March 28, 2012
The Word of the Week is: Modal Realism
Definition: Modal realism is the idea that all modal possibilities are actual.
More about the term: Anything that is possible actually happens. However, modal realism is, in a sense, modally limited. The state of affairs of the non-existence of anything cannot be true if something does exist so by definition modal realism must entail ~∃!W with W being the non-existence of anything—nothing, lest it suffer the consequence of being intrinsically incoherent (~∃!W = There does not exist just one W). In order to avoid an inherent incoherence perhaps there are logically antecedent reasons to affirm ~∃!W (i.e. actuality is logically prior to possibility, which makes possibility somewhat superfluous). Under certain multiverse scenarios different regions of space will exhibit different effective laws of physics (i.e. difference constants, dimensionality, particle content, relation of information, information propagation, etc.) corresponding to different local minima in a landscape of possibilities.
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February 8, 2012
The Word of the Week is: Multiverse
Definition: The term to designate the existence of many worlds or universes. Contrary to just one world, a uni-verse, there are many worlds, a multi-verse.
More about the term: The multiverse is not monolithic but it is modeled after the contemporary understanding of an inflationary model of the beginning of this universe suggesting a plurality of worlds. Max Tegmark has championed the most prominent versions of the multiverse. There are four levels of the multiverse.
- Level One: The level one is, for the most part, more space beyond the observable universe. So, theoretically, if we were to go to the “edge” of the universe there would be more space. Having this model as a version of the multiverse may be misleading because there is still only one volume, landscape, or system involved. A generic prediction of cosmological inflation is an infinite space, which contains Hubble volumes (what we see in our universe) realizing in all conditions—including an identical copy of each of us about 10^10^29 meters away.
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December 31, 2011
Robert Adams raises and interesting objection to modal realism based on the problem of evil. He believes
[That] our very strong disapproval of the deliberate actualizing of evils… reflects a belief in the absolutely, and not just relatively, special status of the actual as such. Indeed, if we ask, “What is wrong with actualizing evils, since they will occur in some other possible world anyways if they don’t occur in this one?”, I doubt that the indexical theory can provide an answer which will be completely satisfying ethically.
Adams’ objection concerning the actualization of evil is irrelevant to a Thomistic version of modal realism (this version to be released in an upcoming paper in the Fall of 2012). Thomas does not seem to have any problem with the presence of evil. When discussing Boethius, a philosopher prompts the question, “If there is a God, how comes evil?” Thomas argues that the question should be reversed—“If there is evil, there is a God.” For there would be no evil, if the order of goodness were taken away, the privation of which is evil; and this order would not be, if God were not.
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December 31, 2011
Contemporary physics seem to indicate that there are good reasons, theoretically and physically, for an idea that there is a plurality of worlds. This concept has come to be understood as the multiverse. The multiverse is not monolithic but it is modeled after the contemporary understanding of an inflationary model of the beginning of this universe. Max Tegmark has championed the most prominent versions of the multiverse. Tegmark has made a four-way distinction.
Tegmark’s first version of the multiverse is called the level one multiverse. The level one is, for the most part, more space beyond the observable universe. So, theoretically, if we were to go to the “edge” of the universe there would be more space. Having this model as a version of the multiverse may be misleading because there is still only one volume, landscape, or system involved. A generic prediction of cosmological inflation is an infinite space, which contains Hubble volumes (what we see in our universe) realizing in all conditions—including an identical copy of each of us about 10^10^29 meters away.
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November 14, 2011
The following are a list of podcasts that I’ve been following and listening to that have been quite helpful in my philosophical, scientific, and theological studies. The criteria for consideration are based on 1) quality of content, 2) accurate presentation of the material, 3) constructive and respectful criticism of opposing views, 4) frequency of podcast release, and 5) a broad range of topics/issues discussed.
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October 30, 2011
As many of you know I’ve been in the hospital for five days due to some Crohn’s related problems. I went in last Tuesday with pains that were very similar to my last flare up, which led to me to a major surgery that should have spared me 3-5 years. Anyways, I’m in recovery mode from this most recent flare up though I’m not completely out of the woods yet. I’ll be heading up to UVA in the next few weeks to have a procedure/consultation on how to treat this from here on out due to the still unknown spots on my liver.
I hope to be getting to some more blogging in the next week or so here. I’m halfway finished with my review of Skeptic Magazine’s review of William Lane Craig in their recent issue. Additionally, I’ll be lecturing in the next few weeks on fine-tuning, the multiverse, and the problem of evil. I already have these lectures prepared from earlier lectures but I’ve been reading more papers on the multiverse and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on here. Aside from blogging, I’m a little behind in my research for my epistemology course. I’m hoping to do research on the role of inference in belief formation and belief/paradigm change. I’m also amidst my graduate research on fine-tuning and the multiverse as well as my research in my Thomas Aquinas course on Thomas’ thoughts on creation and time.
More to come later on, again, sorry for the lack of updates and posts.
October 12, 2011
This is just a memo for everyone out there. As you may know, my research thesis is the fine-tuning argument in light of the multiverse and my suggestion is that the multiverse exponentially strengthens the argument. I’ve traced multiverse scenarios back to the Church Father Origen and Paley (read the second chapter of Natural Theology). It doesn’t seem to be considered as actual until Hugh Everett in the mid twentieth century. If any of you have more information on the historical development I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!