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machine brains

Ray Scanlon rscanlon at wsg.net
Thu Feb 18 19:31:35 EST 1999

Michael Edelman wrote in message <36CC3F58.86F136B6 at mich.com>...
>Ray Scanlon wrote:
>> ..."Thinking" occurs in mammals. It is the interpolation of extra
>> events between sensory input and motor output. ....) Don't waste time
>> about our
>> awareness of the brain's thoughts. That belongs to religion.
>You're  defining the problem down to a much simpler, and much less
>one. Self-awareness is the heart of conciousness.

Consciousness has two aspects: one, objective, is alertness; the other,
subjective, is awareness.

To conjugate:

I am aware.
You are alert.
He exhibits intelligent behavior.

Self-awareness if philosophical word play.

>We all know we're self-aware, and there's no need to invoke metaphysics to
>realize that humans and many other animals can plan- which is to say they
>create internal, counterfactual models in their mind and experiment with

When the reticular nucleus of the thalamus is active, signal energy is cut
off and motor output is halted. The neurons of the neocortex and the basal
ganglia are free to associate in chains of constellations of active neurons.
If you wish to label some of these constellations "counterfactual models"
that is your privilege. I wouldn't do it. Sounds like word play to me.

> You seek to explain the brain as a robot with a strict mechanistic theory.
>if that's the case, who is writing this note?

It is implicit in materialism that brain activity is determined by the rules
of molecular interaction. Signal energy reverberating in your brain was
writing that note.

Those interested in how the brain works might look at

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