[hist-analytic] "A Shadow's Shadow"; Or, What Eddington Saw

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sun Feb 15 14:59:54 EST 2009


Or, What Eddington Saw.
Pseudo-processes versus aletho- ones.
 
Have you noticed how people 'mis-use' 'pseudo-'? I don't know about Salmon,  
but if the world were so tidy, then we should be appending 'aletho-', as I  
prefer, to anything that it's not pseudo-.
 
I was recently confused by English poetry. Keats's rymes, for example, are  
called 'pseudo-rhyme', which in Italian is _not_ ryme! So far so good. But then 
 there's the use, pseudo-Apollodorus. I mean, the man wasn't even _trying_ to 
 pass _qua_ Apollodorus, the Alethos!
 
--- We are looking for 'irreal' process rather than a false one, aren't  we?
 
HAMLET 
Why, then, 'tis none to you; for there is nothing
either good  or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me
it is a prison.
 
ROSENCRANTZ 
Why then, your ambition makes it one; 'tis too
narrow  for your mind.
 
HAMLET 
O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and count
myself a  king of infinite space, were it not that I
have bad dreams.
 
GUILDENSTERN 
Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the  very
substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
 
HAMLET 
A dream itself is but a shadow.
 
ROSENCRANTZ 
Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light  a
quality that it is but a shadow's shadow.
 
HAMLET
'Sblood, there is something in this more than
natural, if philosophy  could find it out.


In a message dated 2/15/2009 10:04:59 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
baynesrb at yahoo.com writes in "Eddington, pseudo-processes, and  epiphenomenalism"

>Salmon in _Explanation_, incorporate[S] 
>"pseudo-process"
>into his probabilistic theory of causation.  He
relies on Reichenbach (_The Direction of Time_) 
as his source on what  pseudo-processes are, etc.
The most accessible information on the topic  is:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/causation-process/

There is  a lot here on Russell on causation. It's 
>a good essay; not sure who  wrote it. 
 
---
 
Apparently, it's _pdowe at uq.edu.au_ (mailto:pdowe at uq.edu.au)    (Phil Dowe, 
'down under' that is, -- look who's talking!)
 
The format of those entries is confusing in that it's with a dark brown  
background, rather alla Encyclopedia Britannica old style, in brackets at the  end 
of the article itself. He notes it's (c) 2007, though. :-(
 
Bayne continues:

"I've just
completed an essay "Intention, Entrainment  and
Pseudo-Processes, which is an attenuated statement
of my larger  theory. Probably the most original
aspect of the theory I propose is that a  pseudo-
process is not epiphenomenal. This, to the best
of my knowledge  has never been suggested before. 
I think the reason is that if a process has  an
effect, then that effect becomes incorporated into
the causal process.  But this is simply a mistake.
Take any pseudo-process. Observe it, say a  moving
shadow. Your observation is the result of its 
effect on you, and  yet it is not, itself a causal
process."
 
Oh, my god, do philosophers are saying those things now. With the funky  
dispositions, what the world has come to!
 
Surely a 'shadow's shadow' (let's be Shakespearian, if we must) can be  
_causal_ alla that magisterially kept archive by Grice in hist-analytic, "Causal  
Theory of Perception". In fact, my dog reacts much more to epiphenomena (the  
shadow of a rat) than to phenomena itself!
 
----
 
 
"Part of the issue is the individuation of
processes. But I want to set  that aside to make
an historical point.
Reichenbach just might not be the  guy to cite on
this matter. Note the above essay out of Stanford
cites  Reichenbach, probably because its source is
Salmon. But here is something I  discovered only
recently. The description of such processes as we
find it  reported by Salmon is almost exactly the
description we find in Eddington  (_Nature of the
Physical World_ Ann Arbor, 1958)."
 
Just a historical point: recall it's, I think, 1928, London: Macmillan, or  
1929, right?
 
 
 
"Actually, these
are the Gifford Lectures."
 
Exactly, which he apparently _wrote_ before delivery circa even earlier,  
1927, apparently. 
 
"If you turn to pp. 56-
59 you will find a detailed account of what  a
pseudo-process is, one that fits Reichenbach
perfectly. I know that  these processes were
controversial during the early years of  relativity
theory. I made the attempt to find what is
probably the best  scientific account, Milton
Rothman ("Things that Go Faster Than Light"  in
Scientific American (July 1960). But someone had,
as we used to say,  "liberated it." Well, if anyone
has good access to JSTOR or some such and  it's easy
to do, could you forward a copy. I'll find it
sometime soon,  since SA is a popular journal."
 
-----
 
Okay. And I'll keep an eye on Grice, "Intentions and Events" (PPQ 1988). I  
do not have an electronic copy I could forward, just a photocopy _somewhere  
there_. I'm using 'there' as Edington does in his masterpiece, "Are there atoms  
out there -- wherever there is". I loved him for that.
 

Bayne:

"t is interesting that Eddington would never
receive any credit  here."
 
Now he _has_; now he _has_. 
Excellent historical note, Bayne.
 
Cheers,
 
JL
 
 
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