Russell Standish writes (quoting SP):
> > What if we just say that there is no more to the supervenience of the
> > mental on the physical than there is to the supervenience of a
> > parabola on the trajectory of a projectile under gravity? The
> > projectile doesn't "create" the parabola, which exists in Platonia in
> > an infinite variety of formulations (different coordinate systems and
> > so on) along with all the other mathematical objects, but there is an
> > isomorphism between physical reality and mathematical structure, which
> > in the projectile's case happens to be a parabola. So we could say
> > that the brain does not "create" consciousness, but it does happen
> > that those mathematical structures isomorphic with brain processes in
> > a particular individual are the subset of Platonia that constitutes a
> > coherent conscious stream. This is not to assume that there actually
> > is a real physical world: simulating a projectile's motion with pencil
> > and paper, on a computer, or just the *idea* of doing so will define
> > that subset of Platonia corresponding to a particular parabola as
> > surely as doing the actual experiment. Similarly, simulating atoms,
> > molecules etc. making up a physical brain, or just the idea of doing
> > so defines the subset of Platonia corresponding to an individual
> > stream of consciousness. Your head suddenly turning into a bunch of
> > flowers is not part of the consciousness simulation/reality (although
> > it still is part of Platonia), just as the projectile suddenly
> > changing its trajectory in a random direction is not part of the
> > parabola simulation/reality, or "7" is not an element of the set of
> > even numbers.  > > Stathis Papaioannou >
> So you consider it just a coincidence then that incredibly complicated
> structures (called "brains") are part of our observed reality, even
> though by Occam's razor we really should be demanding an explanation
> of why such complexity exists.

It's only a coincidence in the literal sense of the word, i.e. two things happening simultaneously. My point was to explore the idea of supervenience, which (to me, at any rate) at first glance seems a mysterious process, and we should cut mysterious processes from our theories whenever possible: "entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily". Computations exist eternally as mathematical objects, regardless of whether there is a physical world or not. But certain computations are selected out through being isomorphic with physical structures and processes (or simulations thereof): a parabola, the number three, a mind. We are happy to say that the first two of these are not "caused" by physical processes even when they manifest as if they are, and I think the same consideration can be applied to mind. What physical structures consciousness is isomorphic with and why is another question.
Stathis Papaioannou

Be one of the first to try Windows Live Mail.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
For more options, visit this group at

Reply via email to