November 26th, 2012
In 1956 Hugh Everett III published his Ph.D. dissertation titled “The Theory of the Universal Wave Function.” In this paper Everett argued for the relative state formulation of quantum theory and a quantum philosophy, which denied wave collapse. (DOWNLOAD HERE)
Initially, this interpretation was highly criticized by the physics community and when Everett visited Niels Bohr in Copenhagen in 1959 Bohr was unimpressed with Everett’s most recent development. In 1957 Everett coined his theory as the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics. In an attempt to circumvent the problem of defining the mechanism for the state of collapse Everett suggested that all orthogonal relative states are equally valid ontologically. What this means is that all-possible states are true and exist simultaneously.
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November 12th, 2012
Tomorrow morning Leah and I will be flying out to Milwaukee, WI for the annual Evangelical Philosophical Society conference at the Hyatt Regency. I have coauthored a paper with Dave Beck titled “God and the Multiverse.” In it we develop a new model of modal realism, what we call Thomistic Modal Realism. Below is the abstract of our paper.
Wednesday 14 Nov.
10.10—10.50 (Hyatt Executive B)
W. David Beck
Max L. E. Andrews
God and the Multiverse
Recent developments in quantum physics postulate the existence of some form of multiverse. We will argue that a cosmology of many worlds is not novel either to philosophy or to theism. The multiverse is not a monolithic concept and we will refer to and use the four levels of categorization proposed by Max Tegmark. We will trace the idea of a multiverse back to the pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle in order to initially demonstrate its fit with a concept of God.
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July 12th, 2012
If God has a sufficient reason for permitting evil in some possible world then he has a sufficient reason in all possible worlds. Given simplicity, God is perfectly similar in every possible world we can conceive. He never wills differently, he never acts differently, he never knows differently, and he never loves differently. If modal realism is true and evil exists then the probability overall or on balance for justice is precisely 1. Thus, the problem of evil is an insufficient objection given whatever God’s interaction is in this world. It would be morally equivalent to his actions in other worlds with evil. If God is absolutely similar in all possible worlds and if he has a morally sufficient reason to permit evil in some possible world then he is morally justified in permitting evil in all possible worlds (even if some worlds are more bad than good because God would be acting towards the same telos). The following is a modified version of Alvin Plantinga’s ontological argument. In it I include the necessary entailment of a morally sufficient reason for permitting evil.
P1. The property of being maximally great is exemplified in some possible world.
P2. The property of being maximally great is equivalent, by definition, to the property of being maximally excellent in every possible world.
P3. The property of being maximally excellent entails the properties of omniscience and moral perfection.
P4. The property of moral perfection necessarily entails a morally sufficient reason for permitting states of affairs that are overall more evil than good.
P5. A universal property is one that is exemplified in every possible world or none.
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May 23rd, 2012
Word of the Week: Plantingan Modal Realism
Defininition: The modal metaphyiscs of Alvin Plantinga.
More about the word: Contra to mere theisitic modal realism and their doctrines Alvin Plantinga includes a commitment to a very large modal reality. Any object that has an accidental property in any world w–say, property of being the world’s tallest man–also has the modal property of being possibly the world’s fastest human and the modal property of being necessarily the world’s fastest human in w. For every concredete object x there is some property P and some world w wuch that w includes x’s having P. For Plantinga’s modal realism, abstract worlds are abstract objects. In theistic modal realism each possible world is the mereological sum of its parts. These parts are themseves concrete individuals with spatiotemporal properties. Plantinga’s modal realism does not necessarily entail multiverse scenarios. (For more see Michale Almaeida’s, Metaphysics of Perfect Beings, 140-50.)
May 1st, 2012
Our usual understanding of possible worlds are simply references to any possible state of affairs. They have no ontic grounding or actuality. It’s a semantic tool. However, there are those who treat possible worlds as actual. (The world actual becomes very fuzzy in modal realism). Philosopher David Lewis is the leading proponent of modal realism (Lewisian modal realism) and he has developed six essential doctrines to understanding modal realism:
- Possible worlds exist–they are just as real as our world
- Possible worlds are the same sort of things as our world–they differ in content, not in kind
- Possible worlds cannot be reduced to something more basic–they are irreducible entities in their own right
- Actuality is indexical. When we distinguish our world from other possible worlds by claiming that it alone is actual, we mean only that it is our world
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