled up a steep hill so I’ll steal the following from here which can fit in with your view in many cases.

Induction is usually described as moving from the specific to the general, while deduction begins with the general and ends with the specific; arguments based on experience or observation are best expressed inductively, while arguments based on laws, rules, or other widely accepted principles are best expressed deductively.

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Posted: 26 March 2010 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Deductions are logical operations. The conclusion of a deductive argument always follows logically from its premises. (I don’t think this has anything necessarily to do with “general” and “specific”, FWIW).

They have nothing to do with causality, knowledge of which is always inductive in character.

A deductive argument is of the type:

If A then B
A

————
B

Inductive arguments are arguments based on past experience: past experience was thus-and-so, and so future experience will also be thus-and-so.

Crow A is black
Crow B is black
Crow C is black
———————-
The next crow will be black

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Posted: 27 March 2010 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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the PC apeman - 26 March 2010 06:29 AM

I agree.  However both the regularist and the necessitarian produce laws based on observation of coincidence.  You seem to be saying that both are metaphysicians when the model is applied to imminent or hypothetical situations.  That’s where we disagree.  The regularist is as a gambler, the necessitarian as a theologian.  One is making a truth claim, the other is not.

I’m saying there seems to be a difference between what we consider coincidence and what we consider causation. How might we demarcate between two arbitrarily consecutive events and a relation between two events? I’m not trying to establish any sort of absolutist view regarding necessity, but that doesn’t change how deeply our intuitions regarding causation lie. I don’t see how you can differentiate between the lottery numbers on a given day and the law of gravity regarding how you behave in the world or to what degree you rely on that data. To rely on one over the other to dictate behavior in any purposeful manner seems to concede something more than mere coincidence. If you sincerely consider our ability to hold this conversation in this specific manner to be strictly coincidental, then you are equally justified in responding to me by writing on your wall and looking at a bowl of cereal for my response. Probability doesn’t seem to get us out of this issue either. What is our justification that probability will pan out?

An original point that I think I’ve strayed from is in our justification for investigating phenomena with a scientific methodology. Before we can use science, we seem to require a reason to investigate it’s methodology and implementation as a means for such investigative work over other methods. Why use it over interpreting people speaking in tongues? To say that we are justified to use science via scientific results is begging the question. Obviously epistemology plays a big role, but there is no clear line where metaphysics ends and epistemology begins. I don’t blame you for being cautious about any metaphysical talk. I prefer to stay away myself. But my preference to stay away from looking like a theist has no bearing upon what the case is and my suggestion is that if we want to maintain any integrity in our skepticism, we can’t bother ourselves too much with how we might appear at face value.

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Posted: 28 March 2010 09:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Kaizen - 27 March 2010 11:33 AM

If you sincerely consider our ability to hold this conversation in this specific manner to be strictly coincidental, then you are equally justified in responding to me by writing on your wall and looking at a bowl of cereal for my response.

Such things have not been observed to coincide with the desired results before, so I disagree.

Probability doesn’t seem to get us out of this issue either. What is our justification that probability will pan out?

I have nothing better to offer than induction.  But it’s enough for me.  I make no claims of ontological probability, only epistemological probability.

Obviously epistemology plays a big role, but there is no clear line where metaphysics ends and epistemology begins.

Perhaps but I don’t see that I’ve run afoul of even a fuzzy line.  The necessitarian says we observe a world that follows rules.  That’s at least two ontological claims, two truth claims, right there - a world and one of its attributes.  If observation is correct (ie. true; there is a correspondence to the “real”, ontological world) a ball released from a tower MUST fall to the ground because that’s what the world does.

My regularist view depends only on observation.  It makes no claim of a world that is observed - neither that one exists nor that one doesn’t. Here, observation refers to its content and not to observation of something else.  Patterns of observation are detected and used to make predictions.  A ball released from a tower is PREDICTED to fall to the ground considering the observations to date.  If there is observable evidence for a mechanism correlating with this then we have a richer model.  Assuming that there is an ordered ontological world to explain all this adds nothing that is evidenced.  (cf. goddidit.)

So, please point out the incursion of mine into metaphysics (more specifically, ontology) that you see.

[ Edited: 28 March 2010 09:21 AM by the PC apeman ]
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Posted: 07 April 2010 02:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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the PC apeman - 28 March 2010 09:18 AM

My regularist view depends only on observation.  It makes no claim of a world that is observed - neither that one exists nor that one doesn’t. Here, observation refers to its content and not to observation of something else.  Patterns of observation are detected and used to make predictions.  A ball released from a tower is PREDICTED to fall to the ground considering the observations to date.  If there is observable evidence for a mechanism correlating with this then we have a richer model. 

Surely induction can only work if there is some underlying reason that the pattern continues. So we do have evidence that there is something beyond the pattern at work?

Stephen

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Posted: 07 April 2010 04:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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StephenLawrence - 07 April 2010 02:20 AM
the PC apeman - 28 March 2010 09:18 AM

My regularist view depends only on observation.  It makes no claim of a world that is observed - neither that one exists nor that one doesn’t. Here, observation refers to its content and not to observation of something else.  Patterns of observation are detected and used to make predictions.  A ball released from a tower is PREDICTED to fall to the ground considering the observations to date.  If there is observable evidence for a mechanism correlating with this then we have a richer model. 

Surely induction can only work if there is some underlying reason that the pattern continues. So we do have evidence that there is something beyond the pattern at work?

Stephen

Your assumption in the first sentence is one I do not care to make.  It leads to the quandary of the second sentence.  And there, any evidence we find would be added to our model, making it richer.  Having two collections of evidence to compare seems more like coherency rather than correspondence to something “beyond”.

[ Edited: 07 April 2010 04:27 AM by the PC apeman ]
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Posted: 07 April 2010 05:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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the PC apeman - 07 April 2010 04:23 AM
StephenLawrence - 07 April 2010 02:20 AM

Surely induction can only work if there is some underlying reason that the pattern continues. So we do have evidence that there is something beyond the pattern at work?

Stephen

Your assumption in the first sentence is one I do not care to make.  It leads to the quandary of the second sentence.  And there, any evidence we find would be added to our model, making it richer.  Having two collections of evidence to compare seems more like coherency rather than correspondence to something “beyond”.

Hi PC,

It’s a conclusion I’ve come to recently.

I can’t see what’s wrong with it, there must be a reason for a pattern to hold or else it’s just as likely to not do so, as to do so and so we could not make useful predictions based on what we’ve seen in the past.

Also we have cases in which we wouldn’t make a future prediction based on the past, like if a coin came up heads ten times we would not think that increased the probability of it coming up heads again in the future. I don’t think this is just because we know about a larger pattern.

Stephen

[ Edited: 07 April 2010 05:09 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 07 April 2010 05:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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StephenLawrence - 07 April 2010 05:06 AM

I don’t think this is just because we know about a larger pattern.

Do you think this is because of something we can know about?  What ways of knowing would we employ?  If it’s reasoning about evidence (aka science) then that is how we build our explanatory models already.  More reasoning about evidence only produces a richer explanatory model, not something to compare our models to.  If you have a different way of knowing in mind then let’s take a look at that.

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Posted: 07 April 2010 07:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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the PC apeman - 07 April 2010 05:40 AM
StephenLawrence - 07 April 2010 05:06 AM

I don’t think this is just because we know about a larger pattern.

Do you think this is because of something we can know about?  What ways of knowing would we employ? 

Let me see…..................

Firstly I don’t know if it’s true that coins that are tossed in normal circumstances end up heads close to half of the time, I’ve not checked. I seem to believe there is an underlying reason to expect that, which is not simply because that is the pattern we find.

Secondly I believe it’s possible that everytime a coin ever was and ever will be tossed it comes up heads but if that did happen I believe there is a sense in which it would not change the probability. When I say it would not change the probability I realise this probability I’m talking about is not something I fully understand, it’s something I’m interested in. One type of probability obviously does disappear, the purely knowledge based, which disappears when you know the result. This probability I’m talking about also isn’t in the circumstances either. It’s to do with the probability of being in a certain set of circumstances.

So say this universe with these laws of nature and this stuff, turned out to produce heads everytime a coin was tossed, this would be an incredibly highly improbable way for this universe to be. edit: If we could predict purely due to pattern recognision/ induction, then I think this would not be the case.

This does assume there are contrary to fact possibilities independent of knowledge, which I think is a basic assumption of science.

Stephen

[ Edited: 07 April 2010 07:16 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 07 April 2010 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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StephenLawrence - 07 April 2010 07:08 AM
the PC apeman - 07 April 2010 05:40 AM
StephenLawrence - 07 April 2010 05:06 AM

I don’t think this is just because we know about a larger pattern.

Do you think this is because of something we can know about?  What ways of knowing would we employ? 

Let me see…..................

Firstly I don’t know if it’s true that coins that are tossed in normal circumstances end up heads close to half of the time, I’ve not checked. I seem to believe there is an underlying reason to expect that, which is not simply because that is the pattern we find.

Let me know if you come up with something, science or otherwise.

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Posted: 08 April 2010 12:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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the PC apeman - 07 April 2010 08:03 AM
StephenLawrence - 07 April 2010 07:08 AM
the PC apeman - 07 April 2010 05:40 AM
StephenLawrence - 07 April 2010 05:06 AM

I don’t think this is just because we know about a larger pattern.

Do you think this is because of something we can know about?  What ways of knowing would we employ? 

Let me see…..................

Firstly I don’t know if it’s true that coins that are tossed in normal circumstances end up heads close to half of the time, I’ve not checked. I seem to believe there is an underlying reason to expect that, which is not simply because that is the pattern we find.

Let me know if you come up with something, science or otherwise.

I think I can use deductive reasoning based on premises which are assumptions of science.

So I think an assumption of science is there are infinite possible ways the world could be.

I think it is an assumption of science that some of those ways are highly highly improbable.

I think we can see that this would be impossible if the probability of what happens was derived purely from what happens.

Because if that were true there would be no improbable ways for the world to be.

I don’t think this is quite what you are looking for but if you are looking for purely empirical evidence then I think that is impossible because we can only ever observe what happens, not what could happen but doesn’t.

Stephen

[ Edited: 08 April 2010 12:22 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 08 April 2010 04:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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StephenLawrence - 08 April 2010 12:06 AM

I think I can use deductive reasoning based on premises which are assumptions of science.

So I think an assumption of science is there are infinite possible ways the world could be.

This sounds more like metaphysical wibble and not at all like a requirement for doing science.  How would doing science be different if your assumption was not the case?

I don’t think this is quite what you are looking for but if you are looking for purely empirical evidence then I think that is impossible because we can only ever observe what happens, not what could happen but doesn’t.

I think you are on to something here.  What other evidence would you like to consider?

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Posted: 08 April 2010 03:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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the PC apeman - 08 April 2010 04:49 AM
StephenLawrence - 08 April 2010 12:06 AM

I think I can use deductive reasoning based on premises which are assumptions of science.

So I think an assumption of science is there are infinite possible ways the world could be.

This sounds more like metaphysical wibble and not at all like a requirement for doing science.  How would doing science be different if your assumption was not the case?

There would be no variables, hard to imagine science without variables.

Stephen

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