[ExI] Is the brain a digital computer?

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Feb 24 12:24:03 UTC 2010

On 24 February 2010 22:15, Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 24 February 2010 07:22, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
>> (a) it is impossible to reproduce the behaviour of the NCC using a computer; and
>> (b) it is possible to reproduce the behaviour of the NCC using a
>> computer but this still won't reproduce the behaviour of the rest of
>> the brain.
>> As I have said, (a) is philosophically sound but there is no
>> scientific evidence in its support, while (b) is worse than wrong, it
>> is contradictory.
> I have a few doubts on the philosophical soundness of a), as it
> postulates that something "else" or "more" may exist exceeding what
> can be emulated by another universal computer (say, a cellular
> automaton), something which smacks of dualism to my ears...

The physical Church-Turing thesis has not been proved. Non-computable
functions exist as mathematical objects, but it is not known if they
play a role in physics, or in the physics of the brain in particular.
However, given that everything science has discovered so far is
computable (except perhaps true randomness in QM, which however seems
indistinguishable from computable pseudo-randomness), it seems
unlikely that there is something noon-computable lurking in the brain.
In any case, there is no reason to believe that the brain is
non-computable other than the grandiosity that seems to afflict humans
when they contemplate their place in the world.

Stathis Papaioannou

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