On 20 Aug, 13:30, David Nyman <david.ny...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 20 Aug, 10:05, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
>
>
>
> > On 20 Aug 2009, at 02:07, David Nyman wrote:
>
> > > 2009/8/19 Jesse Mazer <laserma...@hotmail.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'.
> > >> Well, not if you believe there are objective truths about  
> > >> computations that
> > >> are never actually carried out in the physical world, like whether  
> > >> some
> > >> program with an input string a googolplex digits long ever halts or  
> > >> not.
>
> > > Yes, but here - in connection with Peter's apparent support for the
> > > Quinean concept-reduction argument - I was specifically commenting on
> > > the status of 'computation' **if** you assume primitive matter.  In
> > > that case, I'm not sure what "never actually carried out in the
> > > physical world" would mean.
>
> > On the contrary. If you assume there is a primitive material reality,  
> > a primitive physical universe, then it makes sense to talk about the  
> > computations which are carried out in the physical universe, like the  
> > one done by this or that computer or brains, and the computations  
> > which are not done in that universe, like some possible  
> > counterfactuals (the computations carried out by Julius Caesar meeting  
> > Napoleon), or some extravagant computations like the computation of  
> > the 10^(10^1000) digit of the square root of two.
>
> Yes, of course you're right - perhaps I didn't phrase my response to
> Jesse clearly enough.  In my discussion with Peter about Quinean
> 'eliminative paraphrasing', I was pursuing the same conclusion that
> you attribute to Dennett as an 'honest materialist'.  That is, under
> materialism, that persons, consciousness - and computation - must in
> the end be explained away, or conceptually *eliminated*.

Explaining away qua reduction is nto the same as
explaining away qua elimination.


>  I'm not
> saying that I hold these views (I emphatically do not), only that
> anyone who honestly and rigorously adheres to materialism must see
> that  they are entailed by this position.
>
> Of course, under materialism, there is a *physical process*
> corresponding to 'computation'; consequently, as both you and Jesse
> point out, one can of course envisage non-occurring, or
> counterfactual, processes with respect to these.  But I don't see how
> that would change the conclusion of the eliminativist argument I was
> pursuing (as devil's advocate) - as indeed Jesse pointed out to Peter.
>
> > > I don't have a problem with step 8 on the basis of the Olympia
> > > argument, as I've tried to demonstrate - is there some other aspect of
> > > computational supervenience that you feel I'm missing?
>
> > >> May be you don't want to do the math? The math for UDA are really
> > >> basic compared to the math needed for AUDA.
>
> > > I'm trying to follow the math as you go through it, although I still
> > > haven't really fathomed where it's leading.
>
> > Your second sentence answers the first one. Your paragraph above also.  
> > The current "seventh step series" is leading to the understanding of  
> > what is a computation, and a machine, for a mathematician. With or  
> > without assuming PM (primitive matter) there is an mathematical notion  
> > of computation and of computability.
>
> Ah.  Well, tell me if you still want to make the point about my
> 'paragraph above', after my response on this.  But on the issue of the
> understanding of what is computation, I must concede that I have much
> to learn technically - so I will be humble and try to study.
>
> But also - just to dispose once and for all of this particular point -
> I want to be sure that you understand that I'm not arguing *for*
> eliminative materialism, except as devil's advocate (I'm sure you know
> this).  But one aspect of my recent discussions with Peter has been to
> bring to a focus the strict consequences of materialism, in precisely
> the honest way that you attribute to Dennett.  The trouble is, that
> Dennett, having eliminated the mind and hence the notorious 'problem',
> still cheerfully carries on deploying the same mind-dependent concepts
> as though nothing had happened!

The upshot of which is that he *hasn't* eliminated the mind
(with the possible exception of qualia)
in the sense of Eliminative Materialism, only reduced it in the
sense of Reductive materialism.

> In other words, his position is
> inconsistent and incoherent.  It's dualism for free!

In other words, his position isn't what you have decided it is.

> So, in this context, let me try to understand your remark: "with or
> without assuming PM (primitive matter) there is an mathematical notion
> of computation and of computability".  I would say - per Dennett, but
> understood *consistently* - that under the assumption that there is
> *only* primitive matter (i.e. material monism) - there strictly can be
> no appeal to such a notion as computation, because mathematics itself
> is eliminable per Qine.

No. Paraphrase indicates identity. Water can be paraphrased
as H2O. That means water is identical to H2O. not that
water does not and cannot exist. Water is only eliminated
as *fundamental* (eg. the way the Greeks thought of it).
EliminativISM is a much stronger claim, that the concept
eliminated should never subsequently be used even as
a place-holder or shrothand

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