On 12/28/2011 5:39 AM, David Nyman wrote:
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.
My suggestion was that any oddness appears only if one tries to make
sense of CTM in terms of some sort of dual-property view rooted in
"primitive materiality". As Bruno says, this often seems to be at
least an implicit assumption. But even in it own terms, such a theory
can only isolate computation (and hence anything consequential on it)
in terms of its "epistemological properties", because the very
object-relations (e.g. those present in computers or brains), in terms
of which any coherent appeal to computation can be made, are
themselves nothing other than computationally-constructed
abstractions. Consequently this seems (at least to me) to be in
practice pretty much indistinguishable from Bruno's characterisation
of the "reversal" of matter-computation, since, given that CTM
mandates at the outset that all possibility of engagement with matter
is fundamentally epistemological, there seems to be no remaining
motivation to appeal to inconsequential "primitively-material"
properties, except as a sort of religious commitment.
But as Peter D. Jones points out primitive matter isn't inconsequential. It's consequent
is realization. Being material is the property of existing in contrast to those things
that don't exist. Of course this is not a popular view on an "Everything" list, but it's
consistent with our epistemological experience that some things happen and some don't,
some things exist and others don't.
Since this seems quite consistent with what you say above, I'm not
really surprised it doesn't seem odd to you.
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