21.306 what's different now?

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 06:31:53 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 21, No. 306.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 19:03:48 +0100
         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
         Subject: what's different now?

In "Mind and Matter", Bertrand Russell writes as follows:

>When you offer a coin to an automatic machine, it reacts precisely
>as it has done on former occasions. It does not get to know that the
>offer of a coin means a desire for a ticket, or whatever it may be,
>and it reacts no more promptly than it did before. The man at the
>ticket office, on the contrary, learns from experience to react more
>quickly and to less direct stimuli. This is what leads us to call
>him intelligent. It is this sort of thing which is the essence of
>memory. You see a certain person, and he makes a certain remark. The
>next time you see him you remember the remark. This is essentially
>analogous to the fact that when you see an object that looks hard,
>you expect a certain kind of tactile sensation if you touch it. This
>is the sort of thing that distinguishes an experience from a mere
>happening. The automatic machine has no experience; the man at the
>ticket office has experience. This means that a given stimulus
>produces always the same reaction in the machine, but different
>reactions in the man. (Portraits from Memory, 1958/1956, p. 148)

My question is this: if you were writing this passage today and
wanted to make the sort of distinction Russell is making, what would
you write?


Willard McCarty | Professor of Humanities Computing | Centre for
Computing in the Humanities | King's College London |
http://staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/. Et sic in infinitum (Fludd 1617, p. 26).
Received on Tue Oct 23 2007 - 01:57:22 EDT

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