Humans Beings Can Be Constructed from Sticks, Straw, and Old Clothing!

You don't believe me? Well, I put up a scarecrow in my field, and some birds thought it was a person. We could even say it is "sorta" a person, couldn't we? At the very least, we are well on our way to constructing a person from sticks, straw, and old clothing, aren't we? And we certainly have shown that it is feasible, even if we can't quite do it yet, right?

What is the point of an argument so obviously silly? I'm not sure, but here is what is essentially the same argument, presented by a "philosopher"!

Dennett notes, quite correctly, that "Turing realized that [understanding] was just not necessary: you could take the tasks [human "computers"] performed and squeeze out the last tiny smidgens of understanding, leaving nothing but brute, mechanical actions. In order to be a perfect and beautiful computing machine, it is not requisite to know what arithmetic is."

But Dennett goes on to claim that these machines, without even a tiny smidgen of understanding, are evidence for... "how a mind could... be composed of material mechanisms"

So, constructing a machine that, admittedly, does not have a mind at all, shows us how minds can be constructed mechanically?! Sure, just like my scarecrow lays out the "basics" of how to construct people from things laying around in the yard.


  1. I'm not seeing what's "obviously silly" about this.

    The point is Turing was looking at one thing a "mind" can do, and demonstrated quite successfully that it could actually be reproduced faithfully with something that isn't a "mind" by the normal standards that we use at all.

    You might have said before Turing "mindless tools can do a lot of useful things but they certainly can't do something you need a mind to do - such as computations!".

    Now that logic is obviously silly.

    Dennett's is not. Dennett is just saying that we shouldn't presume we know everything about this thing we call a "mind", and that there is a blueprint for creating properties of minds that may lead to even more impressive "artificial intelligences" in the future.

    Of course that would raise questions about how "artificial" that intelligence really is.

  2. "I'm not seeing what's "obviously silly" about this."

    Then I will explain further -- post coming in a few minutes.

    "Dennett is just saying that we shouldn't presume we know everything about this thing we call a "mind""

    No, he is saying much more than that: he is saying this IS how mind came about, in this bottom up fashion.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Central Planning Works!

Availability bias