[ExI] The digital nature of brains

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Thu Feb 4 22:53:23 UTC 2010

On 5 February 2010 02:00, Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Software implementations of artificial neural networks certainly fall under the general category of digital computer, yes. However in my view no software of any kind can cause subjective experience to arise in the software or hardware. I consider it logically impossible that syntactical operations on symbols, whether they be 1's and 0's or Shakespeare's sonnets, can cause the system implementing those operations to have subjective mental contents.

Let's be clear: it is not LOGICALLY impossible that syntax can give
rise to meaning. There is no LOGICAL contradiction in the claim that
when a symbol is paired with a particular type of input, then that
symbol is grounded, and grounding of the symbol is sufficient for
meaning. You don't like this idea because you have a view that there
is a mysterious extra layer to provide meaning, but that is a claim
about the way the world is (one that is not empirically verifiable),
not a LOGICAL claim.

Stathis Papaioannou

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