Book recommendation Re: [FoRK] Re: anybody remember...

Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at> on Mon Jul 9 15:06:16 PDT 2007

On 7/9/07, Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at> wrote:
> On 7/9/07, Jeff Bone <jbone at> wrote:
> > Yeah, yeah...  Chalmers will deny being a computationalist on some
> > level, but if you read the actual arguments, he's toeing the line.
>   I'm a computationalist as well;
>   I believe that computational states are mental states.

  Let me clarify, in order to avoid confusion:

  There is a question, "Can a brain be conscious?
  Can a computer be conscious?  Could a bunch of
  cogs and machinery be conscious?"

  My own belief is that there can be something that it is like
  to be a brain, (such as our own experiences,) and that there
  can be something that it is like to be a computer brain,
  and that there can be something that it is like to be a
  giant cog-works, and so on.

  My belief is that there might even be something that it
  is like to be a thermostat, though I wouldn't wish that
  experience on any thermostat.  (Then again, the
  post-human super-intelligence may say the same about
  the poor pitiful normal humans of today.  Or at least,
  I hope that they do..!)

  I think this is what you mean by "computationalism."

  I don't think there's anything particularly special about

  What I do *not* believe, is that computation itself
  has explanatory power.  For example, I need some story,
  true or false (I'll reserve judgment, until I hear the story,
  and then may grant it only conditionally, or as a "perhaps,")
  -- to account for experience.  You can't just show me
  a thermostat, and say, "Ah, here;  A thermostat--
  see how it moves?  See how it responds?  Ergo, there's
  something having an experience in there!"  I need
  some **story** about why you think it's having an
  experience.  And even then, I will make a step of
  exercising judgment about that story.  You don't just
  get experience "for free."

  "Thermostat, ergo, experience.  Proven!"  No.

  That's my position.  I'll call it "computationalist,"
  vs. "biology-ist," or some other label.

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