On 25 Sep 2013, at 22:31, John Mikes wrote:

Let us start at the end: David's conclusion upon Brent's (>)remark:
---------------------------- ...
> The advantage of
> looking at a circle of 'reductions'
>
> NUMBERS -> "MACHINE DREAMS" -> PHYSICAL -> HUMANS -> PHYSICS -> NUMBERS.
>
> is that it cautions one against this kind fundamentalism. Shall we take > perspectives as fundamental (Nietzsche), particles (Stenger), numbers > (Bruno),... In my view they are all models and one 'reduces' to a level you
> can understand or manipulate, which will be different in different
> circumstances.

That's nicely agnostic, of course. Frankly, it about sums up my own
views most of the time. However, I appreciate Bruno's efforts to put
some flesh on the bones of one particular departure from agnosticism.
And I still deprecate those of an airily reductive persuasion who
simply cannot see how they are doggedly assuming almost everything
they wish to explain.
David
-----------------
I feel Bruno does not 'depart' from agnosticism: he remarked several time to be 'even more' agnostic than myself (a confessed all- agnostic). He just feels awe for his Platonistic base to adore numbers (especially the primes). I asked him several times to define them, because I cannot find 'single number relations" in the 'natural nature'.
Only when numbers are already introduced ( - by human logic?).

here I just "confess" that I have to assume them. But I do personally believe they exist, in the sense that I feel that 17 is prime independently of me. Of course that is no proof, but many person share this belief, and so we can progress in that direction (basically it is just "math"). You are right, I am agnostic, on God, Matter, Nature, Numbers, etc. That is why I can put clearly all assumption on the table, including the logical one (like accepting to derive A from the truth of "A & B", etc.).

Bruno




Those whom you call 'of an airily reductive persuasion' are regular conventional scientists (if...) who find it natural to 'explain' everything they THINK they know (or see, postulate in the 'model' of their reductionist world so far learned).

IMO "who give philosophers a bad name": are the other philosophers (call them scientists). Motto (taken from a description of lawyers):
99% of philosophers give a bad name for the rest of them.
JM




On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 3:42 PM, David Nyman <da...@davidnyman.com> wrote:
On 25 September 2013 19:42, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

> I'd say the standard riposte is that the "first person facts" (qualia?) are > just inherent in the 3p model. There is feeling that goes with certain > kinds of information processing (e.g. creating a personal narrative). This > is really implicit in Bruno's theory - that proving certain theorems in
> arithmetic necessarily entails qualia.

Sure, but in my reply to Bruno I point out that whereas "information
processing" is an explicit theoretical aspect of comp, it has no
obvious role to play in reductive materialism. By the way, my critique
of "reductive materialism" isn't mean to imply a knock-down argument
against a future account of the first-person in terms of some final
physical theory. Rather my intention is to stress the often-overlooked
limitations of existing physical theory in this regard. What role is
"information processing" supposed to play if what exists is supposed
to be exhausted by some maximally-reduced material substrate? Is it
meant as a proxy for some underlying physical process? But then what
is this proxy supposed to consist of in addition to the process?

As I remarked to Bruno, when one speaks of nations or sports teams (or
indeed universities, as Ryle famously pointed out, though apparently
without fully grasping the consequences) one has no difficulty
realising that all one is speaking of is human beings variously
arranged. I suppose one might call this reductive peopleism. But
apparently when one turns to "information processing" it is somehow
less clear that all one can be speaking of (according to reductive
materialism) is fundamental material entities variously arranged.

> "Nature" is our model of reality. We like to compute from "the bottom up" > because it is usually easier to think of simpler things interacting to make
> more complicated things - but no always.

Yes, of course. But ISTM that this is often understood as implying
more than merely an explanatory strategy; IOW that "bottom up" - or
really "bottom only" - is how things "really are", internal
contradictions be damned. However, I surmise that you are not in this
simplistic camp. But I would still be interested in an account of
"information processing" that appeals exclusively to third-personal
physical processes without begging the question of the distinctive
first-personal characteristics of any higher-order relational
phenomena thus adduced.

>> 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.
>
> But that's just taking 1p narratives as fundamental.

Not so fast. It's taking them to be "real", not fundamental. My point
is that, according to reductive materialism, there is no motivation to
accept derivative or emergent phenomena as real in any sense, because
they are ever and always simply the underlying fundamentals tout court
(i.e. the people not the nation). Of course, looking at things in this
way has the effect of making such emergent phenomena disappear from
view even more comprehensively than the Cheshire Cat, which also was
my point.

> The advantage of
> looking at a circle of 'reductions'
>
> NUMBERS -> "MACHINE DREAMS" -> PHYSICAL -> HUMANS -> PHYSICS -> NUMBERS.
>
> is that it cautions one against this kind fundamentalism. Shall we take > perspectives as fundamental (Nietzsche), particles (Stenger), numbers > (Bruno),... In my view they are all models and one 'reduces' to a level you
> can understand or manipulate, which will be different in different
> circumstances.

That's nicely agnostic, of course. Frankly, it about sums up my own
views most of the time. However, I appreciate Bruno's efforts to put
some flesh on the bones of one particular departure from agnosticism.
And I still deprecate those of an airily reductive persuasion who
simply cannot see how they are doggedly assuming almost everything
they wish to explain.

David



> On 9/25/2013 4:40 AM, David Nyman wrote:
>>
>> On 25 September 2013 05:03, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>>
>>> We will have learned what emotions and feelings
>>> are at the level of sensors and computation and action. And when we have >>> done that 'the hard problem' will be seen to have been an idle question -
>>> like "What is life." proved to be in the 20th century.
>>
>> David Chalmers has a good riposte to this, I think. He points out
>> that, properly framed, the question "What is Life?" was always going to
>> be answerable in terms of lower-level elements and processes of
>> systems we regard as alive. Consequently, once these had been fully
>> elucidated (no matter how difficult this might turn out to be in
>> practice) we simply would have no motivation to look for further kinds >> of explanation. There never really was any reason to anticipate there
>> being some "hard problem" of Life. OTOH, he argues, even if we
>> possessed a fully adequate account of the brain in terms of its
>> relevant physical elements and processes, the question of why any
>> fully adequate third-person characterisation might imply any further
>> first-person facts would still remain.
>>
>> 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 (a position that Dennett has characterised as third person
>> absolutism).
>
>
> I'd say the standard riposte is that the "first person facts" (qualia?) are > just inherent in the 3p model. There is feeling that goes with certain > kinds of information processing (e.g. creating a personal narrative). This > is really implicit in Bruno's theory - that proving certain theorems in
> arithmetic necessarily entails qualia.
>
>
>> I wonder, however, whether this denial really makes any
>> sense in its own terms. After all, if one takes the reductive
>> enterprise as seriously as one ought, anything above the level of
>> fundamental constituents and their relations is understood as being
>> derivative or emergent. IOW, in a sense (and a strong sense for our
>> present purposes) such derivative levels are not independently "real".
>> It is easy to miss this point because of their explanatory
>> indispensability (e.g. Deutsch's example of the alternative histories
>> of the copper atom) but it is central to reductionism that such
>> emergent levels play no independent role in the fundamental machinery. >> Nature, as we might say, seems to compute exclusively from the bottom
>> up.
>
>
> "Nature" is our model of reality. We like to compute from "the bottom up" > because it is usually easier to think of simpler things interacting to make
> more complicated things - but no always.
>
>
>>
>> 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.
>
>
> But that's just taking 1p narratives as fundamental. The advantage of
> looking at a circle of 'reductions'
>
> NUMBERS -> "MACHINE DREAMS" -> PHYSICAL -> HUMANS -> PHYSICS -> NUMBERS.
>
> is that it cautions one against this kind fundamentalism. Shall we take > perspectives as fundamental (Nietzsche), particles (Stenger), numbers > (Bruno),... In my view they are all models and one 'reduces' to a level you
> can understand or manipulate, which will be different in different
> circumstances.
>
> Brent
>
>
>
>> IOW, it makes no
>> difference to Nature, conceived reductively, whether we choose to
>> explain the current location of a copper atom in terms of nations and
>> wars, or the evolution of the wave-function of the universe, or the
>> structure of the Programmatic Library of Babel for that matter,
>> because the presumed-to-be-fundamental reality is understood to
>> subsist independently whatever the case. According to standard
>> reductionist principles, nations and wars - and indeed atoms and
>> molecules - are simply higher-order derivatives of more fundamental
>> entities and their relations. Indeed, more accurately, they simply
>> *are* those entities and their relations, without addition, in exactly >> the sense that football teams or societies simply *are* human beings
>> in relation, without addition.
>>
>> My point here is that these derivatives, in the end, are point-of- view >> dependent. This is not to say, of course, that they are thereby simple >> or arbitrary; quite the contrary. But there would be no need to appeal
>> to them at all were it not for the putative existence of
>> points-of-view in the first place. Nature, conceived purely as a
>> primary reality of fundamental entities and their relations, has no
>> truck with explaining the history of any particular copper atom in
>> terms of nations and wars or, for that matter, with distinguishing a
>> "copper atom" as worthy of explanation. 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 and the "emergent" entities in which it apparently
>> deals. That this may appear less than obvious to us is a consequence >> of our seeming inability even to frame the question without assuming
>> the answer.
>>
>> David
>>
>>
>>> On 9/24/2013 8:44 PM, LizR wrote:
>>>
>>> On 25 September 2013 15:41, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> On 9/24/2013 6:32 PM, LizR wrote:
>>>>
>>>> On 25 September 2013 13:38, Russell Standish <li...@hpcoders.com.au >
>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> This is also true of materialism. Whether you think this is a problem >>>>> or not depends on whether you think the "hard problem" is a problem or
>>>>> not.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Indeed. I was about to say something similar (to the effect that it's
>>>> hard
>>>> to imagine how "mere atoms" can have sights, sounds, smells etc either).
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> As a rule, if you want to explain X you need to start from something
>>>> without X.
>>>>
>>> Absolutely.
>>>
>>> If you know of such an explanation, or even the outlines of one, I'd be >>> interested to hear it. As Russell said, this is the so-called "hard
>>> problem"
>>> so any light (or sound, touch etc) on it would be welcome.
>>>
>>>
>>> My 'solution' to the hard problem is to prognosticate that when we have >>> built intelligent robots we will have learned the significance of having
>>> an
>>> internal narrative memory.  We will have learned what emotions and
>>> feelings
>>> are at the level of sensors and computation and action. And when we have >>> done that 'the hard problem' will be seen to have been an idle question -
>>> like "What is life." proved to be in the 20th century.
>>>
>>> Brent
>>>
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