[ExI] Meaningless Symbols

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Tue Jan 12 15:36:40 UTC 2010

2010/1/12 Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
> Sometimes you just have to hang your hat on things. I hang my hat on, among other things, the common sense notion that healthy people with developed brains can understand the meanings of words and symbols. It seems pretty obvious that we do it even if I can't tell you exactly how we do it. If I did not think so, and if you also did not think so, then we would not be communicating with symbols right now on ExI.

Common sense merely indicates to me that we are inclined to project
"subjective" states on other things. By definition such projections
are "not even wrong", not saying anything about phenomena (i.e.,
"objects") other than our own psychology. And they are routinely
extended to many non-animal, or even non-organic, objects and systems.

Moreover, even such projections are quite conditional. For instance,
common sense does not tell me that perfectly developed brains of adult
fruitflies have a better understanding, in whatever sense of the word
you may choose to adopt, "of the meaning of words and symbols" than my
PC (and in any event does not tells me that some "intelligent"
features are exhibited by any developed brain which could not be
replicated by *any* universal computer).

Stefano Vaj

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list