Re: Dreaming On

From: Flammarion <>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2009 01:22:22 -0700 (PDT)

On 1 Sep, 01:25, David Nyman <> wrote:
> 2009/8/31 Flammarion <>:
> Peter, surely you must see that in saying "abstracta are arrived at by
> ignoring irrelevant features of individual objects" you are simply
> agreeing with Quentin that "if everything is reduced to physical
> interaction then computations aren't real".  

The instances are real, the kind is not.

>His argument clearly
> shows that by "not real" he means that under PM there is no final
> appeal to some 'abstract causal structure' beyond the physical.

Who needs it? It certainly isn't needed for anything in Computer

> But
> since I've never detected anything of this sort in your own views,
> what precisely are you disputing?  No coherent causal account in terms
> of PM is at liberty to "ignore irrelevant features" in perpetuity.

Who says it does?

> The deal with PM is that, though such abstracted schemata are indeed
> borrowed promiscuously, such loans are made on the strict
> understanding of their being ultimately repayable in fully reduced
> physical coin.

Every instance is 100% physical. Abstraction is a process
performed by minds which are then cashed out as brains.

> Otherwise "ignoring their material constitution" is
> tantamount to ignoring their existence.

It is not ingnored when dealing with the instance/token,
only when dealing with the class/type

> Consequently, CTM in the context of PM is simply not a *physical*
> explanation - in fact, it treats PM as *irrelevant* to the attribution
> of consciousness.

That doesn't remotely follow from anything you have said.

> What it would take to make it a physical
> explanation would be a method of showing exactly how each specific
> instantiation of a putatively invariant computational consciousness is
> separately reducible to a justified physical causal account of
> consciousness.

Huh? The whole point of CTM is that physical details are unnecessary
to explain consciousness beyond their ability to implement the right
Hence it doesn't matter what a person had fro breakfast or what colour
an AI's casing is.

> But this is infeasible for two reasons.  Firstly CMT
> under PM is a brute apriori assumption that makes no direct reference
> to physical causality, and hence eludes any justification in terms of
> it.  

That's a non-sequitur. Just about any claim has an implicit
background structure. CTM can rest on a standard account of how
computers work physically. That is just engineering and not
really the same are if concern. "not explicitly mentioning"
does not mean "inexplicable in terms of"

>Secondly, it is precisely this non-physical postulate of CMT that
> masks what is a direct contradiction in terms.

What non-physical postulate?

>Under strictly
> physical analysis, the equivalence it postulates - i.e. that
> arbitrarily many heterogeneous PM dispositions (a) instantiate the
> same homogeneous physical state (b)

It doesn't postulate physcial equivalence, it postulates computatioal

>- simply evaporates, since in
> making any plausible appeal to direct physical explanation (a) and (b)
> could only coherently be characterisations of identical physical
> systems.
> David

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Received on Tue Sep 01 2009 - 01:22:22 PDT

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