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    • AMMDI is an open-notebook hypertext writing experiment, authored by Mike Travers aka @mtraven. It's a work in progress and some parts are more polished than others. Comments welcome! More.
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reductionism

05 Feb 2021 05:23 - 01 Jan 2022 07:48

    • The position that high-level, complex, or meaningful things can be explained in terms of ones that are lower-level, simpler, or mechanical.
    • This is a favorite battleground between scientific materialists and their enemies, who persist in believing that mental, moral, spiritual, or other qualities can't possibly be explained in those terms, but must somehow be metaphysically fundamental.
    • Interestingly enough, both of these factions consider the other one to be rather dull and somewhat repugnant. Reductionist theories of mind horrify the spiritually inclined, and their descendants the humanists (equally attached to the transcendental, just locating on earth instead of heaven). Scientists don't like the irrationalism inherent in antireductionism and feel that people who adhere to it just aren't smart enough to imagine the mechanisms.
    • Sort of taken as a given where I come from, but I also feel affinity with those hardy psychonautic hippies who oppose not only capitalism, but its ruling ideology of materialism.
    • As a result, my stance is this: we are basically computational, in that we are meat machines that instantiate certain rules or patterns of behavior. Let's call it our software, although hardware/software dualism can be tricky.
    • Our software suite includes very sophisticated forms of self-perception and self-representation. We are adept at telling stories about ourselves, putting ourselves through little dramas involving others.
    • We have something that resembles agency or free will in the sense that we are constantly spinning up images of the future for ourselves, and acting to achieve or avoid them.
    • ...ceased to be fun...I'm just converging on Dennettism, which is boring. I want to say something slightly different, although not quite sure different how.