[ExI] How not to make a thought experiment
cluebcke at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 21 19:17:05 UTC 2010
> We have a property, "thinking", and nowhere to put it. Right smack> into dualism again, and at the moment I don't much feel like working
> out the possible implications.
Had the entire concept of emergent properties been evaluated and discarded before I joined this list?
One need not dive into dualism to appreciate that surface tension is a property that only emerges in systems with a lot of water molecules, not only in a certain arrangement, but in a certain state of activity. There is no "surface tension" property on a given water molecule; it is a property of the system as a whole.
Honestly, the out-of-hand rejection of "thinking" or "consciousness" as an emergent property of a complex biological system baffles me. Especially because dead brains don't think.
From: Spencer Campbell <lacertilian at gmail.com>
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Sun, February 21, 2010 10:50:16 AM
Subject: Re: [ExI] How not to make a thought experiment
Ben Zaiboc <bbenzai at yahoo.com>:
> Ah, I see. I see where the misunderstanding lies.
> The idea the author has is that the thing that implements the program is the same as the thing that has the mental states (which are the result of the running of the program).
Yeah, I noticed that too. It's tricky territory. Phrasing the
proposition as you do there, without the later qualifications, does
not in any way make it sound false.
You could rephrase it as "neurons which implement thinking are
themselves thinking", yes, but you could also rephrase it as "brains
which implement thinking are themselves thinking". This conveys the
same essential information but is actually a better analogy, since
microprocessors, for example, can't be neatly broken up the way that
brains can. One neuron certainly can't implement a mind, but one
We have a property, "thinking", and nowhere to put it. Right smack
into dualism again, and at the moment I don't much feel like working
out the possible implications.
If I may address the other computationalists present: would you say
that a mind is a running program, or would you say that a running
program instantiates a mind? These seem to me like the only two sane
options for a genuine computationalist, but if you can think of a
third I'd like to hear it.
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