Re: (OPE-L) Re: Hume and constraint based theories

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Fri Nov 21 2003 - 01:35:10 EST

Dear Ian, I'm enjoying it too. But since I do not know
anything about the computer world, I don't think I can
say much to what you have said. I, however, find my
computer to be highly irrational and illogical--but
that probably is a reflection on myself! But
seriously, I have a feeling that the programers must
give some causal direction to their programs. How come
a logical system generate causality? Something is
hiding somewhere.

Any, yesterday I deleted all my ope-l messages in a
hurry, whih had yours too--sometimes I find it hard to
cope with ope-l traffic. But I don't think I had much
to add to what you had wrriten.

Rakesh, I'm sorry your message also got deleted
yesterday. So can't respond to you either. But my
sense is that our discussion on this thread is not
going anywhere. Cheers, ajit sinha
--- Ian Wright <ian_paul_wright@HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Hello Ajit,
> Thanks for your response. I'm enjoying the exchange
> because our
> ideas are so different.
> I wanted to completely seperate the relevance of my
> model as a
> model of economic reality from its status as an
> object that is part of
> reality. The point I was trying to make was that any
> computational
> system, for example all the computer programs out
> there, from
> payroll software, email delivery agents, web
> crawlers, programs
> that manage online discussion lists, such as this
> one, controllers for
> autonomous robots, and so forth, are all dynamical
> systems that
> operate in real, historical time. (Let's not confuse
> a computer program
> running in historical time with a computer program
> that is designed to
> model, correctly or incorrectly, the time evolution
> of another system).
> I do not think it possible to refute Humean
> scepticism over a couple
> of emails, nor do I think I necessarily can, but I'd
> like to point out
> that Humean scepticism regarding the causality of
> computer programs
> is unjustified because the causality of computer
> programs is founded
> on logical, not natural, necessity. Computer
> programs do what they
> do in virtue of their logical structure. It is
> logically impossible for them
> to act otherwise, and hence an observer trying to
> induce a theory over
> the event regularities they generate is justified in
> doing so,
> whether they know it or not. An observer that
> attains a correct theory,
> in this case the discovery of the logical structure
> of the program
> implemented in the material system, is justified in
> inducing
> that the mechanism identified will continue to act
> in this way, for
> it is logically impossible for the mechanism
> identified to act otherwise.
> This is not to deny that computational systems may
> act unexpectedly
> due to the vagaries of their implementation in
> circuits or other
> structures of matter. But due to the robustness of
> the implementation
> when something does go wrong then software engineers
> typically do
> not look for errors in the circuitry, or wonder
> whether a stray
> photon upset the CPU at the moment of calculation,
> or check
> whether a strong mangetic field is affecting the
> machine. They
> re-examine the logic of their computer programs
> because they (tacitly)
> know that, excluding some essential breakdown of the
> system, the events
> that the program generates occur with logical
> necessity, a kind of
> necessity that cannot seriously be questioned
> without questioning
> the very basis of rationality, which is a condition
> of possibility
> of Humean scepticism. The demands of logic dictate
> that the
> causality of a computer program be considered
> objective and real,
> and in practice this is what happens everyday in
> businesses worldwide.
> If this argument is accepted, then at the very least
> a subset of
> the natural world is immune from Humean scepticism.
> A longer
> argument would claim that it is justified to
> hypothesise
> that this particular case is in fact universal, but
> I don't really
> want to get into this. But I hope the foregoing
> provides reasons
> why I think it very strained to maintain that the
> casuality of
> an instantiated, running computer program is a
> figment of
> human imagination, irrespective of whether the
> system was created
> by humans (or not).
> I'll return to your particular criticisms of my
> model of a simple
> commodity economy in a later post.
> All the best,
> -Ian.
> MSN 8 with e-mail virus protection service: 2 months

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