RE: What do you lose if you simply accept...

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Tue, 17 May 2005 11:07:52 +1000

Dear Stephen,

I have to confess that the mathematical intricacies of Chu spaces are quite
beyond me. However, this passage appears at the introduction to the cited

"We propose to reduce complex mind-body interaction to the elementary
of their constituents. Events of the body interact with states of the
mind. This interaction has two dual forms. A physical event a in the body
A impresses its occurrence on a mental state x of the mind X, written a=|x.
Dually, in state x the mind infers the prior occurrence of event a, written
x |= a.

Tell me if I have completely misconstrued it, but it seems that this is
still discussing how the two entities (mind and body) are interacting, and
differs only in detail from the 17th century solutions. *Why* do you need to
"prove the necessity of epiphenomena", and *how* is such a "proof" providing
any more information than the simple observation that the epiphenomena
exist? You could go mad seeing dualism everywhere. If I wave my hand in a
circular pattern, we have (a) the physical action of moving my hand in a
circular pattern, and (b) the circular pattern. Arguably, these are two
completely different things. One is an event in the physical world, and the
other is a theoretical or mathematical abstraction. How is it that these two
completely different entities interact? How can you prove that the physical
action of moving my hand in a particular way necessitates the epiphenomenon
of the circular pattern? And if you manage to explain that one, how can you
explain the experience of being-a-circular-pattern from the inside, or,
conversely, the non-experience of being-a-circular-pattern from the inside,
whichever is the case? There comes a point where theory and explanation
makes us more confused and no more informed than we were before.


> In a phrase, I would loose choice. What you are asking me is to give up
>any hope of understanding how my sense of being-in-the-world is related to
>any other phenomena in the world of experience and instead to just blindly
>believe some claim. Are we so frustrated that we will accept "authority" as
>a proof of our beliefs? I hope not!
> Pratt's disdain follows from the obvious failures of other models. It
>does not take a logician or mathematician or philosopher of unbelievable IQ
>to see that the models of monism that have been advanced have a fatal flaw:
>the inability to proof the necessity of epiphenomena. Maybe Bruno's theory
>will solve this, I hold out hope that it does; but meanwhile, why can't we
>consider and debate alternatives that offer a view ranging explanations and
>unifying threads, such as Pratt's Chu space idea?
>Kindest regards,
>----- Original Message ----- From: "Stathis Papaioannou"
>To: <>; <>
>Cc: <>
>Sent: Monday, May 16, 2005 2:36 AM
>Subject: Re: Olympia's Beautiful and Profound Mind
>>Dear Stephen,
>>The Pratt quote below shows disdain for historical solutions to the
>>mind-body problem, such as Descartes' theory that the two interact through
>>the pineal gland, but goes on to say that this is no reason to throw out
>>dualism altogether. Now, I have to admit, despite spending my adolescence
>>in the thrall of logical positivism (I still think A.J. Ayer's "Language,
>>Truth and Logic" is one of the great masterpieces of 20th century English
>>nonfictional prose), that there is something irreducible about 1st person
>>experience, forever beyond 3rd person verification or falsification; a
>>blind man might learn everything about visual perception, but still have
>>no idea what it is like to see. However, what reason is there to
>>extrapolate from this that there must be some special explanation for the
>>interaction between body and mind? What do you lose if you simply accept,
>>as per Gilbert Ryle, that the mind is what the brain does? Otherwise, you
>>could seek a special explanation for an electronic calculator's
>>matter/mathematics dualism, or a falling stone's matter/energy dualism, or
>>any number of similar examples. Occam's razor would suggest that such
>>complications are unnecessary.
>>--Stathis Papaioannou

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Received on Mon May 16 2005 - 21:12:53 PDT

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