On 26 December 2011 16:23, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

>> 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.

But then they are dualists, even if they can't or won't admit it.  The
fact that they go on thinking and talking in a dualist way but won't
confess to it is why I say the ambiguity is "studied".  Dennett, for
example, winks at it when he describes himself as a "third-person
absolutist", revealing in the process perhaps a stronger commitment to
doctrine than truth; and consequently, despite his analytical rigour,
he is often led to use bullying and sophistry to defend absolutism
where truthfulness does not serve his purpose.

But once the central ontological distinction is made between "qua
materia" and "qua computatio", a truthful eye cannot avoid seeing that
either there are two "primitives" in play here or only one.  If the
former, then a dualism of some kind must be contemplated, though a
duality in which one pole is placed at an unbridgeable epistemic
distance from the other (as Kant shows us).  Should one consequently
lean towards the latter option as more parsimonious, one of the pair
of ontological primitives must be dispensed with - i.e. redefined in
terms of the other.

If we attempt to collapse computation into the "primitive" physics
that implements it, then we are left just with physics; everything
must in the end be accounted for qua materia.  But in the presence of
consciousness, this is frankly incoherent, or more simply, impossible.
In the light of this, as Sherlock Holmes sagaciously observed, the
alternative, however improbable, must be true: if computation is to be
the chosen supervention base for consciousness, there can be no sense
in further appeal to any more "primitive" ontology.  Quod erat
demonstrandum.

David


>
> 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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>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>>
>>>
>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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>>> Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
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>
> http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/
>
>
>
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