Re: Emulation and Stuff

From: Flammarion <>
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 11:04:14 -0700 (PDT)

On 21 Aug, 17:25, David Nyman <> wrote:
> On 21 Aug, 09:37, Flammarion <> wrote:
> > > Yes, of course you're right - perhaps I didn't phrase my response to
> > > Jesse clearly enough. In my discussion with Peter about Quinean
> > > 'eliminative paraphrasing', I was pursuing the same conclusion that
> > > you attribute to Dennett as an 'honest materialist'. That is, under
> > > materialism, that persons, consciousness - and computation - must in
> > > the end be explained away, or conceptually *eliminated*.
> > Explaining away qua reduction is nto the same as
> > explaining away qua elimination.
> Well, either way he's explaining away, as you yourself point out
> below. But it's a false distinction, as I point out below.
> > > 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!
> > The upshot of which is that he *hasn't* eliminated the mind
> > (with the possible exception of qualia)
> > in the sense of Eliminative Materialism, only reduced it in the
> > sense of Reductive materialism.
> What do you mean "with the possible exception of qualia"! The whole
> point is that if you think you can leave qualitative experience out of
> the account you're an eliminativist. Qualia are precisely what is
> being eliminated.

He is a selective eliminativist. He is not being
inconsistent. Having eiminated qualia, he deosn;t
continue to talk about them. He does continue to talk
about memory, thought and perception, but then he
hasn't eilminated them.

> > > In other words, his position is
> > > inconsistent and incoherent. It's dualism for free!
> > In other words, his position isn't what you have decided it is.
> What do you mean? Are you saying he's an eliminativist or a crypto-
> dualist? Or are you implying that (possibly!) non-qualitative
> reductive materialism is something different than either of these?

he is eliminativist about qualia and reductionist about everything

> > > 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.
> > No. Paraphrase indicates identity. Water can be paraphrased
> > as H2O. That means water is identical to H2O. not that
> > water does not and cannot exist. Water is only eliminated
> > as *fundamental* (eg. the way the Greeks thought of it).
> > EliminativISM is a much stronger claim, that the concept
> > eliminated should never subsequently be used even as
> > a place-holder or shrothand
> Yes, so following your recipe above, a given computation can be
> paraphrased as a specific physical process. This means that this
> computation is identical to that physical process. 'Computation' is
> therefore eliminated as something fundamental (in the Greek sense).
> Consequently, this leaves CTM+PM with 'computation' as a mere
> shorthand for an appeal to the fundamental physical processes, or
> alternatively with no appeal to anything fundamental whatsoever.

Yes, yes, and yes. Why would that be a problem?

> Further, I can't possibly agree with your contention that
> 'eliminativism' is any other or stronger claim than this.

Uh-huh. And where are you getting your information
on eliminativism from?

>This would
> be absurd, as well as unnecessary, because it would mean that we would
> be struck dumb.

Only if we eliminated everything,. and only if we did not have
substitute theory. Elimiativists think terms like "thought" will
simply be abandoned as part of a failed theory,
(like "phlosgiston"), rather than continuing as convenient
but not entirely accurate shorthand. But they don't expect
this to happen until the replacement theories are
perfected. So they don't expect to be struck dumb.

> There is no problem with using the 'eliminated'
> concept as a shorthand (indeed this is explicitly proposed in the
> Quinean excerpt you commented).

Says who? Eliminativists argue that there is.
You may not agree, but you cannot conclude
that no-one holds those views.
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Received on Fri Aug 21 2009 - 11:04:14 PDT

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