On 9/25/2010 11:59 PM, Rex Allen wrote:
On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 2:21 PM, Brent Meeker<meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
On 9/23/2010 8:26 PM, Rex Allen wrote:
If you expose a deterministic system to a set of inputs that represent
a particular environment, the system will react in the one and only
way it can to that set of inputs.
And if that reaction is to manipulate it's envrionment is a way advantageous
to it, it's intelligent.
A rock interacts with its environment. A human interacts with its environment.
The term "manipulate" is misleading...in that it adds nothing over
"interacts with" except the implication of intentionality. Which
assumes that which must be proven...that there is something
intrinsically different in the rock's interactions and the human's
Basically I am arguing that intentionality is epiphenomenal in a
rule-driven universe. It has no causal power, it doesn't add anything
to the underlying rules, and it isn't part of the underlying rule set.
Intentionality is just part of how things seem to us...an aspect of
our conscious experience. It is a concept that we are conscious of,
but which has no existence outside of conscious thought.
Since intentionality is merely experiential, epiphenomenal, and
non-causal - an abstract concept - then intelligence is as well.
Intelligence must always be relative to some
situation or environment. That's where Putnam and Moravec go wrong and
Merriam-Webster get it right.
If you can find a Putnam-mapping that can extracts a representation of
a conscious entity, you can also find a mapping that extracts a
representation of an environment to go with it.
Sure - but it's not our environment.
The attribution of intelligence is just part of our experience. Which
is just to say, "that person seems intelligent to me". But the
rule-generated belief that the person is intelligent is all there is
to his intelligence.
Therefore: No one is intelligent, but many people are believed to be.
Knowledge is just the internal state of the deterministic system.
That's not a usable definition: internal=inaccessible. Knowledge must be
expressible. It must be information that makes a difference. Otherwise you
fall into the paradox of the rock that computes everything.
A rock's internal state does make a difference in how it interacts
with its environment. It's just that these differences are too subtle
to be easily detected. The way the rock absorbs and emits heat and
radiation, it’s response to vibrations, and even the precise way air
molecules interact with it all reveal information about it’s internal
To quote Jim Holt:
"Take that rock over there. It doesn't seem to be doing much of
anything, at least to our gross perception. But at the microlevel it
consists of an unimaginable number of atoms connected by springy
chemical bonds, all jiggling around at a rate that even our fastest
supercomputer might envy. And they are not jiggling at random. The
rock's innards 'see' the entire universe by means of the gravitational
and electromagnetic signals it is continuously receiving. Such a
system can be viewed as an all-purpose information processor, one
whose inner dynamics mirror any sequence of mental states that our
brains might run through. And where there is information, says
panpsychism, there is consciousness. In David Chalmers's slogan,
'Experience is information from the inside; physics is information
from the outside.'
But the rock doesn't exert itself as a result of all this 'thinking.'
Why should it? Its existence, unlike ours, doesn't depend on the
struggle to survive and self-replicate. It is indifferent to the
prospect of being pulverized.
In some mapping it does. That's the paradox. If you allow arbitrary
mappings then the rock is conscious, has intentions, actions, etc. But
not in our environment.
If you are poetically inclined, you
might think of the rock as a purely contemplative being. And you might
draw the moral that the universe is, and always has been, saturated
with mind, even though we snobbish Darwinian-replicating latecomers
are too blinkered to notice."
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