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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1138 is a reply to message #1134] Fri, 18 September 2009 18:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "iro3isdx" <xznwrjnk-evca@...> wrote:
>
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "jrstern" <jrstern@> wrote:
>
> > When I have a sufficient explanation of computation, I'll
> > let you know what I think about whether cognition is computation.
>
> We don't need to be precise about what computation is. It should
> suffice to be precise about what computationalism is. And, in my
> opinion, that is up to the computationalists.

But so many people say that computation is nothing,
which rather precludes computationalism.

And hey, I agree with everyone here, an -ism alone is nothing
at all, in my case I want a particular to ground it, others may (do)
demand other things to ground or eliminate it.

Josh




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[Wittrs] Following a Rule by jrstern [message #1183 is a reply to message #955] Sun, 20 September 2009 11:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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This is a mail I received from Rob. Did it ever make it to the list? It doesn't appear to be on the message board either. Rob, if you can see this, could you let us know how you sent it (what forum) and what email address? It came to me through an address associated with my website, but it would be the address that notifies me of stuff, not the address where you send stuff.

Yours extremely confused. 
 
SW


----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Rob de Villiers <robbitgrey@googlemail.com>
To: whoooo26505@yahoo.com
Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2009 9:34:02 AM
Subject: Re: New reply to [Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule by jrstern


Josh,

Just a quickie to put you in the picture... concerning:

"I'm going to assume you know something of the low-level
operations of real computers, and/or the definitions of
Turing Machines. That is what I mean. If you can pass
a good undergrad class on these matters, I think you see
them and are not confused."

My first degree was combined maths-philosophy majors, then a
post-graduate honours degree in philo (c1972) then later 
nearly year's worth M.A. level philosophy  where except for one
lecturer the rest of the department was a bit of a dead loss so I
switched and did post-grad (not under-grad) computer science
degree conversion diploma , formerly their MSc in computer science 
at University of London... After some maths teaching (to the old
Oxford-Cambridge Scholarship level ... somewhat more challenging
than normal uni. entrance!) most of my working life has been in the
IT R&D of a major telecoms provider, where I am now a free-lance. 
Since the bursting of the dot.com bubble there has been little real
R&D going on so these days I am mostly involved in the comms
and security requirements for datacoms and command and
control networks that span the whole of the UK to manage and
maintain national (and some international) telecoms infrastructure.
Pretty menial work really.

BUT.... basically everything form Gödel Theorems to Lambda calculus,
to general recursive function theory, Turing finite and infinite
machines, to to Chomskian grammars for compiler construction,
to the basic mechanics of the solid state devices, cpu's and other
innards of  computers, etc... is old hat for me . I might be  bit rusty
on the finer details now  - knocking  off a proof of Church's Thesis
might be a bit beyond me these days, likewise  the finer points
of Lebesgue integration and abstract measure theory and algebraic
topology ... sad, but that is the inevitable result of most of life-time in
the computer industry rather than in academia... However you can
rest assured that the old grey matter retains more than enough of
the fundamentals to cope with anything that would be appropriate
in a philosophical forum such as this.

The actual points in this post of yours nowhere near adequately
address the challenges I put to you and your assertions are becoming
increasingly bizarre and getting you into ever deeper knots logically,
conceptually and philosophically speaking. I will try to respond to at
least some of the rest of your post a.s.a.p. and substantiate what I
have just said ... but as happens in these kinds of discussions the
volume of problematic material is increasing exponentially at least!
(A nice little exercise might be to model and solve the differential
equations for the "amount of disagreement" as a function of the
amount of conversation when two fundamentally irreconcilable
philosophical views collide ...!)

Cheers for now,

Rob.



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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule by jrstern [message #1184 is a reply to message #1183] Sun, 20 September 2009 11:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
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... ok, I think I've got this figured out. This was meant as a private message? I think Rob went to the message board and just wanted to email Josh privately. If so, please accept the apologies of the fool who runs the place. If not, please let me know so I can see where the bug is.

If this was a private message, I am kind of shocked that administrators receive copies of them. I didn't expect that.

Yours confused.
 
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule by jrstern [message #1185 is a reply to message #1184] Sun, 20 September 2009 12:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
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First I've seen of it.

Josh




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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule by jrstern [message #1188 is a reply to message #1184] Sun, 20 September 2009 13:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
iro3isdx is currently offline  iro3isdx
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@...> wrote:


> If this was a private message, I am kind of shocked that
> administrators receive copies of them. I didn't expect that.

That probably depends on the particular way that the sender of the
message managed to screw up.

Regards,
Neil


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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule by jrstern [message #1192 is a reply to message #1183] Sun, 20 September 2009 22:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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... well, for the record, this remains a real mystery. It does not appear to have been a personal message. I therefore have to call a penalty.

Interference, de Villiers  !

Replay: "The actual points in this post of yours nowhere near adequately
address the challenges I put to you and your assertions are becoming
increasingly bizarre"

Proper format: excise the "you" part. Don't call your discussant bizarre.

That's a 15-yarder.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
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----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Rob de Villiers <robbitgrey@googlemail.com>
To: whoooo26505@yahoo.com
Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2009 9:34:02 AM
Subject: Re: New reply to [Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule by jrstern


Josh,

Just a quickie to put you in the picture... concerning:



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Re: [Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule by jrstern [message #1209 is a reply to message #1192] Mon, 21 September 2009 09:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
robdev is currently offline  robdev
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Sean,

> Proper format: excise the "you" part. Don't call your discussant bizarre.

Quite right. Point taken!

And thanks for sorting out the posting mess. As Neil says:
"That probably depends on the particular way that the sender
of the message managed to screw up."

Quite so. Embarassed Don't even know how I did it. At some point
must have hit the wrong button or hyperlink.

Regards,



Rob
Re: [Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1221 is a reply to message #1126] Tue, 22 September 2009 14:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
robdev is currently offline  robdev
Messages: 13
Registered: September 2009
Location: UK
Junior Member
Josh,

concerning:

> When I have a sufficient explanation of computation,
> I'll let you know what I think about whether cognition
> is computation.

What more do you need by way of an explanation
of computation (as done by computers) than what you already
have courtesy of the the theory of Turing Machines, General
Recursive Functions etc., and the mechanics of solid state
devices, etc... ?? What remains mysterious, unexplained?
How they "really" work? What is "really" "going on"?
Well what is that to an avowed nominalist? ...rather
than a Platonist!
(What more do you need by way of an explanation of how
motorbikes work than Newtonian mechanics, and a bit
rudimentary chemistry, electrics and materials science?
A GUT from Murray Gell-Mann?)

Or is it just that computers throw you into
conceptual confusion? ... because you feel
they must explain "something more" and insist on
trying to derive your understanding of that
something and everything else related to rules
and normativity from these machines? Because
some of us talk as if they follow rules
and engage in normative and sentient activities?
Children talk about their dolls as being happy,
sad, hungry, etc ... we talk about our cars
as refusing to start or trying to get
up hills, etc... Do we need to explain happines,
stubbornness, striving... by reference to dolls
or motor cars?




Rob
[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1223 is a reply to message #955] Tue, 22 September 2009 15:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Rob de Villiers <wittrs@...> wrote:
> > When I have a sufficient explanation of computation,
> > I'll let you know what I think about whether cognition
> > is computation.
>
> What more do you need by way of an explanation
> of computation (as done by computers) than what you already
> have courtesy of the the theory of Turing Machines, General
> Recursive Functions etc., and the mechanics of solid state
> devices, etc... ??

Not much, really.

Just life, the universe, and everything.

You can probably browse back on my messages in
just this forum for more, but let me answer by asking
instead.

What do you think of the relationship of Turing
and Wittgenstein? Do you see any basis in Wittgenstein
for Turing's writings, and do you think Wittgenstein was
right in his reactions, in RFM and PI, towards Turing
and rules in general?

What do you think of Searle's distinction between
weak and strong AI, and his Wordstar parable - are
his arguments coherent, correct, and what would be
needed to change the conclusions? Or if we accept
his conclusions, what further does that imply about
computation?

and for good luck,

What do you think of Dennett's theory of intentionality
as a stance?

--

I'll tell you what, let's combine these into a Wittgenstein-
specific synthesis.

How is it, in Wittgensteinian terms, that we seem to find
a computer is a useful object?

(Now, apparently a perfectly acceptable orthodox Wittgensteinian
response is to say, "oh, it has the right grammar!", but that
falls prey to the Wordstar argument - doesn't it?)

Josh



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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1230 is a reply to message #955] Wed, 23 September 2009 01:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
iro3isdx is currently offline  iro3isdx
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Rob de Villiers <wittrs@...> wrote:


> What more do you need by way of an explanation
> of computation (as done by computers) than what you already
> have courtesy of the the theory of Turing Machines, General
> Recursive Functions etc., and the mechanics of solid state
> devices, etc... ??

That's sufficient, in my opinion. Josh apparently disagrees.

The problem arises because some people like to say strange things such
as "the brain is computing". And then other people, quite reasonably,
ask what it means to say "the brain is computing". In my opinion, it
doesn't mean anything. To say "the brain is computing" tells us no
more than to say "the brain is playing tiddlywinks" or "the brain is
playing trivial pursuit".

Regards,
Neil


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Re: [Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1247 is a reply to message #1223] Thu, 24 September 2009 06:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
robdev is currently offline  robdev
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Josh,

"Just life, the universe, and everything."

As you well know, the answer is ... 42.

Very pressed for time, and will try to
respond properly one of these days...

Some aquaintance with Dennet, Searle, not
overly convinced... ingenious, but I always
feel I smell a rat ... or several rats... and
usually lack the time and tallent to flush
them out.

Have you read _Neuroscience and Philosophy_
(Columbia Uni press) the account of the Bennett,
Dennett, Hacker, Searle debate ... I think
many of the fundamental issues are brought into
fairly clear focus there.

Will try return to our threads a.s.a.p.



Rob
[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1248 is a reply to message #955] Thu, 24 September 2009 10:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Rob de Villiers <wittrs@...> wrote:
>
> Josh,
>
> "Just life, the universe, and everything."
>
> As you well know, the answer is ... 42.
>
> Very pressed for time, and will try to
> respond properly one of these days...
>
> Some aquaintance with Dennet, Searle, not
> overly convinced... ingenious, but I always
> feel I smell a rat ... or several rats... and
> usually lack the time and tallent to flush
> them out.

Well, flushing those white mice is a part of my
computationalism project.


> Have you read _Neuroscience and Philosophy_
> (Columbia Uni press) the account of the Bennett,
> Dennett, Hacker, Searle debate ... I think
> many of the fundamental issues are brought into
> fairly clear focus there.

Had not seen that book, will probably pick it up.

Of course, I have read most of the Bennett and Hacker book,
ten books by Dennett, and five books by Searle. Of these,
Dennett is closest to what I'm trying to do, especially in is
latest books - so it would be interesting to see what he says
in this volume.

So, did you find any of these people advancing a theory
that you found convincing?


But even Dennett talks about minds, and computational models, or AI,
without stopping to look again at the basis in computation.

Was reading some more Popper in "Conjectures and Refutations".
Popper's idea of "objective knowledge" is very close to what I seem
to be working towards, and yet when he talks about computers, he
suddenly veers back to the traditional view, basically the same as
yours, that computers are-just.

Thank goodness for Searle's tendentious Wordstar example!

(not that it's entirely unique, but it's handy)


Josh



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Re: [Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1250 is a reply to message #1230] Thu, 24 September 2009 11:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
robdev is currently offline  robdev
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Neil,

> The problem arises because some people like to
> say strange things such as "the brain is computing".
> And then other people, quite reasonably, ask what
> it means to say "the brain is computing". In my
> opinion, it doesn't mean anything.

Indeed & agreed. I gathered you thought as much.
In the other thread I wondered whether Josh had read
the Bennett-Dennett-Hacker-Searle debate published as
Neuroscience & Philosophy....

Regards,

Rob.


Rob
[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1251 is a reply to message #1250] Thu, 24 September 2009 12:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
Messages: 159
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Rob de Villiers <wittrs@...> wrote:
>
> > The problem arises because some people like to
> > say strange things such as "the brain is computing".
> > And then other people, quite reasonably, ask what
> > it means to say "the brain is computing". In my
> > opinion, it doesn't mean anything.
>
> Indeed & agreed. I gathered you thought as much.
> In the other thread I wondered whether Josh had read
> the Bennett-Dennett-Hacker-Searle debate published as
> Neuroscience & Philosophy....

Sure, but gentlemen, might it be an easier question
to ask what it means to say, "my computer is computing"?

Is the answer really, "nothing interesting"?

I know Neil, at least, has expressed some interest in
whether it has a clock driving it - and presumably additional
electrical power, in the kinds of actual chips that we use.

Josh



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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1252 is a reply to message #1251] Thu, 24 September 2009 12:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kirby urner is currently offline  kirby urner
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On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 9:03 AM, jrstern <jrstern@yahoo.com> wrote:
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Rob de Villiers <wittrs@...> wrote:
>>
>> > The problem arises because some people like to
>> > say strange things such as "the brain is computing".
>> > And then other people, quite reasonably, ask what
>> > it means to say "the brain is computing". In my
>> > opinion, it doesn't mean anything.
>>
>> Indeed & agreed. I gathered you thought as much.
>> In the other thread I wondered whether Josh had read
>> the Bennett-Dennett-Hacker-Searle debate published as
>> Neuroscience & Philosophy....
>
> Sure, but gentlemen, might it be an easier question
> to ask what it means to say, "my computer is computing"?
>
> Is the answer really, "nothing interesting"?
>
> I know Neil, at least, has expressed some interest in
> whether it has a clock driving it - and presumably additional
> electrical power, in the kinds of actual chips that we use.
>
> Josh

You need to be more clear on whether humans and machines compete as
computers. If only computers compute, i.e. we've given them the title
and don't stand to compete, then that's less interesting.

My view is closer to:

Humans out-perform computers in so many ways it's not funny, but then
automating drudgery and allowing for errorless operation, provided no
one corrupts the code (always a danger) is a wonderful thing, so it's
the complement of human and machine computing that's a basis of our
way of life i.e. it's not either/or.

That being said, humans are not being "marginalized" by machines as
said machines are the work of humans (we design and understand them,
to a point) whereas humans are a work of nature and therefore way more
capable in ways we hardly begin to understand, though often don't
appreciate.

To the above I would quickly add that humans have never survived as an
only species, have always depended heavily on other animals, so the
computation we call culture (many cultures) is already deeply imbued
with non-human intelligence. Those who lives in cities in
mono-culture with other humans tend to forget this sometimes, although
many of them have pets.

Here in the Pacific Northwest (USA/Canada), we have several cultures
who don't need "stupid science" (the European kind, think
Springer-Verlag) to think in a more animist fashion (closer to
Wittgenstein's way) -- we call it Big Science, noting the record album
by that title.

Kirby

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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1253 is a reply to message #1252] Thu, 24 September 2009 12:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "kirby.urner" <kirby.urner@...> wrote:
>
> > Sure, but gentlemen, might it be an easier question
> > to ask what it means to say, "my computer is computing"?
> >
> > Is the answer really, "nothing interesting"?

Kirby, I can agree to everything you say,
but it hasn't yet answered this question.

You can propose an answer that says in part,
"It is computing when John says it is computing",
but I want *detail* that explains why John takes
his computer to be computing, and this rock,
or Searle's wall paint, NOT to be computing.

I'd really prefer an answer that does not depend
quite so much on John - and I rather think we'll have
one, because once you answer the question *with* John
in sufficient detail, I think John will drop out.

Josh



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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1254 is a reply to message #1251] Thu, 24 September 2009 12:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
iro3isdx is currently offline  iro3isdx
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "jrstern" <jrstern@...> wrote:


> Sure, but gentlemen, might it be an easier question
> to ask what it means to say, "my computer is computing"?

Let's see if I can get close to that issue.

It's election day. And there is this thingy called a "voting machine".
I am supposed to press some buttons on that thingy (manufactured by
Diebold).

Is that thingy a computer, and is what it does computing? Or is that
thingy an inscrutable magic black box which, through means unknown,
announces an "election winner"?

Can we say that an alleged computer is following rules, if the rules
are inscrutable, and there is no way of auditing whether the announced
"election winner" actually corresponds to any agreed following of
rules?


> I know Neil, at least, has expressed some interest in
> whether it has a clock driving it - and presumably additional
> electrical power, in the kinds of actual chips that we use.

But that has to do with a very different issue, such as "can a computer
have original intentionality". It seems not relevant to the current
discussion.

Regards,
Neil


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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1255 is a reply to message #1254] Thu, 24 September 2009 13:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
Messages: 159
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "iro3isdx" <xznwrjnk-evca@...> wrote:
>
>
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "jrstern" <jrstern@> wrote:
>
>
> > Sure, but gentlemen, might it be an easier question
> > to ask what it means to say, "my computer is computing"?
>
> Let's see if I can get close to that issue.
>
> It's election day. And there is this thingy called a "voting
> machine". I am supposed to press some buttons on that thingy
> (manufactured by Diebold).
>
> Is that thingy a computer, and is what it does computing? Or is
> that thingy an inscrutable magic black box which, through means
> unknown, announces an "election winner"?
>
> Can we say that an alleged computer is following rules, if the
> rules are inscrutable, and there is no way of auditing whether the
> announced "election winner" actually corresponds to any agreed
> following of rules?

Apparently you've kept yourself far away from the issue.

Let's start with something where you feel happy stipulating
to the fact that it is a computer.



> > I know Neil, at least, has expressed some interest in
> > whether it has a clock driving it - and presumably additional
> > electrical power, in the kinds of actual chips that we use.
>
> But that has to do with a very different issue, such as "can a
> computer have original intentionality". It seems not relevant to
> the current discussion.

Can a computer have original intentionality, without computing?

Josh



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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1256 is a reply to message #1255] Thu, 24 September 2009 13:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kirby urner is currently offline  kirby urner
Messages: 349
Registered: August 2009
Location: Portland, Oregon
Senior Member
On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 10:12 AM, jrstern <jrstern@yahoo.com> wrote:
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "iro3isdx" <xznwrjnk-evca@...> wrote:

<< snip >>

>> Can we say that an alleged computer is following rules, if  the
>> rules are inscrutable, and there is no way of auditing whether the
>> announced "election winner" actually corresponds  to any agreed
>> following of rules?
>
> Apparently you've kept yourself far away from the issue.
>
> Let's start with something where you feel happy stipulating
> to the fact that it is a computer.
>

I'd say if Microsoft Access is involved, on any level, then the voting
machines have no standing and should not be paid any attention to
whatsoever, but that's just me. Also, the code should be open source
and audited in places like MIT, where geeks still have some pride. I
realize some systems already pass those tests, have nothing in
particular to say about Diebold at this juncture.

I do think the American people are extraordinarily lazy in letting
journalists (especially TV journalists, who've let themselves off the
hook as professional journalists, are just spin doctors half the time)
queue them about when and how to discuss these issues. Doesn't
inspire much confidence, to see how docile these USAers have become,
hardly a land of the free or home of the brave anymore.

>
>
>> > I know Neil, at least, has expressed some interest in
>> > whether it has a clock driving it - and presumably additional
>> > electrical power, in the kinds of actual chips that we use.
>>
>> But that has to do with a very different issue, such as "can a
>> computer have original intentionality".  It seems not relevant to
>> the current discussion.
>
> Can a computer have original intentionality, without computing?
>

Can a computer have a mind of it's own? We talk this way colloquially
sure. But then the mentally retarded overhear (talking about tenured
philosophy professors, mostly) and start trying to gear this discourse
to the "big issues" they care about per their academentia (Mary Daly's
coin) even though the 1800s ended long ago i.e. by "retarded" I mean
"stuck waaaaay in the past" (to the point of manifest irrelevance to
almost everyone but themselves -- plus who can argue with a steady pay
check).

Kirby

> Josh
>
>
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>

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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1257 is a reply to message #1256] Thu, 24 September 2009 13:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kirby urner is currently offline  kirby urner
Messages: 349
Registered: August 2009
Location: Portland, Oregon
Senior Member
On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 10:20 AM, kirby urner <kirby.urner@gmail.com> wrote:

<< SNIP >>

> I do think the American people are extraordinarily lazy in letting
> journalists (especially TV journalists, who've let themselves off the
> hook as professional journalists, are just spin doctors half the time)
> queue them about when and how to discuss these issues.  Doesn't
> inspire much confidence, to see how docile these USAers have become,
> hardly a land of the free or home of the brave anymore.
>

Of course a queue is a data structure, so I should have said "cue" (as
in a stage play -- agents as actors, the best way to understand
computing as well, especially in the age of scripting languages like
Perl, multithreaded etc.).

However, the "pipeline" connotations are apropos, i.e. the docile
USAers just take whatever pops out of the queue and discuss it
frantically, with almost zero self-discipline, and then move on to the
next non-topic, with nothing ever accomplished or decided. What a
waste.

It's because they had no schooling in logic as children and now have
mush for brains. Let's not repeat that with the next generation, is
my attitude as a Silicon Forest exec.

Now I know we're not supposed to raise the issue of credentials here,
but on another list I won't talk global warming because I only respect
what Dutch engineers have to say on that topic (for obvious reasons).

Neoliberal USAers, bristling with ill-informed opinions on all manner
of topics, are not the people I'm trained to listen to (or obey), so I
tend to tune out a lot of that global warming stuff as it boils down
to neo-Victorian guilt-tripping or some other immaturity (stilted
development) owing to WBMS ("white mans burden syndrome" -- neatly
captured by R. Kipling).

Not that all USAers are whiny infantile guilt trippy white neoliberal
knee-jerks, but a lot of 'em are (neocon and neoliberal are closely
associated in my geopolitical analysis).

Kirby

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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1258 is a reply to message #1256] Thu, 24 September 2009 13:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
Messages: 159
Registered: August 2009
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, kirby urner <kirby.urner@...> wrote:
>

> > Can a computer have original intentionality, without computing?
>
> Can a computer have a mind of it's own?

If it's not turned on, then I think not.

After that, it gets fuzzy.

Josh




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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1260 is a reply to message #1258] Thu, 24 September 2009 14:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kirby urner is currently offline  kirby urner
Messages: 349
Registered: August 2009
Location: Portland, Oregon
Senior Member
On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 10:34 AM, jrstern <jrstern@yahoo.com> wrote:
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, kirby urner <kirby.urner@...> wrote:
>>
>
>> > Can a computer have original intentionality, without computing?
>>
>> Can a computer have a mind of it's own?
>
> If it's not turned on, then I think not.
>
> After that, it gets fuzzy.
>

Can we leave it fuzzy?

In my experience, faux precision ("the cure") is often far worse than
the "illness" (since when was fuzzy an exclusively negative
attribute?).

Beware of Anglophone folk who complain of "woolly mindedness" all the
time (in themselves or in others -- a projected sin). Not all of us
are sheep herders.

> Josh
>
>
>
>
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>
>

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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1262 is a reply to message #1260] Thu, 24 September 2009 16:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
Messages: 159
Registered: August 2009
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, kirby urner <kirby.urner@...> wrote:
>
> On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 10:34 AM, jrstern <jrstern@...> wrote:
> > --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, kirby urner <kirby.urner@> wrote:
> >>
> >
> >> > Can a computer have original intentionality, without computing?
> >>
> >> Can a computer have a mind of it's own?
> >
> > If it's not turned on, then I think not.
> >
> > After that, it gets fuzzy.
> >
>
> Can we leave it fuzzy?

No.

> In my experience, faux precision ("the cure") is often far worse
> than the "illness" (since when was fuzzy an exclusively negative
> attribute?).

Can I please speak again with your evil twin,
the one who writes computer programs?

Of course it's not precision as such that we seek,
so much as specificity ... perhaps that is the proper
Wittgensteinian grammar for the issues.

Josh



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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1263 is a reply to message #1262] Thu, 24 September 2009 18:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kirby urner is currently offline  kirby urner
Messages: 349
Registered: August 2009
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Senior Member
On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 1:38 PM, jrstern <jrstern@yahoo.com> wrote:
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, kirby urner <kirby.urner@...> wrote:
>>
>> On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 10:34 AM, jrstern <jrstern@...> wrote:
>> > --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, kirby urner <kirby.urner@> wrote:
>> >>
>> >
>> >> > Can a computer have original intentionality, without computing?
>> >>
>> >> Can a computer have a mind of it's own?
>> >
>> > If it's not turned on, then I think not.
>> >
>> > After that, it gets fuzzy.
>> >
>>
>> Can we leave it fuzzy?
>
> No.
>

I didn't define "we" though. Maybe we can, but you and yours can't?

>> In my experience, faux precision ("the cure") is often far worse
>> than the "illness" (since when was fuzzy an exclusively  negative
>> attribute?).
>
> Can I please speak again with your evil twin,
> the one who writes computer programs?
>

Sure, here I am.

> Of course it's not precision as such that we seek,
> so much as specificity ... perhaps that is the proper
> Wittgensteinian grammar for the issues.
>
> Josh
>

I don't see the big mystery. A computer is like a puppet theater on
steroids, with human business rules, processing procedures, encoded to
run on their own. The ATM does what the bank teller used to do,
except doesn't hear any gossip, so in terms of banks "keeping tabs",
that doesn't happen so much as it used to (most bankers read the same
financial press as anyone i.e. have no clue).

I'm not persuaded there are any deep questions in this area, except
what jobs are more properly left to humans, and I can think of a great
many. It's about getting the right mix, that concerns me as a systems
designer. Where do you want to take the drudgery out, and where is
getting it right more important than being boring work? If you need
to pay a human to do what a human is better at, then do so.

I guess I'll take a ball in your court attitude i.e. what do you think
remains to be explained? You intimate you're aware of some giant
holes in human knowledge, but I'm not sure where you're looking or
what you're seeing on the other side of that porous membrane, if
anything.

Kirby


>
>
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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1264 is a reply to message #1263] Thu, 24 September 2009 18:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
Messages: 159
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, kirby urner <kirby.urner@...> wrote:
>
> >> Can we leave it fuzzy?
> >
> > No.
>
> I didn't define "we" though. Maybe we can, but you and yours can't?

Well of course, many people can leave it fuzzy, since I guess
everyone always has.

In such a situation, I suppose it's a good personality
trait to love fuzzy.


> > Can I please speak again with your evil twin,
> > the one who writes computer programs?
>
> Sure, here I am.

OK, evil twin, how do you get along with your good twin,
when you talk about whether, when, or how to leave things fuzzy in
your computer programs? When you make something specific, like
that employee = "Smith, John, 223-55-1212", does he come in and
say rude things to you?


> > Of course it's not precision as such that we seek,
> > so much as specificity ... perhaps that is the proper
> > Wittgensteinian grammar for the issues.
>
> I don't see the big mystery.

Good, stay out of the Total Perspective Vortex.


> A computer is like a puppet theater on
> steroids, with human business rules, processing procedures, encoded
> to run on their own.

But tell me, I ask and ask, and the question apparently does not
parse to most people, HOW is it a computer can do these things?

The only answer I ever get is, "Uh, it just does".

Even the answer, "By correspondence" is not really sufficient.

How is it, a computer can *be* correspondent?

I suppose this question is a bit of just why Wittgenstein could
afford to be as skeptical as he was of rules. He couldn't really
answer the question, either. But then, he wasn't posed the task
of understanding and explaining how computers compute. Given the
question by Turing, he brushed it off. So of course, anyone
especially on a Wittgenstein list, should feel privileged to follow
in these footsteps, ... except the question doesn't go away.

Assuming there really is a coherent question here, capable of a
coherent answer, I suggest that most of the question, and most of
the answer, and maybe all of both (but I think not), are the same
as the ancient questions of how this all works for language generally
and writing in particular.

Moving the question to computation adds the challenge of explaining
how the machinery is relevant or interesting, as well as the
linguistic marks or strings or what have you. And I think the
additional challenge may through some new light on the old question.

And so, I focus on the computational question, much like the doctor
who can't cure the common cold, but if it turns into pneumonia, that
he has a treatment for!

Josh



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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1266 is a reply to message #1264] Thu, 24 September 2009 19:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kirby urner is currently offline  kirby urner
Messages: 349
Registered: August 2009
Location: Portland, Oregon
Senior Member
On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 3:22 PM, jrstern <jrstern@yahoo.com> wrote:
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, kirby urner <kirby.urner@...> wrote:
>>
>> >> Can we leave it fuzzy?
>> >
>> > No.
>>
>> I didn't define "we" though.  Maybe we can, but you and yours can't?
>
> Well of course, many people can leave it fuzzy, since I guess
> everyone always has.
>
> In such a situation, I suppose it's a good personality
> trait to love fuzzy.
>

I didn't say anything about "loving fuzzy" so much as allowing
(tolerating) some level of fuzziness in areas where language hasn't
resolved because it hasn't needed to i.e. faux precision is often just
a lot of jumping the gun and trying to get there before we get there.
It's a fun way to be precise, and very wrong, both at the same time.

>
>> > Can I please speak again with your evil twin,
>> > the one who writes computer programs?
>>
>> Sure, here I am.
>
> OK, evil twin, how do you get along with your good twin,
> when you talk about whether, when, or how to leave things fuzzy in
> your computer programs?  When you make something specific, like
> that employee = "Smith, John, 223-55-1212", does he come in and
> say rude things to you?
>

I already acknowledged the advantages of making zero clerical errors
while handling 40K cases a month tirelessly, with no breaks or down
time. Such is the AI bot: your perfect slave.

Not every task is amenable to shifting onto a "work force" of this
nature, but those tasks that are so amenable, tend to be, freeing
humans to focus on what they're better at doing.

It's a win-win situation of managed well, but then what there's a
shortage of is precisely competent management on the human side. Why?
For one thing, they wallow in ignorance about computers.

Television hardly helps as screenwriters do whatever they like around
computers to thicken their plots.

Given it's certified fiction, there's no obligation to tell the truth
about anything (USA TV is mostly a way of lying to people these days,
i.e. 80% outright fiction, 19% half-truths, and the docile herd eats
it up, mostly without question (OK, pseudo-questions abound, planted
by the liars themselves)).

>
>> > Of course it's not precision as such that we seek,
>> > so much as specificity ... perhaps that is the proper
>> > Wittgensteinian grammar for the issues.
>>
>> I don't see the big mystery.
>
> Good, stay out of the Total Perspective Vortex.
>

OK, I'll do that. I'm thinking of Sean's coaching now... (remarks swallowed).

>
>> A computer is like a puppet theater on
>> steroids, with human business rules, processing procedures, encoded
>> to run on their own.
>
> But tell me, I ask and ask, and the question apparently does not
> parse to most people, HOW is it a computer can do these things?
>

Little scripts get coiled up in memory and fire when triggered, by
mouse clicks or whatever. Think of little scrolls tucked in pigeon
holes with rules going: if this happen, then run script B, if that
happens, run script C. No big deal. Yes, it all happens quickly
(potentially) and over the Internet.

Most people don't even know what Apache is, i.e. are gibbering idiots
when it comes to computers, but that's OK. I'm a gibbering idiot when
it comes to ice hockey and most card games.

I'm reprogrammable though (accept upgrades), so next time we talk, I
might know a lot more about both of these topics.

Likewise, just because most people are gibbering idiots about
computers today, doesn't mean they have to stay that way. Television
*could* be more educational, as well as more entertaining.

We just need more serious artists and designing engineers with
imagination, fewer obnoxious money-grubbers with little talent who
wanna just write the next "war on terror" cop show thriller
(snicker... snore).

> The only answer I ever get is, "Uh, it just does".
>

Gosh, you must not hang around the geeks I do. They'll regale you
with any amount of information along these lines, always eager to fill
you in.

> Even the answer, "By correspondence" is not really sufficient.
>

I've never heard that explanation from a real geek.

> How is it, a computer can *be* correspondent?
>

You mean like a letter writer? A pen pal of some kind? Like talking to ELIZA?

> I suppose this question is a bit of just why Wittgenstein could
> afford to be as skeptical as he was of rules.  He couldn't really
> answer the question, either.  But then, he wasn't posed the task
> of understanding and explaining how computers compute.  Given the
> question by Turing, he brushed it off.  So of course, anyone
> especially on a Wittgenstein list, should feel privileged to follow
> in these footsteps, ... except the question doesn't go away.

I'm not seeing any questions yet. Yes, ignorant slobs can't talk
knowledgeably about how computers work. So what though?

>
> Assuming there really is a coherent question here, capable of a
> coherent answer, I suggest that most of the question, and most of
> the answer, and maybe all of both (but I think not), are the same
> as the ancient questions of how this all works for language generally
> and writing in particular.
>

You're assuming a lot. What's the question again?

> Moving the question to computation adds the challenge of explaining
> how the machinery is relevant or interesting, as well as the
> linguistic marks or strings or what have you.  And I think the
> additional challenge may through some new light on the old question.
>
> And so, I focus on the computational question, much like the doctor
> who can't cure the common cold, but if it turns into pneumonia, that
> he has a treatment for!
>
> Josh

Noting the reflexive "he" for "doctor" (diversity panelists nodding)...

Other than that, I'm still not getting it.

Are you ever going to pull back the curtain and reveal what's really
bugging you? I hear the tone of a question, but I've yet to tune in
the substance of your query. Go ahead and treat me as slow, but
dogged, willing to learn.

Kirby

>
>
>
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>
>

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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1269 is a reply to message #1255] Thu, 24 September 2009 20:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
iro3isdx is currently offline  iro3isdx
Messages: 119
Registered: August 2009
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "jrstern" <jrstern@...> wrote:


> Let's start with something where you feel happy stipulating
> to the fact that it is a computer.

You seem to have missed the point I was trying to make, though my post
seems to have stirred up discussion.


> Can a computer have original intentionality, without computing?

Our current computers cannot have original intentionality with or
without computing. And if we found a way of designing one that did
have original intentionality, then we would probably find that it was
not nearly as useful for us as our current computers.

Regards,
Neil


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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1271 is a reply to message #1266] Thu, 24 September 2009 21:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
Messages: 159
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, kirby urner <kirby.urner@...> wrote:

> Other than that, I'm still not getting it.

-------> How is it, a computer can *be* correspondent?

I believe that if I went over to the local university, which has its
own local styles, and supplied sufficient motivations to the
philosophy faculty to address the issue (which I doubt they would
ever take up by choice), and brought up these questions, for them it
would come down to something like this, a correspondence theory of
utility.

Or, "representational" theory, Fodor prefers "representational",
which may be a tiny bit different in connotation. But of course
we don't want to get caught up too much on just which word is
used, feel free to choose another or make one up if that helps.

But HOW is it, that the computer can make memory address 0x12345678
"correspond" to the name and/or reality (and just what *is* being
done, name, reality, or something else?) of employee #777? The
philosophy staff mostly loses interest at that point, which I think
is exactly the wrong point at which to drop things.

Yes, I know, this comes across to most like a three year old who
never stops asking "why?" no matter what is said. And any good
geek should be able to give a pretty good answer, though it might
take a bit of saying to complete it. So, take the time, or find
a geek and offer him/her/it/declines-to-state sufficient Jolt Cola
or other inducement so that they might take the time, and play with
just that exercise.

It's a mostly mechanical question, which calls for a mostly
mechanical answer. Hey, I'm trying to avoid the exercise myself,
because I think I know my own geeky answer, and the long answer
still needs analysis to understand just what it is that the answer
really says, what all the other cases are that should be considered
the proper "family resemblance" and grammar of the real problem
here, and the real solutions ("real" being a term of art here,
meaning a workable theory, not any kind of absolute).

-------> How is it, a computer can *be* correspondent?

Or, put negatively, is Searle right, that the paint on his wall
can be correspondent to whatever it needs to correspond to, in order
to be running Wordstar?

Per Sean, I guess we could say that the correspondence is via
anthropological and cognitive processes.

But anyone who writes computer programs knows this runaround,
that we get all day long from people who deal with the world and
not with computers, they define things in terms of other things,
and do not provide the level of specificity that allows computer
programs to work, even on those simple things in the world on which
computer programs DO work. And so, we cannot be put off too much
by this familiar runaround, or we would never have even the simplest
particular programs. And, is someone's own computer programming
experience and expertise even helpful, if one is an expert in some
real world thing, say choosing a wine, and one wants to help another
person write a program (an "expert system") for wine selection?
Nope. We tend to be very poor at the proper introspection. The
processes are "occult", literally, for occult means "hidden".

IOW, the computer programmer should be in possession of a grammar
that reduces many things (perhaps not ALL things, then again, perhaps
yes ALL things) to just those hard and fast rules that a computer
can deal with. So, just within that range of things that a computer
can deal with, let us look at the process in excruciating detail,
in the hope of finding the universe in the lotus seed, or in a
piece of fairy cake (Douglas Adams version).

Josh



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[Wittrs] Re: Following a Rule [message #1272 is a reply to message #1269] Thu, 24 September 2009 22:12 Go to previous message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
Messages: 159
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "iro3isdx" <xznwrjnk-evca@...> wrote:
>
> --- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "jrstern" <jrstern@> wrote:
>
> > Let's start with something where you feel happy stipulating
> > to the fact that it is a computer.
>
> You seem to have missed the point I was trying to make, though my
> post seems to have stirred up discussion.

Well, then I've still missed it, discussion and all.


> > Can a computer have original intentionality, without computing?
>
> Our current computers cannot have original intentionality with or
> without computing.

We agree on half, then.

And I wasn't arguing the other half at the moment.


Josh




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