Sunday, April 21, 2013

I like italics

Causality and possible worlds, historical contrafactuals and Severino:

so: (as I have understood Severino, following Parmenides and discarding all of (Western) philosophy since him) if every thing and everything (that) is, is, has always been, and will always be
but the concept and possibility of possible worlds goes against this

but in logic: if two possible worlds w₁ and w₂ are identical up to a given point in time (t), and if the worlds then diverge at point t, and in w₁ Hitler doesn't come to power (for example) and in w₂ (ours, sadly), he does, and so from t onwards, w₁ and w₂ land up being very different and unidentical indeed, it follows that w₁ and w₂  never were identical in the first place, even up to t, as all along, they differed in what their future would be*

is it so that these things "prove" Severino (and Parmenides) – that it is not possible that anything would be other than what it is, because everything that is, has been, and ever will be, is, has always been, and will always be

does this mean that possible worlds are not in fact possible, and that we live in the only world there not only is, but also the only one there could have been?

* for this, there was a solution logicians had come up with, but I cannot quite remember it 


Reading the Signs said...

Hurrah! (ok back later - but for the moment, Hurrah).


Fire Bird said...

philosophy is just gorgeous

Anna MR said...

Signs - snap: Hurrah. Especially for you being back later.


Fire Bird – it is, isn't it? I've been very unfamiliar with any inside workings of philosophy until fairly recently, but now, it has just stolen my heart and mind. If I were to choose my major now…and if I was clever enough to get in (the theoretical philosophy department in Helsinki Uni only takes some thirteen students a year to do their majors, and I'm not claiming at all that I might have been one of them; but luckily, anyone enlisted in the uni can attend all the courses – major hurrah)…who knows what would have happened. I might have turned my back on behavioural sciences (shh, don't tell anyone about this treacherous imagined behaviour of mine).

However, having posted my mental lecture-doodles, I can shoot them full of holes immediately. I mean, yes perhaps if it was the case of identical-until-point-t, but how does this apply at all to possible worlds that were never (claimed to be) identical in the first place? They can still happily be as possible and as un-identical as they like. Which is good. I like the thought, and like spending my time wondering idly about things such as

if I didn't go to lecture today [which, however, I will], and stayed instead at home picking my toes and then going for a beer, would the world divide into two possible worlds, in which I was at lecture in one and not in the other; and would the "me" of both worlds be identical in every other aspect apart from the lecture/toe-picking thing; and if we were identical, would it be the case of two being the same, of many being one

and, you know, on and on. I like this much better than the (equally useless and hypothetical) thought pattern of "I wonder if I could earn a lot of money, or even some". This latter seems really rather futile, by comparison.

It is good to see you here, Fire Bird. Did I tell you your name in Finnish would be Tulilintu?


Reading the Signs said...

Oh thank god it isn't me who has to think, puzzle over or write an essay about this. You do it so the likes of me doesn't have to, for which I thank you, Schwes from the bottom of my heart and the top of my shallow brain. I think Son of Signs would agree with Tulilintu that philosophy is gorgeous - well, perhaps he would have but having done his M.A. is now a bit philosophied out. But I know in my soul that something in me shies away from the real activity of properly engaging and thinking things through. Intuitive responses are lovely things but also can also be the lazy person's path.

And. I think the two worlds were identical - until the Hitler divergence, and then they stopped being identical. Innit.

Anna MR said...

Ah me dear Schwes – there is nothing commendable in thinking about such stuff (even my logic professor, on whom I could be a bit sweet without even trying very hard, asked me how come I chose to do philosophy because, and I quote, "it's useless" – and he meant [doing] philosophy in general, not [merely] my philosophical thinking). Thinking about this sort of stuff is the ultimate laziness, especially as I don't do it particularly innovatively or well. But I love and relish it with, well, love and relish. But I cannot think things through in any proper sense, I dabble and doodle.

There is the thing about the future, whilst being unknown and unreachable, still being a concrete factor in the present of a world…and I love that. Like in a sense, everything exists already, we just have to get there first, to know. Innit.

It's prolly not at all what's meant with that particular logical contradiction, though. And I wish I could remember what the suggested solution was – but not enough to start digging it out tonight. I am going to die of tiredness, which is A Very Good Thing, for it will, one hopes, mean that I can fall into bed and sleep like a criminal. Which is
don't you think? I think so.

Nighty-nighty-night, sweet ladies, nighty night…


Montag said...

I think a viewing of the film "Another Earth" should be in order right about now.

This discussion is not about Being, even though we are pretending it is.

It is not the question: Could there be another world?

It is the question: Could there be another Me?

Anna MR said...

Ooh Montag, I beg to differ. It is perfectly possible to be having both conversations – even simultaneously. Besides which, I think that Another Me is merely an extension of Another World, pretty much by definition; unless we are going to get into the two-worlds-containing-two-Me's-but-which-are-in-fact-one-and-the-same-so-how-can-many-be-one problem. And as the name of that problem is long and unwieldy, it is probably best to steer clear of it.

But hair-splitting aside, I think I know what you mean: could I have been a different Me, in the world here and now. And, well, if one allows for the possibility that everything isn't already in existence – hence unchangeable even by an iota – then for sure I not only coulda but, much more importantly, shoulda been another Me. A better, more understanding, more selfless, less cranky, less embarrassingly wrong-in-the-head…the Another-and-Improved-Me. AIM, for short. Oh yes verily.

I'll need to google "Another Earth", I cannot remember what or how it is at all, I am afraid.

In the meantime: as you were…


Fire Bird said...

Tulilintu here. That is just the greatest name and tongue twister both, thanks for divulging!

Anna MR said...

Why Tulilintu, I am glad you like it. I must say it will easily belong to the category of words I find lovely in my native tongue. Something about the lili in the middle there, I think. Also, I seem to like compound nouns in general. Other favourites include such beauties as aurinkotuuli (solar wind - there's just something more romantic about it in Finnish, whereas in English it is quite cosmologically-scientific. Nothing against cosmology, or indeed science as such, of course), myrskylintu (Northern Fulmar – another bird, as you may note, being the bright chick that you are), and merituuli (sea wind. Another wind word, incidentally. Hmm. I wonder if there is a pattern developing, here?).

Go figure. They just appeal to me. In every case, there is a descriptivity (yes, that is a word) and romanticness (that also – the spellchecker here keeps underlining all my lovely words, for no good reason at all) that takes my mind elsewhere, for the brief instant the word lasts.

Some compound nouns are just simply atrocious and funny, however. I am looking forward to the day when the blogger called "Low-Floored Tram" turns up here. Unlikely as that may be, I will relish telling them their Finnish name:


(By the way: have you people noticed that the lovely and mysterious picture windows into the view of other people's front doors and house numbers have disappeared from the word verification bar? Leaving just the boring old two words. Never mind if one of them is a real word (mine is fluke, today, although why I should prove I'm not a robot at my own blog house is beyond me), I adored the pictures and demand them back, do you hear me, Blogger Rulers, demand