On 26 Dec 2011, at 18:35, David Nyman wrote:

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.


I agree with some use of Occam, but this might not follow from a pure logical point of view (if you let me play the role of the devil advocate).

The reason is that, without MGA or Maudlin, we might single out a universal machine which would be a primitive material system, and decide that consciousness is related to the computations appearing in that primitive physical frame, and defined by the organization of matter in that frame). This entails a property form of dualism, which is not obviously contradictory. The physical universe becomes a sort of primitive programming language, as it can be indeed, and consciousness would supervene on the physical computation only. The fact that, without MGA, we can conceive this explains the success of the mechanist idea among materialist: there is matter obeying some laws, and from those laws we can explain layers of different organizations. Of course, when consciousness is taken seriously into account, we can sense some incoherence, but empirically, this is the hard part to convey, and without MGA/Maudlin, I have not been able to convince of the "frank incoherence". The materialist move might seems ad hoc, but to prove that it is incoherent is not easy. At first it seems to provide an ability of distinguishing real from fictive, by universal machine, but the problem is that, like Peter Jones defended, the materialist will just consider the non material computation has having no consciousness at all: so that the universal machine can still not make the difference between real from fictive, but not because its consciousness does not change, but because it disappears in the fictive frame. They accept the idea that arithmetic is full of zombie, because they believe that mathematics is essentially fictive, which makes sense with their singling out a particular universal and material (for them) machine. The only problem I can see is that they have to attribute some physical activity to inactive (here and now) piece of matter and to violate the 323 principle.

Bruno









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/



--
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
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit this group at
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.


--


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

--
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
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit this group at
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.


--
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
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit this group at
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.


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



--
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything- l...@googlegroups.com.
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.


--
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 everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com . For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en .


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



--
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 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.

Reply via email to