Saturday, July 17, 2010

A new argument against an undesigned very large multiverse

  1. In a very large (e.g., infinite) undesigned multiverse, there is nothing incongruous.
  2. There is something genuinely intrinsically funny in our universe.
  3. The genuinely intrinsically funny is incongruous.
  4. Therefore, our universe is not a part of a very large undesigned multiverse.
The point behind (1) is that when you have all these probabilistic resources, you don't have incongruity, no matter how weird the stuff in it is.

Terry Pratchett suggests that his Discworld is either the product of gods with a sense of humor, or just something in an infinite multiverse. If the latter, then according to (1) and (3), nothing happening in the Discworld is genuinely intrinsically funny: it is only funny relative to us, i.e., the incongruity is between that world and ours. I prefers the divine sense of humor hypothesis as an interpretation. (I am now reading Making Money. Lots of fun so far.)


bernardz said...

My house is designed, the city my house is in was originally not designed.

Similarly, I could argue that a undesigned universe, produced by random chance humans who design jokes.

Of course, I could also argue that some humor comes purely from chance.

Dustin Crummett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WAR_ON_ERROR said...

Why wouldn't there be incongruity because of probabilistic resources? Are you saying that there is no basis for any distinction?

WAR_ON_ERROR said...

This isn't really an argument from the existence of clowns to design, is it? I'm not really sure where you are coming from unless you think physical things are incapable of having distinctions on their own, without the "aid" of abstract entities or something.

Alexander R Pruss said...

If there are infinitely many clowns, they are not really incongruous. :-)

WAR_ON_ERROR said...

So incongruity is defined by metaphysical context? We can work with that definition.

That means if you are identifying something incongruitous in our universe, you are making a fallacious argument that presupposes you know what metaphysical context our universe sets itself in and your argument fails.

Perhaps I'm jumping to conclusions (and feel free to correct me), but it seems you are saying every universe in a multiverse would be identical? Why is that?


Alexander R Pruss said...

I suppose you can have local incongruity in a large multiverse (incongruous-within-a-universe), but not global. So I guess you may have the relatively but not the absolutely funny.

WAR_ON_ERROR said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that mean you've agreed your argument here doesn't work? For there to be an argument left, you'd have to make a semantic point about "relative vs absolute" incongruity as though that really matters and play up some general human intuition that really funny jokes are REALLY metaphysically funny, and not just "relatively" funny.

Alexander R Pruss said...

No, the argument still works:
1. Some things are non-relatively funny.
2. The non-relatively funny is non-relatively incongruous.
3. On the multiverse hypothesis, there is nothing non-relatively incongruous.
4. Therefore, the multiverse hypothesis is false.

WAR_ON_ERROR said...

How are you telling the difference between relative funny and absolute funny? What is the test for this?

Alexander R Pruss said...

I am inclined to think that only the absolutely funny is really funny. But we to suppose we can't tell the difference between the really funny and the not really funny is to start on the road of scepticism.

WAR_ON_ERROR said...

I like to think of skepticism as a companion, not an entirely different road to travel on. Skepticism is always there with me on epistemology road just like belief and one is constantly deliberating between them on various topics. It seems you have an entirely different approach?

Alexander R Pruss said...

Yes: this highlights an important difference between our approaches, I think. I take each basic natural human kind of perception to be at least sometimes right--to have cases where it works properly and yields knowledge. Thus, sometimes the things we perceive visually are really there, and sometimes the things we perceive through our sense of humor are really funny.