Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ramsey on Ross and Ladyman

Finally, undoubtedly the oddest chapter is this volume is one that inadvertently suggests that the whole topic is deeply ill-conceived. In a somewhat condescending tone, Don Ross and James Ladyman tell us that that the coupling-constitution fallacy is based upon a naive and flawed conception of reality, since, at the level of fundamental physics, conventional notions like causation and constitution have no real application. Curiously, they see this as only a problem for the critics of EMH. Given that EMH itself depends on the idea that certain things are parts of other things (minds), their conclusion should have been that EMH is itself a confused non-issue (presumably, their essay isn't "part of" a volume devoted to such a non-issue). Perhaps the real take-home lesson from this chapter is something most of us already believed; namely, that whatever bizarre things physicists tell us about fundamental particles, their statements should have very little bearing on what we think about middle-sized things like cognitive systems.
I like it.

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