[ExI] The digital nature of brains

Gordon Swobe gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 4 23:18:34 UTC 2010

--- On Thu, 2/4/10, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.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. 

I think it is logically impossible.

> 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. 

I take it that on your view a picture dictionary understands the nouns for which it has pictures, since it "pairs" its word-symbols with sense-data, grounding the symbols in the same way that a computer + webcam can pair and ground symbols. 

How about a lunch menu? Does it understand sandwiches? :-)



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