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Thread: Possibility (two perspectives)

  1. Top | #11
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    When I say “the cat is possibly inside, possibly outside, and actually inside
    To me that is a logical impossibility as stated. But it is a matter of interpretation. In conversation you might just mean there are two possible conditions and it is currently one of the two. The word possibly implies a probability or uncertainty.


    If you modified and said “the cat is possibly inside, possibly outside, and it is probably inside" That would make sense to me. An expression of probability. The cat is in one or two possible places, I expect it is one of the two. Informal reasoning.

    Or“the cat can be at times possibly inside, possibly outside, and I know it is inside inside"

    Semantics and cone text vs mathematical probabilities and informal erbal reasoning.

    Toss a die in the air, until it comes to rest on the floor there are six possibilities. Once it lands and is stable there is only one possibility. Ignoring ending up on an edge or a corner.
    Last edited by steve_bank; 07-21-2019 at 04:26 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    When I say “the cat is possibly inside, possibly outside, and actually inside
    To me that is a logical impossibility as stated. But it is a matter of interpretation. In conversation you might just mean there are two possible conditions and it is currently one of the two. The word possibly implies a probability or uncertainty.


    If you modified and said “the cat is possibly inside, possibly outside, and it is probably inside" That would make sense to me. An expression of probability. The cat is in one or two possible places, I expect it is one of the two. Informal reasoning.

    Or“the cat can be at times possibly inside, possibly outside, and I know it is inside inside"

    Semantics and cone text vs mathematical probabilities and informal erbal reasoning.

    Toss a die in the air, until it comes to rest on the floor there are six possibilities. Once it lands and is stable there is only one possibility. Ignoring ending up on an edge or a corner.
    There are other possibilities, though.

    Possibilities are not metaphysical beings existing in the abstract Platonist realm as fast seems to believe, they are purposeful considerations of the mind. You logically infer possibilities from whatever assumption you have about the reality of the situation.

    Thus, a die may be showing a 6 but you can still consider alternative possibilities. Easy as pie. But they're not possibilities that somehow exist outside your consideration of them. We are always responsible for the possibilities we somehow choose to infer that they are still extant.
    EB

  3. Top | #13
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    That four is actually what it landed on doesn’t alter the possibility of what it could have landed on.

    Before the throw
    1 is a possibility and actuality is unknown because it’s yet to be
    Same for 2 to 6

    After the throw
    The truth regarding possibilities shouldn’t have changed. If it wasn’t possible for 4 to be what it would land on, it couldn’t have become the actual number it landed on. It seems to me that if 3 wasn’t possible (as well as 1, 2, 5, and 6), it would have been impossible for those options to have occurred.

  4. Top | #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast View Post
    That four is actually what it landed on doesn’t alter the possibility of what it could have landed on.

    Before the throw
    1 is a possibility and actuality is unknown because it’s yet to be
    Same for 2 to 6

    After the throw
    The truth regarding possibilities shouldn’t have changed. If it wasn’t possible for 4 to be what it would land on, it couldn’t have become the actual number it landed on. It seems to me that if 3 wasn’t possible (as well as 1, 2, 5, and 6), it would have been impossible for those options to have occurred.
    Sounds like semantics, A possibility and an actuality are mutually exclusive.

    For a six sided die the mathematical probability is 1/6. That means if you toss the die 60 times with reasonable randomness the result will be around 10 counts for each side 1-6. Try the experiment. Or a quarter. Flip the coin 100 times and record H T. It will be around 50%. As the coin is tossed the probability or possibility of H or T is always 50/50, but whether it ends up H or T is not predictable or knowable. When the coin comes to rest it is actual an H or T. Possibility versus actuality.

    Once the die lands there is no probability or possibility. The result is an actual number.

    Don't know any other way to explain it. maybe flipping a coin may help you. Give a quarter a good shake in cupped hands and toss it 100 times. I did there simple expeimnts 40 years ago when learninmg staistics.

  5. Top | #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fast View Post
    That four is actually what it landed on doesn’t alter the possibility of what it could have landed on.

    Before the throw
    1 is a possibility and actuality is unknown because it’s yet to be
    Same for 2 to 6

    After the throw
    The truth regarding possibilities shouldn’t have changed. If it wasn’t possible for 4 to be what it would land on, it couldn’t have become the actual number it landed on. It seems to me that if 3 wasn’t possible (as well as 1, 2, 5, and 6), it would have been impossible for those options to have occurred.
    Sounds like semantics, A possibility and an actuality are mutually exclusive.

    For a six sided die the mathematical probability is 1/6. That means if you toss the die 60 times with reasonable randomness the result will be around 10 counts for each side 1-6. Try the experiment. Or a quarter. Flip the coin 100 times and record H T. It will be around 50%. As the coin is tossed the probability or possibility of H or T is always 50/50, but whether it ends up H or T is not predictable or knowable. When the coin comes to rest it is actual an H or T. Possibility versus actuality.

    Once the die lands there is no probability or possibility. The result is an actual number.

    Don't know any other way to explain it. maybe flipping a coin may help you. Give a quarter a good shake in cupped hands and toss it 100 times. I did there simple expeimnts 40 years ago when learninmg staistics.
    Actuality requires possibility. For instance, a single die has no possibility (physical possibility, that is) of landing on a seven.
    Landing on a four is certainly a possibility, no less or more than landing on anywhere from a one to a six. That fact is demonstrated by your illustration that a subsequent and independent roll shows a calculable possibility.

    If it lands on a four yet am told that there is no possibility for a three landing, then that kind of negates why there was a 1 in six chance.

    The wording is important, I agree.

    Each number is possible. When the actual number is realized, there needs to be a tenseless expression to maintain the understanding that retains the possibilities recognized.

    Of the six possibilities, it actually landed on a four. For someone to say that landing on a three isn’t possible (not wasn’t possible—keep past tense at bay) is what I object to.

  6. Top | #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast View Post
    That four is actually what it landed on doesn’t alter the possibility of what it could have landed on.

    Before the throw
    1 is a possibility and actuality is unknown because it’s yet to be
    Same for 2 to 6

    After the throw
    The truth regarding possibilities shouldn’t have changed. If it wasn’t possible for 4 to be what it would land on, it couldn’t have become the actual number it landed on. It seems to me that if 3 wasn’t possible (as well as 1, 2, 5, and 6), it would have been impossible for those options to have occurred.
    It was a possibility and it no longer is.

    It is still true today that it was a possibility yesterday. The truth hasn't changed.

    How are you going to prove there was really a possibility of landing a 6 yesterday when you know it was a 4 the die showed. It's done. Alea jacta est. You can consider current possibilities because you are ignorant of the future.

    You may even talk of what happened in the past in terms of possibilities when you actually ignore what happened.

    Thus, it's possible the murderer stalked its victim for weeks before committing the crime. It is still a possibility today that the murderer stalked its victim for weeks simply because you happen to still ignore today that it was not the case. Epistemological possibility. There's nothing else to it which is not metaphysical.

    What is the use of a metaphysical possibility?
    EB

  7. Top | #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speakpigeon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fast View Post
    That four is actually what it landed on doesn’t alter the possibility of what it could have landed on.

    Before the throw
    1 is a possibility and actuality is unknown because it’s yet to be
    Same for 2 to 6

    After the throw
    The truth regarding possibilities shouldn’t have changed. If it wasn’t possible for 4 to be what it would land on, it couldn’t have become the actual number it landed on. It seems to me that if 3 wasn’t possible (as well as 1, 2, 5, and 6), it would have been impossible for those options to have occurred.
    It was a possibility and it no longer is.

    It is still true today that it was a possibility yesterday. The truth hasn't changed.

    How are you going to prove there was really a possibility of landing a 6 yesterday when you know it was a 4 the die showed. It's done. Alea jacta est. You can consider current possibilities because you are ignorant of the future.

    You may even talk of what happened in the past in terms of possibilities when you actually ignore what happened.

    Thus, it's possible the murderer stalked its victim for weeks before committing the crime. It is still a possibility today that the murderer stalked its victim for weeks simply because you happen to still ignore today that it was not the case. Epistemological possibility. There's nothing else to it which is not metaphysical.

    What is the use of a metaphysical possibility?
    EB
    I’m looking at a quarter laying flat on the table. You do not know what is showing. What’s the odds that it shows heads? You would have me believe it’s either 0% or 100%.

  8. Top | #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast View Post
    I’m looking at a quarter laying flat on the table. You do not know what is showing. What’s the odds that it shows heads? You would have me believe it’s either 0% or 100%.
    To me it's possible it's head and it's just as possible it's tail. To you, there's just one possibility left, the one which is actual. To me the odds are fifty-fifty. To you it is indeed either 0 or 100% (given ordinary circumstances).

    Obviously, if you were to throw your quarter again, you'd be back to fifty-fifty. And if you think back to before you threw the last time, it was again fifty-fifty. It was. It no longer is because you're looking at it now and you know the outcome.

    What's the problem for you? I don't get it. Where are the kind of possibilities you're talking about? The possibilities I am talking about are the ones I assume from the vantage point of my ignorance: the future, the past I didn't experience myself, the contents of your mind, God, alternative universes, the contents of Steve's pockets. A lot of possibilities there because I don't know it's not actual. Where I to look into all of these things, if at all possible (sic), most possibilities would vanish to leave place to what I would now know is actually there. Not a chance of that, though.

    Note: If it was a possibility (I would look into your mind). It isn't a possibility because I know I can't look into your mind.

    Of course, it's not even "know", although I keep saying it. It's really just what you believe. If you believe the die is fair, you will believe there are 6 possibilities. You can't ever know that, though. You have to cast the die again and again to make your empirical observations and revise your beliefs accordingly. As you revise your beliefs, you may come to believe there's no possibility for a 6. Either way, once the die is cast, there's just one possibility left, the one you're looking at because you will believe, and no, not even know, believe, that this is the actual situation.

    You don't seem able to articulate the problem you feel there is. I have said all there is to say and it's not complicated. So, where's the problem for you there?
    EB

  9. Top | #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speakpigeon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fast View Post
    I’m looking at a quarter laying flat on the table. You do not know what is showing. What’s the odds that it shows heads? You would have me believe it’s either 0% or 100%.
    To me it's possible it's head and it's just as possible it's tail. To you, there's just one possibility left, the one which is actual. To me the odds are fifty-fifty. To you it is indeed either 0 or 100% (given ordinary circumstances).
    You’ve captured the problem but have dealt with it as if to say it’s subjective and knowledge dependent. I consider it objective and knowledge independent. It cannot both be possible and impossible simultaneously unless we’re distinguishing between types of possibilities.

  10. Top | #20
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