[extropy-chat] New paper by David Chalmer's definitively squashing materialism

Marc Geddes marc.geddes at gmail.com
Wed Oct 26 04:32:28 UTC 2005

On 10/23/05, justin corwin <outlawpoet at gmail.com> wrote:
> Er, my point was that if you have a desire to respond to various
> villains and ungentlemanly persons on sl4, shouldn't you do that... on
> sl4?
> It seems rather evasive, not to mention cowardly, to run to another
> list, and make points there in the seeming hope that no one will
> reply.

 I'm not going to post a list where a bunch of obnoxious prats can call me
nasty names and then moderate my replies. I used to be in awe of the
Wilson/Yudkowsky duo but now that I think I've actually cracked the puzzle
of consciousness I realize the two of them are just another pair of prats
with high IQ's who went *thunk* against the problem of general intelligence
and are suffering from delusions of grandeur and dreams of megalomania.
Can't stand listening to the obnoxious lectures. I still actually wake up at
night in a cold sweat dreaming of Wilson - and not in a good way - telling
me : 'you must trust those smarter than you are' ;)

>You fail here in your reading comprehension. The 'arguments', which
Chalmers uses, are arbitrary statements, any one of which he
explicitly admits is not axiomatic, and contestable(as well as
historically contested). He prefers to imagine that logical statements
can exist in a muddled state, with arguments both for and against
accepting any one of them. This is not standard practice, even in
modal logic. A single unanswered objection is more than enough to
remove something from any resemblance of the word 'proof'.
  I actually posted your reply to his paper on David Chalmer's blog you
know. He wasn't too impressed. Check out the thread here:
 (In the comments for 'The Two-Dimensional Argument Against Materialism')
 >Your mistake in all this is to assume that infinite categories imply
infinite entities. It's trivial to contruct a mathematical argument
that implies an infinite set of results. the N + 1 argument for the
infinity of real numbers is probably the first. But we are not, in any
case, actually interacting in the spiritual(sorry, I mean
phenomological) sense with any infinite entities, we interact with an
abstraction which is said to imply infinite sets. Transfinite math can
be done on Turing machines, which this argument would claim is
impossible, as Turing machines clearly are physical and finite.
 Oh, I agree that the *physical* substrate which generates mental
experiences is entirely computable. But you are missing the point of my
argument. The mental experiences *themselves* can transcend the computable
proccesses which gave rise to them.
 For instance: in Einstein's General Theory Of Relativity, it's known that
the Space-Time manifold as whole has properties which *transcend* the
relational properties of individual physical things. Even though space-time
is *generated by* the relations between physical things, space-time has
properties which *transcend* mere relations between physical things. i.e the
Space-Time manifold as a whole is an *entity* in its own right, over and
above the mere physical things which gave rise to it.
 Prior to the work of Cantor, Robinson and Conway, one could get away with
claiming that infinite categories ddon't have to imply infinite entities,
but after the work Cantor, Robinson and Conway it's very clear that there
*are* infinite entities. And since they can't be matched either directly or
indirectly to empirical facts, they must have a reality that transcends
empirical facts. The fact these entities can be *referenced* by finite,
computable proccesses, in no way means that they are *reducible* to finite,
computable proccesses. So materialism is false.

>Further undermining the point is that fact that it's trivial to reduce
these concepts to symbology which can be physically stored, and later
interpreted by either machines or humans to output supposedly
non-physical results. Unless you take the position that infinite
compression takes place before we speak, write, or type these
concepts, and infinite decryption takes place when a human or machine
recieves those symbols, it seems rather untenable to say that infinite
math is not reducible to physical features.

All in all, it's a rather messy bit of argument, and I don't see how
it all hangs together.

Justin Corwin
outlawpoet at hell.com
 See what I said above. I agree that the infinite entities can be
*referenced* by finite, computable proccesses, but this does not mean that
the infinite entities are *reducible* to finiite computable proccesses.
Symbols referencing a thing (which are finite and computable) are *not* the
thing itself (which can be infinite and uncomputable).


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THE BRAIN is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside.

-Emily Dickinson

'The brain is wider than the sky'
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