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machine brains

Ray Scanlon rscanlon at wsg.net
Sun Feb 21 12:56:19 EST 1999



Aaron Boyden wrote in message <36CF75C7.614CF0EE at banet.net>...
>Neil Rickert wrote:
>
>> Sorry, Aaron, but the claim is absurd.  Church's thesis is about what
>> we would consider to be computation.  It is a mathematical thesis
>> which says nothing about the real world.
>
>Well, not exactly.  It says that a human being can't compute any function
that can't be
>computed by a Turing machine (well, it says that any function that's
computable at all is
>Turing-computable, but my version follows trivially).  Given how easily any
activity you care
>to name can be interpreted as computing a function, that's a very dramatic
result.  Thus the
>efforts of, for example, Lucas to demonstrate their ability to compute
non-Turing computable
>functions.  Unsuccessful efforts, of course, but you already knew that.


This is an example of my thesis (philosophy is fatal to brain
investigation). I can paraphrase it, "I don't know anything about the brain
but I know a lot about computation, so let's talk about computation." The
brain is not a computer, it does not compute. If we start talking about
computation that is all we shall ever do. The nervous system is a filter
through which signal energy passes on its way from sensory neuron to motor
neuron. I would rather talk of neurons.

A basic problem in brain explanation is to show how the mammalian brain is
able to insert extra synaptic events in the itinerary of signal energy.





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