machine brains

Jerry Hull ZZZghull at stny.lrun.com
Mon Mar 8 10:01:46 EST 1999


On Sun, 07 Mar 1999 23:15:26 GMT, malcolm at pigsty.demon.co.uk (Malcolm McMahon)
wrote:

>On Sun, 07 Mar 1999 16:01:57 GMT, ZZZghull at stny.lrun.com (Jerry Hull)
>wrote:
>>The only sense in which one thought can be "composed" of another thought, is
>>to find that other thought hidden in it.  This kind of composition was
>>distinguished by Kant as "analytic", as opposed to "synthetic".
>
>No, I'm not talk about thoughts "hidden" in other thoughts. Consider a
>plan as a particular class of idea. A complex plan will usually involve
>sub-goals with plans to achieve them. The plan, in effect, is
>hierarchically constructed from sub-plans. I think all ideas are like
>that, at least to some degree.

It should be obvious that there is little in common between "composition" in
the sense in which water is composed of hydrogen & oxygen, and the relation
between plans & subplans.  And no, all ideas are not "like" plans.  I have the
idea of redness.  There's no plan in it.

>>You are fighting with your own idiosyncracies of language.  I know of noone
>>who regards "mental" as the name of a certain kind of processing, as OPPOSED
>>to consciousness.  Since you are using words in a peculiar way, it's hard to
>>know exactly what you believe.  I AGREE that there can be isomorphisms between
>>what a computer algorithm is doing and what the brain is doing, when it e.g.
>>processes vision.  But such algorithms are certainly not part of the MEANING
>>of 'mental' or 'vision' for me and I suspect most speakers of the English
>>language.  You are using the word 'mental' to describe things that are
>>conventionally understood to be 'PHYSICAL', i.e., what is going on in the
>>brain, &c.
>
>It seems to me that the distinction between mental and brain functions
>is two sharply drawn here and that mental process is just another way of
>looking at brain function. It still seems to me that you're calling the
>same processes mental when they are observered by consciousness that you
>would not call mental when they weren't.

Some people purport to derive minds from brains.  They make the same mistake
you are making, confusing a logical relation with a causal relation.  Mind
does not ESSENTIALLY have anything to do with brains.  I have no idea what
processes you are refering to in the remainder of your remarks.

>>>Because thought is what we (and especially philosohpers) think we excell
>>>at we tend to exagerate it's significance. We'd like to believe that
>>>consciousness in things exists in direct proportion to their
>>>ressemblence to us.
>>
>>Who believes that?  & if so, so what?
>
>I feel that that lies, to a degree, beyond the belief that consciousness
>is just meta-logic or some kind of special reasoning process.

You are babbling.

>>>You'd inject vast numbers of nano-machines into the CS fluid. These
>>>nanites would spread throughout the CNS, following and tagging neural
>>>processes, examining the state of pre-synaptic membranes in order to
>>>measure the "gain" on the different synapses. Each nanomachine would
>>>record a few neurons in detail together with information about other
>>>nano-machines and their tags encountered. When they'd been in for long
>>>enough you'd "lure" them out of the body with some kind of marker
>>>chemical. Between them they'd cary an almost complete picture of the
>>>engram.
>>
>>You assume you know how the brain stores information; I believe this has not
>>yet been settled.
>
>It's not settled but I think that the sytematic alteration of properties
>of the pre-synaptic vesticle and membrane, together with the actual
>rewiring of neural processes is a pretty convincing, and widely popular
>candidate. Such changes have only actually been measured in very simple
>animals but, as far as I know, everything tested so far is consistent
>with than picture.

Only when it's settled, will you be able to even address the 'technical"
problem of recording & sharging thoughts.  & there's no more guarantee that
knowing the biological nature of thought will be any aid to recording or
sharing thought, then knowing the factors involved in weather enables us to
control hurricanes.

>>  Certainly there must be SOMETHING in the brain, &c. that
>>contains ALL the information involved in any given thought, but since we have
>>not yet nailed that down, it's hardly simply a TECHNICAL problem.
>
>If you can actually copy the brain then you can preserve these thoughts
>and memories without having the least idea how they are organised.

And if wishes were horses, nobody would walk.

--
Jer
"However far you may travel in this world, you will still occupy 
the same volume of space".  Traditional Ur-Bororo saying.



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