RE: Platonism vs Realism WAS: ROADMAP (well, not yet really...

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2006 23:43:13 +1000

Peter Jones writes:

> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > Peter Jones writes:
> >
> > > A claim about truth as opposed to existence cannot
> > > support the conclusion that matter does not actually exist.
> >
> > It can if you can show that the mental does not supervene
> > on the physical.
> I don't see how that is connected,

If you can conceptualise of a virtual reality generated by a computation
or a mind, and that computation or mind does not require physical
hardware on which to run, then it is possible (Bruno argues, necessary)
that our reality is a virtual reality without any underlying "real" world.

> and I don't want to claim that the mental
> does not supervene on the physical.

I didn't think you would.
> > This is far from a generally accepted fact,
> > but I am not yet aware of convincing arguments
> > against the sort of challenge posed to the supervenience
> > theory by eg. Tim Maudlin - unless you reject computationalism.
> Materialism/physicalism is better supported than computationalism.

Maybe, but mind would be something very mysterious if it isn't computation,
and mysteriouness goes against the grain for physicalists.

> Maudlin's arguments rest on the idea that physicalists must ignore
> counterfactuals.
> That assumption can easilly be abandoned.

I've never really understood why computationalists insist that a system
must be able to handle counterfactuals in order for consciousness to occur,
other than that otherwise any physical system could be seen as implementing
any computation, which does not seem to me a good reason. In any case,
Maudlin shows that the requirement for handling counterfactuals leads to
a situation where of two systems with identical physical activity, one is
conscious and the other not. If anyone should find such an idea unpalatable
it should be the physicalists.

Stathis Papaioannou

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Received on Fri Aug 18 2006 - 09:45:18 PDT

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