I have just been trawling the list, and found your wonderfully clear
As I've understood Bruno over the years, he has
never asserted that comp(utational science) necessarily is the
fundamental science of body and mind. Rather, he is saying that IF
computational science is assumed (e.g. by proponents of CTM) to be the
correct mind-body theory, THEN the appearance of the body (and
consequently the rest of matter/energy) must emerge as part of the
same theory. In other words, EITHER the correctness of comp as a
mind-body theory directly implies the "emptiness" of any fundamental
theory of matter; OR alternatively (i.e. accepting a "fundamental"
theory of matter) comp can't be the correct mind-body theory.
This helps enormously, thanks.
Your next paragraph is likewise wonderfully clear:
The establishment of this disjunction depends on a number of logical
steps, culminating in a class of "reductio" thought experiments
including Maudlin's Olympia/Klara and Bruno's MGA, the burden of which
is to reveal contradictions inherent in any such conjunction of
computationalism and materialism. As it happens, Maudlin uses this
result to reject CTM, and Bruno follows the opposite tack of rejecting
materialism. There is some controversy over these results from
supporters of CTM who continue to find ways to dispute them with
auxiliary assumptions. Personally, these auxiliaries strike me as
being rather in the nature of epicycles, but then I'm hardly an
I have no problem with the basic concept of CTM, as I understand it. The way I
understand it is as presented in the paper The Computational Theory of Mind at
SEP (that Always makes me think of Douglas Adams' Somebody Else's Problem
field, which is such a powerful human emotive force that it can make even a
massive spaceship decending into the middle of a cup final, invisible!)
Your revelation that ' Maudlin uses this result to reject CTM, and Bruno
follows the opposite tack of rejecting materialism. ' makes things very much
clearer for me, I had got seriously bogged down in all this.
My problem at present with either position is that I cannot see why the fact
that an experiential sequence supervenes on more than one physical situation
demonstrates anything about anything. (In my view, the entity having such an
experience simply exists simultaneously in both physical situations) If anyone
can cast some light on this I would be grateful.
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