On 25 Sep 2013, at 23:57, LizR wrote:

On 26 September 2013 08:23, 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.

I don't know about any self-congratulation, but I do know that "reductive materialism" hasn't provided all this knowledge of advanced science. What has done so is reductionism. Materialism is a theory about what the fundamental nature of the universe is. Reductionism is a theory about how the fundamental components, whatever they may be, relate to each other. It's only reductionism that has been wildly successful. Materialism remains a metaphysical speculation, often riding on the coat-tails of reductionism, but in fact it been looking less and less likely since early in the 20th century. This happens (mainly) when you look closely at quantum theory (or even, in my case, not so closely). When you see supposedly material objects behaving like little pieces of information, the whole edifice of "matter" starts to look a bit shaky (for example all electrons are identical except for a few properties - position, momentum, spin axis, anything else?) Ditto for space and time, where we find a fixed information contents in black holes, indeed they often look like large fundamental "particles" - and the Beckenstein bound, the Holographic principle, and so on.

The idea that the universe is made of maths and/or information has been looking more likely for about the last century. (Or, as one might call it at a pinch, "reductive Platonism" :)

Important nuance. Parfit call "computationalism" reductionism!

In a sense it is quite reductionist and even quite atheist. There is nothing but numbers. No creator, nor creation!

But it is also a vaccine against eliminativism, as it saves the souls, heaven, earth and hell, but they appear as persistent relative dreams, but as dreams, they are very real from the points of view of the dreamer, and from the point of view of arithmetic, as they are well defined arithmetical objects.

I can agree with Dennett saying consciousness does not exist, but then neither matter. I prefer to be clear on the different levels and meaning of "existence". ExP(x), []Ex’]P(x), etc.

Bruno







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