Ideas from 'Every Thing Must Go' by J Ladyman / D Ross [2007], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Every Thing Must Go' by Ladyman,J/Ross,D [OUP 2007,978-0-19-927619-6]].

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1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 2. Possibility of Metaphysics
There is no test for metaphysics, except devising alternative theories
                        Full Idea: The metaphysician has no test for the truth of her beliefs except that other metaphysicians can't think of obviously superior alternative beliefs. (They can always think of possibly superior ones, in profusion).
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.7)
                        A reaction: [they cite Van Fraassen for this view] At least this seems to concede that some metaphysical views can be rejected by the observation of beliefs that are superior. Almost everyone has rejected Lewis on possible worlds for this reason.
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 4. Metaphysics as Science
Metaphysics builds consilience networks across science
                        Full Idea: Metaphysics is the enterprise of critically elucidating consilience networks across the sciences.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.3)
                        A reaction: I don't disagree with this. The issue, I think, is how abstract you are prepared to go. At high levels of abstraction, it is very hard to keep in touch with the empirical research. There are truths, though, at that high level. It is clearest in logic.
Progress in metaphysics must be tied to progress in science
                        Full Idea: To the extent that metaphysics is closely motivated by science, we should expect to make progress in metaphysics iff we can expect to make progress in science.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.3)
                        A reaction: To defer to and respect science does not necessitate that metaphysics cannot do independent work. I take there to be truths at a high-level of abstraction that are independent of the physical sciences, just as there are truths of chess or economics.
Metaphysics must involve at least two scientific hypotheses, one fundamental, and add to explanation
                        Full Idea: Principle of Naturalist Closure: A serious metaphysical claim must involve at least two scientific hypotheses, at least one from fundamental physics, and explain more than what the two hypotheses explain separately.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.3)
                        A reaction: [compressed, from their longer qualified version] The idea that metaphysics should add to explanation is close to my heart. I am musing over whether essences add to explanation, which would be total anathema to Ladyman and Ross.
Some science is so general that it is metaphysical
                        Full Idea: Some scientific propositions are sufficiently general as themselves to be metaphysical. Our notion of metaphysics is thus recursive, and requires no attempt to identify a boundary between metaphysical and scientific propositions.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.5 n45)
                        A reaction: Note that this still leaves room for some metaphysics which is not science, though see Idea 14904 for their views on that.
Cutting-edge physics has little to offer metaphysics
                        Full Idea: There is little positive by way of implications for metaphysics that we can adduce from cutting-edge physics.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.7.2)
                        A reaction: My personal suspicion is that this will always be the case, even though there may be huge advances in physics, and I offer that as a reason why metaphysicians do not (pace Ladyman and Ross) need to study physics. They grasp 'negative' lessons.
The aim of metaphysics is to unite the special sciences with physics
                        Full Idea: The demand to unify the special sciences with physics is, according to us, the motivation for having any metaphysics at all.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 4.1)
                        A reaction: The crunch question is whether metaphysicians are allowed to develop their own concepts for this task, or whether they can only make links between the concepts employed by the scientists. I vote for the former.
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 6. Metaphysics as Conceptual
Modern metaphysics pursues aesthetic criteria like story-writing, and abandons scientific truth
                        Full Idea: The criteria of adequacy for metaphysics have come apart from anything to do with truth. Rather they are internal and peculiar to philosophy, they are semi-aesthetic, and they have more in common with the virtues of story-writing than with science.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.2.1)
                        A reaction: Part of a sustained polemic against contemporary analytic metaphysics. I love metaphysics, but they may be right. Writers like Sider, Fine, Lowe, Lewis, Stalnaker, Kripke, Armstrong, Dummett seem to tell independent stories, that really are works of art.
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 4. Conceptual Analysis
Why think that conceptual analysis reveals reality, rather than just how people think?
                        Full Idea: Why should we think that the products of conceptual analysis reveal anything about the deep structure of reality, rather than telling us about how some class of people think about and categorize reality?
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.2.2)
                        A reaction: One line, associated with Jackson, is that analysis tells you not about reality, but about what to make of your experiences of reality when you have them. It would be a foolish scientist who paid no attention to his or her conceptual scheme.
1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 3. Scientism
We should abandon intuitions, especially that the world is made of little things, and made of something
                        Full Idea: Abandoning intuitions is usually regarded as a cost rather than a benefit. By contrast, as naturalists we are not concerned with preserving intuitions at all (especially that the world is composed of little things, and that it must be made of something).
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.2.1)
The supremacy of science rests on its iterated error filters
                        Full Idea: The epistemic supremacy of science rests on repeated iteration of institutional error filters.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.3)
                        A reaction: You could add repeated iteration of institutional error filters to journals about astrology, but it wouldn't thereby acquire epistemic supremacy. It is the tangible nature of the evidence which bestows the authority.
A metaphysics based on quantum gravity could result in almost anything
                        Full Idea: We cannot say what the metaphysical implications of quantum gravity are, but they range from eleven dimensions to two, from continuous fundamental structure to a discrete one, and from universal symmetries to no symmetries.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.7.2)
                        A reaction: I offer this observation as a good reason for doubting whether the project of building our metaphysics directly onto our fundamental physics has much prospect of success. Quantum gravity is the unified theory they are all hoping for.
5. Theory of Logic / C. Ontology of Logic / 1. Ontology of Logic
Maybe mathematical logic rests on information-processing
                        Full Idea: It is claimed that mathematical logic can be understood in terms of information-processing.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.7.5)
                        A reaction: [They cite Chaitin 1987] I don't understand how this would work, but it is still worth quoting. This would presumably make logic rest on processes rather than on entities. I quite like that.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 6. Criterion for Existence
To be is to be a real pattern
                        Full Idea: To be is to be a real pattern. ....Real patterns carry information about other real patterns. ...It's patterns all the way down.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 4.4)
                        A reaction: I've plucked these bleeding from context, but they are obviously intended as slogans. Is there pattern 'inside' an electron? Are electrons all exterior?
Only admit into ontology what is explanatory and predictive
                        Full Idea: We reject any grounds other than explanatory and predictive utility for admitting something into our ontology.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.7.3)
                        A reaction: Now you are talking. This is something like my thesis (which I take to be Aristotelian) - that without the drive for explanation we wouldn't even think of metaphysics, and so metaphysics should be understood in that light.
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 2. Processes
Any process can be described as transfer of measurable information
                        Full Idea: Reference to transfer of some (in principle) quantitatively measurable information is a highly general way of describing any process.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 4.3)
                        A reaction: That does not, of course, mean that that is what a process is. A waterfall is an archetypal process, but it is a bit more than a bunch of information. Actually its complexity may place its information beyond measurement.
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 6. Fundamentals / a. Fundamental reality
We say there is no fundamental level to ontology, and reality is just patterns
                        Full Idea: The tentative metaphysical hypothesis of this book, which is open to empirical falsification, is that there is no fundamental level, that the real patterns criterion of reality is the last word in ontology.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.7.3)
                        A reaction: I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for the empirical falsification to arrive (or vanish). Their commitment to real patterns (or structures) leaves me a bit baffled.
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 7. Abstract/Concrete / a. Abstract/concrete
If concrete is spatio-temporal and causal, and abstract isn't, the distinction doesn't suit physics
                        Full Idea: It is said that concrete objects have causal powers while abstract ones do not, or that concrete objects exist in space and time while abstract ones do not, but these categories seem crude and inappropriate for modern physics.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.6)
                        A reaction: I don't find this convincing. He gives example of peculiar causation, but I don't believe modern physics proposes any entities which are totally acausal and non-spatiotemporal. Maybe the distinction needs a defence.
Concrete and abstract are too crude for modern physics
                        Full Idea: The categories of concrete and abstract seem crude and inappropriate for modern physics.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.6)
                        A reaction: They don't persuade me of this idea. At some point physicists need to decide the ontological status of the basic stuffs they are investigating. I'll give them a thousand years, and then I want an answer. Do they only deal in 'ideal' entities?
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 5. Physicalism
Physicalism is 'part-whole' (all parts are physical), or 'supervenience/levels' (dependence on physical)
                        Full Idea: There is part-whole physicalism, that everything is exhausted by basic constituents that are themselves physical, or supervenience or levels physicalism, that the putatively non-physical is dependent on the physical.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.3)
                        A reaction: The cite Hüttemann and Papineau 2005. I am not convinced by this distinction. Ladyman and Ross oppose the first one. I'm thinking the second one either collapses into the first one, or it isn't physicalism. Higher levels are abstractions.
8. Modes of Existence / A. Relations / 1. Nature of Relations
Relations without relata must be treated as universals, with their own formal properties
                        Full Idea: The best sense that can be made of a relation without relata is the idea of a universal. Thus the relation 'larger than' has formal properties that are independent of the contingencies of their instantiation.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.4)
                        A reaction: Russell was keen on the idea that relations are universals, and presumably for this reason. I struggle to grasp uninstantiated but nevertheless real 'greater than' relations. They are abstractions from things, not separate universals.
A belief in relations must be a belief in things that are related
                        Full Idea: Many philosophers say that one cannot intelligibly subscribe to the reality of relations unless one is also committed to the fact of some things that are related.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.5)
                        A reaction: Ladyman and Ross try to argue against this view, but the idea makes a strong impression on me. Your ontology seems to be rather strange if you have a set of structural relations that await things to slot into the structure.
8. Modes of Existence / A. Relations / 2. Internal Relations
The normal assumption is that relations depend on properties of the relata
                        Full Idea: The idea that there could be relations which do not supervene on the properties of their relata runs counter to a deeply entrenched way of thinking.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.4)
                        A reaction: Ladyman and Ross are trying to defend the idea of 'structure' which is independent of the objects that occupy the nodes of the structure. Tricky.
8. Modes of Existence / A. Relations / 3. Structural Relations
That there are existent structures not made of entities is no stranger than the theory of universals
                        Full Idea: Is the main metaphysical idea we propose (of existent structures that are not composed out of more basic entities) any more obscure or bizarre than the instantiation relation in the theory of universals?
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.5)
                        A reaction: No, it is not more bizarre than that, but that isn't much of a reason to believe their theory. See Idea 8699, and many ideas about structure in mathematics. Ladyman and Ross still smack of platonism, even if they are rooted in particle physics.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 5. Natural Properties
Causal essentialism says properties are nothing but causal relations
                        Full Idea: Causal essentialism is the doctrine that the causal relations that properties bear to other properties exhaust their natures.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.5 n50)
                        A reaction: [They cite Shoemaker, Mumford and Bird for this] Personally I don't see this view as offering relations as fundamental. The whole point is to explain everything. The only plausible primitive notion is of a power - which then generates the relations.
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / e. Dispositions as potential
If science captures the modal structure of things, that explains why its predictions work
                        Full Idea: If theorists are able sometimes to capture the objective modal structure of the world then it is no surprise that successful novel prediction sometimes works.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 2.4)
                        A reaction: This is a rather important idea, particularly for my approach. I say we should demand more explanations, and explanations of successful prediction are far from obvious in a regularity account of nature.
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 1. Physical Objects
Things are constructs for tracking patterns (and not linguistic, because animals do it)
                        Full Idea: Individual things are constructs built for second-best tracking of real patterns. They are not necessarily linguistic constructions, since some non-human animals almost certainly cognitively construct them.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 4.5)
                        A reaction: Delighted to see animals making an appearance. Fans of language-based metaphysics please note. If they are fictional constructs, why do they do such a good job of tracking? What generates the 'superficial' appearance that there are objects?
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 5. Individuation / a. Individuation
Maybe individuation can be explained by thermodynamic depth
                        Full Idea: Scientists have developed principles for understanding individuation in terms of the production of thermodynamic depth.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 4.5)
                        A reaction: [They cite J.Collier for this view] Interesting, even though I don't really understand 'thermodynamic depth'. Ladyman and Ross reject it, but there is a whiff of a theory of individuation from within physics.
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 6. Nihilism about Objects
There are no cats in quantum theory, and no mountains in astrophysics
                        Full Idea: At the quantum scale there are no cats; at scales appropriate for astrophysics there are no mountains.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 4.2)
                        A reaction: I don't find this convincing. Since cats are made of quantised entities, they do exist in that world, but are of little interest when trying to understand it. Similarly, astrophysicists hardly deny the existence of mountains!
Physics seems to imply that we must give up self-subsistent individuals
                        Full Idea: There is growing convergence among philosophers of physics that physics motivates abandonment of a metaphysics that posits fundamental self-subsistent individuals.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.4)
                        A reaction: They cite fermions as an example, which only seem to be given an identity by the relations into which they enter. It is a bit cheeky to simultaneously offer this idea, and despise van Inwagen and Merricks for the same object nihilism.
There is no single view of individuals, because different sciences operate on different scales
                        Full Idea: There is no single account of what individuals there are because, we argue, the special sciences may disagree about the bounds and status of individuals since they describe the world at different scales.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.8)
                        A reaction: This seems to deny that nature has actual joints, and so seems to me to be a form of anti-realism (which they would deny). Why shouldn't there be a single view which unites all of these special sciences?
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 1. Unifying an Object / c. Unity as conceptual
Things are abstractions from structures
                        Full Idea: Individual things are locally focused abstractions from modal structure.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.4)
                        A reaction: I am a fan of the role of abstraction in our understanding of the world, despite my limited progress in trying to explicate the idea. I can't decide whether or not there are any things. A bit basic, that!
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 5. Composition of an Object
The idea of composition, that parts of the world are 'made of' something, is no longer helpful
                        Full Idea: It is no longer helpful to conceive of either the world, or particular systems of the world that we study in partial isolation, as 'made of' anything at all. …Our target here is the metaphysical idea of composition.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.1)
                        A reaction: This is argued by them from the point of view of fundamental physics as the provider of our basic metaphysics about the world. Personally I really really want to know what electrons are made of, but I know no one is going to tell me. They may even laugh.
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 8. Parts of Objects / c. Wholes from parts
A sum of things is not a whole if the whole does not support some new generalisation
                        Full Idea: A nostril, a city and a trumpet solo is not a real pattern, because identification of it supports no generalisations not supported by identification of the three conjuncts considered separately.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 4.4)
                        A reaction: This is a nice try at offering a criterion for unity, but I doubt whether it will work, because an ingenious person could come up with wild generalisations. These three combined make possible a charming new line of poetry.
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 13. Nominal Essence
We treat the core of a pattern as an essence, in order to keep track of it
                        Full Idea: We focus on diagnostic features of real patterns that we can treat as 'core', which reliably predict that our attention is still tracking the same real pattern. These are Locke's 'essence of particulars', or Putnam's 'hidden structures'.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 4.5)
                        A reaction: They seemed to be ashamed of themselves for proposing this, and call it a 'second-best' epistemological device. They seem to imply that they are useful fictions, but why shouldn't the hidden structures be real? They might both identify and explain.
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 1. Objects over Time
A continuous object might be a type, with instances at each time
                        Full Idea: Why should not 'Napoleon' be a type, of which 'Napoleon in 1805' and 'Napoleon in 1813' are instances?
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 5.6)
                        A reaction: That is very nice. That might be a view that suits presentism, where the timed instances never co-exist, and so have the sort of abstract existence that we associate with types.
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 6. Probability
In quantum statistics, two separate classical states of affairs are treated as one
                        Full Idea: In quantum statistics, what would be regarded as two possible states of affairs classically is treated as one possible state of affairs.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.1)
Quantum mechanics seems to imply single-case probabilities
                        Full Idea: Quantum mechanics seems to imply single-case probabilities.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.2.3)
                        A reaction: I know they keep telling us about such things, but I remain cautious. I think all the physicists have done is delved a bit deeper into something they don't understand.
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 2. Associationism
Rats find some obvious associations easier to learn than less obvious ones
                        Full Idea: Contrary to early behaviourist dogma, associations are not all equally learnable. Rats learn to associate eating with nausea, and a flash with a shock, much more easily than either complementary pairing.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 5.2)
                        A reaction: That looks like an argue for some sort of innate knowledge, but experiments to disentangle eating from nausea must be rather hard to set up.
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 5. Empiricism Critique
The doctrine of empiricism does not itself seem to be empirically justified
                        Full Idea: If to be an empiricist is to believe that 'experience is the sole source of information about the world', the problem is that this does not itself seem to be justifiable by experience.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 2.3.1)
                        A reaction: [The quotation is from Van Fraassen 1985 p.253] This is the classic 'turning the tables' move in argument, invented by the Greeks. It is hard to offer anything other than intuition in the first move of any metaphysical theory.
12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 2. Intuition
There is no reason to think our intuitions are good for science or metaphysics
                        Full Idea: There is no reason to imagine that our habitual intuitions and inferential responses are well designed for science or for metaphysics.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.1)
14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 4. Prediction
What matters is whether a theory can predict - not whether it actually does so
                        Full Idea: We suggest a modal account of novel prediction. That a theory could predict some unknown phenomenon is what matters, not whether it actually did so predict.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 2.1.3)
                        A reaction: They also emphasise predicting new types of thing, rather than particular items. Some theories are powerful on explanation, but not so concerned with prediction. See Idea 14915.
The theory of evolution was accepted because it explained, not because of its predictions
                        Full Idea: Darwin's theory of evolution was accepted by the scientific community because of its systematizing and explanatory power, and in spite of its lack of novel predictive success.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 2.1.3)
                        A reaction: I am keen on the centrality of explanation to all of our thinking, metaphysical as well as physical, so I like this one. In general I like accounts of science that pay more attention to biology, and less to physics.
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 8. Ramsey Sentences
The Ramsey-sentence approach preserves observations, but eliminates unobservables
                        Full Idea: If one replaces the assertions of a first-order theory with its Ramsey sentence (giving a quantified predicate variable for a theoretical term), the observational consequences are carried over, but direct reference to unobservables is eliminated.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 2.4.1)
                        A reaction: Thus this rewriting of theories is popular with empiricists, and this draws attention to the way you can change the ontological commitments simply by paraphrase. ...However, see Idea 14922.
The Ramsey sentence describes theoretical entities; it skips reference, but doesn't eliminate
                        Full Idea: It is a mistake to think that the Ramsey sentence allows us to eliminate theoretical entities, for it still states that they exist. It is just that they are referred to not directly, by means of theoretical terms, but by description.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 2.4.1)
14. Science / C. Induction / 1. Induction
Induction is reasoning from the observed to the unobserved
                        Full Idea: Induction is any form of reasoning that proceeds from claims about observed phenomena to claims about unobserved phenomena.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 4.5)
                        A reaction: Most accounts of induction seem to imply that they lead to generalisations, rather than just some single unobserved thing. This definition is in line with David Lewis's.
14. Science / C. Induction / 4. Reason in Induction
Inductive defences of induction may be rule-circular, but not viciously premise-circular
                        Full Idea: The inductive defence of induction may be circular but not viciously so, because it is rule circular (defending the rule being used) but not premise circular (where the conclusion is in one of the premises).
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 2.1.2)
                        A reaction: [They cite Braithwaite 1953 and Carnap 1952 for this] This strikes me as clutching at straws, when the whole procedure of induction is inescapably precarious. It is simply all we have available.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / c. Explanations by coherence
We explain by deriving the properties of a phenomenon by embedding it in a large abstract theory
                        Full Idea: Theoretical explanation is the derivation of the properties of a relatively concrete and observable phenomenon by means of an embedding into some larger, relatively abstract and unobservable theoretical structure.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 2.1.1)
                        A reaction: [they are citing Michael Friedman 1981 p.1] This sounds like covering law explanation, but the theoretical structure will be a set of intersecting laws, rather than a single law. How do you explain the theoretical structure?
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 4. Objectification
Maybe the only way we can think about a domain is by dividing it up into objects
                        Full Idea: Speculating cautiously about psychology, it is possible that dividing a domain up into objects is the only way we can think about it.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.5)
                        A reaction: Typical physicists - they speculate about psychology instead of studying it. Have they no respect for science? Neverthless my speculative psychology agrees with theirs. This fact may well be the key to all of metaphysics.
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 6. Determinism / a. Determinism
Two versions of quantum theory say that the world is deterministic
                        Full Idea: In the Bohm version of quantum theory, and the Everett approach, the world comes out deterministic after all.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.7.2)
                        A reaction: This is just in case anyone wants to trumpet the idea that quantum theory has established indeterminism. It is particularly daft to think that quantum indeterminacy makes free will possible (or even actual).
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 4. Emergentism
Science is opposed to downward causation
                        Full Idea: When someone pronounces for downward causation they are in opposition to science.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.6 n54)
                        A reaction: Downward causation is the key issue in any debate about whether minds exhibit excitingly 'emergent' properties that somehow put them outside the realm of normal physics. I take that to be nonsense, and I side with science here.
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 3. Knowing Kinds
Explanation by kinds and by clusters of properties just express the stability of reality
                        Full Idea: Philosophers sometimes invoke natural kinds as if they explain the possibility of explanation. This is characteristically neo-scholastic. That anything can be explained, and that properties cluster together, express one fact: reality is relatively stable.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 5.6)
                        A reaction: Odd idea. I would have thought that if there are indeed kinds and clusters, this would explain a great deal more than mere stability. Or, more accurately, they would invite a more substantial explanation than mere stability would seem to need.
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 4. Source of Kinds
There is nothing more to a natural kind than a real pattern in nature
                        Full Idea: Everything that a naturalist could legitimately want from the concept of a natural kind can be had simply by reference to real patterns.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 5.6)
                        A reaction: I think I agree with this, and with the general idea that natural kinds are overrated. There are varying degrees of stability in nature, and where there is a lot of stability our inductive reasoning can get to work. And that's it.
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 7. Eliminating causation
Causation is found in the special sciences, but may have no role in fundamental physics
                        Full Idea: The idea of causation, as it is used in science, finds its exemplars in the special sciences, and it is presently open empirical question whether that notion will have any ultimate role to play in fundamental physics.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 4.5)
                        A reaction: Note that they seem to always have a notion of 'ultimate' physics hovering over their account. I wonder. There is nothing in this idea to make me think that I should eliminate the idea of causation from my metaphysics.
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 1. Laws of Nature
Science may have uninstantiated laws, inferred from approaching some unrealised limit
                        Full Idea: It is possible that uninstantiated laws can be established in science, and consequently bear explanatory weight, ..if we need reasons for thinking that the closer conditions get to some limit, the more they approximate to some ideal.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.2.3)
                        A reaction: [The cite Hüttemann 2004] I am dubious about laws, but I take this to be a point in favour of inference to the best explanation, and against accounts of laws as supervenient of how things actually are.
27. Natural Reality / B. Modern Physics / 4. Standard Model / a. Concept of matter
That the universe must be 'made of' something is just obsolete physics
                        Full Idea: It is a metaphysical residue of obsolete physics to suppose that the universe is 'made of' anything.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.7.2)
                        A reaction: They quote Smolin as saying that it is 'processes' which are fundamental. And yet surely there must be something there to undergo a process? Surely we don't have eternal platonic processes?
In physics, matter is an emergent phenomenon, not part of fundamental ontology
                        Full Idea: Physics has taught us that matter in the sense of extended stuff is an emergent phenomenon that has no counterpart in fundamental ontology.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.2.3)
                        A reaction: They contrast this point with futile debates among philosopher between atomists (partless particles) and gunkists (parts all the way down).
27. Natural Reality / C. Space / 6. Space-Time
Spacetime may well be emergent, rather than basic
                        Full Idea: Contemporary physics takes very seriously the idea that spacetime itself is emergent from some more fundamental structure.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 1.2.3)
If spacetime is substantial, what is the substance?
                        Full Idea: It is fair to ask: if spacetime is a substance, what is the substance in question?
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.2)
                        A reaction: Personally I love the question 'If it exists, what is it made of?', though physicists seem to think that this reveals a gormless misunderstanding. To my question Keith Hossack retorted 'What are the atoms made of?'
27. Natural Reality / D. Time / 1. Nature of Time / g. Presentism
A fixed foliation theory of quantum gravity could make presentism possible
                        Full Idea: It has been pointed out that presentism is an open question in so far as a fixed folation theory of quantum gravity has not been ruled out.
                        From: J Ladyman / D Ross (Every Thing Must Go [2007], 3.7.2 n75)
                        A reaction: [They cite B.Monton for this point] I don't understand this idea, but I'll have it anyway. Google 'fixed foliation' for me, as I'm too busy.