RE: Emulation and Stuff

From: Jesse Mazer <>
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 18:28:41 -0400

Seems like this post didn't go through, so I'll resend it:

> Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 13:21:19 -0700
> Subject: Re: Emulation and Stuff
> From:
> To:
> On 19 Aug, 13:03, David Nyman <> wrote:
> > 009/8/19 Flammarion <>:
> >
> > >> I completely agree that **assuming primary matter** computation is "a
> > >> physical process taking place in brains and computer hardware". The
> > >> paraphrase argument - the one you said you agreed with - asserts that
> > >> *any* human concept is *eliminable*
> >
> > > No, reducible, not eliminable. That is an important distinction.
> >
> > Not in this instance. The whole thrust of the paraphrase argument is
> > precisely to show - in principle at least - that the reduced concept
> > can be *eliminated* from the explanation. You can do this with
> > 'life', so you should be prepared to do it with 'computation'.
> Showing that a word can be removed from a verbal formulation
> by substitution with s synonym is not *ontological* elimination.

Of course it is--*according to the Quinean definition of ontology*. The strange thing about your mode of argument is that you talk as though a word like "existence" has some single true correct meaning, and that anyone who uses it differently is just wrong--do you disagree with the basic premise that the meaning of words is defined solely by usage and/or definitions? If so, do you agree that there are in fact different ways the word "existence" is defined by real people, even if we restrict our attention to the philosophical community?
Provided you agree with that, your posts would be a lot less confusing if you would distinguish between different definitions and state which one you meant at a given time--for example, one might say "I agree numbers have Quinean existence but I think they lack material existence, or existence in the sense that intelligent beings that appear in mathematical universes are actually conscious beings with their own qualia". We might call these three notions of existence Q-existence, M-existence and C-existence for short. My argument with you has been that even if one wishes to postulate a single universe, M-existence is an unnecessary middleman and doesn't even seem well-defined, all we need to do is postulate that out of all the mathematically possible universes that have Q-existence, only one has C-existence.

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Received on Wed Aug 19 2009 - 18:28:41 PDT

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