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Daniel Greco
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I think the defender of the BSA should welcome the CTL as a precisification of her view. Along those lines, though, I think you overstate some of the differences between the views. You seem to suggest that the BSA defender thinks the nomological accessibility relation is symmetric and transitive, while according to CTL, it's not. But the BSA defender (or at least, the most prominent recent one--David Lewis) doesn't think this, and his reasons for not thinking it are essentially the same ones that are formalized in the CTL. Here's a quote from on the plurality of worlds: "Then, indeed, puzzling questions about the logic of iterated nomological necessity turn into more tractable questions about the relation of nomological accessibility. Is it symmetric? Transitive? Euclidean? Reflexive?...A theory of lawhood can be expected to answer these questions, and we can see how different theories would answer them differently. (For instance, my own views on lawhood answer all but the last in the negative.)" (p. 20) I'm inclined to say the same thing about your response to the central anti-humean argument. They strike me more as presifications of things that Humeans standardly say in response to such examples (see, e.g., Helen Beebee's "The Non-Governing Conception of Laws of Nature") rather than fundamentally different responses to such examples that the Humean can give. Lastly, on simplicity/relativity, I'm just inclined to agree. I think talking about computational complexity lets us relocate and precisify (but not bypass) older debates about the relativity of simplicity. Think, e.g., Goodman on grue--lots of people want to say that the theory that all emeralds are grue is somehow less simple than the theory that all emeralds are green, though familiar arguments from Goodman suggest that whether we get to say this will depend on what language we use. Theories of inductive inference that depend on computational copmlexity (e.g., Solomonoff induction) don't avoid this problem, though they do relocate and precisify it.
Toggle Commented Feb 14, 2014 on Computation, Laws and Supervenience at Tomkow.com
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Feb 14, 2014