On 26 Dec 2011, at 14:50, David Nyman wrote:

On 26 December 2011 11:06, Russell Standish <li...@hpcoders.com.au> wrote:

I guess I should make this clearer. SUP-PHYS is SUP-PRIMITIVE-PHYS.


This does clarify some things. But I still don't see where
"primitiveness" is defined, or comes into the argument. Maudlin's
argument is about regular supervenience, with no mention of primitiveness.

The confusion is surely a consequence of a studied ambiguity in the
definition of supervention in the computational theory of mind: it is
simply not stipulated explicitly whether consciousness is supposed to
supervene on a physical system - "qua materia" - or on the abstract
computation it implements - "qua computatio".  Maudlin's argument is
supposed to pump our intuition about the absurdity of the former
option, by showing that it is possible to reduce the structure and
activity of a physical implementation (qua materia) to some
arbitrarily trivial level.

Yet, it never occurs to Maudlin that we might just abandon the supervenience of mind or computation on matter. In his book on quantum mechanics, he seems reluctant to accept the MW, for similar reason.




But if we remove the aforesaid ambiguity, the "qua materia" option is
surely empty of content from the outset.  If "primitive" physical
activity is supposed to be what ultimately determines what is real,
then second-order notions such as "computation" must be, in the final
analysis, explanatorily irrelevant - we have no need of such
hypotheses.

This is not entirely obvious. Many people, like Peter Jones on this list, will define "real" by "primitively material", and will believe that a computation can bring consciousness only if that computation is implemented in some primitively material set up.



The behaviour of any physical system can always be shown
to be fully adequate, qua materia, in its own terms, and further
explanation is consequently otiose (i.e. the zombie argument, in
effect).

For a reductionist materialist only, not for a dualist. We do explain complex program behavior from a higher level description of a program, but most people will think that what makes Deep Blue (say) real is provided by its "real" (physical) implementation.




The ambiguity in the definition of CTM is that it makes an
appeal to "computation" without making the explicit ontological
distinction between "qua computatio" and "qua materia" that is
required to make any sense of the supervention claim.

Because they take the very idea of "qua materia" for granted. Of course we know better, I guess.



On reflection,
this distinction can be made explicit in two ways: either they are
distinct and separable (i.e. physico-computational dualism), or they
are ultimately indistinguishable (i.e. frank eliminativism about
consciousness, or immaterialism - take your pick).

Some people, like Peter Jones (and many others) believe that consciousness might need both a computation together with at least one concrete primitive physical implementation. MGA is supposed to help those people to see that such an option cannot work.


That's it, in a
nutshell.

Good summary, but I am not sure it can convince some die hard atheists, believing in both primitive matter and abstract computation, which does not really exists for them, unless they are "concretely" implemented.

Bruno


On Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 11:09:27AM +0100, Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 26 Dec 2011, at 02:00, Russell Standish wrote:

On Sat, Dec 24, 2011 at 04:44:41PM +0100, Bruno Marchal wrote:

The concept of supervenience has no purchase on the concreteness or
otherwise of the supervened on.

Maudlin uses "supervenience" for "physical supervenience", like Kim
and most "expert" on supervenience.
I use "physical supervenience", because in the dilemma mechanism/
materialsim I choose mechanism. I keep comp, and withdraw the
physical supervenience, so what remains is comp-supervenience, which do no more refer to anything physical. the physical belongs at this
stage to the appearance of physical, and we have to retrieve the
physical laws from machine's psychology/theology. Which motivates
for AUDA.

Even if the physics is not concrete, but purely phenomenological as
indicated by steps 1-7 of the UDA, and if the consciousness
supervenes on
it, it is still physical supervenience, surely.

Not in the usual sense of supervenience, or what I call sup-phys. It
is a notion invented by the materialist/naturalist.
We can still have (and we shoud have) a remaining comp-phys
supervenience.
I guess I should make this clearer. SUP-PHYS is SUP-PRIMITIVE-PHYS.


This does clarify some things. But I still don't see where
"primitiveness" is defined, or comes into the argument. Maudlin's
argument is about regular supervenience, with no mention of primitiveness.


Good analogy. Let's explore it further. Tommy is in the classroom. So is Samantha. Let's swap Tommy's consciousness for Samantha's. But the
classroom does not change!

Are you swapping the brain? That would be a change in the classroom.
If you swap just the consciousness, I don't see the meaning, nor the
relevance.


No, swapping the consciousness, not the brains. First consider whether
Tommy's consciousness supervenes on the classroom. If yes, then
consider whether Samantha's consciousness supervenes on the
classroom. By symmetry with Tommy, one should also say yes. In that
case you have two conscious entities supervening on the same
"hardware", which contradicts the definition of supervenience.

Therefore we must conclude that nobody supervenes on the classroom.



So neither Tommy's nor Samantha's
consciousness supervenes on the classroom as a whole, only (possibly)
on subsystems of the classroom.

They supervene on the whole activity of the classroom, in
particular. A change in their consciousness (like seeing a bird)
entails some change in the classroom.

Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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