On 12/27/2011 4:59 AM, David Nyman wrote:
The "frank incoherence" comment was directed towards the case where,
rejecting any form of dualism, one grasps the "single primitive" horn
of the dilemma in the form of a primitively-physical monism, rather
than the  arithmetical alternative.  But for those willing to
contemplate some sort of property dualism (which is not always made
explicit), there is, as you say, no immediately obvious contradiction.

My own reasoning on this latter option has focused on the unquestioned
acceptance of  composite material structure which seems to underpin
the notion of a "primitively physical machine".  As you once put it
"ontological reduction entails ontological elimination".  IOW, the
reduction of "materiality" to a causally-complete micro-physical
"mechanism" automatically entails that macro-physical composites must
be considered fundamentally to be epistemological, not ontological,
realities. Micro-physics "qua materia" entails no such additional
ontological levels of organisation.

Consequently, it would have to be the case that any "physical
computer" (e.g. our brains), proposed as a supervenience base for
experience, would itself first require to be constructed out of
"epistemological properties" before it could begin to "compute"
anything further.  This should seem, to say the least, odd.

I'm not sure on why this should be odd. The physical world is a model we created to explain things and so it's not odd that epistemology preceded ontology. First we learn some facts and then we build a model to explain them. The model defines our ontology.


It might
even seem to be indistinguishable, in the final analysis, from
computational supervenience.


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