> Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 01:56:27 -0700
> Subject: Re: Emulation and Stuff
> From: peterdjo...@yahoo.com
> To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
> On 19 Aug, 21:49, Jesse Mazer <laserma...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> > > Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 13:21:19 -0700
> > > Subject: Re: Emulation and Stuff
> > > From: peterdjo...@yahoo.com
> > > To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
> >
> > > On 19 Aug, 13:03, David Nyman <david.ny...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > > > 009/8/19 Flammarion <peterdjo...@yahoo.com>:
> >
> > > > >> I completely agree that **assuming primary matter** computation is "a
> > > > >> physical process taking place in brains and computer hardware".  The
> > > > >> paraphrase argument - the one you said you agreed with - asserts that
> > > > >> *any* human concept is *eliminable*
> >
> > > > > No, reducible, not eliminable. That is an important distinction.
> >
> > > > Not in this instance.  The whole thrust of the paraphrase argument is
> > > > precisely to show - in principle at least - that the reduced concept
> > > > can be *eliminated* from the explanation.  You can do this with
> > > > 'life', so you should be prepared to do it with 'computation'.
> >
> > > Showing that a word can be removed from a verbal formulation
> > > by substitution with s synonym is not *ontological* elimination.
> >
> > Of course it is--*according to the Quinean definition of ontology*. The 
> > strange thing about your mode of argument is that you talk as though a word 
> > like "existence" has some single true correct meaning, and that anyone who 
> > uses it differently is just wrong--do you disagree with the basic premise 
> > that the meaning of words is defined solely by usage and/or definitions? If 
> > so, do you agree that there are in fact different ways this word is defined 
> > by real people, even if we restrict our attention to the philosophical 
> > community?
> Note that I actually argued the point that paraphrase is not
> elimination

Do you agree that it is in the Quinean definition of ontology? If you're going 
to define existence in terms of "things that there are objective truths about" 
like Quine wanted to, you need something like elimination-by-paraphrase if you 
want to avoid the implication that unicorns are real because the statement 
"unicorns have a single horn" is true given our definitions.

Also, you didn't answer my question--regardless of what *you* think is the most 
sensible way to define existence, do you agree that different people define it 
differently, so there is no single "correct" usage? If so it would behoove you 
to distinguish the different senses in your posts, for example to drop the 
totally false suggestion that being a mathematical platonist implies you must 
believe mathematical structures have "existence" in the sense of M-existence or 
C-existence (Bruno may think mathematical structures have C-existence and I'm 
inclined to think so myself, but plenty of mathematical platonists do not)

> > Provided you agree with that, your posts would be a lot less confusing if 
> > you would distinguish between different definitions and state which one you 
> > meant at a given time--for example, one might say "I agree numbers have 
> > Quinean existence but I think they lack material existence, or existence in 
> > the sense that intelligent beings that appear in mathematical universes are 
> > actually conscious beings with their own qualia".
> We might call these three notions of existence Q-existence, M-
> existence and C-existence for short. My argument with you has been
> that even if one wishes to postulate a single universe, M-existence is
> an unnecessary middleman and doesn't even seem well-defined, all we
> need to do is postulate that out of all the mathematically possible
> universes that have Q-existence, only one has C-existence.
> The M-existence hypothesis is supported by the whole of science,

You can't say science supports the metaphysical hypothesis of M-existence 
unless you can define what M-existence actually means. And we would experience 
all the same experimental results in a universe that had Q-existence and 
C-existence but no M-existence, would we not? If so, then there is absolutely 
no way that scientific evidence can distinguish the hypothesis that the 
universe has C-existence alone from the one that it has both M-existence and 
C-existence, any argument for the latter must be metaphysical rather than 

> unlike the C-existence hypothesis, is in line
> with the scientific claim that there was a long period when there was
> no consciousness in the universe.

The C-existence hypothesis need not say that unconscious things don't exist, 
C-existence can be defined in terms of the potential to influence the qualia of 
any conscious beings that are part of the same mathematical universe. On the 
other hand, one is also free to adopt some version of naturalistic panpsychism, 
like the one argued for by David Chalmers in "The Conscious Mind" or the 
version discussed at http://www.hedweb.com/lockwood.htm#naturalistic

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