On 04 Nov 2013, at 14:36, Roger Clough wrote:
Ryle's "category mistake" and why spacetime, to a platonist, is
contained in Mind.
This is a very subtle issue.
"The term "category-mistake" was introduced by Gilbert Ryle in his
book The Concept of Mind (1949)
to remove what he argued to be a confusion over the nature of mind
born from Cartesian metaphysics.
Ryle alleged that it was a mistake to treat the mind as an object
made of an immaterial substance
because predications of [actual] substance are not meaningful for a
collection [or fiction] of dispositions and capacities.
The first example is of a visitor to Oxford. The visitor, upon
viewing the colleges and library, reportedly inquired
'but where is the University?'  The visitor's mistake is
presuming that a University is part of the category
"units of physical infrastructure" or some such thing, rather than
the category "institutions", say, which are
far more abstract and complex conglomerations of buildings, people,
procedures, and so on. "
Ryle, like the eliminative materialists, used this logical error to
eliminate mind-- simply as being a fiction.
But to a platonist, his argument can produce a completely different
To a platonist or a solipsist, Mind itself, in which objects exist,
is not simply a fiction, it is all that there is (the One).
To put it another way, Mind is a necessarily higher order of being
in which the physical world exists.
Then Mind is not a property of brain, it is a higher order (mental)
category in which the physical brain exists.
Brain is in spacetime, which itself is contained in Mind.
OK. This can be made much more precise in the computationalist theory
of mind. Brain and space-time are emerging structure. They emerge from
the statistics of the first person pov of the universal numbers on the
set of all (non material) computations, which exists in arithmetic.
Leibniz said that space, being massless, is a nonphysical nonentity.
Photons seem to be massless too, and remain physical objects.
The term "Space" is ambiguous. Physical space, like the curved one in
GR, is typically a physical reality. Even if it emerges from many
computations, it remains a physical notion.
Then in geometry, there are innumerable notion of mathematical spaces,
which are not physical a priori.
All that physically exists then consists of physical objects with
together with their nonphysical mental massless representations
(as mind or will, consciousness, monads).
It is unclear, in that setting, how the physical reality has come to
exist or be perceived, what is mind, etc.
Leibniz remains partially stuck in Aristotelian theology. People like
Pythagorus, Plato, Plotinus, Proclus, are not. I argue that they are
much more closer to the logical and epistemological consequences of
An expression like "space-time is contained in Mind", is too much
relying on Aristotle materialist way of speaking. It is less wrong to
say that space-time is dreamed by the mind. This is not yet quite
correct, as it is hard to separate the deep computations, from what
people, supported by those computations, will sum up through the First
Roger, in this list, we are, conceptually, far beyond Leibniz (with
the exception of some physicalists (who don't argue)).
Leibniz could have found this, if instead of universal language, he
would have conceived the universal machine, and take their possible
first person views into account. I think. It is also hard to say, as
Leibniz has been through different phases in his intellectual life.
In fact, Descartes and Kant, are also closer to computationalism's
consequences than Leibniz. I recently found a book by Bourriau (a
french scholars) showing something similar (but I have not yet read it
in entirety. I might add comments on this)
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