Re: Emulation and Stuff

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2009 10:51:00 -0700

Jesse Mazer wrote:
> 1Z wrote:
> > > But those space-time configuration are themselves described by
> > > mathematical functions far more complex that the numbers described or
> > > explain.
> >
> > Irrelevant. "Described by" does not mean "is"
> >
> > >This leads to major difficulties, even before approaching the
> > > consciousness problem.
> >
> > Such as?
> >
> > > This shows that a purely physicalist explanation of numbers could
> lead
> > > to difficulties. But the same for a description of any piece of
> > > material things, by just that token.
> > > So, I am not sure that physicist can be said to have solved the
> > > "matter" problem either,
> >
> > You arguments here are based on the idea
> > that primary matter needs to be given a
> > purely mathematical expression. That in turn
> > is based on an assumption of Platonism. If
> > Platonism is false and materialism true,
> > one would *expect* mathematical explanation
> > to run out at some point. Your "difficulty" is a
> > *prediction* of materialism , and therefore a
> > successfor materailism
> But what is this "primary matter"? If it is entirely divorced from all
> the evidence from physics that various abstract mathematical models of
> particles and fields can be used to make accurate predictions about
> observed experimental results, then it becomes something utterly
> mysterious and divorced from any of our empirical experiences whatsoever
> (since all of our intuitions regarding 'matter' are based solely on our
> empirical experiences with how it *behaves* in the sensory realm, and
> the abstract mathematical models give perfectly accurate predictions
> about this behavior). In that case you might as well call it "primary
> ectoplasm" or "primary asdfgh".

I agree in a sense. There is the allowance of a primariness, i.e. some things exist and
some don't, that is irreducible and perhaps mysterious. It is not asserted, but it is
accepted that however good one's models are at making accurate predictions one can never
know if they are really real or just good models.

Does Bruno assume arithmetic is really real or just a really good model, and can the
difference be known? And what if his theory is empirically falsified, as he says it could
be? Will that suddenly change arithmetic to fiction?

If you can't settle for less than certain knowledge - then you will end up like Rex, with
none at all.

> And are you making any explicit assumption about the relation between
> this "primary matter" and qualia/first-person experience? If not, then I
> don't see why it wouldn't be logically possible to have a universe with
> primary matter but no qualia (all living beings would be zombies), or
> qualia but no primary matter (and if you admit this possibility, then
> why shouldn't we believe this is exactly the type of universe we live in?)

I don't have any model in which there would be qualia but no matter. Most models of the
world suppose there were no qualia prior to a billion years ago. For me it's not a
question of logical possibility, but nomological possibility.


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Received on Mon Aug 17 2009 - 10:51:00 PDT

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