Re: MGA 3

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2008 09:43:47 +0100

On 08 Dec 2008, at 00:59, Russell Standish wrote:

> On Sat, Dec 06, 2008 at 03:32:53PM +0100, Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> I would be pleased if you can give me a version of MAT or MEC to
>> which
>> the argument does not apply. For example, the argument applies to
>> most
>> transfinite variant of MEC. It does not apply when some "magic" is
>> introduced in MAT, and MAT is hard to define in a way to exclude that
>> magic. If you can help, I thank you in advance.
>> Bruno
> Michael Lockwood distinguishes between materialism (consciousness
> supervenes on the physical world) and physicalism (the physical world
> suffices to explain everything). The difference between the two is
> that in physicalism, consciousness (indeed any emergent phenomenon) is
> mere epiphenomena, a computational convenience, but not necessary for
> explanation, whereas in non-physicalist materialism, there are
> emergent
> phenomena that are not explainable in terms of the underlying physics,
> even though supervenience holds.

In what sense are they emergent? They emerge from what?

> This has been argued in the famous
> paper by Philip Anderson. One very obvious distinction between
> the two positions is that strong emergence is possible in materialism,
> but strictly forbidden by physicalism. An example I give of strong
> emergence in my book is the strong anthropic principle.
> So - I'm convinced your argument works to show the contradiction
> between COMP and physicalism, but not so the more general
> materialism.

I don't see why. When I state the supervenience thesis, I explain that
the type of supervenience does not play any role, be it a causal
relation or an epiphenomenon.

> I think you have confirmed this in some of your previous
> responses to me in this thread.
> Which is just as well. AFAICT, supervenience is the only thing
> preventing the Occam catastrophe. We don't live in a magical world,
> because such a world (assuming COMP) would have so many contradictory
> statements that we'd disappear in a puff of destructive logic!
> (reference to my previous posting about destructive phenomena).

I don' really understand. If such argument is correct, how could
classical logic not be quantum like. The problem of the white rabbits
is that they are consistent. Your explanation would make the world
quantum or not independently of the "degree of independence" of the
computational histories. Observation would not make a logic classical,
as it is the case in QM.


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Received on Mon Dec 08 2008 - 03:43:58 PST

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