Re: Yablo, Quine and Carnap on ontology

```Again thanks,
Hopefully, these notes plus David Nyman's will allow me
to orient myself--at least roughly--in the sturm und drang of debate.    m.a.```
```

----- Original Message -----
From: Bruno Marchal
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 11:52 AM
Subject: Re: Yablo, Quine and Carnap on ontology

On 23 Sep 2009, at 16:36, m.a. wrote:

Would anyone care to provide a gloss to all the capital letter codes being
used in this thread?  (e.g.  CTM, PM, UD etc.)

CTM = computational theory of mind

Comp = "computationalism" = a weak and preciser version of CTM (mainly "yes
doctor" + Church's thesis (also referred as Church-Turing thesis, Post law,
GĂ¶del's miracle, etc..). It is Church thesis which makes possible to get a
precise mathematical definition of the ideas of computability, computation and
"all" computations.

CT is used for Church thesis (btw). CT requires the belief that if a natural
number has some verifiable property then we can find it soon or later, (a
version of arithmetical realism).

PM = Primary Matter (in Aristotle sense? or in Peter Jones, alias 1Z, alias
Flammarion sense?).

UD is the Universal Dovetailer. It is a program (and a program belongs to the
collection of  finite objects that you can identify by a number by using some
computable bijection) which generates all programs, in all possible programming
languages, and generates, little pieces by little pieces, all executions of
those programs, with all possible arguments, in all possible environment, some
being initial segments of the real, or of the complex, or octonions, etc.).
The mandelbrot set can be seen as a nice approximation (at least) of a
compact form of a universal dovetailing:

UDA = Universal Dovetailer Argument (in 8 steps to fix the things, from the
Sane04 paper) including MGA as step 8.

MGA = the movie graph argument. MGA is UDA-8, and is independent of UDA1-7,
and is a direct argument for showing that comp makes primitive matter
'spurious', or physicalism 'wrong' (to be short). Comp forces the couple
consciousness/realities to emerge from elementary arithmetic.

IMO, David correctly (re)defines Peter Jones theory, at least the one he is
defending the plausibility here, as CTM+PM.
I argue that CTM+PM is epistemologically extravaguant.
IMO, Peter Jones, non correctly, (re)define comp as CTM + Platonism. When
reasoning on computations, or just when defining them,  we have to accept a
minimal amount of realism on the properties of numbers (much less so that most
scientists, arguably a little more than some philosophers). Such a mimimal
"Platonism" is already in Church thesis, and I prefer to name it by
"arithmetical realism". I think that only  ultrafinitist does not believe in it.

IMO = in my opinion.

AFAICS is    as far as I can see ...  I think :)

I don't see other acronyms. Usually, when I introduce a new acronym, I
redefine it, at each first occurrences in the first posts. But it is a good
idea to ask, especially for those which are idiosyncratic with respect to a

Bruno

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Nyman" <david.ny...@gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 8:12 AM
Subject: Re: Yablo, Quine and Carnap on ontology

2009/9/22 Flammarion <peterdjo...@yahoo.com>:

>> One might indeed adduce this distinction in preferring one approach
>> over the other, but it isn't forced.  Indeed, in the case of the MGA,
>> if one accepts the deduction and retains one's commitment to CTM, then
>> the abduction is only to be expected.
>
> I don;t follow that. The MGA is an attempted reductio -- ie it does
> not
> need premises of its own but negates the premises of its
> counterargumetns.
> Not
> that I accept it

AFAICS mathematical primacy isn't necessitated by the MGA deductively.
It's an additional assumption motivated by the desire to retain CTM,
rather than PM, once the mutually exclusive conclusion of the MGA is
accepted.  In this case, to the extent that such a move is justified,
its consequences would of course be expected to match observation.

>> Bruno argues that an experiential-computational type can't be
>> plausibly associated with one of its valid physical tokens in at least
>> one case.
>
> He goes on to conclude that I am being generated by an immaterial
> UD. That is not possible if there are no immaterial entities.

"That is not possible" unless one adopts the theoretical assumption of
the primacy of mathematics and the consequent derivation both of
persons and the appearance of matter on this basis.  The entities so
posited are of course trivially "immaterial".  You might as well say
that arguing from the opposite position requires that entities be
"unmathematical".  I thought you had denied that you were seeking some
ultimate metaphysically primitive justification, rather than defining
a particular set of constraints on the theoretical entities to be
deployed in a particular research programme.

>> >> In either case there may be what one considers defensible grounds for
>> >> a commitment to a particular direction of inference, but ISTM that
>> >> further insistence on the metaphysical 'primitiveness' of one's point
>> >> of departure is entirely tangential to the distinctiveness of either
>> >> explanatory scheme.
>>
>> > Who's been doing that?
>>
>> This seems an odd question at this stage.  I thought you were
>> insisting that Bruno needs some metaphysically primitive sense of
>> Platonism to justify the UDA
>
> He needs to make it clear he is assuming it. He
> may justify the assumption apriori or he may justify it abductively.

Peter, this is becoming utterly confusing.  Either you're demanding
that Bruno commit to a notion of metaphysical 'primitiveness' that we
seemed to have agreed is gratuitous, or you aren't.  On the evidence
of the various comments above you appear to do either as it suits you.
He has made it clear that his theoretical and empirical programme is
based on the explanatory primacy of that explicit subset of
mathematics he terms Arithmetical Realism.

AFAICS this is an a priori assumption adopted as an alternative to
abandoning CTM.  It is motivated by the desire to pursue a
computational programme of research into the mind-body issue in the
face of the deductive conclusions of the MGA with respect to CTM+PM.
In the view I've argued at some length here, the lack of substantive
physical commitment implicit in CTM forces these alternatives without
the need to rely on specific reductio arguments (Bruno has sometimes
said as much).

In the case of PM, the 'primitive' aspect means only that fundamental
physical theory is taken to be the source of all other inference.  The
alternative assumption of AR has the equivalent entailment for
mathematics.  Either approach would of course subsequently be expected
to be justified abductively or fail as an empirical programme.

>> Well then, surely we can agree.  One finds grounds for preferring a
>> theoretical point of departure, and then one gets down to work.  Comp
>> is open to empirical refutation, so it's research.  Is your problem
>> that MGA is a "declaration of irrefutable certainty"?
>
> No. But is has assumptions of its own.
>
>>If so, it
>> shouldn't be.  Like any deductive argument, it is open to refutation
>> if one can find an error.  Further, even if one can't, this doesn't
>> force a commitment to Arithmetical Realism, it simply puts the
>> coherency of CTM+PM into doubt.
>
> Which could lead to PM-CTM as in Maudlin's argument.
> Maudlin of course is *not* assuming Platonism.

Yes of course, that is not controversial in this discussion.  Frankly,
most people faced with the alternative of abandoning CTM or PM would
probably choose the former option.  However, Bruno has a point when he
observes that this could be mere Aristotelian prejudice.  The waste
bin of thought is stuffed with intuitively obvious ideas that turned
out to be the opposite of the truth.  I make no claim to knowing which
of these alternatives, if either, is correct.  We are discussing only
which conjunctions of claims may be consistent, and which theoretical
commitments make any difference worth bothering about.

David

>
>
>
> On 22 Sep, 14:37, David Nyman <david.ny...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> 2009/9/22 Flammarion <peterdjo...@yahoo.com>:
>>
>> >> But surely what is 'literally' the case depends critically on one's
>> >> starting assumptions. If one starts with a theoretical commitment to
>> >> the primacy of the physical, then the status of mathematics is
>> >> obviously rendered formal or metaphorical with respect to this. OTOH
>> >> if one starts from the theoretical primacy of number - irrespective of
>> >> whether one labels such primacy 'arithmetical' or 'platonic' - the
>> >> opposite is the case,
>>
>> > That is pretty much what I have been saying. But note that
>> > there is a difference between assuming something because you
>> > think it is incontrovertible (deduction) and assuming it because
>> > its consequences match observation (abduction)
>>
>> One might indeed adduce this distinction in preferring one approach
>> over the other, but it isn't forced. Indeed, in the case of the MGA,
>> if one accepts the deduction and retains one's commitment to CTM, then
>> the abduction is only to be expected.
>
> I don;t follow that. The MGA is an attempted reductio -- ie it does
> not
> need premises of its own but negates the premises of its
> counterargumetns.
> Not
> that I accept it
>
>> But if you agree with my
>> formulation, I'm confused by what you go on to say below:
>>
>> >> and indeed Bruno argues precisely how and why,
>> >> on the basis of the MGA, one cannot take the status of matter (as
>> >> opposed to its appearances) 'literally' from the perspective of
>> >> computational theory.
>>
>> > No he doesn't. His arguments have to assume Platonism as
>> > well as CTM.
>>
>> Bruno argues that an experiential-computational type can't be
>> plausibly associated with one of its valid physical tokens in at least
>> one case.
>
> He goes on to conclude that I am being generated by an immaterial
> UD. That is not possible if there are no immaterial entities.
>
>>If you can show where he goes wrong, you may consider
>> CTM+PM has been defended. OTOH if one agrees with him, this obscures
>> the association of consciousness with physics 'qua computatio'. In
>> this case, one could choose to abandon either CTM or PM. If the
>> latter, the move from MGA to UDA requires the reversal of the
>> theoretical primacy of matter and (at least a branch of) mathematics.
>
> There is no UDA without a Platonic UD.
>
>> When you respond "That is pretty much what I have been saying" you are
>> agreeing, aren't you, that what you mean by Platonism - whether or not
>> you accept the MGA as motivating its entailment by CTM - is just a
>> theoretical commitment to the primacy of the mathematical, as opposed
>> to the material?
>
> Yes.
>
>>And this seems pretty much indistinguishable from
>> Arithmetical Realism to me.
>
> I think Bruno's use fo AR is ambiguous. Sometimes he uses
> it to mean Platonism. sometimes he uses it to mean bivalence.
>
>> >> In either case there may be what one considers defensible grounds for
>> >> a commitment to a particular direction of inference, but ISTM that
>> >> further insistence on the metaphysical 'primitiveness' of one's point
>> >> of departure is entirely tangential to the distinctiveness of either
>> >> explanatory scheme.
>>
>> > Who's been doing that?
>>
>> This seems an odd question at this stage. I thought you were
>> insisting that Bruno needs some metaphysically primitive sense of
>> Platonism to justify the UDA
>
> He needs to make it clear he is assuming it. He
> may justify the assumption apriori or he may justify it abductively.
>
>
>> >> The opinions cited in the first posting assume
>> >> the first of these theoretical commitments and hence choose to take
>> >> the primacy of matter as their inferential fons et origo. Comp takes
>> >> the opposite position. The rest is a research programme, isn't it?
>>
>> > Yes. For my money, metaphysics is a subject-matter.
>> > It is not an epistemological modus-operandi involving declarations of
>> > irrefutable certainty.
>>
>> Well then, surely we can agree. One finds grounds for preferring a
>> theoretical point of departure, and then one gets down to work. Comp
>> is open to empirical refutation, so it's research. Is your problem
>> that MGA is a "declaration of irrefutable certainty"?
>
> No. But is has assumptions of its own.
>
>>If so, it
>> shouldn't be. Like any deductive argument, it is open to refutation
>> if one can find an error. Further, even if one can't, this doesn't
>> force a commitment to Arithmetical Realism, it simply puts the
>> coherency of CTM+PM into doubt.
>
> Which could lead to PM-CTM as in Maudlin's argument.
> Maudlin of course is *not* assuming Platonism.
>
>>Either conclusion might motivate a
>> preference for one research approach over another.
>>
>> David
>>
>>
> >
>

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/

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