Re: Chalmers: Computational Foundation

From: Hunt Catherine (
Date: Tue Mar 06 2001 - 16:10:53 GMT

> Of course it would be difficult to model the mind from understanding it
> before fully understanding it. But even if we knew exactly how the mind
> works (if that's possible) I think we would still have a problem building
> one in any way other than to create it in its infantile state and to let
> it grow and develope as we do.

I agree with your reasoning, but seeing that most of the comments we are
all making are based on assumptions that are born from fact, then if we
understand the working of the human mind one day in the future, what is to
say that we will not be able to understand the process that is involved in
it's growth and development? If we are making assumptions, then I guess if
we can build a mind computationally, it will be built in the most
infantile state possible and allowed to develop. However, I still dispute
the overall argument as to whether you can model cognition
computationally. If we are talking about 'building a mind', then surely
this is a mind and not a simulation of a mind, which brings the argument
around in a full circle - a mind is a mind and not a computer simulation.

>How can you have a mind that is recognisable as human without a
>personality and a large collection of memorys? And how can you get those
>without experiencing life as we know it? These don't seem like
>implementation independant characteristics. But even if they were they are
>not the main issue. If what we mean by mind is self awareness,
>i.e. 'someone home' or consciousness, then we are in a situation where no
>one (that I'm aware of) has the slightest foot-hold on how symobls are
>even relevent let alone on how they can be used to bootstrap themselves
>onto consciousness.

One of my main arguments is that a mind has to have a personality as it is
personality that makes us unique and react differently from each other in
varying degrees. And I agree that it is the experiences of life that also
have a bearing on how we react to situations. I have already iterated that
there are cases in the human mind where there are no definative rules as
to what is right and wrong - what is right to one is wrong to another. How
could you model that? I do not think you can.
As for self-awareness, I agree that the mind has to be conscious, and
again it is this fact that makes it impossible to model the human
mind. Self-awareness/consciousness is what makes the mind unique and makes
us react in differing ways to situations.

>Perhaps a computationaly based intelligence could be the platform on which
>a mind could exist, but that is not the same as saying the intelligence
>emcompasses the mind, or that we would know what was giving rise to the

What is the definition of 'computationally based intelligence'? Surely the
argument is whether it is possible to simulate cognition using computation
and thus meaning the intelligence should be human based?

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