On Aug 28, 12:53 am, "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> On 27/08/07, [EMAIL PROTECTED] <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> > > I accept that there is more than one way to describe reality, and I
> > > accept the concept of supervenience, but where I differ with you
> > > (stubbornly, perhaps) is over use of the word "fundamental". The base
> > > property seems to me more deserving of being called "fundamental" than
> > > the supervenient property. If you were to give concise instructions to
> > > a god who wanted to build a copy of our world you could skip all the
> > > information about values etc. confident in the knowledge that all this
> > > extra stuff would emerge as long as the correct physical information
> > > was conveyed; whereas the converse is not the case.
> > > [If the mental does not supervene on the physical this changes the
> > > particular example, but not the general point.]
> > Refer the brief definition of property dualism referenced by the link
> > Bruno gave:
> > Be careful to draw a distinction between 'substances' and
> > 'properties'. I accept that the underlying *substance* is likely
> > physical, but *properties* are what are super-imposed on the top of
> > the underlying substance. The physical *substance* may be the base
> > level, but the physical *properties* aren't. From the mere fact that
> > aesthetic properties are *composed of* physical substances, it does
> > not follow that aesthetic properties themselves are physical. Nor
> > does it follow from the fact that physical substances are *neccessery*
> > for aesthetic properties, that they are *sufficient* to fully specify
> > aesthetic properties.
> > Here's why: Complete knowledge of the physical properties of your
> > brain cannot in fact enable you to deduce your aesthetic preferences
> > without additional *non-physical* assumptions. That is because,as I
> > agreed with Bruno (see my previous post), all the explanatory power of
> > reason is *mathematical* in nature. In short, in order for you to
> > know how a complete specification of your brain state was correlated
> > with your aesthetic preferences, you would have to use your own
> > *subjective experiences* as a calibrator in order to make the
> > correlation (ie When brain state X, I feel/experience Y). And these
> > subjective experiences are not themsleves physical, but, as I have
> > explained again and again, *Mathematical* properties.
> There is this special quality of subjective experience: that which is
> left over after all the objective (third person knowable) information
> is accounted for. Nevertheless, the subjective experience can be
> perfectly reproduced by anyone who has at hand all the relevant third
> person information, even if it can't be reproduced in his own mind.
> You can build a bat which will to itself feel like a bat if you know
> every scientific detail about bats and have appropriately capable
> molecular assemblers at your disposal.
Yes of course. But your ability to do this would not enable you to
determine what the bat was actually feeling solely from the physical
facts alone. (If you put matter together the right way, I agree you
will be able to create consciousness, but you won't be explain what
type of consciousness is created solely from physical data). So the
fact that subjective experience is entirely dependent on physical
substances does not provide a sufficient explanation of subjective
> physical necessity unless you are a substance dualist, since the usual
> definition of supervenience says that same brain state implies same
> mind state. (It isn't a matter of logical necessity because property
> dualism is logically possible.) In this sense, the mental properties'
> dependence on the physical properties is asymmetrical, which is why I
> say the physical properties are more fundamental. You might agree with
> this analysis but simply have a different definition of "fundamental".
I agree that mental properties are depedent on the physical
substance. The physical substance might be what is fundmanetal. But
physical *properties* are what emerge from the movements of the
underlying substance. Futher there are other non-physical properties
which appear as well - mathematical for example.
> What if someone simply claimed that they couldn't see how circulation
> was the same as cardiovascular activity: they could understand that
> the heart was a pump, the blood a fluid, the blood vessels conduits,
> but the circulatory system as a whole was something emergent and not
> at all obvious, in the same way that mind was emergent. Alternatively,
> a superintelligent being could claim that the mind was as obviously
> the result of brain activity as circulation was the result of
> cardiovascular activity.
> Stathis Papaioannou
Alternatively a superintelligent being might be quick to castigate you
for your stupidly and claim that I am right *sarcastic*. We have to
look at the facts based on the information at hand, not 'what if'.
You haven't answered the essential point, endorsed by one of the most
respected scientists in the world, Ray Kurzweil. This point is that
there's an essential difference between specific physical properties
(which can be objectively measured - as in the the exmaple of
circulation), and subjective experiences, which are not reducible to
specific physical properties (subjective experiences are a
*mathematical pattern* , and the same pattern could be enacted on
anything- you could have intelligent silicon, rocks, clouds or
anything. Further thesse patterns cannot be directly objectively
If I would only make one essential argument here it is:
It's known for a fact that there exist mathematical concepts (infinite
sets) which are indispensible to our explanations of reality but which
can't be explained in terms of any finite physical processes. This is
as clear-cut proof of the existence of non-material properties as
you're ever likely to see! Mathematical concepts simply are not
replaceable with physical descriptions. And subjective experiences
are precisely *mathemetical patterns*.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
For more options, visit this group at