[ExI] Semiotics and Computability

Gordon Swobe gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 13 22:15:33 UTC 2010

--- On Sat, 2/13/10, Jeff Davis <jrd1415 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Gordon says he rejects the concept of mind-body dualism.  Rather, he 
> asserts a timeworn philosophical alternative,  that of an inseparable 
> unity, a mind-body unity if you will.  


> Then when others propose a simulation of mind, Gordon objects, seeming 
> to me, and logically, to be saying you can't get a faithful recreation 
> of mind if you leave out the body part.


> And so I have come to agree with Gordon, partly.

Be careful. My views haven't helped me win any popularity contests. :)

> All the talk of neuron by neuron replacements is fine as
> far as it goes, but Gordon is reasonable in rejecting this -- though
> I wish he would have explained himself better -- based on the
> principle of incompleteness.  Half a thing is not the thing.
> The 'body' part is missing.  To faithfully reproduce
> the  mind/persona/organism you have to reproduce the whole body,
> all the somatic cells, neural and non, with their particular and
> varied influences on the persona.

Yes. I think we cannot extract the mind from the nervous system. In my view the mind exists as a *high-level physical feature* of the nervous system. Of interest to extropians, the mind does not exist as something separate from the brain, like software running on hardware. I see the human brain/mind as all hardware.

Now at this point some people will think: "How could the mind exist as a physical feature of anything? Can't we make a real distinction between the mental and the physical?" Most people think this way, including even many philosophical materialists who claim not to. But it's only the dualistic voice of Descartes speaking to us from beyond the grave. We are his intellectual descendants. 

I finally shook off that Cartesian illusion and now the world makes a lot more sense. Unfortunately this world-view does not fit well with the extropian vision of uploading and so on. Oh well.

> That said, returning to the idea of an authentic
> simulation, I believe if the simulation includes the somatic 
> contribution, thus comprehensively simulating both mind and body, that 
> there is no reason the simulation won't fully and faithfully remanifest 
> the original mind-body persona.
> What do you think Gordon?  Does this work for you, or
> no?

I think we basically agree, though I need to know more what you mean by "somatic contribution". As I stated at the outset, I have no objection to strong AI per se. I just don't think it can happen on the dualistic software/hardware model. I wonder also if what you've described here even qualifies as anything I would call a simulation.

Thanks for the thoughtful post, Jeff. 



More information about the extropy-chat mailing list