Hi Kory,

On 20 Nov 2008, at 10:13, Kory Heath wrote:

> I should probably let this thread die so that we can concentrate on
> the MGA thread. But there are a few more things I wanted to respond  
> to.
> On Nov 18, 2008, at 9:08 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> On 18 Nov 2008, at 14:14, Kory Heath wrote:
>>> In the meantime, I at least want to say that I'm pretty sure you've
>>> read a lot more into my term "mathematical physicalism" than I
>>> intended. I use "mathematical physicalism" simply to refer to the
>>> idea
>>> that the materialist's picture of matter is problematic in the way
>>> that the vitalists idea of the "life force" is problematic, and that
>>> mathematical facts-of-the-matter unproblematically fill the role  
>>> that
>>> this problematic "physical matter" is supposed to fill.
>> OK. But then what's the difference with mathematicalism?
> Maybe that's the term I should be using. I thought that the term
> "mathematicalism" had some other philosophical meaning, but I now see
> that it only gets 29 hits on Google, and most of them are from this
> list. I like the term, and am happy to commandeer it.
> However, it still seems that you and I can't agree on how to use it.
> For instance, you say:
>> The fact is that I believe mathemaricalism is probably false too, but
>> it could be false in the same sense that incompleteness phenomenon à-
>> la- Skolem-Tarski could be used to justify that "the whole of
>> mathematics" cannot be a mathematical object itself.
> What is your definition of "mathematicalism" here?

Strong definition:  the big "everything" is a mathematical object.
(But perhaps this is asking too much. The whole of math is already not  
a mathematical object). So:

Weak definition: every thing is mathematical, except everything!

>> If you agree that physics has become a statistic on computations "as
>> seen from inside", everything is ok.
> I do agree with this. So everything is ok. :)

(except that a joke is not funny if you know it already :).

>> Then MGA will show what you
>> already believe, which is that the computations does not need to be
>> implemented in our, or any other, stuffy primitive material universe.
> Ok. Can you tell me a one or two word name for the belief that
> "computations do not need to be implemented in our, or any other,
> stuffy primitive material universe"?

Do not need for what needs? To create the feeling of consciousness? In  
that case I would say: "cognitive immaterialism", or something like  

> To put it another way, can we
> come up with a name for the proposition that "the Movie Graph Argument
> is sound"? I want to use the term "mathematicalism" to refer to this
> (and only this). But above you say that you believe that
> "mathematicalism" is probably false. Yet you seem to believe that the
> MGA is sound, so I think you must be using the term "mathematicalism"
> in some other way.

I would say (with grain of salt) that MGA is the breakdown (or the  
seed of the breakdown) of 1500 years of Aristotelian naturalism.
Mathematicalism is a position, a philosophical position, according to  
which the big whole is of mathematical nature. In my opinion, it could  
be much more correct than physicalism (and so represents a big  
progress if we come back to it (many Platonist, like Xeusippas were  
mathematicalist, but not all Platonist are).
But I can argue (later) that mathematicalism is not true. I am even  
open to the idea that consciousness is not something mathematical, it  
is something theological. I think theologicalism could be true (but I  
don't insist, because if physics could be conceptually wrong today,  
theology (the science) is conceptually deeply buried.

> Maybe you don't want to use "mathematicalism" to refer to "the
> conclusion of the MGA", because that elevates your argument to the
> status of a position.

No, it is because, it is a too general position, and it is not  
entirely correct (but this is a subtle point, and I am influenced by  
the interview of the lobian machine). It is almost a very technical  
thing. It is too early (with respect to the thread)

> For what it's worth, I feel that it's a tactical
> mistake for you to claim that you don't hold positions and that you
> don't do philosophy.

I have abandon tactics years ago.

> Your critics may end up accusing you of
> disingenuousness.

Critics does not read what they critic.

> I understand full well that you do not claim that
> COMP is true. You only claim that it is testable. In that sense, I
> understand that you don't hold a position on COMP. But the claim that
> COMP is testable is also a position!

I use position for philosophical position. Not for scientific  
statement. Would you say "17 is prime" is a position? Ah yes, some  
philosopher could say that!

> The claim that "the MGA shows
> that computations do not need to be implemented in our, or any other,
> stuffy primitive material universe" is a position.

"implemented for consciousness and appearance of matter to exists"?
No, it is a verifiable statement. A refutable or perhaps ameliorable  
one. It is really of the type of "17 is prime", or "F = ma", or "Hf =  
Ef", etc.
You just need definitions on which people agree. But you can think  
axiomatically (definition are given by set of propositions on which we  

> The claim that "if
> MECH is true, then MAT is false" is a position, even if you remain
> agnostic about whether or not MECH is true. This might just be
> difference about how we use the term "position", but it seems to be
> causing some confusion.

I was using position for philosophical position. It is important for  
me because I have no determinate philosophical positions. And my work  
most primitive goal consists in showing that the mind body problem can  
be a scientific problem, once we choose some hypothesis.
I have a personal philosophy of life, and I like philosophy in  
general, but the "philosophers" I like are really scientist, like  
Plotinus or Descartes. It is a mistake, imo, to put them in  
philosophy, which in my country is a branch of literature. Descartes  
is for me a great mathematician, cognitive scientist, physicist, and  
theologian. Philosophy is sometimes used as a pretext for permitting  
lack of rigor, and eventually justifying arbitrariness, including the  
many ways of eliminating persons, and their rights.
Well I don't insist. It is vocabulary, with only "political"  
consequence. Maudlin would say he is a philosopher, but here, in some  
european country, this would have him made judged by people who can  
send you in Siberia because you don't cite such local of global idol.  
They makes human science inexact and inhuman. Many "anglo-saxon"  
philosopher are scientists, and things would be better if this was  
understood. (Because unrigorous philosophers, like most creationnist  
for example, would have less bad influences).


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