[ExI] The symbol grounding problem in strong AI

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Jan 1 05:29:32 UTC 2010

2010/1/1 Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
> --- On Thu, 12/31/09, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
>> rigorous argument presented before, which showed that
>> whatever the mind is, if the function of the device generating it
>> is reproduced then the mind is also reproduced. You did not come up
>> with a rebuttal, other than to put forward your feeling that some
>> magic would happen to stop it being true.
> I stated twice during your presentation of your argument that you were speaking of a logical contradiction. I played along anyway, and from this you apparently got the idea that you had somehow presented an argument that I would find convincing.
> I'll put an experiment to you, and you tell me what the answer should be:
> "Please imagine that your brain exists as partly real and partly as an abstract formal description of its former reality, and then report your imagined subjective experience."
> I hope can appreciate how any reasonable person would consider that question incoherent and even ludicrous. I hope you can also see that from my point of view, you asked me that same question.

What does "partly as an abstract formal description of its former
reality" mean? It certainly could be taken as incoherent nonsense. I
asked you no such thing. I asked what would happen if a surgeon
installed in your brain artificial neurons which were designed so that
they perform the same function as biological neurons. You agreed that
it is possible to make such neurons, and you agreed that they could be
installed. These are easily understandable, concrete concepts. Such
procedures might even become commonplace in a few years time, as
treatment for patients who have had strokes or head injuries.
Naturally, the patients would be observed after the procedure and they
would either behave normally and say that they felt normal, or they
would not. It's perfectly straightforward, and the whole experiment
from start to finish could be done by technicians with no idea about
philosophy of mind. Your insistence that it's nonsense suggests that
you have such a strong attachment to your position that you don't want
to face any argument that you can see would challenge it.

Stathis Papaioannou

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