[Wittrs] Re: Who beat Kasparov?

  • From: "SWM" <SWMirsky@xxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 21:51:51 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Gordon Swobe <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> "The mind, they suppose, is something formal and abstract. The polemical 
> literature in AI usually contains attacks on something the authors call 
> dualism, but what they fail to see is that they themselves display dualism in 
> a strong form, for unless one accepts the idea that the mind is completely 
> independent of the brain or of any other physically specific system, one 
> could not possibly hope to create minds just by designing programs."
> -Searle, "Is the Brain's Mind a Computer Program?"
> These arguments apply to PP/connectionist schemes too, by the way. All 
> computational theories of mind reek of dualism.
> -gts

Yes, I recall Searle saying this now. But he's wrong. How can arguing that any 
physical thing (in the sense of physical processes doing certain things) can be 
conscious, be to suppose that consciousness is ontologically distinct and 
separate from the physical things in operation (which is what dualism is. The 
point of dualism is that mind is understood as being free of its physical 
platform but the point of Dennett's thesis and others like it is precisely that 
it isn't, that you need a physical platform and that all the mind is, finally, 
is whatever the appropriate platform is doing.

It surprises me that Searle makes such a move as this as it seems to simply 
stand the idea of dualism on its head, in essence arguing that dualism is just 
what so many have been calling physicalism! Searle's move looks stipulative to 
me, in the sense of being a redefinition of "dualism".


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