On 5/10/2011 9:01 AM, David Nyman wrote:
On 10 May 2011 13:21, Bruno Marchal<marc...@ulb.ac.be>  wrote:


What does it mean for numbers to understand?

Suppose I can answer this in a way that you understand. Then it means the
same things for the numbers.

This seems to me to be a very central point.  Chalmers gives very
convincing arguments why an "Aristotelian machine's" expressed
behaviour (including its "thoughts" and "beliefs") are
indistinguishable from a conscious person's - excepting only that it
is not IN FACT conscious (!).

How does he establish that it is not conscious?

This alone should be enough (as indeed
he argues) to demonstrate the inadequacy of such a metaphysics of
matter, unless consciousness itself is to be denied (which, as Deutsch
argues in his most recent book, is just bad explanation).  It seems as
if, starting from an Aristotelian perspective, there is no way this
puzzle can be resolved even with the addition of various ad hoc
assumptions (such as Chalmers himself attempts, unsuccessfully IMO);
the assumed primacy of "material processes" inevitably ends in the
vitiation of "mental" explanation, in this view of the matter.  To
resolve the puzzle it seems that "material processes" and "mental
processes" (or, one might say, material and mental explanations) must
emerge as deeply correlated aspects of a single narrative. Hence, if
computationalism is to be the explanation for the mental, it must
likewise suffice as that of the material.

The problem with computationalism is that "exists => is computed" does not entail "computed => exists" and if you hypothesize the latter it explains too much.

Brent

 From this perspective, as
you say, it is then of the essence that any explanation must "mean the
same things for the numbers" as it does for me.

David




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