Re: Dreaming On

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 2009 10:22:59 -0700

David Nyman wrote:
> On 24 Aug, 16:23, Bruno Marchal <> wrote:
>> But you see Brent, here you confirm that materialist are religious in
>> the way they try to explain, or explain away the mind body problem. I
>> can imagine that your consciousness supervene on something
>> uncomputable in the universe. But we have not find anything
>> uncomputable in the universe, except the quantum indeterminacy, but
>> this is the kind of uncomputability predicted by the comp theory (and
>> AUDA suggested it is exactly the uncomputable aspect of the universe
>> predicted by comp).
> Could I enquire whether there is some important difference in the
> sense of something being "uncomputable" (i.e. "not in principle
> capable of computation") in the above passage, as compared with
> something deemed actually to have been "computed" (i.e. "an actual
> instance of computation")? It seems to me, at least in principle,
> that it would be possible to say that all known or unknown
> mathematical relations pertaining to the physical were *computable* in
> the first sense, without this necessarily being equivalent to the
> claim that the physical is actually being *computed* by some
> underlying, identifiable process in the second sense. Consequently,
> it would seem to open the possibility for a physicalist account of
> mind that did not rely on an appeal to any *actual* process of
> 'computation' - in the second sense - but whose putative causal
> relations might nonetheless - at least in principle - be 'computable'
> in the first sense. But I'm probably just confused again.
> David

I think you're onto the crux of the matter. Part of the idea of
computationalism is that if what's really real is mathematics (of some
kind) then it exists in the Platonic way that mathematics exists, i.e.
statically and completely. The completeness fits well with the
multiple-worlds interpretation of QM, everything exists, and the
static character fits well with the timeless, block universe picture
of physics. But both of those interpretations are also considered
problematic in physics because they seem to leave unanswered the
question why do some things happen and others don't (locally known as
the "white rabbit" problem).


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Received on Mon Aug 24 2009 - 10:22:59 PDT

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