[lit-ideas] Re: Logical Corpuscularism

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2015 10:36:49 +0000 (UTC)

In Popper's days (he never read the classics the way Grice did?) it was w1 
that was INdeterministic (what McEvoy calls the 'quantum-theoretical'
"sense" of  "probability") while Popper rather stubornly wants to stick to a w2
that is,  ironically, deterministic ("We don't want to say that our decisions
are not  determined," or words to that effect.>
Even after all these years, it is too much to hope that comment on Popper's
philosophy will be based on careful reading of Popper's work. So my hopes are
not high, and my disappointment is not great when I read "Popper rather
stubornly wants to stick to a w2 that is, ironically, deterministic". Yet it
must be asked: where does Popper defend (or claim to defend) the view that W2
is "deterministic". [First clue: nowhere].
We needn't drift into pondering whether 'way' is way better than 'sense' or
'sense' makes more sense than 'way'. The point is that W1 "indeterminism is not
enough" to explain human freedom: "indeterminism" is a necessary but not
sufficient condition of human freedom (insofar as human freedom involves being
to convert W2 states, like intentions, into W1 actions). It follows that
"indeterminism" of a quantum-mechanical probabilistic kind is also not
sufficient to establish human freedom.
Instead of challenging this point, we are led hither and thither by JLS, 
eventually to the absurd thither that is "Popper rather stubornly wants to
stick to a w2 that is, ironically, deterministic". Not only is this thither
false but anyone who understands Popper's thought - and really anyone who has
commonsense  - would see it is absurd: it would be absurd to defend human
freedom by insisting that at a W1 level it requires W1 "indeterminism" while
insisting that at a W2 level it involves W2 "determinism". Certainly Popper
commits no such absurdity and is an avowed and thorough-going indeterminist at
the level of W1, W2 and W3.
The reason W1 "determinism" gets sustained critical treatment in Popper's work,
compared with W2 "determinism", isn't that he accepts W2 "determinism" but
that, historically, there has been a much stronger case for W1 "determinism"
than there has ever been for W2 "determinism": so a book like _The Open
Universe_ focuses on examining and countering the key arguments for W1
"determinism", especially those that constitute what Popper dubs "scientific
determinism". Once those arguments re W1 are dismantled, the case for W2
"determinism" is correspondingly weakened  - for by far the strongest arguments
for W2 "determinism" are those derived from arguments for W1 "determinism".
Absent W1 "determinism", the case for W2 "determinism" becomes relatively 
flimsy.
I also detect in JLS' comments a confusion between "determinism" (as Popper 
explains it, a la Laplace) and "causalism" (as we might call it): that is,
thinking that all causal relations are deterministic ones. JLS refers to
Popper's alleged lack of subtlety but I suggest Popper is no where so crass as
the claim (or assumption) that where there is a causal nexus there must be a
deterministic nexus. This claim or assumption has been a longstanding one in
British philosophy, and can be found I thinkers as eminent as Hume and AJ Ayer. 
Dismantling this logically crass claim is one of the many points addressed in
_The Open Universe_. Perhaps JLS should have a read.
DL








On Thursday, 10 September 2015, 2:19, "dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx"
<dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:


In a message dated 9/9/2015 2:51:30 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, 
jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx quotes a song by CHOI, WHEE SUNG, KIM, YANG  WOO,
LEE,
JUN KYOUNG and JUNG, SEOK WON N.

It is meant to revindicate Popper. Popper finds himself at the crossroads 
as it were. In the old days, w1 was DETERMINISTIC, while w2 was
INdeterminstic  (we never know what Buridan's ass will do).

In Popper's days (he never read the classics the way Grice did?) it was w1 
that was INdeterministic (what McEvoy calls the 'quantum-theoretical'
"sense" of  "probability") while Popper rather stubornly wants to stick to a w2
that is,  ironically, deterministic ("We don't want to say that our decisions
are not  determined," or words to that effect.

And where do corpuscula fit?

Well, of course Lewis/Short have a brief entry for the singular:

corpuscŭlum

a mere diminutive of "corpus", and thus, "a little body".

The interesting thing is that Lewis/Short quote from Lucrezio using 
'corpuscule' ( 2, 152; 2, 530; 4, 199); so the brilliant idea cannot just  be
Boyle's.

Lucrezio saw no problem in allowing a swerve of corpuscula that is totally 
(as Scarlet Johansson says) consistent with free-will:

Denique si semper motu conectitur omnis
et vetere exoritur novus ordine  certo
nec declinando faciunt primordia motus
principium quoddam, quod fati  foedera rumpat,
ex infinito ne causam causa sequatur,   
libera per terras unde haec animantibus exstat,
unde est haec, inquam,  fatis avolsa voluntas,
per quam progredimur quo ducit quemque  voluptas,
declinamus item motus nec tempore certo
nec regione loci certa,  sed ubi ipsa tulit mens?   
nam dubio procul his rebus sua cuique voluntas
principium dat et hinc  motus per membra rigantur. ...
sed ne res ipsa necessum
intestinum habeat cunctis in rebus  agendis   
et devicta quasi cogatur ferre patique,
id facit exiguum clinamen  principiorum
nec regione loci certa nec tempore certo. ...
...quod fati foedera rumpat,
ex infinito ne causam causa  sequatur,
libera per terras unde haec animantibus exstat,
unde est haec,  inquam, fatis avolsa voluntas,
per quam progredimur quo ducit quemque  voluptas,
Dico animo nostro primum simulacra meandi   
accidere atque animum pulsare, ut diximus ante.
inde voluntas fit;

Nunc qui fiat uti passus proferre queamus,
cum volumus, varieque datum  sit membra movere,
et quae res tantum hoc oneris protrudere  nostri
corporis insuerit, dicam ; to percipe dicta.      880

First images
strike the mind,
then comes will Dico animo nostro  primum simulacra meandi
accidere atque animum pulsare, ut diximus  ante.
inde voluntas fit;
neque enim facere incipit ullam
rem quisquam, quam mens providit quid  velit ante;
id quod providet, illius rei constat  imago.     
ergo animus cum sere ita commovet ut  velit ire
inque gredi, ferit extemplo quae in corpore toto
per membra  atque artus animai dissita vis est
et facilest factu, quoniam coniuncta  tenetur.
inde ea proporro corpus ferit, atque ita  tota   
paulatim moles protruditur atque movetur. 
praeterea tum rarescit quoque corpus, et aer
(scilicet ut debet qui  semper mobilis extat)
per patefacta vent penetratque foramina largus,
et  dispargitur ad partis ita quasque minutas   
corporis.  hic igitur rebus fit utrimque duabus,
corpus ut, ac navis velis ventoque,  feratur.
Nec tamen illud in his rebus mirabile constat,
tantula quod tantum  corpus corpuscula possunt
contorquere et onus totum converters  nostrum.   
quippe etenim ventus subtili corpore tenvis 
trudit agens magnam magno molimine navem,
et manus una regit quantovis  impete euntem
atque gubernaclum contorquet quolibet unum,
multaque per  trocleas et tympana ponders magno
commovet atque levi sustollit machina  nisu.

Grice says that while there may be progress in building bridges (witness 
the marvel of the Brooklyn Bridge), progress in philosophy is different. What
Popper, Grice implicates, needs to do is to put himself in Lucrezio's 
shoes.

In that way, Popper should see that corpuscularism is totally (again as 
Scarlet Johnansson puts it) consistent with freewill, and if Popper denies
that  he is engaging in a mere terminological argument, when he shouldn't.

Cheers,

Speranza
------------------------------------------------------------------
To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: