[ExI] Meaningless Symbols.

Gordon Swobe gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 16 18:39:56 UTC 2010

--- On Fri, 1/15/10, Eric Messick <eric at m056832107.syzygy.com> wrote:

> My computer does understand numbers, though.

You have an extraordinary computer.

My computer seems pretty dumb and boring compared to yours. It treats numbers just as it does other kinds of symbols; that is, it blindly manipulates them according to syntactic rules specified by the programmer. In the case of my pocket calculator, those instructions are hard-coded into the chip by an engineer.

When my dumb calculator answers a difficult mathematical question, I feel grateful not for its imaginary understanding of numbers, but rather for the real understanding of the engineer who designed it. 



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