2009/8/12 Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be>:
>> The solution then seems obviously to be to throw one or other of these
>> supposed causal principles out, i.e.:
>> 1) either it is the case that consciousness simply supervenes on
>> particular physical activities whose computational status is
> ... but then comp is false. OK? And thus comp implies "2".
Yes, absolutely Definitely. No question.
1) is what I always believed, for the reasons I've given, but I hadn't
taken 2) to be a serious possibility. Now I'm prepared to entertain
computational supervenience, because I'm intrigued by where it might
lead us. It's genuinely illuminating.
>> 2) or it is the case that consciousness supervenes on computation
>> itself independent of physical activity (the conclusion that you in
>> fact draw from the MGA).
>> In the second case - i.e. the reversal of number and matter - I agree
>> that you can save any role for primitive matter only at the cost of
>> rendering it dualistically epiphenomenal in the sense sometimes
>> attributed (IMO incoherently) to consciousness in materialist
> But then by UDA1-7, not only "stuffy matter" would be epiphenomenal,
> but it would have absolutely no relationship with any observation,
> making it entirely spurious.
Agreed. In any case, for me, epiphenomenal and spurious are hardly
> Note that what you describe here as MGA is Maudlin's later and
> different argument. MGA is also immune to an objection made by
> Russell, which is that QM does "realize" the couterfactuals. Maudlin's
> argument can be saved from this with a version where Olympia simulates
> classicaly the quantum evolution of the brain. So MGA is more simple
> and direct. Anyway, the conclusions are the same, comp forces the
> abandon of the physical supervenience thesis. So comp forces to
> restrict the supervenience thesis on the mathematical computations
> (computationalist supervenience).
Yes, the argument is an explicit reductio ad absurdum, which is
contained within my own version by default. Intuition is of course
somewhat personal, but the form of the argument against physical
supervenience I presented - which I think first arose from the mix of
fascination and horror produced by reading Hofstadter, Dennett et al -
has always seemed obvious to me, and the defences against it just
wrong-headed. The belief in comp + physical supervenience strikes me
as the most arbitrary and incoherent form of dualism out there, and
why its proponents just don't get this is a complete mystery, as far
as I'm concerned. But then life is full of mystery. Fortunately :-)
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