[Wittrs] Re: Who lost to Deep Blue?

  • From: "jrstern" <jrstern@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2010 19:34:43 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "gabuddabout" <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
> 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.

Well that would be me, not Stuart.

But I'm not sure what you (or anyone) mean by syntax, or semantics.

I'm pretty clear on causality, but only by disclaiming Humean skepticism.  And 
I'm very clear on computation, though nobody else is.

> 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."

Again, that would be me.  I believe Stuart actually qualifies all of these 
statements.  I support them pretty much straight on.

> The fudge-fest way is one way of implying it without being explicit about it.

Please, make it explicit, I support explicit.

Do you have a response, if these are stated explicitly, other than outright 
rejection by appealing to Searle quotations as final authority - no matter how 
much they are inconsistent or incoherent by my lights?

>  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."


There are about nine issues here, but I don't see how they relate.

>  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.



I like Fodor's internalism, which he calls Cartesianism, either not meaning 
dualism or embracing dualism, I'm not quite certain which.

But I don't think Fodor has ever been entirely happy with computation, in part 
because he has never understood it, never simply tried to make all the 
physicalist basis for it explicit and sufficient.  He derides the Churchlands 
for trying to do so, but they famously try to do so only by avoiding the Turing 
model of computation and the "symbolic" approaches to computation, IMHO again 
"fudging" the basic issues.

> 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.

None of them are beyond debate.

> 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."


I cannot quite follow what you are saying about this.

I'm afraid I completely part company with Fodor here, and also in his latest 
book, LOT 2, where he says that "procedural semantics" are the worst thing in 
the world.

Well, if one is going to believe as I do in computation as physical and causal, 
and if one is going to DISBELIEVE as I do in Fodor's innateness of ideas (like 
'horse' and 'carburetor'), then what turns out to work, is pretty much just the 
kind of "procedural semantics" as Fodor disclaims in the book and in this 
article.  Jerry, if computers are going to turn out to be useful devices in 
this world, even as computers and not as minds, some account has to be given of 
how that happens.  And if that account just also happens to completely vitiate 
Searle's idea of what computation is, well, so much the worse for Searle, 
unless you can wish away the billion or so computer workstations, not to 
mention smart phones and the like, that we all seem so attached to these days.

> 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!

And so much for that HR story.

Or so much for semantics.

I'm dubious about semantics, but you know what I do like?  Intentionality!  
Though I'm sure you won't like the (deflated) intentionality that I like.

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

I am playing with an English Room (ER) in which a speaker of English is given 
questions in writing, and responds to them.

> Happy spring March madness!

None of my local schools nor alma mater are in it this year, so what the heck.

Go Lakers!


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