On 25/06/07, Brent Meeker <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
BM: If I understand you, I would agree with the clarification that this
convergence has been performed by evolution; so that for us it is in the
most part hardwired at birth. And this hardwired interpretation of the
world is something that co-evolved with sensory and manipulative organs.
DN: Yes, in the biosphere, the physical structures and capabilities on
which behaviours supervene must indeed be presumed to be products of
evolution. Then if the functionalist account is correct, this in effect
'selects' the unique corresponding interpretation from the infinite set
attributable in principle to the physics of such structures, relegating all
the others to 'imaginary' status at the level of this account of physical
This doesn't AFAICS present any knock-down proof of functionalism as the
correct account of consciousness, which presumably remains an open empirical
question. Some quite different 'emergence paradigm' for consciousness -
which may or may not entail a unique and distinguishable bottom-up
correlation between physical and 1-person events - may win out; or we may
never know. But in the case that functionalism pans out, a type of
correlation with physical causality seems at least comprehensible to me now,
as far as I've been able to think it through.
Here's what's still not completely clear to me - perhaps you can assist me
with this. We don't know *which* set of physical events is in effect
selected by the functionalist account, even though it may be reasonable to
believe that there is one. Given this, it appears that should we be finally
convinced that only a functional account of 1-person phenomena uniquely
survives all attempted refutation, we can never in that case provide any
'distinguished' bottom up physical account of the same phenomena. IOW we
would be faced with an irreducibly top-down mode of explanation for
consciousness, even though there is still an ineliminable implication to
specific fundamental aspects of the physics in 'instantiating' the bottom-up
causality. Does this indeed follow, or am I still garbling something?
> David Nyman wrote:
> > On 25/06/07, *Russell Standish* <[EMAIL PROTECTED]
> > <mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]>> wrote:
> > RS: The conscious entity that the computer implements would know about
> > it. It is not imaginary to itself. And by choosing to interpret the
> > computer's program in that way, rather than say a tortured backgammon
> > playing program, we open a channel of communication with the
> > consciousness it implements.
> > DN: .......you mean that if functionalism is true, then though any of
> > the myriad interpretations of the physics might possibly evoke an
> > observer world (although presumably most would be incoherent), only
> > interpretations we are able to 'interact with', precisely because of the
> > consistency of their externalised behaviour with us and our environment,
> > are relevant (causally or otherwise) *to us*. And if this can be shown
> > to converge on a *unique* such interpretation for a given physical
> > system, in effect this would then satisfy my criterion of supervening on
> > *some* distinguishable or unique set of physical relations, even if we
> > couldn't say what it was. So this, then, would be the 'other mind' - and
> > from this perspective, all the other interpretations are 'imaginary'
> > *for us*.
> If I understand you, I would agree with the clarification that this
> convergence has been performed by evolution; so that for us it is in the
> most part hardwired at birth. And this hardwired interpretation of the
> world is something that co-evolved with sensory and manipulative organs.
> Brent Meeker
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