Questions on the Nature of memory, personality, etc.

David Longley David at
Fri May 14 07:21:15 EST 2004

In message <85d56b27.0405140106.75c55011 at>, Robert 
M?rtin <robertmaertin at> writes
>Folks, Please... This is not very productive.

For whom?

>The sole thing I was out to say was that the computer-metaphor is dead
>to a certain degree (as is the idea that you can model anything with
>classical neural networks). And as a whole lot of models in cogpsy is
>based on the assumption of some Von-Neumann like computational
>structure in the brain, many experimental conclusions just are a bit

For whom?

>Furthermore one has recognized that every attempt to model intelligent
>behaviour with GOF-AI has failed.
>So : Cogscience has evolved. Its basics are overcome. This is a good
>thing... Science cleans itself.

Think about how it does that.

>Just because the basic assumptions have changed, does it mean that we
>should stop exploring or rename the whole scientific branch because
>"cognitive science has become laughable"

I think you might have got that the wrong way round.

>We move on from the Computational-Metaphor and Classical Neural
>Networks to embodied intelligence, to clean neuroscientific work, to
>propabilistic models of intelligence. The future is Bayes, not Logic
>programming. It is clean neuropsychological experiments attempting to
>show in small steps how we explore the world... not that want to
>explain language in one fMRI session. Human machine interfaces
>(Sensory Substitution devices, EEG-BCI and neuroimplants (in
>primates)) are actually WORKING and improving.
>I think that's why I love this field.

! <g>

>And another thing. Concerning the freedom of the will: I believe in
>cause and effect. I believe that the past can only influence the
>future through the present. We live in a determinsistic world. There
>is no freedom of the will detached from the physics of the world.
>But we cannot predict the cause of the world nor can we predict
>systemic properties of complex systems. So we use intentionality and
>mental causation. And it works. I'm fine with that.

It works? Who told you that? It isn't even rational.

>Btw: Chaos-Theory cannot help you... that's why it is called
>deterministic chaos theory. You can phantazise about quantum processes
>adding a random element to our choices like penrose did (he mixed
>quite a lot of stuff up)... but do you want to be randomized ?

OK, We've tried to make a few points to someone we thought might be on 
the right track. Now I'm not so sure after reading the above. You seem a 
bit confused about cause and effect too. (You must be careful about 
"mind melding" with Zick by the way).

Maybe the following will help (or at least amuse you <g>)

Albert Einstein was talking to one of his colleagues about quantum 
mechanics. The colleague kept using classical terms to discuss the 
quantum phenomema. Einstein finally said (something to the effect), "I 
can't be sure that I understand you because you are using the wrong 

After Einstein had fled from Hitler's Germany, one hundred Nazi 
professors published a book condemning his theory of relativity. "If I 
were wrong," Einstein said in his defense, "one professor would have 
been enough."

Niels Bohr (1885-1962) Danish physicist On reading of a particularly 
bizarre physical theory (Dirac's theory leading to the discovery of the 
positron, to be stuffy about it) Niels Bohr proposed that it would be 
very useful as an elephant trap.
Simply put an explanation of the theory on a poster, tack it up on a 
tree in the jungle, and any elephant (a beast noted for its wisdom) that 
passed by would immediately become so engrossed trying to figure it out 
that it could be packed up and delivered to the Copenhagen zoo before it 
realized anything had happened. the joint meeting of the Royal Society and the Royal Astronomical 
Society was dispersing [this was 6 November 1919, when the results of 
the eclipse expedition that confirmed Einstein's prediction of the 
bending of light by gravity were announced],Ludwig Silberstein came up 
to him and said, "Professor Eddington,you must be one of three persons 
in the world who understands general relativity." On Eddington's 
demurring to this statement, Silberstein responded, "Don't be modest, 
Eddington," and Eddington replied that, "On the contrary, I am trying to 
think who the third person is."

Niels Bohr had a propensity for thinking aloud, often using a convenient 
student or colleague as a sounding board. On one occasion, Bohr, in 
search of company after a week-long ocean voyage, entered Princeton's 
Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), corralled two colleagues (Abraham 
Pais and Wolfgang Pauli) into an office, sat them down, and proceeded to 
muse at length on quantum theory. They were finally able to interrupt - 
two hours later.

John von Neumann (1903-1957) [Hungarian/US mathematician and scientist] 
The following problem can be solved either the easy way or the hard way. 
How about the apocryphal story about the MIT student who cornered the 
famous John von Neumann in the hallway:
Student: "Er, excuse me, Professor von Neumann, could you please
help me with a calculus problem?"
John: "Okay, sonny, if it's real quick -- I'm a busy man."
Student: "I'm having trouble with this integral."
John: "Let's have a look." ( brief pause ) "Alright, sonny, the answer's 
two-pi over 5."
Student: "I know that, sir, the answer's in the back -- I'm
having trouble deriving it, though."
John: "Okay, let me see it again. "(another pause)" The answer's two-pi 
over 5."
Student (frustrated): "Uh, sir, I _know_ the answer, I just don't see 
how to derive it."
John: "Whaddya want, sonny, I worked the problem in two different ways!"

Over a hundred years ago a university student found himself seated in a 
train by the side of a person who seemed to be well-to do peasant. He 
was praying the rosary and moving the beads in his fingers. "Sir, do you 
still believe in such outdated things?" asked the student of the old 
man."  "Yes, I do. Do you not?" asked the man. The student burst out 
into a laughter and said, "I do not believe in such silly things. Take 
my advice. Throw the rosary out through this window, and learn what 
science has to say about it".
"Science? I do not understand this science? Perhaps you can explain it 
to me.", the man said humbly with some tears in his eyes.
The student saw that the man was deeply moved. So to avoid further 
hurting the feelings of the man, he said: "Please give me your address 
and I will send you some literature to
help you on the matter." The man fumbled in the inside pocket of his 
coat and gave the boy his visiting card. On glancing at the card, the 
student, lowered his head in shame and became silent. On the card he 
"Louis Pasteur, Director of the Institute of Scientific Research,
-- Un-attributed story told and retold about Pasteur

A selection from:
David Longley

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