[ExI] The digital nature of brains (was: digital simulations)

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Thu Feb 4 03:03:08 UTC 2010

On 4 February 2010 12:34, Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> --- On Mon, 2/1/10, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> I reject as absurd for example your theory that a
>>> brain the size of Texas constructed of giant neurons made of
>>> beer cans and toilet paper will have consciousness merely by
>>> virtue of those beer cans squirting neurotransmitters
>>> betwixt themselves in the same patterns that natural neurons
>>> do.
>> That is a consequence of functionalism but at this point
>> functionalism is assumed to be wrong.
> ??
> Can a conscious Texas-sized brain constructed out of giant neurons made of beer cans and toilet paper exist as a possible consequence of your brand of functionalism? Or not?

It would have to be much, much larger than Texas if it was to be human
equivalent and it probably wouldn't physically possible due (among
other problems) to loss of structural integrity over the vast
distances involved. However, theoretically, there is no problem if
such a system is Turing-complete and if the behaviour of the brain is

As for the "??": I have ASSUMED that functionalism is wrong, i.e. that
is possible to make a structure which behaves like a brain but lacks
consciousness, to see where this leads. I have shown (with your help)
that it leads to a contradiction, eg. "the structure both does and
does not behave exactly like a normal brain", which implies that the
original assumption must be FALSE. It is like assuming that sqrt(2) is
rational, and then showing that this leads to contradiction, which
implies that sqrt(2) is not rational.

Stathis Papaioannou

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