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Humanist Archives: June 1, 2019, 6:29 a.m. Humanist 33.61 - the poetic structure of scientific thought

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 61.
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        Date: 2019-05-31 12:04:17+00:00
        From: Jim Rovira 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.57: the poetic structure of scientific thought

I think we really know so little about the subject that there’s no difference
between empirical science and fiction on this question.

Empirical science might someday build a machine that perfectly imitates the
neural connections of a human brain, but it can’t tell us if it’s intelligent
the same way human beings are intelligent. It may assume it is, but that’s a
philosophical presupposition, not a scientific one.

The presupposition here is that the “mind” consists of patterns of electrical
impulses alone, and if we can replicate the patterns, we can replicate the mind.

There’s no empirical support for this belief, however. It’s just as much science
fiction (literally) as anything else.

I’m not saying ignore any area of inquiry, of course. I’m just saying know our

Jim R

Sent from my iPhone

> It seems to me that there are rich openings for important work that
> obscured by this turning away, e.g. on the subject of AI, probing the
> space between technical efforts to build ever better imitations of us
> and theorising safely abstracted from the machinery and the sciences
> involved in building them. We seem to be awash in notions of what lies
> ahead (the revolution so often postponed for technical reasons), some
> of it quite seriously scary. Well-written fiction based on these notions
> tells us a lot about our dreams and nightmares. But for effective
> scholarship we need something else, I think.
> Comments?
> Yours,
> WM

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