On 16 January 2014 23:08, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
>
> On 16 Jan 2014, at 09:11, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>
>> On 16 January 2014 16:26, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> The computational metaphor in the sense of the brain works like the Intel
>>> CPU inside the box on your desk is clearly misleading, but the sense that
>>> a
>>> computer can in theory do everything your brain can do is almost
>>> certainly
>>> correct. It is not that the brain is like a computer, but rather, that a
>>> computer can be like almost anything, including your brain or body, or
>>> entire planet and all the people on it.
>>>
>>> Jason
>>
>>
>> I think neuroscientists have, over decades, used the computational
>> metaphor in too literal a way. It is obviously not true that the brain
>> is a digital computer, just as it is not true that the weather is a
>> digital computer. But a digital computer can simulate the behaviour of
>> any physical process in the universe (if physics is computable),
>> including the behaviour of weather or the human brain. That means
>> that, at least, it would be possible to make a philosophical zombie
>> using a computer. The only way to avoid this conclusion would be if
>> physics, and specifically the physics in the brain, is not computable.
>> Pointing out where the non-computable physics is in the brain rarely
>> figures on the agenda of the anti-computationalists. And even if there
>> is non-computational physics in the brain, that invalidates
>> computationalism, but not its superset, functionalism.
>
>
> OK. But in a non standard sense of functionalism, as in the philosophy of
> mind, functionalism is used for a subset of computationalism. Functionalism
> is computationalism with some (unclear) susbtitution level in mind (usually
> the neurons).
>
> Now, I would like to see a precise definition of "your" functionalism. If
> you take *all* functions, it becomes trivially true, I think. But any
> restriction on the accepted functions, can perhaps lead to some interesting
> thesis. For example, the functions computable with this or that oracles, the
> continuous functions, etc.

Briefly, computationalism is the idea that you could replace the brain
with a Turing machine and you would preserve the mind. This would not
be possible if there is non-computable physics in the brain, as for
example Penrose proposes. But in that case, you could replace the
brain with whatever other type of device is needed, such as a
hypercomputer, and still preserve the mind. I would say that is
consistent with functionalism but not computationalism. The idea that
replicating the function of the brain by whatever means would not
preserve the mind, i.e. would result in a philosophical zombie, is
inconsistent with functionalism.


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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