[ExI] Functionalism and Lakoff

Mike Dougherty msd001 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 9 02:27:44 UTC 2012

2012/2/8 Natasha Vita-More <natasha at natasha.cc>:
> We have already discussed embodiment vs. disembodiment and the consensus is
> that we will exist in some type of system/substrate that can be seen or
> understood as a body (or new interpretation of body).  If functionalism is
> the most appropriate position to take in this regard, why would
> functionalism claim to be devoid of a body? This brings us back to the
> annoying issue of disembodiment, which Lakoff claims to be the objective of
> and metaphor for neural computation.

I would interpret the functionalism separation of brain and body to
attempt to narrow the "mind" to computation of physical structures
solely in and of the brain.

Do the proponents of neural computation discount testosterone or
adrenaline as body chemicals?  Their impact on the brain is pretty
profound - but is that because the body is the sensorimotor apparatus
that the brain uses to interact with the world?  If so, then wouldn't
neurons-only be artificial in the same way that computer programs
doing exactly as they are programmed to do is considered artificial
intelligence or behavior?  I'm thinking of the rat brain robots;
they're neurons but without biological bodies.

I think making this distinction between brain and body will be
continuously redefined.  It won't scale well as people end up sharing
telepresence devices, projecting their concept of the self into new
containers or conversely as "my" identity is running concurrently on
multiple machines with multiple perspectives.  This doesn't even need
far-future technology to envision - several ustreams coming together
form a sense of security around my stuff.  To the extent that I am
able to reach into those spaces either by awareness (read only) or by
robotic manipulators, I could claim to be present.  Are these
assistive technologies my body?  How far apart does one's prosthetic
need to be before it is no longer considered part of the local body
and becomes part of the extended body?

Good topic Natasha, thanks  :)

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