Thursday, March 22, 2012

Motivating Existence via Quantum Realism

Suppose universe codifies all truths about the universe. Suppose we have an explanation e1 for universe. Then we need an explanation e2 for e1, and another explanation e3 for e2, etc... in a sequence that has no associated limit ordinal (i.e. the sequence doesn't come to an end). Granting all that, the problem one runs in to is

(1) where does the entire set s = {universe, e1, e2, ...} come from?

But the assumption here is each of universe, e1, e2, ... are able to be the elements of a set, s. That's not necessarily the case in a contextual ontology, such as Quantum Realists' understanding of quantum mechanics.

In a contextual ontology there may not be any disembodied god-like perspective or frame of reference from which one may make the assumption that universe, e1, e2, ... can be members of a single set. In some kinds of contextual ontologies there may be nothing which s exists relative to, in which case it would not exist, in which case (1) is not a sound objection to the idea of an infinite series of explanations.

Contextual ontologies allow for a non-well-defined physical state of the universe as a whole.

Quantum mechanics has a contextual ontology known as Quantum Realism. If Relationalism is part of Quantum Realism, there isn't any physically well-defined state of the universe in its entirety. In such a universe there is no fact of the matter about the entire universe taken as a whole. There are only physical facts from various frames of reference. In such a universe it might be that every subsystem has an explanation as the description of a previous quantum state (previous explanation?). Suppose every explanation lies within a quantum description...

[note to self: look at structures like universe = {quantum explanation, universe}]

I admit to being unclear about the interactions of 2) physical stuff, 3) physical theory, 4) explanations of (1) and/or (2), 5) explanations of (3), etc. Do we need physical stuff to be ultimately mathematical? Do we need explanations to happen only within the universe they are explaining?

Quantum mechanics in some ways lightens the load of what we have to explain (and this would be a very strong reason there is Quantum mechanics and not some other mechanics).

In a contextual ontology there may not be any God-like "disembodied" frame of reference. Normally the objects of the ontology are the only frames of reference from which things about the universe must be true, and explained. Usually, these frames of reference don't existentially coexist with all the other things in the universe, but only a subset. The upshot is the universe doesn't need to be explained in toto. We only need explanations for (the existence of and/or particularities of) some things, from each frame of reference. This is a big reduction of work an explanation must do.

If objection (1) is the only objection against an infinite series of explanations being sound, then

(6) it may be there is an infinite series of explanations of the existence of and/or particulars of our universe

The objection (1) might not apply in a quantum universe.

I'll reiterate from several previous posts that the principle that makes our universe more likely to exist (the Parfit Selector) is, for various reasons, the logical form


Where T is the universe. This logical structure can be looked for in the equations of physics. (Two interesting interpretational points are time and probability.)

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