Searching for "essentialism" on the net I see many contradictory  
definitions. I should perhaps say that my use is a bit nearer to the  
Merriam-Webster dictionary...

... than to the Wikipedia page:

Hmmm... Not easy to find free online information on Quine's critics of  
quantified modal logic, shown to be a reintroduction of essentialism  
in logic/math, and Ruth Barcan Marcus reply.

This could lead us too far anyway, I think. The problem really  
dissolves itself eventually in the (arithmetical) provability logics.

My most general point is that the computationalist hypothesis, thanks  
to the discovery of the universal machine (by Babbage, Post, Turing,  
Church, etc.) makes it possible to approach in the scientific  
(doubting) way the mind-body problem. Computer sciences are to  
abstract bio/psycho/theology what Newton's classical physics or  
Everett's Quantum Mechanics are to "natural philosophy". Computer  
science is a tool for making falsifiable theories in "philosophy".  
Digital Mechanism is itself such a theory.

I would even say that Digital Mechanism dissolves completely all  
possible remaining traces of Aristotelian essentialism or  
substantialism in physics. (But to be sure I think that "modern  
physics" is going that way too, but not in an entire convincing way  
because consciousness remains under the rug, making it, paradoxically  
enough, a mysterious hidden essential object).

In the arithmetical uda, consciousness can be described in term of  
automatic or instinctive bet in a reality, or in self-consistency. Its  
main function is to provide a relative (to the most probable universal  
machine computation) self-speeding ability. I think consciousness is a  
must for self-moving entities, if only for quick bets on quickly  
changing neighborhood so that obstacles can be avoided in "real time".  
This fits well with Helmholtz theory of perception.


On 16 Dec 2008, at 12:47, Bruno Marchal wrote:

> Hi Anna,
> Le 14-déc.-08, à 03:30, A. Wolf a écrit :
>> One of the reasons I rarely post to this list is that many people  
>> here
>> seem trapped in an eternal series of meaningless essentialistic
>> debates.
> I have already commented this, and I realize I have, more or less
> consciously, associated this critics, or this kind of critics, with  
> the
> "well known" (by logical philosophers) critics of modal logic done by
> Quine or Ruth Barcan Marcus. It concerns the problem of first order
> modal logic, where you quantify simultaneously on variables (like in
> first order logic) and implicitly on worlds, like in Kripke semantics
> of the modal logic.
> I guess now, you were using "essentialism" in a more general (and
> vague) sense.
> Have you follow this debate? Quine said that modal logic has been
> conceived in sin, and Boolos has already understood that Gödel's
> incompleteness theorems have "redeemed" modal logic by providing a
> transparent purely mathematical (even arithmetical) interpretation of
> the self-reference modal logics (G and G*).
> So I can argue informally that there is no essentialism in the UDA
> reasoning, but I can argue also that there is no Quine-Barcus sort of
> more technical essentialism in the arithmetical translation of the  
> UDA.
> To be 100% correct, I have to add that another form of essentialism
> appears with some Lobian Machines, when they have too much rich
> "intended interpretation domain". For example, although the (sound and
> complete) propositional self-reference logics of ZF (Zermelo-Fraenkel
> set theory) are still G and G*, there is no clear sense how to extend
> this in the first order modal logic. And this is the reason why I  
> don't
> really trust the set theoretical form of Lobian Machine.
> For those who remind the definition of the arithmetical hypostases,  
> the
> 'second God" (the intelligible) of Peano Arithmetic is already far
> bigger than its "first God" (indeed it is Pi_1 *in* the first God
> (Truth)). But with the Lobian Machine ZF, the second God could already
> be so big that it would be inconsistent. Set theory is much too big by
> itself. I guess "sound humans" are probably between PA and ZF, with
> respect to their ideal Lobian features. Personally I am not sure we  
> are
> really much more than the PA machine.
> OK, sorry for those remark addressed to those who are inclined in the
> Technics. But the whole point of both UDA and AUDA is too makes it
> possible the progressive scientific attitude on question concerning
> self, consciousness and things like that.
> Now, if you have an argument that the notion of consciousness is
> necessarily an essentialist notion, I would be glad to hear it, if  
> only
> to have the opportunity to provide supplementary motivation to the use
> of the Gödel-Löb modal logics, which here redeemed the very notion of
> consciousness itself.
> We can come back on this if and when we arrive at the AUDA, and the
> arithmetical interpretation of Plotinus hypostases in the current
> (re)-explanation of UDA and AUDA (the KIM threads).
> Best,
> Bruno Marchal
> >

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