next up previous
Next: What is Computationalism? Up: Computationalism is Dead; Now Previous: Computationalism is Dead; Now

Introduction

Fetzer declares:

Sometimes our professional activities become detached from our life experiences to a degree that might astonish empirical scientists. Our enthusiasm for a theoretical position may even appear to be virtually independent of our experiences in life, which, were they only taken seriously, might completely undermine what we take as our best theories. The computational conception that dominates what is known as ``cognitive science" provides a remarkable illustration of this point. Even if some of our thought processes are computational, most of them are not, which makes our best theory either trivial or false. (p. 1, [11])

Agreed; computationalism is dead.gif Now what?

In this paper I place Jim Fetzer's [11]gif esemplastic burial of the computational conception of mind within the context of both my own burial and the theory of mind I would put in place of this dead doctrine. My view in a nutshell: Computationalism will yield Total Turing Test-passing zombies (in the philosopher's, not The Night of the Living Dead's, sense of `zombie'), but replicating persons will prove unreachable for two reasons. One, persons process information at a ``super"-Turing level; two, they enjoy certain properties (e.g., intentionality, self-consciousness, incorrigibilism, etc.) beyond the reach of any mere information-processing object. Accordingly, computationalism ought to be supplanted with the engineering of ``sub-person" artifacts and the irreducibly philosophical investigation of personhood.gif I end with some tentative appraisal of Fetzer's interesting semiotic/connectionist replacement for computationalism.

The plan of the paper is as follows. In Section 1 I set out a rough-and-ready account of computationalism that draws on Fetzer's [11] and [12]. In Section 2 I encapsulate my position on the Turing Test, which is part of the account offered in Section 1. In Section 3 I synoptically present my position on the rest of this account, and display what I suggest ought to supplant this account as the century turns. Section 4 contains my nascent appraisal of Fetzer's semiotic approach.


next up previous
Next: What is Computationalism? Up: Computationalism is Dead; Now Previous: Computationalism is Dead; Now

Selmer Bringsjord
Tue May 21 00:31:50 EDT 1996