On Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 1:44 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
> On 6/21/2011 8:17 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> But comp denies that "we can prove that a machine can think". Of course we
>> can prove that some machine has this or that competence. But for
>> intelligence/consciousness, this is not possible. (Unless we are not
>> machine. Some non-machine can prove that some machine are intelligent, but
>> this is purely academical until we find something which is both a person and
>> a non-machine).
> But of course we can prove that a machine can think to the same degree we
> can prove other people think.  That we cannot prove it from some
> self-evident set of axioms is completely unsurprising.  This comports with
> my idea that with the development of AI the "question of consciousness" will
> come to be seen as a archaic, like "What is life?".

Actually, I think you may have a point.  The question of "what is
life" is really not a scientific question.  Yet, nevertheless, I am

In the same way, the question of "what is consciousness" is not a
scientific question either.  And yet, I am conscious.  Consciousness

Science is just not applicable to these questions, because these
questions have nothing to do with the core purposes of science:

"Instrumentalism is the view that a scientific theory is a useful
instrument in understanding the world. A concept or theory should be
evaluated by how effectively it explains and predicts phenomena, as
opposed to how accurately it describes objective reality."

So science is about formulating frameworks for understanding
observations in a way that allows for accurate prediction.  To ascribe
"metaphysical truth" to any of these frameworks is to take a leap of
faith *beyond* science.

Taking the view of "instrumentalism with a pinch of common sense",
there is no reason to believe that every question that can be asked
can be answered scientifically.  Is there?

Unless and until consciousness can be made useful for prediction, it
will remain invisible and irrelevant to science.


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