[ExI] How not to make a thought experiment

John Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Thu Feb 4 15:47:02 UTC 2010

On Feb 4, 2010, The Avantguardian wrote:

> a bacterium is the simplest concievable object that I am confident is capable of intentionality.

Stripped to its essentials intentionality means someone or something that can change its internal state, a state that predisposes it to do one thing rather than another; or at least that's what I mean by the word. I like it because it lacks circularity. So I would say that a punch card reader is simpler than a bacterium and it has intentionality. A Turing Machine is even simpler and it has intentionality too. Granted this underlying mechanism may seem a bit mundane and inglorious, but that's in the very nature of explanations; presenting complex and mysterious things in the smallest possible chunks in a way that is easily understood. 

Gordon would disagree with me because for him intentionality means having consciousness, and having consciousness means having intentionality. A circle has no end so that may be why his thread has been going on for so long with no end in sight.

 John K Clark  

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