On 10 Aug, 01:59, David Nyman <david.ny...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 2009/8/7 Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be>:
> >>>> If it isn;t RITSIAR, it cannot be generating me. Mathematical
> >>>> proofs only prove mathematical "existence", not onltolgical
> >>>> existence. For a non-Platonist , 23 "exists" mathematically,
> >>>> but is not RITSIAR. The same goes for the UD
> >>> Is an atom RITSIAR? Is a quark RITSIAR?
> >> If current physics is correct.
> > Then it is not "RITSIAR" in the sense of the discussion with David.
> > Real in the sense that "I" am real. is ambiguous.
> > Either the "I" refers to my first person, and then I have ontological
> > certainty.
> > As I said on FOR, I can conceive that I wake up and realize that
> > quark, planet, galaxies and even my body were not real. I cannot
> > conceive that I wake up and realize that my consciousness is not real.
> > Ontological first person does not need an "IF this or that theory is
> > correct".
> > You are reifying theoretical constructions.
> I think need to take a hard line on RITSIAR. I feel that the key lies
> in what Bruno terms the certainty of the ontological first person
> (OFP): i.e. the sine qua non of reality as it is uniquely available to
> us. Since this is inescapably the foundation of any and all
> judgements whatsoever, it is simultaneously both the both point of
> departure and the 'what-is-to-be-explained' of RITSIAR. In this light
> it becomes self-evident that any and all explanatory entities -
> physical, computational, or whatever - are severely restricted to the
> domain of epistemology. IOW - as Bruno says above - they are
> theoretical constructions.
That doesn't follow at all. A theoretical construct can have a real
referent. eg, if the theory of quarks is true , quarks exist. What
would "theory X is true" mean?
> So far so obvious. But - as has again been recognised immemorially -
> solipsism is a dead-end and hence we seek a theory to capture the
> relation between the OFP and its environment. But immediately we are
> faced with the notorious 'explanatory gap',
> and it seems to me that
> its most precise expression is in the gap between ontology and
I don;t know what explanatory gap you are talking about,
but is doesn't sound like Levine's one.
>Indeed, what conceivable strategy could raise these
> theoretical constructions - to which the OFP uniquely lends existence
> - to the ontological certainty of their host?
What is "Ontological certainty"? Certainty belongs to epistemolgoy,
so "onotlogical" can't bve qualifying "certainty". Do you mean
something like "the one certain fact about ontology/existence"?
Beyond that, you have raised a fake problem. Realism doesn;t need the
existence of a non-mental world to be a certainty, it just needs
it to be more plausible than the alternatives.
> Is there a coherent way
> to conceive what it could mean to *be* a theoretical entity (as
> opposed to postulating or observing one)?
Probably not, but that is because the question posed is somethign of
a category error. What the realist would say is that she can conceive
of theoretical statements havign real referents.
> There is something
> quintessential that stubbornly eludes capture, because epistemological
> access never tells us what an entity *is* - only what can be
> ascertained of its 'externalised' properties.
How do you know? If you can't detect some mysterious inner essence,
how do you know there is one?
>And lest we be tempted
> to accept the sum of these properties as exhausting 'existence', we
> need only turn to the self-evident corrective of the OFP.
THat passage is very far from self evident. Explain, please.
> So the gap must remain, and I think that now I see why Bruno appeals
> simply to the 'ordinary' mathematical sense of existence - because
> COMP, under this analysis, is an epistemological schema, and its
> entities are theoretical constructions.
No, Bruno is a Platonist. He thinks numbers are RITSIAR
> Hence the question of jumping
> the ontological gap is in abeyance, perhaps permanently, but in any
> case in the realm of faith. And if this is true for COMP, then
> mutatis mutandis it is true for physics.
Of course not. Physics is about explaining the real world.
> It's no use appealing to
> notions of 'what it's like to be a brain' - nor what it's like to be a
> COMP-quale - because we can never say that it is 'like anything to be'
> the stuff of epistemology. Hence we must see our theorising and
> observing - in physical, computational, or whatever terms - *in
> relation* to ontological certainty, not as constitutive of it. This
> necessarily weakens what can be ascertained by theory or by
> observation, but at least keeps us honest.
> The unavoidable consequence of the foregoing is that atoms, quarks and
> numbers cannot be RITSIAR.
That has not been demonstrated at all. At best you have an argument
that they are not necessarily RITSIAR. Which is straightforwardly
by the observation that theories are less than certain. All you have
boils down to the fallacy that "no necessarily true" implies
On 10 Aug, 04:50, David Nyman <david.ny...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 2009/8/6 1Z <peterdjo...@yahoo.com>:
> > You're doing it again. You are assuming that because the mental
> > is epistemically certain, it is ipso facto ontologically basic. But
> > that
> > doesn't follow at all. I have evidence that the physical is basic --
> > the whole
> > of science. You have no evidence that the mental is basic because the
> > mental
> > does not reveal its own ontological nature. All you have is the
> > **epistemic*** claim
> > that the mental definitely exists, in some sense.
> The unique feature of consciousness is not - as you claim - its
> 'epistemic' certainty, but its status as what is *ontologically
Whatever that means.
>To regard consciousness itself (or in Bruno's terms the
> ontological first person) as merely the object of 'knowledge' is to
> commit the fallacy of taking 'observation' in a naively literal sense:
> i.e. to require there to be an 'observer'. But this, self-evidently,
> can only lead to infinite regress. Consequently, consciousness does
> not consist in the 'observation' of epistemic entities, but in their
Whatever that means. Surely if soemthign is insantiated, it exist and
is therefore ontological.
> Consciousness is, as it were, the 'ontology of
> epistemology'. When you say that the physical is basic, you are
> yourself mistaking the epistemological for the ontological.
No, I am takign certain highly succesful theories to be true.
> As to
> your evidence consisting in 'the whole of science', since the nature
> and significance of this evidence is precisely what is in question, it
> is inadequate merely to make such appeals to authority.
Au cotnraire, it is inadequate to assume that theories are necessarily
false bcause they are not necessarily true.
>It would be
> more helpful if you would address these arguments in their own terms,
> rather than begging various questions by appeal to 'pre-established
> fact', or tilting at straw men of your own making.
I have great difficulty following your terms. Almost all your
of "ontological" and "epistemological" read like nonsese to me.
> >> > But you haven't said what the problem is in the emergence of the
> >> > mental
> >> > from the physical
> >> On the contrary, I've said it repeatedly.
> > Please say it again.
> The problem is this: in the face of one indubitable ontology - that
> exemplified in consciousness - you try get physically-basic ontology
> for free.
Free? The development of physics involves a huge effort. And note
that I am not claiming cvertainty for it.
And I don't think I get any ontology from consciousness. I'll grant
that it is indubitable that it exists, but that tells me nothing
about *what* it is. A brute fact is not an ontology.
>In other words, you simply assume that if we take ourselves
> to 'be' - what? - say, neural activity in 'computational' - or some
> yet-to-be-established - guise, then - pouf! - the ontological first
> person is conjured from mere description.
No, the first person is conjured from the brain -- from the territory,
> But there is no sense in
> which one can simply 'be' an epistemic 'object' - a theoretical
As noted before, that is an artificial problem. Since theories
*can* be correct, one *can* be the referent of a theoretical
description, and the referent of a theoretical construction, if it
has one, is
a real thing.
>*This* is the explanatory gap,
No, it is nto the standard one in the literature. You are just
commiting a basica fallacy -- saying that because the map is not
itself real, it cannot *represetn* a real territory.
>?and you are trying to
> jump it by this customary, well-worn sleight-of-intuition. But it is
> precisely this bit of magic that is in question. And in my view the
> right place to start questioning is the direction of inference, as
> I've - repeatedly - said.
> > You still haven't said what the objection is to saying that
> > the mental emerges from the physical.
> I'm saying that all that can 'emerge' from one class of description is
> another class of description.
The physical is not a description/map. Physics is the description/map.
> If that exhausts your idea of the
> 'mental' I say you are an eliminativist. But you say you're not.
> What then?
I do think there is an explanatory gap, and I also think it is very
the the nature of the mental and the nature of phsycial
that does not mean that it is impossible for the mental territory to
from the physical territory. There are two things here, the brute fact
-- *that* the mental
emerges -- and the explanation -- *how* it emerges.
> > Assuming (without justification) that anything can arbitrarily be said
> > to have
> > any function. That is an argument you have made elsewhere, it is not
> > a particularly good argument, and it is not germane to this discussion
> This is a straw man of your own construction. My argument does not
> consist in the claim that 'anything can arbitrarily be said to have
> any function'. What I'm criticising, quite specifically, is the claim
> that the self-evidently existent category of the ontological first
> person is equivalent to a particular class of arrangements of
> ontologically-basic-in-their-own-right physical entities.
You have in fact *not* criticised
the emergence of mental territory from physial territory, you have
criticised the emergence
of the mental territory from the physcical map. Well, you can't grow
potatos in a map of Norfolk,
but you can still grow potatos in Norfolk.
> take it, can be construed only as a particularly odd form of dualism,
> or eliminativism.
Don't take it, expalin how you came to that.
> The 'arbitrariness' is inherent in the burden of
> the term 'functionalism', which is intrinsically neutral as to the
> details of physical implementation.
No, there are two quite differnt claim here:
1. A function can have multiple instantions
2. Anything can instantiate any function.
> This is its great strength in its
> legitimate sphere of application, and its fatal weakness in the
> present context.
> >>But then one must
> >> abjure functional-computational justifications for the 'mental':
> >> again, fair enough (it's probably closer to my own prejudice). But
> >> unless you're an eliminativist about the mental, you can't have it
> >> both ways.
> > Of course you can! There are plenty accounts of the mental that
> > are neither functionalist nor elimintativist. Sheesh.
> Yes of course there are other accounts, but my argument at this point
> is specifically against functionalist accounts based on an assumed
> physical ontology. So I repeat: the burden of my claim is that if you
> want to be ontological about the physical, you must give up
> functionalist arguments for mind; otherwise you are an implicit
> dualist, or else an eliminativist, even though you may be unaware of
> it (as indeed an eliminativist would have to be!)
You haven't supported any of that.
>You may of course
> disagree, but saying 'of course you can' is not an argument.
It is noting that most people disagree with you conclusion. What is
with little argument can be rejected with little argument. The burden
is on you.
> that, I'm not arguing here against other accounts of the mental,
> though you don't indicate what you have in mind (as it were)
> >> But I think we can save them quite handily. First, calling something
> >> 'idealism' just pumps the intuition that there have to be sort of
> >> bright images everywhere independent of 'minds'. The problem here is
> >> that we're stuck with folk vocabulary that drags in extraneous notions
> >> left, right and centre causing an implosion of the imagination. We
> >> need to fix this, and I have a couple of suggestions. The first was
> >> in my reply to Rex, where I suggest, in answer to your implicit
> >> question above, that the universe has to take things just as
> >> personally as it needs to exist.
> > Why, for heaven's sake? That seems completely arbitrary.
> Perhaps you could try a little harder to go beyond the vocabulary (I'm
> sorry if this seems impolite, I don't intend it to be).
> As I've said,
> virtually every term we use has been used by someone else to mean
> something different. The use of the term 'personal' in this context,
> as I've tried to explain, is to carry the sense that what 'exists' is
> always, as it were, incipiently personal or 'owned'. This is, I
> believe, not crude idealism, but in fact the crucial prerequisite for
> any intuition as to how the 'ownership' of consciousness could be
> conceived to emerge from something in some sense more fundamental, but
> nonetheless categorically congruent.
That is still arbitrary. Why would the personal have to be
rather than the cognitive, the experiential, etc etc.
If you have a *specific* explanatory gap in mind, that guides you into
what is specifically missing from physical accounts. For, instance
Levine-Nagel gap indicated that phenomenal expereince is lacking, and
is what people like Chalmers and Rosenberg try to plug back in.
However, you don't have a specific explanatory gap in mind. Your
argument that the "epsistemtologcial" (theoretical?? descriptive??)
be the "ontolgical" (real?) is general-purpose.
> >> This leads to the second suggestion: what we call 'mind' is the
> >> evolved capacity for representation, memory and intention directed
> >> towards an environment, resulting from selected-for elaborations of
> >> primitive but critically-similar potentials. Of course, this is the
> >> standard direction of any explanatory thrust, but with the critical
> >> stipulation that we must be able to preserve the appearances from soup
> >> to nuts: this is, as you point out, the nub. Again, I don't insist on
> >> any particular vocabulary, only the necessary sense. As Popper
> >> remarks, debate about words is futile - just clarify your terms until
> >> the problem emerges precisely, or goes away.
> > Repeating that we need to save the appearances does nothing to save
> > them
> >> Of the above factors, the one that bears, I think, most on the
> >> 'appearance of mindlessness', is memory (a point made by Russell in
> >> his neutral monist guise). Essentially, we're 'conscious' of what we
> >> can remember - this is inherent in the sense of re-presentation. So
> >> it may not in fact meet the case to hold that we're 'unaware' of what
> >> we don't remember so well, but rather that 'primitive' awareness is
> >> swamped in our memory by repeated re-presentation of dominant
> >> higher-order themes.
> > You cannot derive an "is true" from a "might be true".
> No, of course not. But your mind seemed to be boggled by the idea
> that the fundamental 'personalisation' of the universe must
> necessarily manifest with a very different appearance to that which is
> in evidence.
No, I am just noting that having arbitrarily put forward
a hypotheises, you are arbitrarily adding qualifications to
it to save appearances.
>I'm merely trying to apply a little massage to the
> intuition that this doesn't have to be so.
> > You have no need to struggle to come up with a panpsychist
> > theory,
> I don't have a 'panpsychist' theory. Rather, I've made some general
> arguments relating to the various senses of the term 'to exist' with
> which I hope to give a shove to intuitions that have perhaps become
> too stuck in one groove
> > since you have no valid objection to physicalism.
> > Your argument so far has been based on two dubious premises --
> > that eliminativism and functonalism are the only physicalist options,
> > and that functionalism is arbitrary and in-the-eye-of-beholder.
> Again, calling them 'dubious' is not an argument (as you correctly
> pointed out when I lazily resorted to 'specious').
The first is just plumb wrong, and the second is based on a confusion,
I have shown.
> AFAICS you have
> not independently argued for their dubiousness, but instead have
> gestured towards 'well-established' positions.
If you argue that X and Y are the only theories, how
else can I refute that but to point to the existence of theory Z in
>Furthermore, I haven't
> at all claimed that they are the *only* physicalist options, I've
> simply attacked these specific positions where they are resorted to.
> If you are prepared to confront what has actually been said,
> specifically and point for point, we may make progress, but otherwise
> I fear we shan''t get much further.
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