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Old 05-23-2019, 05:58 AM
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In an effort to keep it brief, I'm omitting those points where I would simply be repeating myself.
Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
I have also emphasized that I think computational modeling is effective and valuable, which you conveniently missed. The one claim that I take issue with is that the brain is wholly computational in nature, and that, in particular, consciousness is a product of computation. That's however a claim that cognitive science can proceed without making, and whose truth has no bearing on its successes so far.

You've missed it at least two times now, and you'll probably miss it a third time, but again: an orrery is a helpful instrument to model the solar system, and one might get it into one's head that the solar system itself must be some giant world-machine run on springs and gears; but the usefulness of the orrery is completely independent of the falsity of that assertion.
No, this is just backpedaling on statements that you clearly made. You stated, among the many other such statements that I quoted in #179, "I gave an argument demonstrating that computation is subjective, and hence, only fixed by interpreting a certain system as computing a certain function. If whatever does this interpreting is itself computational, then its computation needs another interpretive agency to be fixed, and so on, in an infinite regress; hence, whatever fixes computation can't itself be computational."

This can ONLY be interpreted as "no cognitive processes at all can be computational", since ANY such computation would, according to your claim, require an external interpretive agent. If true, that would invalidate CTM in its entirety. Could you possibly have meant that? Why, yes, you totally could: "The CTM is one of those rare ideas that were both founded an dismantled by the same person (Hilary Putnam). Both were visionary acts, it's just that the rest of the world is a bit slower to catch up with the second one."

Only when challenged on it are you now offering creative re-interpretations. But perhaps you'd like to take on the creative challenge of re-interpreting what you meant by CTM having been "dismantled".
Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
Even Fodor, as you noted, didn't believe the mind is wholly computational. That's the whole point of The Mind Doesn't Work That Way: Computational theory is a 'large fragment' of the truth, but doesn't suffice to tell the whole story (in particular, abduction, I think, is one thing Fodor thinks the mind can do that computers can't). So leaning onto Fodor to support your assertion that computationalism is 'the only game in town' isn't a great strategy.
"Wholly computational" was manifestly never my claim, and I was clear on that from the beginning. And if it had been, I'd certainly never lean on Fodor for support, as he was one of the more outspoken skeptics about its incompleteness, despite his foundational role in bringing it to the forefront of the field.
Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
I'm still waiting for you to tell me what my example system computes, by the way. I mean, this is usually a question with a simple answer, or so I'm told: a calculator computes arithmetical functions; a chess computer chess moves. So why's it so hard in this case? Because, of course, using the same standard you use in everyday computations will force you to admit that it's just as right to say that the device computes f as that it computes f'. And there, to any reasonable degree, the story ends.
A Turing machine starts with a tape containing 0110011. When it's done the tape contains 0100010. What computation did it just perform?

My answer is that it's one that transforms 0110011 into 0100010, which is objectively a computation by definition, since it is, after all, a Turing machine exhibiting the determinacy condition -- even if I don't know what the algorithm is.

Your answer would appear to be that it's not a computation at all until it's been subjectively understood by you and assigned a name. I think Turing would disagree.

I think the core of the problem here is that you're confusing "computation" with "algorithm". But as Turing so astutely showed, the question of what a "computation" is, in the most fundamental sense, is quite a different question from asking what class of problem is being solved by the computation.