________________________________
 From: John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com>
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com 
Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2013 9:49 AM
Subject: Re: When will a computer pass the Turing Test?
  


On Wed, Aug 28, 2013  Russell Standish <li...@hpcoders.com.au> wrote:



> It is, as always, a confusion of emergence levels. My will is an emergent 
> concept, 

>>I have noticed a disturbing trend, the use of the word "emergent" as a excuse 
>>for not thinking.

Sure -- it can sometimes be a cop out... a clever sounding escape hatch from 
having to wrestle with a difficult problem, but emergent phenomenon are quite 
common in nature and so it is also a good way of describing phenomenon that are 
not understandable in terms only of the constituent parts, but only in so far 
as they emerge within the system being looked at. The rise of 
self-consciousness, and other such whole network kinds of phenomenon are first 
class real experiences -- as far as the mind is concerned at least -- and they 
can only be understood in terms of the mind/brain system as a dynamically 
operating whole entity.

One cannot study a single neuron or even each single neuron -- all 86 billion 
(and all types of neurons as well) of them -- and come to an understanding of 
the mind. The emergent properties of the mind simply do not reside in single 
neurons; nor can the mind ever be fully understood by examining its static 
structure alone; rather they "emerge" from the dynamic interactions of these 
neurons over time based on some learned memory of the dynamically behaving 
system.

Describing something as emergent far from being a clever avoidance of thought 
is really more about recognizing that some phenomenon are inherently a result 
of dynamics that can only be understood when viewed from the perspective of 
dynamic system behavior. It is a systems centric approach that understands that 
the dynamic behaviors of systems produce outcomes and phenomenon that cannot be 
understood -- or even predicted to exist -- based on only having a knowledge of 
the component parts of the system, but lacking any knowledge of how these parts 
dynamically behave when acting as a system.

So while I partly agree with you -- sometimes it is a way of avoiding needing 
to come up with an answer -- this does not mean that it is so in all cases. Nor 
does it mean that it has no value as a tool we can use to try to understand the 
world we live in and to understand ourselves -- the entities -- who are doing 
the living.

-Chris

> that has no relevance to the microscopic realm of atoms, molecules 
>

I have no objection to the word "will", it's only "free will" that's gibberish; 
 and if you change your will you change the arrangement of atoms and molecules, 
and if somebody changes the arrangement of atoms and molecules then your will 
changes. That seems pretty damn relevant to me, in fact things just don't get 
any more relevant. 


> Obviously, that the particular arrangement of molecules in my brain this 
> morning may have no precise causation is sufficient to guarantee my will to 
> be free. It is a debatable point whether it is necessary though
>

I recognize all the words but the way they are put together is such that If you 
put a gun to my head I couldn't explain what the hell the above is supposed to 
mean. 


 John K Clark


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