RE: [-empyre-] the heart of the matter

With all due respect, this is an interesting metaphot, but from a
structural/functional perspective, I think it doesn't work.  For
example, computation implies finite binary states across discrete
components which have (usually) one input and one output.  The human
brain, on the other hand, while it operates through impulses, does not
operate synchronously, each cell (or neural node) can have thousands of
cross connections, which can change over time.  While contemporary
computation still operates on very large/rapid analogues of the data
processing model, current models on cognition (creative cognition -
Finke, Ward, et al) posit that human thought is a
generative/emergent/decentralized process, and not akin to digital
computation at all.

While, I think that there might be use for ascribing the Moravecian
model of computation as an extension of cognition that's been around for
decades, is it really a good metaphor for applied cognitive science, or
is it primarily a critical/analytical/rhetorical tool?

This is what I wonder, and in my mind, I don't think that there is a
good technological metaphor for the working of the human mind at this
point.  As to this, I mean a concrete, concise one.

Interesting thought, though.

Patrick Lichty
Intelligent Agent Magazine
1556 Clough Street, #28
Bowling Green, OH 43402
225 288 5813
"It is better to die on your feet 
than to live on your knees." 

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Nancy
Sent: Sunday, December 05, 2004 12:54 PM
Subject: [-empyre-] the heart of the matter

Good morning all,
I'm working right now on a research project concerned with synesthesia,
hence my interest in the topic. 
I thought I'd start the discussion by posting a couple of ideas which
have come to mind recently.

Computationalism, the view that mental states are computational
states-solely abstract and syntactic, neglects real-time, real-world
constraints such as embodiment, interaction, physics, and semantics.
Computationalism will always be in the process of revision because it is
technology based and therefore always changes. The concepts 'red', the
'sound of a bell' are abstractions - essentially information. They are
not tied to exact neurons, just as a variable in a program need not be
tied to a particular physical memory location (virtual addressing,
virtual memory, cache, CPU registers etc). Information exists, but has
no physical presence in itself. Information can only exist in a
practical sense, however, if there is (at least) one representation of
it in (at least) one medium physically. But that representation does not
need any independent labelling with meaning - it can simply be an
abstract symbol, whose meaning is entirely defined by its functional
Bill and jackbackrack will have a different perspective, perhaps, coming
from the fields of AI and robotics; what do you think?
BTW, if you want more info about my project, check out:

empyre forum

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