[ExI] The digital nature of brains

Ben Zaiboc bbenzai at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 2 15:10:42 UTC 2010

Gordon wrote:

"the principles that drive my arguments remain the same: formal programs do not have or cause minds. If they did, the computer in front of you this very moment would have a mind and would perhaps be entitled to vote like other citizens"

This is a good example of a "straw man" argument.  You are misrepresenting the claim that some formal programs can cause minds as a claim that *all* formal programs *must* cause minds.  This is (or should be) obvious nonsense.

As many people now have said, directly and indirectly, many times, it's not the 'formal programness' that's important.  That is completely irrelevant.  What's important is information processing of a particular kind.  This could be implemented by a biological system, an electronic or electromechanical system, a purely chemical system, a nanomechanical system or indeed by a massive array of beer cans and string.  The fact that you find beer cans and string an unlikely substrate for intelligence is beside the point (I find it unlikely too, but for entirely different reasons, to do with practicality, not theoretical possibility).

These 'formal programs' that you keep going on about are just one subset among a large set of possible information processing systems that can give rise to minds, if set up and run in the right way.

Ben Zaiboc


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