Thursday, December 22, 2005


1. Went to Go club today after a two week hiatus. Played three reasonable games, which ended my pattern of playing rushed and disastrous games. Still, I haven't made any noteworthy improvement in at least a month.

2. I go home Friday, which means I'll probably not post until the New Year, though a reasonable internet connection should appear at the familial estate on the 28th.

3. It's getting harder for me to talk about politics. I'm just getting more stupid and ill-informed and apathetic. Apathetic in the sense that I know my general stance on a lot of different areas, but can't be bothered to examine the nuances that distinguish particular positions, and can't be bothered to try and defend my viewpoint. In particular, I no longer know or care enough to argue with people who are misinformed or lie (whether it's real or a hypothetical discussion with some nutcase in the blogosphere). I feel that this is a bad thing.

4. I think I'm going to start trying to write my second paper on composition, a defense of the intuitive conception of when composition occurs as a moderate, non-brutal answer to the Special Composition Question. Don't know what that means? Read the first paper! It's in an old post "Consistency Again." The view that I'm going to defend will be that
some objects, the xs compose another object y iff y is epistemically salient.
The trick is to define the notion of epistemically salient in the proper manner: the result I want is for the SCQ to reduce to a question about reduction and/or elimination in the special sciences. The question "do the molecules that make up my body really compose something?" reduces to the question "is the category 'human being' a scientifically significant category?"

In that case, our intuitions about composition end up being intuitions about reduction, except 'composition' is referentially opaque (that could be a misuse of the term 'referentially opaque'). Nihilism and Universalism turn out to be limiting and equivalent cases. Everything either gets reduced to physics, or is eliminated in favor of physics so either 1) nothing exists except fundamental particles, or 2) every fusion is real, because physics doesn't distinguish between them (in some sense of the word).

In a natural enough sense, this paper is a followup to Brutal Composition and Our Intuitions because that paper argued that we need a theoretical account of what composition is, or when it occurs that explains how our intuitions could have evidential force, and I think this account does the trick.

(I know the title of this post isn't quite a word, but I like it).

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