Re: Dreaming On

From: Flammarion <>
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2009 04:14:19 -0700 (PDT)

On 10 Sep, 23:09, David Nyman <> wrote:
> 2009/9/10 Brent Meeker <>:
> > But isn't that because the "computational" in CTM is abstracted away
> > from a context in which there is action and purpose. It's the same
> > problem that leads to the question, "Does a rock compute every
> > function?" When looking at a physical process as a computation one has
> > to ask, "Computing what?" and the answer is in terms of some interaction
> > with the rest of the world in which the computation is embedded, e.g.
> > the answer will mean something to the programmer who started it and it
> > means something to him because he's a human animal that evolved to have
> > goals and values and can take actions. The level of experience, the
> > finess or coarsenss of physical process, is determined by the level at
> > which there are actions.
> Yes, I agree with your analysis completely when evaluating any
> externally observed situation. The trouble is that I think if this
> approach is followed with mentality then the experiential aspect just
> gets lost in the processual account. For example your saying "the
> level of experience, the finess or coarsenss of physical process, is
> determined by the level at which there are actions" immediately
> focuses attention at the interface with the environment, where inputs
> and outputs can be equivalent for many internally heterogeneous
> internal processes. This makes perfect sense in the evaluation of a
> person's, a computer's, or a rock's computational status, if any,
> because this becomes relevant only at the point where something
> emerges from the interior to engage with the environment.
> It's a big leap from that to showing how heterogeneous physical
> processes are internally experientially equivalent *for clearly
> explicable physical reasons*. The reason for my emphasis of
> *physical* is that my problem with CTM, at least in this discussion,
> is not that it is computational, but that it isn't a physical theory
> in any standard sense, since it can't justify the attachment of
> experience to any particular events for other than *functional*
> reasons.

Why would that be inadequate. Note that functional reasons
can include fine-graied internal functionalism, not just
at-the-edges functionalism.

> Re-reading the foregoing reminds me of my basic problem with any
> purely third person approach to mentality, whether physical or
> functional. Considered from the third person perspective, 'mental'
> processes have no need to be experiential homogeneous because
> everything functionally relevant is assumed to be exhausted in the
> processual account, and hence experience could be nothing but
> epiphenomenal to this. So what difference could it make? But that is
> another discussion.

OTOH, the experiential doesn;t have to epiphenomenal,
It could be identical to some aspect of the real physical process,
in which case it has identical causal relevance. However, this
requires the phsycialist to give up on the idea that phsycial
are the whole story.
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Received on Fri Sep 11 2009 - 04:14:19 PDT

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