[ExI] Semiotics and Computability (was: The digital nature of brains)

Gordon Swobe gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 6 20:55:38 UTC 2010

--- On Fri, 2/5/10, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:

> I don't deny subjective experience but I deny that when I
> understand something I do anything more than associate it with another
> symbol, ultimately grounded in something I have seen in the real
> world. That would seem necessary and sufficient for understanding, and
> for the subjective experience of understanding, such as it is.

When I asked you about a digital computer that did exactly that, you acknowledged that said computer lacked conscious understanding of the symbol and went off on a tangent about amoebas.

So then it seems that first you say these sorts of associations are necessary and sufficient for subjective experience of understanding, but then you don't.

re: the amoeba

As I use the word "consciousness", I believe the amoeba has none whatsoever. This unconscious creature exhibits intelligent behavior but because it has no nervous system I doubt very seriously that it has any conscious experience of living. It looks for food intelligently in the same sense that your watch tells the time intelligently and in the same sense in which weak AI systems may one day have the intelligence needed to pass the Turing test; that is, it has intelligence but no consciousness.



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