Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Criticism from Ontology: Can a Computer be Conscious?

Because we do not understand the brain very well we are constantly tempted to use the latest technology as a model for trying to understand it. In my childhood we were always assured that the brain was a telephone switchboard. (What else could it be?) I was amused to see that Sherrington, the great British Neuroscientist, thought that the brain worked like a telegraph system. Freud often compared the brain to hydraulic and electromagnetic systems. Leibniz compared it to a mill, and I am told some of the ancient Greeks thought the brain functions like a catapult. At present, obviously, the metaphor is the digital computer.
-John R. Searle, 'Minds, Brains, and Science'

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