Re: Emulation and Stuff

From: Flammarion <>
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 06:09:28 -0700 (PDT)

On 20 Aug, 13:30, David Nyman <> wrote:
> On 20 Aug, 10:05, Bruno Marchal <> wrote:

> But also - just to dispose once and for all of this particular point -
> I want to be sure that you understand that I'm not arguing *for*
> eliminative materialism, except as devil's advocate (I'm sure you know
> this). But one aspect of my recent discussions with Peter has been to
> bring to a focus the strict consequences of materialism, in precisely
> the honest way that you attribute to Dennett. The trouble is, that
> Dennett, having eliminated the mind and hence the notorious 'problem',
> still cheerfully carries on deploying the same mind-dependent concepts
> as though nothing had happened! In other words, his position is
> inconsistent and incoherent. It's dualism for free!

Nope. He is a reductionist, not an eliminativist.

> So, in this context, let me try to understand your remark: "with or
> without assuming PM (primitive matter) there is an mathematical notion
> of computation and of computability". I would say - per Dennett, but
> understood *consistently* - that under the assumption that there is
> *only* primitive matter (i.e. material monism) - there strictly can be
> no appeal to such a notion as computation, because mathematics itself
> is eliminable per Qine.

That isn't elimination in the sense of eliminativism.

>Don't misunderstand me - this is what is
> *wrong* with material monism - because to be consistent, one is either
> honestly forced to such an eliminativist conclusion (but then you must
> deny your own consciousness and all mental concepts), or you tacitly
> accept a form of dualism (but again without noticing!) So I suppose
> that when you say "with primitive matter" that you don't mean
> "**only** with primitive matter", but rather "with primitive matter +
> computation" - which is in effect a dualistic assumption. Again,
> please don't misunderstand me - I regard comp as a coherent *monistic*
> approach to both mind and matter that seeks to 'eliminate' neither,
> and which brings the mind-body issues into full focus. But the
> assumption of PM *in addition* would transform it into a type of
> epiphenomenal dualism.

You are still confusing reduciton/identity with elimination


Early eliminativists such as Rorty and Feyerabend often confused two
different notions of the sort of elimination that the term
"eliminative materialism" entailed. On the one hand, they claimed, the
cognitive sciences that will ultimately give people a correct account
of the workings of the mind will not employ terms that refer to common-
sense mental states like beliefs and desires; these states will not be
part of the ontology of a mature cognitive science.[4][5] But critics
immediately countered that this view was indistinguishable from the
identity theory of mind.[1][13] Quine himself wondered what exactly
was so eliminative about eliminative materialism after all:
Is physicalism a repudiation of mental objects after all, or a
theory of them? Does it repudiate the mental state of pain or anger in
favor of its physical concomitant, or does it identify the mental
state with a state of the physical organism (and so a state of the
physical organism with the mental state)? [14]

On the other hand, the same philosophers also claimed that common-
sense mental states simply do not exist. But critics pointed out that
eliminativists could not have it both ways: either mental states exist
and will ultimately be explained in terms of lower-level
neurophysiological processes or they do not.[1][13] Modern
eliminativists have much more clearly expressed the view that mental
phenomena simply do not exist and will eventually be eliminated from
people's thinking about the brain in the same way that demons have
been eliminated from people's thinking about mental illness and

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Received on Thu Aug 20 2009 - 06:09:28 PDT

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