On Mar 9, 12:50 pm, David Nyman <da...@davidnyman.com> wrote:
> Peter, your comments appear to illustrate a basic confusion between
> ontological and epistemological claims that makes me think that you
> haven't taken on board the fundamental distinction entailed in Bruno's
> original statement:
>
> "Ontological reduction does not necessarily entail epistemological
> *elimination*, but it does entail ontological *elimination*."
>
> If we haven't resolved something so fundamental at the outset, it's no
> wonder you find what I go on to say so difficult to follow.  As Bruno
> implies, the whole POINT of any ontological reduction programme is
> ontological elimination: it is an attempt (however incapable of final
> success it may be) to distinguish what "REALLY" exists from what
> "APPEARS" to exist.  Hence it is of the greatest significance that
> ontological elimination doesn't also entail epistemological
> elimination; i.e. even when composites seem to have been shown to have
> no "really real" ontological status distinct from their components,
> they nonetheless somehow stubbornly hang on to their "apparently real"
> epistemological status.

That is a confusing way of phrasing things. The crucial distinction
is not real/apparent, because houses and heat are not held to be
illusions.
The crucial distinction is fundamental/non-fundamental. To reduce
is to identify a higher-level phenomeonon with a more fundamental one.

Note the phrase "more fundamental". The wise reductionist does
not claim to know what is really fundamental. That being the case,
it is unwise to insist that the non-fundamental
is unreal, since the reduction base might ultimately be non-
fundamental itself
One can reduce a house to mortared bricks without knowing that bricks
are made of atoms.
Neural activity is also non-fundamental, but where is the materialist
who
insists it is unreal?


> The relationship to the Hard Problem should now be clear, I think: the
> "zombie" is just the reduced ontology of the components, shorn of any
> composite epistemology.

No. As I explained before, zombies are not business-as-usual
reduction-means-elimination. We can imagine that zombies
lack qualia, because we don't see how the alleged reduction base,
their neural activity, would necessitate it. Far from being an example
of reduction, that is a case where reductive explanation has *failed*
to occur
because where there is a successful reductive explanation, the
necessity
of the higher-level phenomenon being present is clear. If heat *is*
molecular motion it *must* be present where molecular motion is
present!
There are no heat zombies -- the idea is unthinkable!

Zombies are not a typical example of the problems of reduction,
they are an instance of the reduction being bought too cheaply:
the reductive materialist presents the off-the-peg conclusion that
consciousness
"just is" neural firing, without filling in the explanation that
allows
us to see that it *must be*, so that we instead remain being able to
see that it
*might not* be!



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