Thursday, September 2, 2010

This Machine...

Joe Crow Ryan's great shirt and subsequent album, nay two albums--This Machine Kills Purists and  This Machine Kills Purists 2 Personally and I think I mentioned this to Joe once, I think it should make sure it doesn't kill all purists lest it seem too pure in its own right. But machines are machines and often they must run through their paces I guess. As for instance this machine is on a major philosophic analyzing routine and explication can hardly get any computing time whatsoever. Lately it has occurred to me that when we say something is possible, or impossible, or necessary we are not saying anything at all about the proposed thing or event, but rather speaking about the world. Thus when people are speaking of possible worlds, they are saying that in this world, something could have been different. Now it is also the case that any statements of possibility in this world are hypotheses, because the only things we can be absolutely sure are possible are those things which happened-- we know this about this universe that these things or events which have happened can happen.  Then the question becomes as follows: is it possible that these things could have been impossible. But that questions whether this world could have turned out in such a way, that what has happened could never have happened.  And yet we know that had that world occurred from the point of view of that world, this world could have happened, because in fact it has happened, which means that even if this world were unimaginable, and seemed impossible in that other possible world, it would still in fact be possible.
Is the possibility of this world then necessary? But let us be clear. We can only be certain, because it is actual, that what has happened and what is, is possible. That is the only possibility that we can be certain is necessary, as it is the only possibility we can ascertain. Thus any language, or logic, which states that if something is possible it is necessary that it is possible has drifted into definition and away from axiomatization. Rather let the axiom be that if p is actual, then p is necessarily possible.  But note that we can say for certain if something is necessarily possible then it is actual.

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