[ExI] Semiotics and Computability

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sun Feb 14 05:41:33 UTC 2010

On 14 February 2010 10:21, Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> --- On Sat, 2/13/10, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 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.
> Okay, I'll go along with that.
>> 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.
> Right, that's what I've been trying to tell you! :)
>> Its parts follow the laws of physics but even this they don't
>> understand: they just do it.
> Right. Your logic looks perfect so far.
>> Exactly the same is true of human brains.
> I can't speak for you, but it sure seems like my brain has conscious understanding of things. And according to your logic above, computers do not have this understanding. So then if computers don't have it, but my brain does, then logic forces me to conclude that my brain does not equal a computer.

Your brain, when it is working properly, has understanding as an
emergent property of the system, even though the matter in your brain,
each individual neuron, is completely stupid. The Chinese Room thought
experiment should make that clear to you. Since it doesn't, I have
proposed a variation in which your neurons *do* have an understanding
of their own basic tasks, but still no understanding of the big
picture. You haven't responded to this.

Stathis Papaioannou

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