On Mar 8, 1:43 pm, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> On 07 Mar 2011, at 21:48, David Nyman wrote:
> > On 7 March 2011 15:56, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> >>>> Reduction is not elimination
> > <snip>
> >> Ontological reduction does not necessarily entail epistemological
> >> *elimination*, but it does entail ontological *elimination*.
> > Bruno, this is what I was trying to say some time ago to Peter.  Why
> > "ontological reduction does not necessarily entail epistemological
> > *elimination*" is of course precisely the question that mustn't be
> > dodged or begged, which is what I'm convinced Peter is doing by
> > insisting dogmatically that "reduction is not elimination".  The point
> > is that a primitive-materialist micro-physical theory is implicitly
> > (if not explicitly) committed to the claim that everything that exists
> > is *just* some arrangement of ultimate material constituents.  That's
> > literally *all there is*, ex hypothesi.  Despite the fact (and, a
> > fortiori, *because* of the fact) that this is not what any of us, as
> > observers, actually finds to be the case, we can nonetheless choose to
> > deny or ignore this "inconvenient truth".  But if we do not so choose,
> > we can perhaps see that here we have the materialist Hard Problem in
> > perhaps its purest form: why should there be anything at all except an
> > ensemble of quarks? (or whatever this month's "ultimate constituent of
> > everything" is supposed to be).  And why should any subset of an
> > ensemble of quarks be localised as "here" or "now"?
> > Adding "computation" to the materialist mix can't help, because
> > computation is also just an arrangement of quarks, or whatever, and
> > talking about emergence, or logical levels etc, can achieve nothing
> > because after any amount of this logical gyrating *it's still all just
> > quarks*.  Of course, funnily enough, we manage nonetheless to talk
> > about all these additional things, but then to claim that this talk
> > can be materially "identical" to the quarks "under some description"
> > is just to play circular and futile games with words.  Plugging the
> > conclusion into the premise can of course explain nothing, and simply
> > begs the critical question in the most egregious way.
> > The crucial difference in your theory, Bruno, to the extent that I've
> > understood it, is that it is explicitly both analytic AND integrative.
> > That is, it postulates specific arithmetical-computational "ultimate
> > components" and their relations, AND it further specifies the local
> > emergence of conscious first-person viewpoints, and their layers of
> > composite contents, through an additional subtle filtering and
> > synthesis of the relational ensemble.  Hence, through a kind of
> > duality of part and whole, it is able to avoid the monistic deathtrap,
> > and consequently isn't forced to deny, or sweep under the rug, the
> > categorical orthogonality of mind and body.  In such a schema, the
> > entire domain of the "secondary qualities", including matter, time and
> > space themselves, is localised and personalised at the intersection of
> > these analytic and synthetic principles.
> I think that you have a clear understanding of that rather subtle and  
> difficult issue.
> The problem with the materialist, once they use comp, and thus does  
> not "materialize the soul" is that they have to identify a state of  
> mind with a state of matter. Pain become literally neuronal firing or  
> quark interaction. But pain is not neuronal firing, pain is a non  
> pleasant subjective reality lived by person, and to equate pain with  
> neuronal firing leads the most honest materialist scientist to the  
> conclusion that pain somehow does not exist (eliminativism).

Another option is open to them: it is a brute fact that the neuronal
IS the pain, but physicalese descriptions of neuronal firing don't
capture that because
they are inadequate.

> eventually, some realize that if neuron plays a role in pain, they can  
> only *associate* it to neuronal firing, and this leads to dualism,  
> which most materialist abhor. That is even truer for monist  
> materialist who are then force to accept a form of epiphenomenalism.
> Prima facie, comp, which is also a form of reductionism, might seems  
> to be lead to a similar problem,

It leads to a worse problem. The objection to identifying qualia with
physical happening is that felt qualitiies are not identifiable with
physicalese descriptions. The approach outlined above resolves that
with the idea that concrete physical events have  a noumenal
hinterland which is not captured by physicalese descriptions.
However, in the realm of pure math, without "stuffy matter",
no such hinterland is available: neuronal firings have to be
identical with their physicalese (and hence mathematical)
If the quale isn't there, it isn't anywhere: it has no place to hide.

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