On Thursday, September 13, 2012 1:15:56 PM UTC-4, John Clark wrote:
> On Thu, Sep 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM, Craig Weinberg 
> <whats...@gmail.com<javascript:>
> > wrote:
> > I reject comp, because it cannot access feelings or qualities
> And you have deduced this by using the "nothing but" fallacy: even the 
> largest computer is "nothing but" a collection of on and off switches. 
> Never mind that your brain is "nothing but" a collection of molecules 
> rigorously obeying the laws of physics. 

Not at all. From my perspective, it's obviously you who assumes that the 
brain is "nothing but" a collection of molecules. I don't assume at all 
that computers are limited by our description of them, just as stuffed 
animals I'm sure contain microcosmic worlds of styrofoam and dust mites, 
thermodynamic interiorities of God-know-what sorts of qualitative 
experiences. What I don't assume is that a Beanie Baby of a dragon is 
actually having the experience that we imagine a dragon should have.

This is the symbol grounding problem pointed out by Searle's Chinese Room, 
the China Brain, and Leibniz Mill Argument, and which I demonstrate easily 
by saying "These words do not refer to themselves." or "This sentence does 
not speak English".

It's hard for me to understand why this seems obscure to anyone who is 
familiar with these issues, but at this point I suspect it is like color 
blindness or gender orientation.

To review: My understanding is that the word computer does not refer to any 
real system, but rather it is a concept about how real systems can be 
controlled. It's like saying 'storyteller'. There is nothing that it is 
made of or experiences that it has. Experience depends on real interactions 
of matter, energy, space, and time, which are experienced as perception and 
participation. You can't park a real car (human experience) in a map of a 
parking lot (computer simulation). I understand completely that it is 
thrilling to imagine that the map is actually the reality, and the car is 
only a figment of the statistical model of 'parkingness', and I agree that 
this way of looking at things gives us useful insights and control, but it 
is ultimately a catastrophic failure when taken literally and applied to 
living beings - as bad as religious ideology.


>   John K Clark

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To view this discussion on the web visit 
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to