[ExI] Semiotics and Computability

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sat Feb 13 22:49:34 UTC 2010

On 14 February 2010 09:15, Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> 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.

Software exists separately from hardware in the same way as an
architectural drawing exists separately from the building it depicts.

> 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.

There is no real distinction between software and hardware. When you
program a computer you make actual physical changes to it, and the
"software" is just a scheme that you have in mind to help you make the
right physical changes so that the hardware does what you want it to
do. The computer is just dumb matter which has no understanding
whatsoever of the program, the programmer, its own design, the
existence of the world or anything else. Its parts follow the laws of
physics but even this they don't understand: they just do it. Exactly
the same is true of human brains. But when the hardware is set up just
right, in a brain or a computer, it behaves in an intelligent manner,
and intelligence from the point of view of the system displaying it is

Stathis Papaioannou

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