On 25 September 2013 21:23, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

> There seems to be a lot self-congratulatory bashing of reductive materialism
> on this list without noticing that it has provided all the knowledge of
> advanced science, while metaphysical Platonism has provided speculation.

Self-congratulatory? Heaven forfend! I am a mere logic-chopper with
nothing to congratulate myself about in that regard. However, in
answer to your point above, it cannot be doubted that this approach
has been extremely successful, for which we can all be grateful, but
it may nonetheless turn out that this very success may yet prove a
blind alley in certain respects. Or indeed it may not and all will
continue to fall before it - only time will tell. However I feel I
have a logical argument that is quite telling against the admittedly
rather extreme positions of the Dennetts and Churchlands of this
world, whom I have termed (crudely) reductive materialists. That is
what I've tried to present.

As far as metaphysical platonism is concerned, it's fun to speculate
and see where ideas might lead; I must admit that I've learned a thing
or to in trying to get my head around something that seemed so
"obviously" absurd when I first encountered it.

David






> On 9/25/2013 11:51 AM, David Nyman wrote:
>>
>> On 25 September 2013 15:01, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
>>
>>> I agree. It is in that sense that we can say that modern biophysics makes
>>> vitalism irrelevant.
>>>
>>>   (I am actually arguing that computationalism makes materialism
>>> irrelevant
>>> in that same sense).
>>
>> Yes, I see that.
>>
>>>> Of course the standard riposte to this riposte is indeed simply to
>>>> deny that there are "really" any such further first-person facts at
>>>> all
>>>
>>> Which is or should be seen as contradictory by any non-zombie entity.
>>
>> True, but nevertheless they don't always admit to it. I'm trying to
>> put my finger on just what it is that is so question-begging about
>> such a position.
>>
>>>> (a position that Dennett has characterised as third person
>>>> absolutism).
>>>
>>> Despite this, and because it takes Matter for granted, he still slips
>>> himself into it, alas.
>>
>> It's worse than that, alas; he seems to regard such absolutism as a
>> badge of hard-nosed scientific rigour. My point here is to undermine
>> such a position by pointing out that, in simultaneously appropriating
>> what it denies, it is in fact radically self-contradictory. In a fit
>> of hyperbole I once called this "metaphysical grand larceny".
>>
>>>> it is central to reductionism that such
>>>> emergent levels play no independent role in the fundamental machinery.
>>>
>>> OK. Of course it can play a role in our discovering of that fundamental
>>> reality.
>>
>> Sure, but then we must give an account of the emergent levels that has
>> an explicit motivation and justification in terms of our theory. My
>> point is that there is no such explicit motivation or justification in
>> materialism, in which a maximally-reduced substrate has been
>> hypothesised at the start to do all the work. You argue, I think, that
>> computationalism escapes this by showing how computation and logic
>> emerge naturally from arithmetic. Insofar as this is the case, ISTM
>> that your theory necessarily concedes (and of course tries to justify
>> from internal considerations) a quite different order of reality to
>> these derivatives of the fundamental arithmetical base.
>>
>> Reductive materialism has no business conceding any such ontological
>> novelty to "composite entities", even though precisely such a
>> concession is usually, and illicitly, assumed in order to conceal
>> internal contradiction (aka "sweeping the first-person under the
>> rug"). But in computationalism it cannot merely be a case of a
>> third-personal arithmetical substrate "doing all the work" on its own.
>> Not only has each emergent "level" an explicit constructive role but,
>> in the final analysis, "reality" itself can only be recovered from a
>> first-personal perspective (i.e as  filtered through a myriad
>> self-referential points-of-view).
>>
>>>> Nature, as we might say, seems to compute exclusively from the bottom
>>>> up.
>>>
>>> OK, and with comp the "bottom" is given by 0, its successor and + and *,
>>> or
>>> anything else Turing-Universal.
>>
>> OK. But as I argue above, we cannot merely propose the existence of a
>> "bottom" and leave it at that; this is the often-overlooked Achilles'
>> heel of reductive materialism. ISTM that comp's explicitly
>> constructive approach to each of its theoretical entities is a
>> distinctive advantage in this regard.
>
>
> No matter what the metaphysics there sequence of explanation must be
> circular, have an infinite regress, or have a bottom.  Science does presume
> to say what the bottom is, it just presumes to keep looking.  Because
> materialist say life can be explained by chemistry which can be explained by
> atoms which are explained by quantum field theory does not mean they have
> said quantum field theory is the bottom, or even that there is a bottom.
>
>
>>
>>>> If the foregoing point is fully taken on board, it should be apparent
>>>> that our fundamental motivation for ascribing any truly independent
>>>> "reality" to derivative or emergent phenomena is actually their
>>>> appearance in some first-personal narrative.
>>>
>>> Yes, but also our irresistible feeling that such narrative make sense,
>>> and
>>> that our words do indeed refer to something.
>>
>> A crucial point.
>>
>>>> Hence the primary
>>>> "first-person fact" that demands something beyond a strictly reductive
>>>> explanation is the peculiarly "non-derivative" status of a
>>>> point-of-view
>>>
>>> I would say, "non justifiable entirely" by the machine, unless she bet on
>>> comp explicitly.
>>> I mean, the first person points of view are derived, in comp (+
>>> Theaetetus)
>>> by the machine inability to see that the points of view are ontologically
>>> equivalent. In modal logic, it comes from the fact that the following
>>> equivalence:
>>>
>>> Bp <-> Bp & p <-> Bp & Dt <-> Bp & Dt & p
>>>
>>> although provable by G* (and thus arithmetically true), are not provable
>>> by
>>> the machine, and indeed obeys quite different logics.
>>
>> This seems to me to be an extraordinarily subtle point (or perhaps I
>> have simply been very slow in grasping it). When you say above that
>> "the points of view are ontologically equivalent" you are justifying
>> this in terms of arithmetical truth itself. If so, the ontology on
>> which comp is based is not merely that of some simple arithmetical
>> substrate tout court, but crucially that of all truths derivable from
>> it, whether provable by any particular machine or not. The
>> first-personal nuances then seem to depend on the particular
>> distinctions between what is true and what is provable from the
>> point-of-view of some particular machine. "What is true" from the
>> point-of-view of a machine seems to be true in virtue of its
>> constitution, as opposed to its operational (or logical) capabilities;
>> i.e. first-personal truths are constitutive not demonstrative.
>>
>>> We could write:
>>> "That this may appear less than obvious to us is a consequence of
>>> machine's
>>> inability even to frame the question, without the machine's assuming comp
>>> and accepting the traditional account of knowledge (Bp & p, & Al.)"
>
>
> Maybe that is because the traditional account leaves out any relation
> between Bp and p, e.g. epistemology.
>
>
>> Indeed. But some machines seem curiously capable of holding to a
>> reductively materialistic metaphysics without noticing how it cuts the
>> very ground from under them.
>
>
> There seems to be a lot self-congratulatory bashing of reductive materialism
> on this list without noticing that it has provided all the knowledge of
> advanced science, while metaphysical Platonism has provided speculation.
>
>
> Brent
>
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