Eliminative Materialism Q&A

A Q&A for those who do not know how to get to eliminative materialism.

Question 1:
Do you believe the universe and everything in it is the succession of material particle motions in mathematical continuity.

If I understand succession of material particle motions in mathematical continuity correctly then, yes.

if that’s english for the universe is made out of molecules and behaves according to molecular behaviour, then yes.
other wise?

heh?

All logical deductions that we are at this point in time able to make based on known scientific facts point to the universe (and everything in it) progressing in sequence according to natural laws (which we explain using mathematics)
Still not sure I understand the question, though… :-\

In order to make sure that everybody agrees with the first statement, let’s clarify a few thing and see if any of you agree with the following as well.

Do you all agree that:

  1. The material particles referred to in question one have no consciousness, mental states, colour, taste, odor, sound or any inherent qualities, essences, forms or natures such as hotness, coldness, roundness, hollowness etc.
  2. The only properties that the particles have are measurable properties such as mass and motion that can be mathematically described.

Errrr…

Perhaps you’re being a bit vague… “material particles do not have colour”. Hmmm, put a bunch together, shine a light on it, some of the light gets absorbed, some gets reflected. This is the definition of the “colour” of the material. Hence the material particles do have colour, and following from that argument, taste and possibly odor too. Of course, taste and odor are merely human cognitive artifacts that are the result of DETECTION of a certain particle. And hence, anything can have a taste/odor if it is detectable by the human sensory organs and mind.

Also I would NOT agree that those particles have no “qualities”, for one they have weight and obey laws (as you describe, which is already two qualities), but moreover, depending on their core makeup, atoms exhibit other qualities like chemical stability, nuclear stability, weight, etc. If you’re talking about more elementary particles than that, then once again, those particles also have inherent qualities (electrons have a charge, protons have the opposite charge, neutrons don’t have a charge, etc). Same follows into the smaller realms.

Agree with this objection. If the particles didn’t have qualities, we wouldn’t be able to distinguish different types of particles in the first place.

Mintaka

That would be a no then. Feel free to try again. Or move on. I am still curious in how you make the jump. Your logic has always been… interesting.

God only knows what that means. Sorta like “The atoms went in two by two, hurrah, hurrah.”?

Let’s try again:

“The universe and everything in it is the succession of material particle motions in mathematical continuity” implies the following:

  1. The material particles refer to the fundamental or elementary particles that do not have any substructure and are not made up of anything else. These include basic building blocks of the universe such as quarks, leptons and gauge bosons.
  2. The only properties (not qualities) of these elementary particles are related to their size, shape, mass and motion as well as plus or minus derivative properties such as charge that can be mathematically described.
  3. They have no inherent qualities, meaning there is nothing in elementary particles that resembles our perceptions of hotness, coldness, colourfulness or any particular sound, smell, taste or any mental state. Objectively speaking, elementary particles are colourless, tasteless, odorless etc. These perceptions are just subjectively constructed projections and sensations in the minds of the observer.

The above propositions are not controversial and should not be too difficult to understand and accept.

Maybe not hey, someone here might have understood it correctly AND agreed with it. Maybe ask him what he understood it to be and what caused him to agree? Should be… interesting ;D.

You do not explain “in mathematical continuity”. Nor “succession”. You also probably mean “material particles in motion”, unless particles = samey samey motion, which might actually be the case LOL. :wink:

Me myself, I’d include, in addition to particles, what are called in common language: space, time, energy, fundamental forces, dark energy, antimatter, and maybe the odd other one that escapes my poor battered physical brain at this time.

Do I detect an attempt to introduce “qualia”?

Remember that, referring to your phrase “mathematically described”, mathematical systems are constructs of mind, and, furthermore, that any description of particles is an idealised statistical construct ( of what is, at base, a mush ). Since, also, a full description of the properties of a single subatomic particle ( this one here in my hand that I give you ) is not possible as, via the Uncertainty Principle, all properties are indeterminable simultaneously, any mathematical descriptions are just descriptions of the possibilities and probabilities inherent in “shit happens”.

Also, entangled particles reportedly can come in and out of existence, so you have no determinable continuity of hard kickable physical shit. Plenty random weirdness, but no sign of Bebeh Jebus yet. :smiley:

As constructs of mind, your “properties” are close to being samey samey your “qualities”. BTW, one elementary particle at least, the photon, a gauge boson, would be perceived as having a color under the right circumstances of frequency/wavelength and the efficacy of your latest spectacle prescription. Or it might be fucking hot, and burn your arse LOL. ;D

I tried, I tried. I called 0800-HAILMARY and got the callcentre. Press 1 for Moses, press 2 for Isaac, press 3 for instant forgiveness… press 344 for immaculate conceptions… press 666 for Satan… press 777 for Eugene’s new chatroom… I got bored and hung up.
:stuck_out_tongue:

meaning there is nothing in elementary particles that resembles our perceptions of hotness, coldness

Technically,if particles have no “hotness” (iow: Energy), they cannot exist. This is why it’s impossible (as far as we’ve been able to calculate and demonstrate) to cool anything to absolute 0 K.

Ok then, let’s try again.

Q&A Question 1:
Do you believe that everything in it is reducible to elementary particles in motion that can be mathematically described?

To clarify:

  1. The elementary particles do not have any substructure and are not made up of anything else. These include the basic building blocks of the universe such as quarks, leptons and gauge bosons. Explanations of gravitation, dark matter, or dark energy are also reducible to mathematically describable elementary particles in motion.
  2. The particles are described as being part of space and time and all forces are mathematically describable.
  3. The only properties (not qualities) of these elementary particles are related to their size, shape, mass and motion as well as plus or minus derivative properties such as charge that can be mathematically described.
  4. Elementary particles and their properties exist objectively irrespective of any mind/observer reality/interpretation.
  5. They have no inherent qualities, meaning there is nothing in elementary particles that resembles our perceptions of hotness, coldness, colourfulness or any particular sound, smell, taste or any mental state. Objectively speaking, elementary particles are colourless, tasteless, and odourless and do not have any hotness or coldness etc. as these perceptions are just subjectively constructed projections and sensations in the minds of observers.
  6. Hotness or coldness or redness or smelliness are subjective experiences and reducible to mathematical explanations in terms of elementary particles.

Anybody in agreement with the above? What is wrong?

Mmm, perhaps try 0800-294678 and ask for Mr Delusional because he seems to understand things correctly and agrees ;D.

Nah, I don’t think I agree with any permutation of this argument that you’re going to state…

1) The elementary particles do not have any substructure and are not made up of anything else.

… Unless you buy into string theory. In that case they’re made up of strings.

2) The particles are described as being part of space and time and all forces are mathematically describable.

It’s already been pointed out that this is known to not be true. Particles leave our space-time all the time, and behave in a “mathematically describable” way only in a collective manner, it’s impossible to predict mathematically say, the position of a electron. The best you can do is a mathematical “region” in which the electron may be.

4) Elementary particles and their properties exist objectively irrespective of any mind/observer reality/interpretation.

Actually, they provably don’t. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment

Specifically:

Any modification of the apparatus that can determine which slit a photon passes through destroys the interference pattern, illustrating the complementarity principle; that the light can demonstrate both particle and wave characteristics, but not both at the same time.

In other words, when we observe light as a particle, it stops behaving like a wave. So the objective reality is not detached from the observer reality, the mere presence of the observer changes the “properties” of the “objective” particle. Isn’t quantum physics fun?

Finally, you still don’t have my vote on “hotness” being subjective. It’s just another word for the energy state of a particle, IMHO the energy state of a particle does exist in objective reality. Like I’ve already said, a particle with no energy cannot exist. Thus your proposed universe is fundementally broken (following from known physics). Even “coldness” implies a level of energy above absolute 0, that does exist irrespective of our observation.

Well, if you buy into string theory, then strings would be the fundamental “particles” and they will still have the properties of elementary particles in the following sense.

  1. Strings in string theory are mathematically describable.
  2. The only properties (not qualities) of strings are related to their size, shape, mass and motion that can (again) be mathematically described.

From what I understand, in quantum mechanics, particles do not leave space-time. Instead, the quantum vacuum microstructure is still part of space-time and from it particles spontaneously and continually appear and disappear. Quantum vacua are still universal systems with mathematically describable laws that are part of space-time.

The behaviour of particles of quantum systems again, are mathematically describable (be it indeterministically or not) by the Schrödinger equation and the wave function. The double-slit experiment just shows that photons can demonstrate both particle and wave characteristics/properties.

So, let’s try again:
Q&A Question 1:
Do you believe that everything in it is reducible to fundamental particles in motion that can be mathematically described?

To clarify:

  1. The fundamental particles do not have any substructure and are not made up of anything else. These include the basic building blocks of the universe such as quarks, leptons and gauge bosons. Explanations of gravitation, dark matter, or dark energy are also reducible to mathematically describable fundamental particles in motion. If you accept string theory, then strings would be the fundamental “particles”.
  2. The fundamental particles are described as being part of space and time and all forces are mathematically describable. (See above)
  3. The only properties (not qualities) of these fundamental particles are related to their size, shape, mass and motion as well as plus or minus derivative properties such as charge that can be mathematically described.
  4. Fundamental particles and their properties exist objectively irrespective of any mind/observer reality/interpretation.
  5. Fundamental particles have no inherent qualities, meaning there is nothing in fundamental particles that resembles our perceptions of hotness, coldness, colourfulness or any particular sound, smell, taste or any mental state. Objectively speaking, fundamental particles are colourless, tasteless, and odourless and do not have any hotness or coldness etc. as these perceptions are just subjectively constructed projections and sensations in the minds of observers.
  6. Hotness or coldness or redness or smelliness are subjective experiences and reducible to mathematical explanations in terms of fundamental particles. The hotness observed by observers are subjective and not objectively empirical or mathematically describable as the degree of hotness can differ among individuals. For example a person with a faulty hypothalamus might describe the hotness of a system differently to a normal person even though both describe the same system. The system being described has the same mathematically describable kinetic energy while the hotness of the same system is subjectively described by two observers with two different descriptions of hotness.

Anybody in agreement with the above? What is wrong?

I’m still keen on understanding the logic jump which happens in the argument… (I’ll even preempt the next premise)

Mental states of conscious beings are part of the universe - accepted

you may proceed.

No need to preempt/erect straw men. We just need an agreement with regards to question 1 to proceed.

You have it. (tentatively)

Tentatively? Why would you just 'tentatively" agree? What can be wrong with it?

Or do you just do it for no particular reason other than to wiggle yourself out again if you discover that the above is rediculous to believe?

Anyway, Question 2 is:
Do you think or believe there is no reason to suspect (be it as a result of a lack of evidence or philosophical or metaphysical reasons) that there is no external influence from an outside agent or something else at the fundamental levels of physics?