Brain, Behaviour and Extensionalism

JXStern JXSternChangeX2R at gte.net
Tue Apr 13 11:59:40 EST 2004


On Tue, 13 Apr 2004 15:32:10 GMT, lesterDELzick at worldnet.att.net
(Lester Zick) wrote:
>>> A computer program is a specification for how to build a machine.  It is
>>> "exactly" like the blueprint for a car.
>>
>>There is a fundamental difference between blueprints and programs. Given 
>>a blueprint, if you don't know how to build car, the blueprint is merely 
>>a pretty picture. Given a program, then if you can follow the 
>>instructions, you can build the car even if you don't know what car is.
>>
>In this analogy ". . . if you don't know how to build car . . ." means
>exactly the same as the expression ". . . if you can follow the 
>instructions . . ." except that the language of each is different. It
>is true that the latter in turing mechanics is more general than the
>former in blueprint mechanics. But each represents a compilation of
>instructions which if you know how to follow you can build a car.

What he said.

In *any* linguistic setup, the language text is one thing, the
interpretation another.  Ones and zeros have no intrinsic meaning as a
program.  Feed a binary file from a Wintel machine to your Mac and see
what I mean (or vice-versa, depending on what emulators you may have
available!)  Even lines of source code (eg Java) don't have intrinsic
meaning, especially for people who do not know the Roman alphabet and
the many linguistic conventions and formal definitions involved in any
programming language.

J.




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