Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Sifter3000, 6 May 2009.
An interesting idea, but why is it that Materialism is "a rather sad theory"?
A collection of chemical impulses arranged in such a fantastically improbable way as to produce complex thought, capable of reasoning and emotion, is a wonderfully interesting and exciting thing.
Are blogs meant to be this tenuous?
well, yes. After all, blogs are just blogs... so surely they can be about any subject? Hence why they are in the 'blog' section and not a full-blown article....
agreed, a blog is a blog, and allows perfectly for this kind of spin-off topics. I enjoyed reading this, so kudos!
I agree, even if brain is 'only' a combination/collection of chemical impulses, it's still very exciting/facinating in a way, isn't it?
+1. Something different is always appreciated tbh. I'm liking these thoughts we're seeing dribbling down from the staff.
I'm sure there's something wrong with "That you could doubt the existence of your body but not your mind, Descartes said, meant that the mind and the body were (or at least, could be) distinct."
but I can't think of a good logical argument, I guess that's why I'm a geek not a philosopher.
Mathematically though the human brain is a Turing Machine, and as such can be emulated by any other Turing machine, so you can at least have an AI that is a copy of a human brain running on something other than grey matter, and if it talks like a person, and reasons like a person would we not have to treat it like a duck, I mean person?
Hmm, yes, I suppose that does show my bias - I'd really like to think there's something more than just chemistry going in my head. But then again, I've done enough science (and philosophy of mind) to see that it's very hard to argue otherwise.
Maybe I'll just have to resort to spurious linguistic arguments - should Materialists say that two distinct sets of bio-chemical reactions are better than one? Or that you accurately predicted the current chemical imbalance of my brain rather than you read my mind?
Materialism seems a very cold theory to my collective-noun-for-the-resultant-brain-state-of-interactions-between-bio-electric-impulses-and-bio-chemical-states-of-the-human-brain.
If you were in the 24th century, and then stepped into a transporter where all your matter was decompiled atom by atom, and then transported as energy to another location, then recompiled as a perfect replication, would you still be you? Something I often think about, I guess it links into dualism. If you believe mind and body are seperate then no, it would be a perfect copy of you, but the "real" you would have ceased to exist and died in effect when your atoms were decompiled.
Good blog post, very interesting
Well, I'm a mathmatician and a philosopher (in training, at least), and so I can say that we can not say for sure that the brain is just a turing machine, since we don't know everything about it. Not knowing enough to say catagorically that "the brain is just a really complicated machine" is in no way going towards saying that cartesian substance dualism is in any way valid.
Try a religion, they're just about the only bunch of people with their heads far enough down into the sand to actually still believe in substance dualism
I can't stand philosophy. I can't shake the feeling that it all started because someone couldn't be arsed getting a proper job, and just asked silly questions with serious manner to try and interest people enough to prevent them from saying 'Get a job you lazy git'
People who lack comprehension often think something similar.
I think people tend to think that because they don't understand something it goes beyond the reach of human ability no matter how advanced. Certainly if you showed a computer to a 16th centuary scholar they may still proclaim it as an act of unexplainable magic. After all (presuming you believe this) the human mind has evolved as a means of helping us survive which like all things in evolution are by no means perfect but if you follow the same logical build-up over time with a computer as a replacement you would eventually reach similar levels of sentience would you not?
Another issue is with the communications barrierand I'm sure it has been shown in some form that some computers may appear more intelligent because they follow the most human like functions as possible when in reality they aren't really very complicated at all.
Completely agreed. It is no less wonderful than any other explanation.
Definitely. In a strange way it kind of adds a more personal appraoch to running the site, and offers a closer relationship between the staff and the fans.
I really don't think there is a difference. Accurate prediction or measurement of the chemical balances in the brain, and the effects these have, would be reading your mind. They are not two seperate entities, which makes sense with the differences in approach between the two fields of thought at hand.
I would say so. I do believe we are simply computers acting out code, in the form of electrical impulses and chemical effects. So long as everything in your brain is copied with 100% accuracy, you would arrive with exactly the same brain and chemical make up. You would be exactly the same.
Great thread guys. Really enjoying it.
I do enjoy reading this kind of blog, and I don't think it should have follow the main focus of the site. I like the idea of thoughts spilling out onto the page, as long as it doesn't descend into Twitter-ish "I just made a cup of tea" or "the phone rang and scared the cat" nonsense.
Enjoyment of philosophy is, IMHO, hampered by the fact the some philosophers were so far up their own ar$es it beggars belief.
The Rhino in the room assertion by Wittgenstein is a classic example, even Bertrand Russell thought he was acting like a fool.
He could think you under the table.
Interesting subject.to bring up. I feel that the materialist explantion you gave is somewhat limited because of how many different theories of materialism there really are. For anyone really interested in the subject I will recommend a book by Daniel Dennett titled Consciousness Explained.
This book should be a required reading for anyone interested in AI.
Throughout recent history humanity has compared itself to a more complex version of the most recent technological development. In actual fact we have a better model for the human brain. It's called an artificial neural network. They can't do very complicated things yet - the most complicated task I've seen ANNs perform is learning to play chess (although I do have a dim memory of some research recreating the structure of an entire rat brain as an ANN, but I haven't read the paper, and it was in New Scientist which is sensationalist at the best of times, so that could be a vast exaggeration).
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