Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reducitonism (zombies)

Just a thought I thought i might throw out there....

The basic principle of reductionism is that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts, and that an account of it can be reduced to accounts of individual constituents.

Now in one way that seems true - I can say P = all the physical facts of the universe and if that is true P = the universe. If I take this to its extreeme I can say P includes explicitly everything in its definition including atoms etc, or at least in my definition it includes everything I think exists.

But at some other level it seems false to say the universe and the physical facts that make it up are the same - because what I am thinking isn't really identical. 1+1 and 2 are identical, and they should be entirely interchangable in a concversation - ie any where 2 occurs should be jsut the same with (1+1) in it... but they don't quite feel identical.

so what is the difference? well as a scientist might say - it is the level at which I am looking at P. In a sense, the perspective.

So why do I find this interesting? well it is a bit like how I explain first person experience or as zombie philosophers might say "the hard problem" except that it applies to a physicalist view of quantative ones. Ie that first person experience is a required perspective as is the low level analysis (the basic laws of hte universe) and the high level one (the universe). the latter two are far enough apart to give the same sort of feeling of incompatability as the first two and yet in a different sense we know they are compatable.

So lets say i concieve of a planet. I am visualising me seeing the earth from outer space as an astronaught - a perspective that could exist. Now I'll concieve of a molecule - now I'm imagining a model from a text book (because it wouldn't look like that in real life). I might even imagine a molecule as a set of facts like having a certain weight (as if I had some sort of 'weight vision").

If we dont shift the perspective like this then when I imagine a chair and imagine the molecues that make it up I could not tell the difference at all - it would just be a chair. Similarly if I imagine a human sans qualia and a human without using some sort of 'super qualia vision' I can't tell the differnce.


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