[Wittrs] Re: Who beat Kasparov?

  • From: "jrstern" <jrstern@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2010 19:10:58 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Gordon Swobe <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> > > You have Searle wrong. He does not agree that the mind
> > "must be hosted on some kind of mechanical system".
> > >
> > > He disagrees with your implied assumption that any
> > kind of substrate, organic or otherwise, can "host" a mind.
> >
> > Yes he does, and it is one of his prime arguments.
> >
> > That's why he goes on about abstraction, abstraction is the
> > wrong kind of thing on which to build any feature of a
> > physical, biological system.
> Abstraction is not a substance or substrate on which one builds anything 
> aside from other abstractions. You misuse the word.

Searle asserts that AI is that mistake.

> The point is that only a dualist would think of the mind as "hosted" on brain 
> matter OR on silicon (as in the case of AI).

So you have a mind without a brain or silicon?

Searle does not make that mistake.

> > But he makes it explicit, I believe in each of his major
> > publications.  Must I dig up the lines?
> Yes you must.

Hmm, I only see these classics in Minds, Brains, and Programs, and Minds, 
Brains, and Science, that I have online.  I'm pretty sure that in later 
versions he is more explicit yet about the error that he thinks AI makes in 
trying to build real properties like intentionality out of the abstractions of 
functionalism or syntax, but I should keep them handy anyway, I'll get them 


From draft version of Minds, Brains, and Programs (1980) that you can find 
online, only the old copies seem to all redirect now to Cambridge Journals:

I see no reason in principle why we couldn't give a machine the capacity to 
understand English or Chinese, since in an important sense our bodies with our 
brains are precisely such machines.


"Yes, but could an artifact, a man-made machine think?"

Assuming it is possible to produce artificially a machine with a nervous 
system, neurons with axons and dendrites, and all the rest of it, sufficiently 
like ours, again the answer to the question seems to be obviously, yes.


"Could a machine think?"

The answer is, obviously, yes. We are precisely such machines.

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