[ExI] Bad Epistemology?

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky sentience at pobox.com
Mon Jul 16 03:47:35 UTC 2007

Lee Corbin wrote:
> 1. There is a real world "out there" composed of all manner
>     of real things. We have names for these things, e.g., electron,
>     quark, photon, gluon, and so forth. We even have names for 
>     conglomerations of these things, e.g. "table", "star", "desk",
>     "atom", and "galaxy".
> 2.  These real things *affect* each other, even though they're
>      really all comprised solely of quantum fields according to
>      our best and awesome and outstanding theories. These fields
>      not only pervade space, but space in the absence of these
>      fields is not even conceivable (according to the doctrines
>     of quantum field theory (QFT)).  [All is plenum; Newton
>     was wrong; nature indeed abhors a void; the doctrine of
>     substantivalism is--or should be--dead.]

I don't want to get into an extended discussion, but...

See Julian Barbour, "The End of Time".  Only relative configurations 
are real; individual particles are not.  Quantum amplitudes of 
particular relative configurations are related to each other, but they 
never change; the amplitude of a particular relative configuration is 
a fixed value.  The relations define time, and cannot "change" because 
they are outside time.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                          http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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