[Wittrs] Re: Who lost to Deep Blue?

  • From: "gabuddabout" <gabuddabout@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2010 18:24:13 -0000

I will briefly reply to both Josh and Gordon below.

--- In WittrsAMR@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Gordon Swobe <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> --- On Fri, 3/19/10, jrstern <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> > Can you show us who ever said syntax *is* either
> > constitutive or sufficient for semantics?
> Stuart seems to think it is.

Anyone willing to fudge efficient causality with computation is one who may 
think syntax may be sufficient for semantics.  Most don't come out as baldly as 
Stuart.  Stuart simply and openly conflates computation with physics and 
doesn't understand that it is a fudge to baldly state the premise that 
"Computers are physical machines."  The fudge-fest way is one way of implying 
it without being explicit about it.  See below on a certain baldness in 
Dennett.  Indeed, content similarity is all one gets with parallel processing a 
la Dennett plus Paul Churchland.  But it is shown that it can't do the work of 
content identity by Fodor in "All at Sea in Semantic Space:  Churchland on 
Meaning Similarity."  But it is also difficult to make content identity 
metaphysically respectable nowadays.  So be it.  There is still much trouble 
for the other side too.  Externalism may appear to some to imply that one's 
iphone is literally part of their mind.  "Supersizing the Mind" and Fodor's 
review--google this and see what the famously funny Fodor has to say on this 
topic just for fun.

> Searle gives us these three axioms:
> A1) Programs are formal (syntactic).
> A2) Minds have mental contents (semantics).
> A3) Syntax by itself is neither constitutive of nor sufficient for semantics.
> It follows from these three axioms that:
> C1) Programs are neither constitutive of nor sufficient for minds.
> Stuart doesn't like C1 and A1 and A2 look bullet-proof so he disputes A3.
> But I consider A3 no less bullet-proof than A1 or A2.
> -gts

Funny enough, it turns out that Dennett baldly (well, maybe considerably late 
in the pages of _Consciousness Explained_) dismisses the second premise.  Cf.  
Searle's review of Dennett.

I suppose that such baldness is treated as philosophical anathema for those who 
aren't so Wittgensteinian that their philosophy is expressed as a sort of joke 
with breezy airs of seriousness.  This just may account for a very bold title 
of one of Fodor's more recent papers:  "Having Thoughts:  A Brief Refutation of 
the Twentieth Century."

Further, I wonder if anybody ever thought to create an analogue of the CR by 
calling something the HR (human room).  We put an humunculus inside the HR and, 
lo, the poor guy can't make heads or tails out of brute physical happenings 
such that physics also is insufficient for semantics!

Pretend that even the reader doesn't know a language, though, for it to work!

Happy spring March madness!


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