On 08 Mar 2011, at 15:54, 1Z wrote:
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
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
is that a primitive-materialist micro-physical theory is implicitly
(if not explicitly) committed to the claim that everything that
is *just* some arrangement of ultimate material constituents.
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
deny or ignore this "inconvenient truth". But if we do not so
we can perhaps see that here we have the materialist Hard Problem in
perhaps its purest form: why should there be anything at all
ensemble of quarks? (or whatever this month's "ultimate
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
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
begs the critical question in the most egregious way.
The crucial difference in your theory, Bruno, to the extent that
understood it, is that it is explicitly both analytic AND
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
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
space themselves, is localised and personalised at the
these analytic and synthetic principles.
I think that you have a clear understanding of that rather subtle and
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.
Except that it is not a brute fact that the neuronal firing is the
pain. That does not make sense. A neuronal firing is entirely
descriptibe in a thrid person way, but a pain is not at all. You can
associate them, but you can't equate them. You can identify 3-heat
with molecular cinetic energy, but you cannot equate the sensation of
heat with neuronal firing in the same way. The problem is that *any*
physicalese or not, third person description of what could be the pain
will fail, because the pain quale is just not a third person
describable phenomenon. Comp solves the problem by identifying the
pain with what appears to be existing non describable, by numbers,
attribute of numbers' relation.
eventually, some realize that if neuron plays a role in pain, they
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
The approach outlined above resolves that
with the idea that concrete physical events have a noumenal
hinterland which is not captured by physicalese descriptions.
Well, this is introducing magical thing in the picture. If such
noumenal things exist, they have to escape the comp description. I can
say "yes" to the doctor if my consciousness and qualia is related to a
noumenal hinterland of the matter in my physical brain. That noumenal
matter hinterland contradicts the idea that there is a level of
description of myself where matter and physical structure can be
replaced by arbitrary different matter and structure, once they
preserve the computational relations, which are arithmetical, by
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)
The contrary happens. The physical stuff lost the possibility to be
entirely describe in mathematical terms. We need theological terms,
and the whole self-reference logics.
If the quale isn't there, it isn't anywhere: it has no place to hide.
It has the whole theological realm, which exists *epistemologically*
for any universal machine introspecting itself. And the self-reference
logic justifies entirely their non communicable feature, without
denying them and without trying to localize them in any way, like
numbers are not localized in any place. Localization is a higher
epistemological emerging notion, not a primitive one, in the comp
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