Monthly Archives: January 2004

2 posts

Blockheads and Other Brutes

Ned Block defined a system known today as a Blockhead (“Troubles with Functionalism”, Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science) to illustrate a problem that look-up tables pose for the Turing test. Blockhead is a “stupid” machine that stores all possible conversations within some limited duration and, thus, passes the Turing Test. This is, of course physically impossible, as Frank Tipler argues with back of the envelope calculations in The Physics of Immortality: … the human brain can code as much as 10^15 bits is correct, then since an average book codes about 10^6 bits, it would require more than […]

Philosophy in Runtime

In the past few months I have been challenged to defend computational philosophy, particularly philosophical modeling. Philosophical modeling, like scientific modeling, is a formalization process. However, instead of capturing real-world phenomena, philosophical modeling captures thought experiments. The process of encoding a thought experiment in a formal system is, itself, beneficial in the same way as standard conceptual analysis: hidden assumptions are unburied and seemingly simple ideas yield refined notions. But, in a way, encoding is more honest–the process is not satisfied until you reach a syntactic, algorithmic level of explicitness and, once our intuitions are encoded, further light may be […]