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Ben_Jones comments on Reductionism - Less Wrong

40 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 16 March 2008 06:26AM

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Comment author: Ben_Jones 16 March 2008 12:15:14PM 0 points [-]

Our brain and senses are made out of fundamental particles too, and the image of a plane with wings is the result of the interaction between the fundamental particles out there with the fundamental particles in us.

Ian C - are you claiming that there are no maps, just lots of territory, some of which refers to other bits of territory? While probably accurate, this doesn't seem very useful if we're trying to understand minds. I don't think Eliezer ever claims that maps are stored in the glove compartments of cars in the car park, just outside The Territory. I'd enjoy a few posts going deeper into the map/territory analogy though.

Computers are full of examples of this, where the [most] important level is not the fundamental level.

Bzzzzzt! Please taboo the word 'important' and tell us what you mean.

Atomic interactions work just as well in a lump of scrap as in a 747. But a 747 won't work without atomic interactions. This being the case, higher levels can't be more 'important' than more fundamental ones, unless 'important' means 'more intuitively obvious to the human eye'.

As long as no-one makes the ridiculous claim that, say, biology is worthless because atomic theory could, ideally, explain giraffes, then is there really any disagreeing with this post?