[ExI] Meaningless Symbols.

Gordon Swobe gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 15 13:06:28 UTC 2010

--- On Thu, 1/14/10, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:

> Presumably for the brain you don't believe the code or the
> algorithm implemented by neural networks firing gives rise
> to understanding,

If the brain uses code or implements algorithms at all (and it probably does not) then it must do something else besides. The computationalist theory of mind simply fails to explain the facts. 

Even if we can compute the brain, this would not mean that the brain actually does computations. 

> but rather something intrinsic to the matter or the way the matter 
> behaves. 

Right. The matter in the brain does something more sophisticated than the mere running of programs. Science does not yet understand it well just as it does not yet understand many, many, many things.

I think that eventually neuroscience and the philosophy of mind will merge into one field -- that neuroscientists will come to see that they hold in their hands the answers to these questions of philosophy.

It has already started if you look with open eyes: neuroscientists have produced antidepressant drugs that brighten mood, a quality of consciousness, and drugs that alleviate pain, another quality of consciousness, and so on and so on. 

People would understand this obvious link between science and philosophy except that they're still unwitting slaves to the vocabulary and concepts of mind/matter duality left over from the time of Descartes. People cannot see what should be blindingly obvious: that consciousness exists as part of the physical world, as a high level process of the physical brain.

> So how are computers disadvantaged here? 

They can't get semantics from syntax anymore than you can. 



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