On 10 May 2011, at 20:11, meekerdb wrote:

On 5/10/2011 9:01 AM, David Nyman wrote:
On 10 May 2011 13:21, Bruno Marchal<marc...@ulb.ac.be>  wrote:

What does it mean for numbers to understand?

Suppose I can answer this in a way that you understand. Then it means the
same things for the numbers.

This seems to me to be a very central point.  Chalmers gives very
convincing arguments why an "Aristotelian machine's" expressed
behaviour (including its "thoughts" and "beliefs") are
indistinguishable from a conscious person's - excepting only that it
is not IN FACT conscious (!).

How does he establish that it is not conscious?

This alone should be enough (as indeed
he argues) to demonstrate the inadequacy of such a metaphysics of
matter, unless consciousness itself is to be denied (which, as Deutsch argues in his most recent book, is just bad explanation). It seems as
if, starting from an Aristotelian perspective, there is no way this
puzzle can be resolved even with the addition of various ad hoc
assumptions (such as Chalmers himself attempts, unsuccessfully IMO);
the assumed primacy of "material processes" inevitably ends in the
vitiation of "mental" explanation, in this view of the matter.  To
resolve the puzzle it seems that "material processes" and "mental
processes" (or, one might say, material and mental explanations) must
emerge as deeply correlated aspects of a single narrative. Hence, if
computationalism is to be the explanation for the mental, it must
likewise suffice as that of the material.

The problem with computationalism is that "exists => is computed" does not entail "computed => exists" and if you hypothesize the latter it explains too much.

But comp precisely prevents the possibility that "exists => is computed". For example comp entails the existence of many non computable functions, incompleteness, etc. That is what theoretical computer science illustrates (usually by diagonalization).

Now, the reverse, that is, "computed => exists", is trivially true, with "exists" used in the usual arithmetical sense, like in "prime numbers exists".

And this entails (and explains) the appearance of the physical universe, but in a derived and most sophisticated higher order (epistemological) sense, not in the arithmetical sense (indeed the physical universe become a non trivial and non computable object, obeying partially computable laws, etc.



You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to