The Mindlessness of Computationalism

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The Mindlessness of Computationalism: The Neglected Aspects of Cognition

D. Hutto

Quote:If Von Eckhardt is correct, when cognitive scientists assume the ‘mind is a computer’ and give a sense to the notion of the computer in the sense of (2) above,they are making a literal claim about the nature of mind (Von Eckardt, 1993, p. 116). And as she points out that if one reads (2) in a theoretically committed way then there is no a priori reason to exclude the organic brain from the list of entities that might fall under the description of being a‘computer’. Important, we can truly describe it as a data-processing (or information-processing) device. What is useful about Von Eckardt’s general analysis of computationalism’s core assumption is that it provides a clear angle from which to view the flaws of computationalism.This paper defends the claim that if there is an account of information adequate to capture those aspects of mind that we regard as essential to mentality it is one that requires us to surrender the idea that the mind is a computer.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2024-02-25, 08:18 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: The Mindlessness of Computationalism: The Neglected Aspects of Cognition

D. Hutto

It seems to me that the existence of the Hard Problem of consciousness essentially rules out computationalism, which says that the mind and consciousness are computing processes carried out by meat computers - brains. This idea ignores the fact that all that computers can do at base is to execute algorithms, make computations, using the choice of a binary number system. Logical and mathematical computations are mindless mechanical processes and no amount of them executed at any speed whatsoever can exhibit conscious subjective awareness, since consciousness is in a fundamentally different and higher existential realm than numbers and their manipulation. Consciousness is not algorithmic or otherwise computational, and at core algorithmic computation is absolutely all that computers can ever do, so consciousness is not computational processes of any magnitude, and computers can never actually become conscious.
(This post was last modified: 2024-02-25, 11:01 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2024-02-25, 10:53 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: It seems to me that the existence of the Hard Problem of consciousness essentially rules out computationalism, which says that the mind and consciousness are computing processes carried out by meat computers - brains. This idea ignores the fact that all that computers can do at base is to execute algorithms, make computations, using the choice of a binary number system. Logical and mathematical computations are mindless mechanical processes and no amount of them executed at any speed whatsoever can exhibit conscious subjective awareness, since consciousness is in a fundamentally different and higher existential realm than numbers and their manipulation. Consciousness is not algorithmic or otherwise computational, and at core algorithmic computation is absolutely all that computers can ever do, so consciousness is not computational processes of any magnitude, and computers can never actually become conscious.

It isn't clear that the Hard Problem precludes conscious computers, since even non-reductionists like Chalmers and Arvan have expressed belief in AI becoming conscious at some point.

As such the argument against computationalism has to go beyond noting the Hard Problem.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2024-02-26, 04:39 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: It isn't clear that the Hard Problem precludes conscious computers, since even non-reductionists like Chalmers and Arvan have expressed belief in AI becoming conscious at some point.

As such the argument against computationalism has to go beyond noting the Hard Problem.

I would like to know how Chalmers justifies computationalism in the light of the Hard Problem which he himself deduced and formulated. They seem to me to be contradictory, and his espousing of the materialist "computers will eventually achieve consciousness" mantra seems more like an attempt to preserve reputation and status and career in the very predominatly materialist Academic arena. Could Chalmers really enumerate any at all commonality or causal relationship or even just similarity between the parameters and properties and characteristics of mind/conscious awareness, and those of computation? I don't think so.
(This post was last modified: 2024-02-26, 06:50 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2024-02-26, 06:44 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: I would like to know how Chalmers justifies computationalism in the light of the Hard Problem which he himself deduced and formulated. They seem to me to be contradictory, and his espousing of the materialist "computers will eventually achieve consciousness" mantra seems more like an attempt to preserve reputation and status and career in the very predominatly materialist Academic arena. Could Chalmers really enumerate any at all commonality or causal relationship or even just similarity between the parameters and properties and characteristics of mind/conscious awareness, and those of computation? I don't think so.

Here is his set of papers on the subject, I admittedly haven't kept completely up-to-date on his position.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell



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