On 1/16/2014 4:28 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
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
computer can in theory do everything your brain can do is almost
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.
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
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,
Just to clarify, as I understand Bruno's theory, there is non-computable physics in the
brain. In fact physics is non-computable in general, BUT the mind is computable, i.e. the
level of substitution that preserves the person is above the fundamental physics level. I
actually think this last is dubious.
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.
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