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machine brains

lesterzick at earthlink.net lesterzick at earthlink.net
Fri Feb 12 14:25:39 EST 1999

Three questions:

Does the brain think or does the mind?

Can the brain think without a mind?

Does the hardware run the software or does the software run the hardware?

Regards - Lester

In article <36c43eb1.0 at ns2.wsg.net>,
  "Ray Scanlon" <rscanlon at wsg.net> wrote:
> Joe Kilner wrote in message <79qo6a$t6r$1 at pegasus.csx.cam.ac.uk>...
> >Firstly - why eschew anthropocentrism?  We are the only animals that show
> >definite signs of conciousness.
> I like to feel that I'm a little more broadminded than that. My dog claims
> he is conscious, I tend to agree.
> >In my view the mind does not sit on top and watch the brain processing
> >data - the mind _is_ the process itself, or at least part of it.  This is
> >why I don't think you can have a full understanding of the brain without
> >understanding the mind
> >But we can never _understand_ how our brains work without accounting for
> >conciousness because conciousness is the only internal experience we have
> >of
> >brain function
> There's the rub, why are so many hung up on their internal experience of the
> brain? I believe it is because it is all they have. Neuroscience is not part
> of the common knowledge of all people who feel driven to speak of that which
> thinks. Knowing nothing of the brain, they shift the subject to the soul
> (mind).
> Rather then starting out with the soul (mind), let us leave that for last.
> "How does the brain come to think?", that is our question. When we have that
> in hand we may turn to religion and discuss the soul (mind).
> Eschew anthropocentrism, forget "only man is self aware", "only man has
> language". These are the opening moves of one who wishes to talk about the
> soul (mind) rather than the brain. The soul (mind) has been talked to death.
> The thread is machine BRAINS, not machine souls, not machine minds, not
> machine self-awareness. Leave the soul (mind) to religion.
> I ask three questions:
> 1. How does the brain work as a meat machine?
> 2. How should we emulate the brain using neuromimes?
> 3. How should we simulate the construction of neuromimes with a computer?
> Note that she soul (mind) is not involved and should not be allowed to enter
> and confuse.
> On the first question, I see three sub-headings:
> 1a. How does the brain learn, how do the neurons alter their response to
> afferent signal energy in light of past experience.
> 1b. How does the brain come to interpolate additional synaptic events before
> producing motor output (think).
> 1c. How does the brain cease this interpolation and proceed to motor output
> (decide).
> These are questions of neural activity and my own first, tentative essay is
> found at www.wsg.net/~rscanlon/brain.html  I would be happy if anyone would
> tear into the six hypotheses presented and straighten out my thinking.
> Seriously.
> On the second question:
> This involves all the questions as to whether we may think of the neuron as
> an electrochemical device. We know that the neuron is an assortment of
> molecules and that many of the molecular interactions can be characterized.
> (See The Neuron, Levitan and Kaczmarek.) But may we lump this myriad into a
> unit?
> On the third question:
> This involves the programming of simulation and is a major field in itself.
> ---  ---
> Why don't we forget the soul (mind) for a while and concentrate on the
> brain. Let us talk about neurons rather than "how I decided to turn on the
> TV".
> Ray
> Those interested in how the brain works might look at
> www.wsg.net/~rscanlon/brain.html

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