File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1998/bhaskar.9810, message 17

Date: Sat, 3 Oct 1998 11:45:17 -0400
Subject: Re: BHA: Closure


Sorry I never responded to your original query.  My head sank beneath the
waters of daily grind.  In any event Colin pretty much said what I would
have said.  Of course I would deny what you now ask Colin to agree with:

>No matter what the definition of closure, don't we agree that
>event regularity is an essential trait of closed systems?

Actually, this seems to be a contradictory formulation since if I define
closure  -- as I tried to -- so that event regularity is not essential,
then event regularity will not be essential to closure.  So event
regularity cannot be essential to closure independent of how we define

Your last post, though, made me wonder how you would deal with quantum
mechanics.  We know that quantum processes do not yield constant
conjunctions of events but only statistical regularities.  So if
event-regularities are the sine qua non of closure as you say, then you
also seem forced to say that quantum mechanisms can never be the object of
experimental closure. As that conclusion appears to be contradicted by the
double slit experiment and others, I think we need to reject the premise
that regularities are definitive of or even essential to closure.  That
leaves my alternative that what is essential to or definitive of closure is
the _causal_ (pace Caroline) isolation of mechanisms, whatever pattern that
isolation produces.

Andy, thanks for that very helpful clarification on retro - diction and
duction.  I concede that these are what we should practice.

Howard, thanks for that great passage from Pateman.  I'm glad to see I am
not completely isolated in thinking something like this about the past.
I'm still trying to get to library to read that NLR article.


doug porpora
dept of psych and sociology
drexel university
phila pa 19104

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