On 25 Sep 2013, at 22:23, meekerdb wrote:
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 makesvitalism irrelevant.(I am actually arguing that computationalism makes materialism irrelevantin that same sense).Yes, I see that.Which is or should be seen as contradictory by any non-zombie entity.Of course the standard riposte to this riposte is indeed simply to deny that there are "really" any such further first-person facts at allTrue, 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.Despite this, and because it takes Matter for granted, he still slips(a position that Dennett has characterised as third person absolutism).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".Sure, but then we must give an account of the emergent levels that hasOK. Of course it can play a role in our discovering of that fundamentalit is central to reductionism that suchemergent levels play no independent role in the fundamental machinery.reality.an explicit motivation and justification in terms of our theory. Mypoint is that there is no such explicit motivation or justification inmaterialism, in which a maximally-reduced substrate has beenhypothesised at the start to do all the work. You argue, I think, thatcomputationalism 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 athird-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 bottomOK, and with comp the "bottom" is given by 0, its successor and + and *, orup.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.
Computationalism shows that any bottom will do, and that nothing depends on the choice of the bottom. It has to be Turing complete, and then it plays the role of a base (like in linear or vector spaces). In a sense, we can say that what is primary is NOT fundamental. What is fundamental are the many high level relata (life, consciousness, taxes, ...).
If the foregoing point is fully taken on board, it should be apparentYes, but also our irresistible feeling that such narrative make sense, andthat our fundamental motivation for ascribing any truly independent "reality" to derivative or emergent phenomena is actually their appearance in some first-personal narrative.that our words do indeed refer to something.A crucial point.I would say, "non justifiable entirely" by the machine, unless she bet onHence the primary"first-person fact" that demands something beyond a strictly reductiveexplanation is the peculiarly "non-derivative" status of a point-of-viewcomp 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 followingequivalence: Bp <-> Bp & p <-> Bp & Dt <-> Bp & Dt & palthough provable by G* (and thus arithmetically true), are not provable bythe 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 itsconstitution, 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 compand 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 areductively materialistic metaphysics without noticing how it cuts thevery 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 --You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com.To post to this group, send email to email@example.com. Visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list. For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.
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