Dharmas, type-F monism and COMP-OMs

From: GŁnther Greindl <guenther.greindl.domain.name.hidden>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 22:01:42 +0100

Hello Bruno,

this is an answer for a mail a few weeks back, did not have the time up
to now.

>With comp, we have an (non
> denombrable) infinity of computations, going through a (denombrable)
> infinity of states, and only few of them, I would say will have 1-OM
> role or 3-OM role. Even a fewer minority (a priori) will belongs to
> sharable computations (physical realities).

Ok, so, in your view, some states code for 1-OM roles (qualia) and some
states code for shareable views (quanta). Most states code for nothing.

What is a 3-OM? Do you mean a 3rd-person view description of an OM?
(for instance the "zombie" coding of a COMP state in a light-beam sent
from Earth to Mars)?

> expressible. It is still an open problem if comp leads to solipsism, but
> all the evidences available today, are that it does not lead to solipsism.

Which evidence? Is that one of your technical results? Which one?

>> It would not be a dualism, it would be mind-monism, but the "objects"
>> being computed would not be OMs directly but some kind of basic
>> mind-components - this idea is not new, in fact these objects would
>> correspond to the "dharmas" of yogacara (and also Theravada Buddhism,
>> but not so clearly there). (see
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmas#Dharmas_in_Buddhist_phenomenology)
>> One would lose the wonderful OM-COMP correspondence (which I think is an
>> important feature of your COMP)
>> and get some kind of "binding problem"
>> again - how a unified consciousness results from the "dharmas"; but one
>> would be able to better explain how we have shareable histories (which
>> is I think a _weak point_ of COMP if related directed to OMs - as has
>> already been mentionend on the list, we can drift into solipsism with
>> COMP quite easily (and I don't see why shareable histories of any great
>> measure should evolve)

>> And I would be interested what you think of the idea to let COMP govern
>> a "dharma"-level and not an OM-level directly.
> I am asking myself if you are not doing a 1004 fallacy(*).
> (*)Like when Bruno said "about 1004 sheep" in "Sylivie and Bruno" by
> Lewis Carroll.

It's not a 1004 fallacy, it is rather an attempt to recover some aspects
of materialism. (See the Chalmers excerpt I have included below on
type-F monism)

But then, of course, it would succumb also to the MGA argument (that is,
it does not go together with COMP).

> Try to explain, like if it was to to a "layman", the difference you
> make between "dharma-level" and "OM-level". Which OM?

I guess I mean the difference between type-F monism and pure idealism
(see again Chalmers text included below). Your view is a pure idealism,
the type-f monism is a bit nearer to mainstream views (though still not
widely held).

> (remember that the superveneience thesis is more conscience/ "relative
> implementation of states", than conscience/implementation of states".
> The relativity will add the probability (or credibility) of context and
> histories.

Ah ok - so you mean that also with COMP and UDA there could be "raw
feels" instantiated in Platonia (that would be dharma-level) - or some
kind of protoexperential?

Let me rephrase my question: with MAT, we have certain ideas (which
might be wrong) on what mind could supervene on: on brains, that is, on
certain organic chemical structures which exhibit high complexity and
causal interaction. And this consciousness is a _unified_ experience
(which also makes it a bit mysterious for MAT).

With COMP, I am not sure on what consciousness would supervene. On a
single step of a computation? On a turing machine state? On a
number-theoretic relation? On a proof?

And is the supervenient consciousness always tied to an integrated whole
like a person, or, as I asked above, could also "raw feels" supervene on
some parts of a computation which, relatively to others, constitute part
of a computation on which a unified experience would supervene. (maybe
that is what you mean with "conscience/ "relative implementation of states"?

Is that also why you think that COMP is not solipsistic? For example, if
consciousness directly supervenes on some form of computation, and
physical appearances (SWE etc) have to be derived from the measure on
outgoing computations, you must also be aware that all humans in your
experience are "physical objects" - they would only _not_ be zombies if
they are "fully computed" (such as your OM) - but how can you guarantee
that with the idealistic interpretation that you have? With the
"relative implementations"?

I think that there is a bit of a difficulty hidden there.
I am interested in your thoughts.


P.S.: Below the excerpt from Chalmers. Some words on type-F monism and

Consciousness and its Place in Nature http://consc.net/papers/nature.html
David J. Chalmers
[[Published in (S. Stich and F. Warfield, eds) Blackwell Guide to the
Philosophy of Mind (Blackwell, 2003), and in (D.
Chalmers, ed) Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings
(Oxford, 2002).]]

Type-F Monism

Type-F monism is the view that consciousness is constituted by the
intrinsic properties of fundamental physical entities: that is, by the
categorical bases of fundamental physical dispositions *[[Versions of
type-F monism have been put forward by Russell 1926, Feigl 1958/1967,
Maxwell 1979, Lockwood 1989, Chalmers 1996, Griffin 1998, Strawson 2000,
and Stoljar 2001.]]


This view holds the promise of integrating phenomenal and physical
properties very tightly in the natural world. Here, nature consists of
entities with intrinsic (proto)phenomenal qualities standing in causal
relations within a spacetime manifold. Physics as we know it emerges
from the relations between these entities, whereas consciousness as we
know it emerges from their intrinsic nature. As a bonus, this view is
perfectly compatible with the causal closure of the microphysical, and
indeed with existing physical laws.

The view can retain the structure of physical theory as it already
exists; it simply supplements this structure with an intrinsic nature.


This view has elements in common with both materialism and dualism. From
one perspective, it can be seen as a sort of materialism. If one holds
that physical terms refer not to dispositional properties but the
underlying intrinsic properties, then the protophenomenal properties can
be seen as physical properties, thus preserving a sort of materialism.
 From another perspective, it can be seen as a sort of dualism. The
view acknowledges phenomenal or protophenomenal properties as
ontologically fundamental, and itretains an underlying duality between
structural-dispositional properties (those directly characterized in
physical theory) and intrinsic protophenomenal properties (those
responsible for consciousness). One might suggest that while the view
arguably fits the letter of materialism, it shares the spirit of

In its protophenomenal form, the view can be seen as a sort of neutral
monism: there are underlying neutral properties X (the protophenomenal
properties), such that the X properties are simultaneously responsible
for constituting the physical domain (by their relations) and the
phenomenal domain (by their collective intrinsic nature). In its
phenomenal form, can be seen as a sort of idealism, such that mental
properties constitute physical properties, although these need not be
mental properties in the mind of an observer, and they may need to be
supplemented by causal and spatiotemporal properties in addition. One
could also characterize this form of the view as a sort of panpsychism,
with phenomenal properties ubiquitous at the fundamental level. One
could give the view in its most general form the name panprotopsychism,
with either protophenomenal or phenomenal properties underlying all of
physical reality.


There is one sort of principled problem in the vicinity. Our
phenomenology has a rich and specific structure: it is unified, bounded,
differentiated into many different aspects, but with an underlying
homogeneity to many of the aspects, and appears to have a single subject
of experience. It is not easy to see how a distribution of a large
number of individual microphysical systems, each with their own
protophenomenal properties, could somehow add up to this rich and
specific structure. Should one not expect something more like a
disunified, jagged collection of phenomenal spikes?

This is a version of what James called the combination problem for
panpsychism, or what Stoljar (2001) calls the structural mismatch
problem for the Russellian view (see also Foster 1991, pp. 119-30). To
answer it, it seems that we need a much better understanding of the
compositional principles of phenomenology: that is, the principles by
which phenomenal properties can be composed or constituted from
underlying phenomenal properties, or protophenomenal properties. We have
a good understanding of the principles of physical composition, but no
real understanding of the principles of phenomenal composition. This is
an area that deserves much close attention: I think it is easily the
most serious problem for the type-F monist view. At this point, it is an
open question whether or not the problem can be solved.


Overall, type-F monism promises a deeply integrated and elegant view of
nature. No-one has yet developed any sort of detailed theory in this
class, and it is not yet clear whether such a theory can be developed.
But at the same time, there appear to be no strong reasons to reject the
view. As such, type-F monism is likely to provide fertile grounds for
further investigation, and it may ultimately provide the best
integration of the physical and the phenomenal within the natural world.


Second, some nonmaterialists are idealists (in a Berkeleyan sense),
holding that the physical world is itself constituted by the conscious
states of an observing agent. We might call this view type-I monism. It
shares with type-F monism the property that phenomenal states play a
role in constituting physical reality, but on the type-I view this
happens in a very different way: not by having separate "microscopic"
phenomenal states underlying each physical state, but rather by having
physical states constituted holistically by a "macroscopic" phenomenal
mind. This view seems to be non-naturalistic in a much deeper sense than
any of the views above, and in particular seems to suffer from an
absence of causal or explanatory closure in nature: once the natural
explanation in terms of the external world is removed, highly complex
regularities among phenomenal states have to be taken as unexplained in
terms of simpler principles. But again, this sort of view should at
least be acknowledged.

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Received on Thu Dec 25 2008 - 16:04:32 PST

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