On 26 Dec 2011, at 22:45, David Nyman wrote:

On 26 December 2011 19:50, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

Not if the sense of dualism *is* the primitive.

My comments, like the OP, were directed towards the assumptions of the
computational theory of mind, and the various ways in which this is
generally interpreted.  Do bear in mind that consciousness is assumed
(i.e. in the relevant theory) to *supervene on* computation, not to be
identical with it.  Any theory in this domain aspires to give detailed
and falsifiable predictions of how complex systems, defined in terms
of the supervention basis of the theory, emerge, behave, have beliefs,
possess dispositions, make specific claims, about themselves and their
environments, in the precisely the terms they do, and so forth.  This
is of course a monumental endeavour, hardly yet begun, but it is in
the end an empirical one; it can be falsified by intractable
inconsistency with observation, or with the dictates of logic.

It seems to me on the other hand that we simply have no idea how to
give an explanatory account of the direct first-hand phenomena of
consciousness per se.  We don't even know what it would be like to
have such an idea.  I don't believe that it's an attainable goal of
any theory we possess.

I agree. But what we can explain is that there are some self- referential truth which are available by machine, and that machine can realize that they are non justifiable in any theory. In that sense we can have a sort of meta-theory of consciousness, mostly axiomatized by this "true but incommunicable". Then it can be shown that such truth have a role. If machine postulates them in some strong way, they become inconsistent. If they postulate them in some weaker way, they speed-up themselves relatively to their environment, and that gives to such truth some local role, and that would explain why at some point nature select animals exploiting that possibility.

Bruno




David

On Dec 26, 12:35 pm, David Nyman <da...@davidnyman.com> wrote:


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.

Not if the sense of dualism *is* the primitive. A single continuum
which is ontologically perpendicular to itself in one sense,
unambiguously unified in another, and explicated as a spectrum of
combinatorial sense channels at every point in between. It's the
possibility of topological symmetry and algebraic-sequential
progression that gives rise to realism. Each primitive can be
redefined in terms of the other figuratively but not literally.
Computation is not realism. It is an analytical extraction through
which our intellectual sense can model many common exterior behaviors
and experiences, but I think it is not a primitive and has no causal
efficacy independent of a physical mechanism. Computationalism is
seductive as a primitive because it's purpose is to transparently
model universality and in so doing becomes conflated with universality
in our minds, but this equivalence is figurative, not literal.

Craig

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