[ExI] Is the brain a digital computer?

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sun Feb 21 14:38:38 UTC 2010

On 22 February 2010 00:50, Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Confusion arises also because some people believe, naively, that if we can compute x then a computation of x = x.

Who said this? The claim is that a simulated x will have at least some
of the properties of x, but not necessarily all the properties. A
simulation may look like x but not smell like x, for example.

> Consider a system comprised of a man, a hammer, a nail and a piece of wood. The man drives the nail into the wood with the hammer and we compute that process. The resulting computation will contain such facts as the force with which the man wields the hammer and the density of the wood, and it will predict exactly the depth to which the man drives the nail into the wood with each strike of the hammer.
> That computation describes and predicts the event perfectly but the event itself does not equal a computation. We can say the same of computations of any other kind of event in nature, including brain events. The trivial fact that we can compute an event does not make the event itself a computation.

But the computation may, for example, predict how far the nail will be
driven into the wood, which is a replication of a property of the real
event. And the computer may be harnessed to control a robot hammering
nails into wood. In fact, the computer with attached sensor and
effector devices might be set up to replicate any property of the real
thing whatsoever - except, you claim, its consciousness. Why do you
think that consciousness alone of all things in the universe can't be
copied by a computer?

Stathis Papaioannou

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