Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Discussing social constructionism with my daughter

She looked at me gravely. “Without me pointing at the same things as you do, without this intersubjectivity, how could there be any referential meaning?” she said. “You would not know that this situation is reality, if not for another, independent person to confirm it.”

I looked into her alert baby eyes and suddenly realized that my 14month old daughter is unlikely to express this stupid argument so eloquently. Argh, one of these dreams again! But I love the way my impertinent referentialist daughter lost the argument against her anti-realist dad.
As I awake from a dream turned lucid, I feel both exhilarated and the pang of melancholy of not yet being able to have that conversation with her nascent mind.

Computationalist Essentialism

True Computation is only possible in a silicon substrate. Brains cannot compute. It might look as if a brain could compute, but brains can only simulate computation. Obviously, nature is not able to imitate the computation feats of a silicon processor, but just as a thought experiment, some philosophers have suggested that a brain could take in the same inputs as a silicon chip, and return the same results. But that would not be True Computation. Just as a simulated thunderstorm cannot make you wet, and simulated money cannot make you rich, simulated computation lacks an essential element that can only be supplied by the intrinsic powers of silicon transistors.