Re: MGA 3

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 13:25:14 +1100

On Sun, Nov 30, 2008 at 07:10:43PM +0100, Bruno Marchal wrote:
> >
> > I am speaking as someone unconvinced that MGA2 implies an
> > absurdity. MGA2 implies that the consciousness is supervening on the
> > stationary film.
> ? I could agree, but is this not absurd enough, given MEC and the
> definition of the physical superveneience thesis;

It is, prima facie, no more absurd than consciousness supervening on a
block universe.

> >
> > A block universe is nondynamic by definition. But looked at another
> > way, (ie from the inside) it is dynamic. It neatly illustrates why
> > consciousness can supervene on a stationary film (because it is
> > stationary when viewed from the inside).
> OK, but then you clearly change the physical supervenience thesis.

How so? The stationary film is a physical object, I would have thought.

> > The "film", however does need
> > to be sufficiently rich, and also needs to handle counterfactuals
> > (unlike the usual sort of movie we see which has only one plot).
> OK. Such a film could be said to be a computation. Of course you are
> not talking about a stationary thing, which, be it physical or
> immaterial, cannot handle counterfactuals.

If true, then a block universe could not represent the
Multiverse. Maybe so, but I think a lot of people might be surprised
at this one.

> >
> > The problem is that eliminating the brain from phenomenal experience
> > makes that experience even more highly probable than without. This is
> > the Occam catastrophe I mention in my book. Obviously this contradicts
> > experience.
> >
> > Therefore I conclude that supervenience on a phenomenal physical brain
> > is necessary for consciousness.
> It is vague enough so that I can interpret it favorably through MEC.

That is my point - physical supervenience (aka materialism) is not
only not contradicted by MEC (aka COMP), but in fact is necessary for
to even work. Only what I call naive physicalism,
(aka the need for a concrete instantiation of a computer running the
UD) is contradicted by MEC.

What _is_ interesting is that not all philosophers distinguish between
physicalism and materialism. David Chalmers does not, but Michael
Lockwood does, for instance. Much of this revolves around the
ontological status of emergence.

A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
UNSW SYDNEY 2052         
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at
Received on Sun Nov 30 2008 - 21:25:25 PST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:15 PST