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Old 05-20-2019, 05:16 PM
begbert2 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 13,137
Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
And that's already where things collapse. If the interpretation of this symbols is based on computation, then the symbols must already be interpreted beforehand, or otherwise, there just won't be any computation to interpret them.
Are you asserting that it's impossible for any computational system to assign symbols to new concepts as it encounters them? Because computer programs do that all the time. And when I say "all the time", I mean that literally - there are databases and hashsets creating new records with associated programmatically assigned keys constantly.

Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
Sure. But the question is, how does this choosing work? How does one physical vehicle come to be about, or refer to, something beyond itself? In philosophical terms, this is the question of intentionality---the mind's other problem.

The problem is, rather, that M is tasked with interpreting the symbols that make the brain compute M. Consequently, the brain must be computing M before M can interpret the brain as computing M. Do you see that this is slightly problematic?

Well, that's just massively question-begging. In point of fact, nothing ever just computes anything; systems are interpreted as computing something. I mean, I've by now gotten used to people just ignoring the actual arguments I make in favor of posturing and making unsubstantiated claims, but go back to the example I provided. There, two different computations are attributed, on equivalent justification, to one and the same physical system. Thus, what computation is performed isn't an objective property of the system anymore than the symbol '3' denoting a certain number is a property of that symbol.
Let me respond to all this in a very simple way - one of two things is happening here. You are either:

1) positing that minds can't possibly work and are entirely fictional, which I believe can be dismissed as absurd based on observations,


2) positing that we can't reverse engineer brains operation through external observation, which is irrelevant and off topic because we don't have to know how they work to copy them if we copy them at the physical level to the smallest excruciating detail.

Because of your persistent use of undefined technical terms I'm not quite sure about which of these you are doing, but either way I don't care - you can't prove brains aren't copyable either way.

Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
No. You can interpret certain systems as implementing a simulation of a brain. That doesn't mean the system actually is one. You can interpret an orrery as a model of the solar system. That doesn't mean it actually is a solar system.

All of this is just a massive case of confusing the map for the territory. What you're saying is exactly equivalent, for example, to saying that there are certain symbols such that they have only one objectively correct meaning.
We're not talking about orrerys and maps, and you know it - we're talking about functionally exact copies. At a functional level the digital copy would operate exactly the same way the original physical person did. So forget all the crappy analogies, please.

From the perspective of the copy, the duplication is exact, down to the smallest detail. Every neuron and chemical and electron is in place, acting exactly like their equivalents in the physical world. It's essentially the 'prosthetic neuron replacement' scenario from earlier in the thread - the prosthetic neurons (and everything else) are simulated entities, but they replicate the functionality of the things they replace perfectly.

Simulations seek to replicate the behavior and outcomes of what they simulate. The more accurate the simulation, the more accurate the outcomes are to the real thing. Here we theoretically posit a perfect simulation of the physical reality that the brain (and the body that houses it) exist in. Basically the Matrix, except the brain cells are inside the simulation too. And presuming a materialist real universe, there is no coherent and informed argument that the simulation couldn't be accurate to the finest detail - including the behavior of the simulated people, driven by their simulated brains and the minds contained within them.