Kim Jones writes:


what would an "unreasonable machine" be like? You seem to be implying  
they exist, also that they can prove things about their possible  
neighborhoods and or histories. (?)


An unreasonable machine would look like a brain. The minds of living
organisms, such as they are, evolved to promote survival and
reproduction, and apparently being "rational" is only a minor advantage
towards this end. I am sure that even logicians, at least when they are
off duty, pluck axioms out of the air according to whim or fashion, hold
contradictory beliefs simultaneously or sequentially, decide that the
correct course of action is x and then do ~x anyway, and so on. 

It is interesting that in psychiatry, it is impossible to give a
reliable method for recognizing a delusion. The usual definition is that
a delusion is a fixed, false belief which is not in keeping with the
patient's cultural background. If you think about it, why should
cultural background have any bearing on whether a person's reasoning is
faulty? And even including this criterion, it is often difficult to tell
without looking at associated factors such as change in personality,
mood disturbance, etc. The single best test is to treat someone with
antipsychotic medication and see if the delusion goes away. This means
that in theory there might be two people with exactly the same belief,
justified in exactly the same way, but one is demonstrably psychotic
while the other is not! Crazy thinking is so common that, by itself, it
is generally not enough reason to diagnose someone as being crazy.

Stathis Papaioannou

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