Not yet. But if you exercise moderate patience I can translate the  
whole thing within the next two weeks (minus diagrams)

Thanks for the accolade


On 05/02/2009, at 5:37 PM, Hector Zenil wrote:

> This is pretty good. Is there any online source with a complete
> version available?
> Thanks.
> On Thu, Feb 5, 2009 at 7:32 AM, Kim Jones <>  
> wrote:
>> Trans. Kim Jones (extract only)
>> 1.1 Mechanist Philosophies
>> 1.1.1 Different types of Mechanism
>> I distinguish the following mechanist hypotheses:
>> Some machines can behave as thinking beings (living, conscious etc.)
>> (BEH-MEC)
>> Some machines can think (living beings, conscious beings, have a  
>> private
>> life etc.) (STR-MEC)
>> I am a machine (or - you are a machine, or again - human beings are
>> machines) (IND-MEC)
>> By replacing "machine" by "digital machine" one obtains the  
>> corresponding
>> digital theses.
>> The behaviourist digital mechanism BEH-DIG-MEC corresponds largely  
>> to that
>> of Turing in his 1950 article. In the same way, the strong digital  
>> mechanism
>> STR-DIG-MEC corresponds to what is called in the literature the  
>> strong
>> artificial intelligence thesis (strong AI).
>> In this work I am exclusively interested in indexical and digital  
>> mechanism
>> (IND-DIG-MEC or just IDM). "Digitality" necessitates Church's  
>> Thesis, which
>> is why the digital aspect is explained in its turn in the second  
>> part.
>> There, I will show how a procedure, due essentially to Goedel,  
>> permits an
>> indexical treatment of machines in general.
>> Proposition:
>> IND-MEC => STR-MEC => BEH-MEC, and
>> (with or without the hypothesis of digitality)
>> Reasoning:  One admits that humans know how to think (conscious  
>> beings,
>> having private lives etc.) In this case IND-MEC entails STR-MEC and  
>> entails BEH-MEC. That BEH-MEC does not entail STR-MEC is supported by
>> Weizenbaum (1976) (see also Gunderson {footnote 1} 1971). STR-MEC  
>> does not
>> entail IND-MEC, since the fact that machines are able to think does  
>> not
>> entail that they alone are able to think. It is conceivable that  
>> machines
>> are able to think without we ourselves being machines. Wang (1974)  
>> presents
>> a similar reasoning. Nevertheless, numerous philosophers make  
>> implicit use
>> of an opposing opinion: STR-MEC => IND-MEC, see for example Arsac  
>> 1987.
>> {Footnote 1: Gunderson 1971 criticises the Turing Test. The Turing  
>> Test is a
>> test for BEH-MEC. Simply put, a machine (hidden) passes the test if  
>> it is
>> able to pass itself off as a human being during a "conversation" by  
>> means of
>> a computer keyboard terminal.}
>> 1.1.2 Mechanist Philosophy: Historical Summary
>> Contemporary digital mechanist philosophy is due in large measure to
>> Descartes and Hobbes {footnote 2} (see Rogow 1986, Bernhardt 1989).
>> Descartes wanted to distinguish Man from the animals. He argues  
>> that the
>> animal, as much as Man's body (including the brain), is a machine. He
>> understood by this a finite assembly of of material components
>> that unequivocally determine the behaviour of the whole. Descartes  
>> surmises
>> that the soul is not mechanical. In separating the soul from the  
>> body in
>> this way, and thus the mind from matter, he is the originator of  
>> the dualist
>> position, widely encompassed by the philosophy of mind. One speaks of
>> Cartesian Dualism.
>> There follows three arguments that Descartes presented in favour of  
>> his
>> distinction of man from the animal-as-machine (We note that this  
>> distinction
>> entails the negation of IND-MEC.)
>> {footnote 2: One can detect some mechanist affirmations or questions
>> among (pre and post-Socratic, though not necessarily
>> materialist) philosophers, from Greek antiquity (cf Timaeus and  
>> Plato, see
>> also Odifreddi 1989). Among Chinese philosophers, for example Lao- 
>> Tzu, a
>> certain monk is admired for having passed off his "automated"  
>> servants as
>> flesh and blood beings. Among Hindu philosophers for example, in the
>> "Questions to the King Milinda", the human body is compared to the  
>> chariot,
>> and the human mind is compared to the different parts of the chariot,
>> similar to Hume's (1739) manner of tackling the problem of identity  
>> with his
>> boat. The temptation to set up artefacts in the image of Man is  
>> also a
>> component of several myths, (for ex. the Golem in Jewish culture,  
>> see for
>> ex. Breton 1990). It is no exaggeration to maintain that the very  
>> idea of
>> mechanism appears wherever and whenever machines themselves are  
>> developed.}
>> 1) Animals are not endowed with reason and cannot engage in  
>> linguistic
>> communication
>> This argument is losing credibility since language and reason seem  
>> more
>> accessible to today's machines than for example, emotion which is  
>> communally
>> allowed in the case of certain animals (see for ex. Lévy 1987). Here
>> Descartes takes Aristotle's position which asserts that Man is a  
>> "reasoning
>> animal".
>> 2) Machines are finite beings. A finite being cannot conceive of the
>> infinite. Now, I am able (said Descartes) to conceive of the  
>> infinite. Thus
>> I am not a machine.
>> This argument against IND-MEC brings into relief two fundamental  
>> questions:
>> a) Can man conceive of infinity?
>> b) Can a machine conceive of infinity?
>> Question a) differentiates Hobbes' point of view from Descartes'.  
>> Hobbes
>> surmises that he cannot in effect conceive of infinity.
>> 3) A machine can only carry out particular tasks, as it turns out,  
>> those
>> tasks for which it was constructed. In effect, Descartes is saying:
>> "Since, in the case that reason is a universal instrument that  
>> participates
>> in every sort of encounter, these organs need a certain particular
>> disposition for each and every action; from this comes the idea  
>> that it is
>> morally impossible that a machine might possess sufficient  
>> diversity such
>> that it might act in every living occurrence in the same way that  
>> our reason
>> assists our actions (Descartes, "1953", page 165).
>> The idea of a universal machine had nevertheless crossed the mind  
>> of Raymond
>> Lulle (1302) whom Descartes had studied. This same idea will  
>> reappear with
>> Leibnitz, culminating in the work of Turing, and this will be  
>> explained in
>> the second part.
>> La Mettrie will rehash Descartes' animal-as-machine for the purpose  
>> of
>> extending it to Man (La Mettrie 1748, see also Gunderson 1971).
>> In parallel with Descartes, Hobbes himself develops the mechanist  
>> hypothesis
>> (Rogow 1986). On can date Hobbes' motivation toward mechanism from  
>> the time
>> of his discovery of geometry. Having been particularly impressed by  
>> the fact
>> that he might have been convinced by a *finite communication* based  
>> on
>> logical geometrical reasoning, Hobbes conceives of the mechanistic  
>> character
>> of thinking. He then thinks that it should be possible to reduce  
>> thinking to
>> addition and subtraction. (see Webb 1980). He is thus very close to  
>> the
>> *functionalist* position in the philosophy of mind: that the  
>> additions and
>> multiplications might be realisable by a *telegraphic network* , a
>> *hydraulic system*, an *electromagnetic device* , or even *a  
>> windmill*, a
>> *catapult* or a *calculating device* (ordinateur), citing Searle's
>> enumeration (Searle 1984). Thought is thereby reduced to operations  
>> not
>> necessarily equipment-dependent, and to the constituent matter  
>> employed to
>> realise these operations. La Mettrie, after his own fashion, argues  
>> in
>> something like the same sense:
>> "Thus a Soul of mud, discovering in the twinkling of an eye, the  
>> relations
>> and the consequences of an infinity of ideas difficult to conceive,  
>> would be
>> preferable evidently to an ignorant and stupid Soul, which might be  
>> made of
>> all the more precious Elements" (La Mettrie 1748).
>> Similarly, Lafitte engages us on the subject of Babbage, precursor  
>> of 19th
>> century information processing, to which we will return in the  
>> second part:
>> "For Babbage, all machines being a composition of different organs  
>> linked
>> together in a complex manner, the important thing to fix is less  
>> the very
>> form of the organs than the sequencing of their functions, which  
>> relates to
>> organic linkages that cause the ensemble to function." (Lafitte  
>> 1930).
>> Differing with Descartes, Hobbes concludes that it is not possible  
>> that Man
>> - whom he considers to be a finite being - might conceive of the  
>> infinite.
>> Hobbes' motivation, being finitist and indexical (human thought is
>> mechanisable) is therefore opposed to Descartes' animal-as-machine  
>> and is,
>> in this sense, much closer to the contemporary motivation in the  
>> direction
>> of artificial intelligence. Soon I will return to the relation  
>> existing
>> between mechanism and functionalism.
>> 1.1.3 What is a machine?
>> Given the familiar connotations of the word "machine" - locomotives,
>> electric kettles, automobiles, computers, microscopes, dish- 
>> washers, sewing
>> machines, rice-cookers, time-pieces, mechanism may well seem  
>> grotesque.
>> Even if machines are considered to be artefacts of exclusively human
>> construction, in other words artificial, the concept of the machine  
>> is
>> difficult to define. Lafitte, in 1911 argues that just such a  
>> definition can
>> only be made in vain:
>> "To claim to be able to define the concept of a machine is to  
>> suppose that
>> the science of machines has come about, or that it might one day  
>> come about
>> in all it's perfection. Other than what is chimerically-speaking,  
>> to assign
>> limits to the development of mechanical forms, is to suppose in the  
>> first
>> place an entire and complete knowledge of the character of every  
>> individual
>> present and future mechanism, followed by the perfection of a  
>> measuring
>> instrument capable of situating each into a definitive category  
>> according to
>> their ensemble of characteristics. But, this again implicitly  
>> admits to a
>> massive division of sorts, conforming to those contours we can  
>> cleanly
>> envisage and having no link whatsoever with other bodies." (see  
>> also further
>> on 2.3)
>> Similarly, La Mettrie, in "Man as Machine" writes:
>> "Man is a Machine so composed that it is frankly impossible to  
>> initially get
>> a clear idea of it and consequently to arrive at a definition"
>> What Hobbes and Descartes have in common is that a machine is a  
>> locally
>> finite being. Its global behaviour is determined by the behaviour  
>> of its
>> elementary constituents, these being finite in number at each  
>> instant (call
>> this the "digital aspect"). The number of components can  
>> nonetheless grow
>> according to the work performed by the machine.
>> (to be cont.)
>> K
>> Email:
>> Web:
>> Phone:
>> (612) 9389 4239  or  0431 723 001
> -- 
> Hector Zenil                
> >

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