[ExI] GPT-4 on its inability to solve the symbol grounding problem

Gordon Swobe gordon.swobe at gmail.com
Wed Apr 12 16:50:13 UTC 2023

I mentioned Thomas Nagel and what is called the explanatory gap. You've
probably heard of his paper "What is it like to be a bat?" I find myself
largely in agreement with Nagel.

"But fundamentally an organism has conscious mental states if and only if
there is something that it is like to *be* that organism -- something it is
like *for* the organism. We may call this the subjective character of
experience. It is not captured by any of the familiar, recently devised
reductive analyses of the mental, for all of them are logically compatible
with its absence. It is not analyzable in terms of any explanatory system
of functional states, or intentional states, since these could be ascribed
to robots or automata that behaved like people though they experienced
nothing. It is not analyzable in terms of the causal role of experiences in
relation to typical human behavior -- for similar reasons. I do not deny
that conscious mental states and events cause behavior, nor that they may
be given functional characterizations. I deny only that this kind of thing
exhausts their analysis. Any reductionist program has to be based on an
analysis of what is to be reduced. If the analysis leaves something out,
the problem will be falsely posed."

What is Like to Be a Bat?


On Mon, Apr 10, 2023 at 2:23 PM Gordon Swobe <gordon.swobe at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Apr 10, 2023 at 1:53 PM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> What is the simplest possible conscious state that you can imagine? What
>> are its contents?
> It might be, for example, a brief sensation and awareness of pain. Let us
> say the pain of a toothache. I am an entirely unconscious being having no
> subjective first person experience whatsoever and no awareness of such,
> then for a moment, I become conscious and feel and note the subjective
> experience of a toothache, then fall back into unconsciousness.
> -gts
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