Re: belief, faith, truth

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Thu, 09 Feb 2006 23:58:29 +1100

Tom Caylor writes:

>We can't JUST DO things (like AI). Whenever we DO things, we are THINKING
>ABOUT them. I'd venture to say that HOW WE THINK ABOUT THINGS (e.g.
>philosophy, epistemology, etc.) is even MORE important that DOING THINGS
>(engineering, sales, etc.). That is one way of looking at the advantage
>that we humans have over machines. We have the capability to not just do
>things, but to know why we are doing them. This runs counter to the whole
>PHILOSOPHY (mind you) of modern science, that we are simply machines, and
>that there is no WHY. This modern philosophy, if taken to its extreme, is
>the death of the humanness.

We are definitely machines: machines made of meat. A negative answer to the
question of whether a machine made of semiconductors and wire can ever be
functionally equivalent to a brain, or whether the human mind is
Turing-emulable, does not in itself imply that we are not "simply machines".
And if "we have the capability to not just do things, but to know why we are
doing them", then at least some machines are able to wonder "why". Granted,
common usage of the term "machine" generally excludes living organisms, but
this distinction will be recognised as spurious when we develop
nanotechnology that can copy and surpass any naturally evolved biological

Stathis Papaioannou

Received on Thu Feb 09 2006 - 08:04:10 PST

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