Consider the next girl to be named Oasis. She might be an American, and clearly by “she” I mean Oasis, but if that “Oasis” refers to her directly (i.e. not via that name’s sense but via some appropriate causal connection, between that use of her name and her baptism) then is there some sort of backwards causation, acting from her future baptism to that reference? Maybe it’s indeterminate who I’m referring to (unless that aspect of the Universe is already determined) until the time of her baptism (or until that aspect is determined), but would there then be some instantaneous causation-at-a-distance? Or is my feeling that I’ve just been referring to Oasis just a mirage?
......I’ve no idea, so consider a more traditional kind of scenario. Suppose you’re in a desert, looking for an oasis. You know that there’s an oasis to the North, and so you look northwards, and see what you take to be the oasis. Of course, it’s really a mirage. Still, just where you take the oasis to be does happen to be where the oasis is, hidden behind the mirage. In fact, had the oasis not been there, reflecting sunlight and evaporating, the air would’ve been so differently heated by the Sun that the mirage wouldn’t have been there either. As you move northwards, the mirage fades, and is imperceptibly replaced by an increasingly clear sight of the oasis. What you are looking at changes smoothly from mirage to oasis, but does the reference of your “that oasis” also change smoothly, from nothing (via referential failure) to that oasis?
......I’m not sure. In the traditional (epistemological) scenario, a vase is hidden behind a hologram (a picture whose image has depth) of the same vase (apparently in the same place). If you saw that hologram and said “That vase,” you might well be referring to the vase because the hologram is of the vase, but would you know that the vase was there, just by seeing its image? Is it that you would not, because anything might have been behind the hologram? But then, even were the hologram switched on by placing the vase there, and even were only that vase ever put there (in what might be a fairly deterministic bit of the Universe), still, would it not seem that you wouldn’t know, just by seeing its image, that it was there?
......Perhaps the relevant personnel would only ever put that vase there. So suppose instead that the hologram was built up from live feed, from cameras trained upon the plinth. That might give you the same picture, of the same vase, and again only when the vase is there. And again maybe only that vase is ever put there, but now it seems that you might know that the vase was there (even if again, you don’t know about the mechanism). After all, that situation is like having night-sight cameras in front of a vehicle, showing the driver what’s in front of it, which is itself not unlike wearing goggles, or spectacles (or indeed, simply having eyes).
3 YEARS AGO (JANUARY 2015): MEMORY LANE - MONTHLY MEMORY LANE: 3 years ago: January 2015. I mark in red 3-4 posts from each month that seem most apt for general background on key issues in this blo...
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