On Nov 15, 2008, at 5:22 PM, m.a. wrote:
> Isn't some sort of substrate necessary for any mathematical event,  
> whether it be a brain or a screen or a universe? And isn't that  
> substrate sufficiently different from the math to be called physical  
> existence?

That's certainly the prevailing intuition. My position is that that  
intuition is incorrect, and that it bears a deep similarity to the  
(once prevailing) vitalist's intuition that some kind of "life force",  
sufficiently different than inanimate matter, is necessary for life.

I'm arguing that mathematical facts-of-the-matter all by themselves  
fulfill the requirements that the materialist's substrate is supposed  
to fulfill. The materialists disagree, but then the burden is on them  
to explain exactly what qualities this substrate needs to have, and  
why mathematical facts-of-the-matter don't fit the bill. I've never  
heard a non-question-begging response. What I've heard a lot of is,  
"Mathematical facts-of-the-matter just aren't the kinds of things that  
can count as a physical substrate." But that's just a restatement of  
the position that needs to be defended.

When the materialists try to describe what kind of thing *would* fit  
the bill, I find the descriptions as confusing as the vitalist's  
descriptions of the life-force.

-- Kory

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