machine brains

Malcolm McMahon malcolm at
Thu Mar 4 02:36:33 EST 1999

On Wed, 03 Mar 1999 21:39:01 +0000, Simon Kesenci <tomega at>

>Michael Edelman wrote:
>> I think you may be perhaps begging the question here. What does it mean to
>> "think"? The brain is hardware. By itself, it does nothing. Does a computer
>> "compute", or does the program?
>> By "mind" we generally mean the self-aware entity, that which can introspect.
>> -- mike
>I think your analogy with computer hardware and software is appropriate.  I think
>of the mind (teehee!) as a set of programs, and the brain as the hardware.  You
>can always change your mind, upgrade it even.  And you can tune your brain with
>drugs and sensory deprivation.

It's important to remember though that the "wetware" actually changes
the topology of the brain. It's more like an analogue than a digital
computer in this respect, it rewires itself all the time.

There isn't the clear distinction between hardware and software that
characterises the digital computer.

And, BTW, I still don't see any reason to believe consciousness is part
of the mind.

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