View Single Post
  #148  
Old 05-22-2019, 12:46 PM
wolfpup's Avatar
wolfpup is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 11,233
Quote:
Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
The contradiction (as Chalmers highlights) is that the sort of emergence (that doesn't follow from the fundamental-level properties) you require is in contradiction to both computationalism and physicalism, so you simply can't appeal to both in your explanation of the mind without being inconsistent. You want the emergent properties to not follow from the fundamental ones? Then you can't hold on to computationalism. It's that simple.
Only if you believe Chalmers. I proposed above that novel emergent properties can develop in the interconnections and/or states of lower-level components that were not found in any form in the components themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
I like how you get all in a huff about my disagreement with Fodor (whom I never characterized as a crackpot or misguided; at the time, caloric was a perfectly respectable paradigm for the explanation of the movement of heat, simply reflecting an incomplete scientific knowledge, just like the computational theory is now), but yourself think nothing about essentially painting Dreyfus as a reactionary idiot. So I guess the main determining factor in whether or not a dead philosopher is worthy of deference is whether you agree with them?
I note that you're avoiding my cited quote about the important role of computational theory in cognitive science. Also, Dreyfus developed a very bad reputation in the AI and cognitive science communities early on that he was never able to shake, despite apparently some level of vindication of a few of his ideas in later years. I can tell you first-hand that contempt for Dreyfus is still prevalent in those communities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
Exactly. You keep merely saying that, without any sort of argument whatsoever. So then, at least tell me, which computation does my device implement? Is it f or f'? Is it neither? If so, then how come I can use it to compute the sum of two numbers? If both describe the same computation, then what is it that's being computed? What is that computation?
What is that computation, you ask? Let's ask a hypothetical intelligent alien who happens to know nothing about number systems. The alien's correct answer would be: it's performing the computation that produces the described pattern of lights in response to switch inputs. How do we know that this is a "computation" at all and not just random gibberish? Because it exhibits what Turing called the determinacy condition: for any switch input, there is deterministically a corresponding output pattern. Whether we choose to call it a binary adder or the alien calls it a wamblefetzer is a matter of nomenclature and, obviously, a distinction of utility.

Note that in defining the Turing machine, Turing himself was untroubled by any notion of an external interpreter. Indeed he explicitly made the distinction between this type of machine exhibiting the determinacy condition, which he called an automatic machine or "a-machine", and the choice machine in which an external agent specified the next state. But your box is an a-machine, whose computations involve no such external agent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
Again, I'm not the only one thinking that. 'You could do it by computer' is often used as the definition for weak emergence that doesn't introduce anything novel whatsoever, because it's just so blindingly obvious how the large-scale phenomena follow from the lower-level ones in the computer's case.

That doesn't mean computers can't surprise you. Even though the story of how they do what they do is conceptually simple, it can be a bit lengthy, not to mention boring, to actually follow. But surprise is no criterion for qualitative novelty. I have been surprised by my milk boiling over, but that doesn't mean that a qualitatively new feature of the milk emerged.
"You could do it by computer" as a synonym for "trivial" sounds like something Dreyfus would have said!

Of course "surprise" by itself isn't a criterion for much of anything, but surprise in the sense that properties that we explicitly denied could emerge from certain processes, like high intelligence or strong problem-solving skills, if and when they actually emerge does mean that we have to re-evaluate our beliefs and assumptions. It also means that those properties were not observed in the underlying processes, or at least were in no way obvious.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
You, on the other hand, have provided no such basis for your claim that consciousness emerges in the same way. Indeed, you claim that no basis such as that can be given, because emergence basically magically introduces genuine novelty. That you give computers as an example of that, where it's exactly the case that the emergent properties have 'visible elements in the underlying components', is at the very least ironic.
None of us are in a position to conclusively explain consciousness. But it certainly seems plausible to me that it's nothing more than our perception of the world turned inward on itself, so that any being sentient enough to have thoughtful perceptions about the world will possess a corresponding level of self-awareness. I suspect that at some point in the future when we have general-purpose AI whose awareness of the world includes awareness of self, we'll get into furious semantic battles over whether machine consciousness is "real" consciousness. It will certainly be different from ours because it won't have the influences of biological senses or instincts. Ultimately Marvin Minsky may be proved right in considering the whole question a relative non-issue in the context of machine intelligence.