Subject: RE: BHA: Emergence Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2002 14:42:04 -0500OK, my previous reply was a joke. My answer is still "No," but I'll explain why here. I'm assuming that the probabilities in the world are real. We certainly encounter such things: if one is exposed to a disease, the probability of coming down with the disease is p. Etc. So, while I would distinguish between two or more kinds of probability, I was not making that distinction in my example. One kind of probabilities is the kind one encounters in statistics -- if we have a sample of size N with mean m, then the mean of the population from which we drew the sample is at least M with probability P. This probability is a measure of our certainty/uncertainty about the value of M. We might call this an epistemic probability because it pertains to the certainty of our knowledge. The kind of probability I was talking about might be called ontological probability because it pertains to the occurrence of events as well as to processes, structures, and other real and actual things. We have, for example, in certain theories of gases the probabilities that molecules will go one way or another. Now someone might say that this "probability" simply reflects our uncertainty about the molecule and that the actual movement is determined with certainty. I think not. For instance, if we raise the temperature of the gas, molecular movement increases and the movement of individual molecules fluctuates more. This is perhaps a weak example of ontological probabilities, but even here we see them. If we think of rolls of a die, a couple having a boy or girl, mutated genes, being strip searched by airport security, meeting the love of your life, or the locations of electrons, these are examples of probabilistic processes in the world. As realists, I think the logic of understanding such probabilities as real, rather than simply as devices that help us cope with our uncertainty, is exactly parallel to the logic by which we understand anything is real. Furthermore, the argument that things that appear to be probabilistic are really the outcomes of complex, deterministic processes flounders on the rocks of emergence. A fair die may owe its properties to the fact that it has uniform density and twelve edges of equal length, and as such the die's properties are completely determined. But one of the necessary properties of a fair die is the emergent property that when we toss the die, the probability of any one side coming up is equal to the probability of any other side coming up. Warmest regards, Marsh > -----Original Message----- > From: owner-bhaskar-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu > [mailto:owner-bhaskar-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu]On Behalf Of Richard > Moodey > Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2002 10:54 AM > To: bhaskar-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu > Subject: RE: BHA: Emergence > > > Hi Marsh, > > You say: "While the happiness or unhappiness of the marriage is not > determined with certainty, the PROBABILITIES are." Are you drawing the > distinction here between the probability of an event, or of a state of > events, and the probability (or certaintly) of knowledge? Or, to put it > differently, are you saying that we certainly know (not just with a high > degree of probability) what the probabilities are of this kind of > marriage > persisting in a state we would call "happy"? > > Regards, > > Dick > > At 10:38 AM 03/28/2002 -0500, you wrote: > > > > > [much deleted] > >You may see where I'm going with this. At any given time, the relation of > >emergence between levels 1 and 2 may be one of probabilities: if > Moses and > >Mary are of two different faiths and get married, their marriage may be > >happy or unhappy with probabilities p and 1-p (sorry for the > example, with > >its heterosexist overtones, but it makes the point particularly > clearly -- > >much of the reason why some parents want their children to hook up with > >partners from the same background is that the parents believe the > >probabilities of happiness in such situations, q, are > p). This is > >certainly an example of an emergent property. (I'm not saying it actually > >exists.) While the happiness or unhappiness of the marriage is not > >determined with certainty, the PROBABILITIES are. In other > words, necessity > >here operates at the level of probabilities. > > > > > > --- from list bhaskar-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu --- > --- from list bhaskar-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu ---