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! -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.