On 12/26/2011 5:50 AM, 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.
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. 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). 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. 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). That's it, in a
Or a neutral monism in which they are different ways of organizing the same data - as
quantum field theory can be done with either fields or particles.
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