Re: MGA 3

From: Michael Rosefield <>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2008 10:39:34 +0000

This distinction between physicalism and materialism, with materialism
allowing for features to emerge, it sounds to me like a join-the-dots puzzle
- the physical substrate provides the dots, but the supervening system also
contains lines - abstract structures implied by but not contained within the
system implementing it. But does that not mean that this also implies
further possible layers to the underlying reality? That no matter how many
turtles you go down, there's always more turtles to come?

- Did you ever hear of "The Seattle Seven"?
- Mmm.
- That was me... and six other guys.

2008/12/7 Russell Standish <>

> 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. 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 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).
> --
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A/Prof Russell Standish Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
> Mathematics
> Australia
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >

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Received on Wed Dec 10 2008 - 05:39:52 PST

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