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yesterday
Turing and the Myth of Universality
There is a strong, not to say absolute belief in the consistency of Turing's thesis, which can be, informally, expressed as such: what a computer can do, any other computer can.
Let us start with the simplest expression of all:

1) 0+1=1

It will be obvious to anyone that any computer worth its silicone, or any other material substrate, will be able to compute (1).
What does that say about universal computing?
Well, that's just it, really. It does not say anything at all. All it shows is that, once the problem has been solved, or at least, put in a form that makes solutions possible, there is no reason to think that it could not be put in a form suitable for a machine. Does that make the machine universal?
I dare say that there is no such beast. I do not know of any universal computer. There are many problems that cannot be solved by computers as we know them, and that has nothing to do with memory capacity or processing speed.
Second, transferring a problem f ... (read more)
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yesterday
In https://arcturantimes.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/consciousness-from-the-bottom-up-speculation-on-the-hard-problem-of-consciousness-and-qualia-2-leaning-on-the-premise/, I try out a speculative way through the hard problem of consciousness and dealing with qualia. It's very incomplete and tentative, but I'd appreciate any feedback or criticisms.
Basically, I take Chalmers's idea of consciousness as a fundamental property, but instead of seeing it as a high-level, emergent property arising from complex information processing, I consider that it might be a low-level input into the full, constructed mind. Specifically, I suggest the qualia might be the direct (not mediated) experience of individual, or small groups of, cells.

Of course, this would push the qualia/consciousness mystery down to the cellular level, but at least it could help explain what is happening in the brain at higher levels of organization!

2016-05-13
Could anyone explain the difference between being part and being member (if any)? References to existing literature are welcome. 
Latest replies: Permanent link: http://philpapers.org/post/15450 Reply

2016-04-24
I told this philosophy joke to some friends, and they think I should tell it to philosophers, but I wonder whether it is already known. Just in case not:

How many homunculi does it take to change a lightbulb?
An infinite number, getting smaller and smaller.
Latest replies: Permanent link: http://philpapers.org/post/15030 Reply

2016-04-22
Quantum Computing: Myth or Reality?

"What I like most in science is science-fiction"
Unknown from the web.

Schrödinger's cat is probably one of the most famous pets in history, right beside Cerberus and Pegasus. I must confess that quantum computing remains largely a mystery, and while researching the subject I could not but notice the lack of any concrete information about what it really entails.
Take the concept of qubit. It has mathematically been defined, and, as far as I can see, mathematicians agree on the definition. Which is certainly good enough for me. But then I wonder, how would a quantum gate or circuit look like?
Well, if you ask this question on the Internet, you get treated to more mathematical formulas.
A very intriguing concept is that of superposition. I have great difficulty in grasping the reality behind it. Let us assume that a bit can be both 1 and 0 at the same time. What good will it do to us if we are not able to get a clear answer after reading it? In other words ... (read more)
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2016-04-19
Freedom of Speech and the Right to Insult

Turkish President Erdogan has filed a complaint against a German comedian who read a poem depicting him committing  sexual acts with animals. A vast majority of the German population consider this as an inalienable right to free-speech. Me? I am certainly not a fan of Erdogan, but I agree with him in this special case. The "comedian" should be legally prosecuted. I must add that I find that journalists detained in Turkish prisons should simply be freed. Criticism is certainly a democratic right. So, what is the difference between the German "perpetrator", and the Turkish victims?
Thousands of people, if not millions, throughout history, have given their lives for the freedom to speak freely. And to this day, hundreds are still dying every day for that same right. What I find absolutely disgusting are parasites who abuse this right and not only seek but also get protection from the Law. And then I wonder. Did all those people in the past die for th ... (read more)
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2016-04-12
If you have any thoughts, comments or questions about this paper, let me know!

2016-04-12
If you have any thoughts, comments or questions about this paper, let me know!

2016-04-12
If you have any thoughts, comments or questions about this paper, let me know!

2016-04-12
If you have any thoughts, comments or questions about this paper, let me know!
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2016-04-06
I recently had a paper on a novel approach to the hard problem rejected after getting to the minor revision stage at a Leiter-ranked journal (disagreement with the referee on a single issue).

I accomplished this with no formal training in philosophy (although I am highly educated in other fields). I understand that making it to the minor revision stage (much less getting published) at a respected journal with no formal training in the field is so rare as to effectively be unheard of. 

Since I am not in academia, the only feedback I have received on the paper are the referee reports. I have resubmitted to another journal but I would greatly value feedback from a prof/postdoc. In that respect, if anyone is interested, please let me know and I will send you a link to the paper. Given the unique circumstances, I would prefer not to post a link to/discuss the paper here so as not to prejudice the ongoing/any future reviews. I would offer to credit any feedback/suggestions that are incorporated ... (read more)

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2016-03-29
My alarm bells went off seeing mention of Al Qaeda and 9/11 in an abstract from 1999. Turns out the DOI and abstract here are not for Keeley's 1999 paper, but for an SSRN working paper by Sunstein and Vermeule from 2008 (which doesn't seem to have a separate philpapers entry). I can delete the abstract from this entry, but I can't find a way to edit the DOI.

What's the best thing for a user like me to do? I could create another entry with the correct DOI (which is 10.2307/2564659)&copy over the information from this one, then edit this one to describe the Sunstein and Vermeule paper, but I feel like there's got to be a better way--especially since that would distort the download stats for the two papers.
Latest replies: Permanent link: http://philpapers.org/post/14402 Reply

2016-03-29
The challenge is very simple: Give a full and explicit proof of the existence of Infinity.There is only one restriction: it is not allowed to refer to "proofs" already known. If you believe Cantor has proved Infinity, you cannot just refer to his work, but have to state explicitly what and how you think he has proved it.
I wish you luck.
Latest replies: Permanent link: http://philpapers.org/post/14398 Reply

2016-03-22

Studies aimed at understanding the construction and probable location of the consciousness (or self) from the biofield emissions at a dying condition?

Are there any recent investigations carried out in connection with biophoton emissions from a dying person? or, at least, do we have investigations on various bio-emissions (which includes EM spectral emissions over various bandwidths) associated with a dying condition? Also, any recent Gas Discharge Visualization (GDV) studies on a dying person?

Suppose, if we are able to detect certain bio-emissions (having the specific bandwidth) other than in the Infra-red (IR) region (which is usually connected to the metabolic activity), then we can associate these emission frequencies to the fundamental oscillations or modes at which communication (both inter- and intra-) happens. These modes can then act as the interface between mind (non-material aspect), body (material aspect) and the environment.

If we want to understand how a material brain coul ... (read more)


2016-03-22
[The idea is to start with a concrete situation, like a mother preparing a meal for an extended family, and discovering numbers in their different form: natural, whole, negative, rational (including radicals), real, imaginary, complex, etc...

Mother is of course an archetype and can include many generations of mothers. There are 12 family members and, to make things simpler, they all eat the same amount of food.  Some kind of grain.]

1) Mother knows how much grain she needs to cook for all of them. She just keeps taking handfuls of grain and putting them in the cooking pan until she is satisfied that it will be enough. She has no way of knowing or naming exact quantities. Her experience as a cook is sufficient for the task. She can also enumerate each family member by name, including herself, while grabbing grain, since she also knows how much each member approximately eats. To be sure she does not forget anyone, or count somebody twice, she starts with Father, then herself, and then with ... (read more)
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2016-03-22
Concerning his recent paper I agree almost 100% but I am more receptive to IIT than Curello. I am arguing in a new paper that it addresses some aspects of consciousness, but not all.
The main problem that Tononi and Koch seem entirely unaware of is that a theory of consciousness that does not address intelligence cannot be a theory of consciousness at all.

Regards,

Eray Ozkural, PhD
Latest replies: Permanent link: http://philpapers.org/post/14266 Reply

2016-03-07
For your review, discussion, and to provide feedback on this paper I have submitted. Thank you. Tim

2016-03-07
How are we to go about evaluating the meaning of a work of art, which in our case is a subset, namely a literary work? In the middle of the 20th century literary criticism was very dependent on the concept of author intention, the notion that the meaning of a literary work was found in the author's view of it, either when it was written or later. This view suggested that authorial intent is paramount in the interpretation of a work's meaning.

This concept was challenged by a revolutionary paper published in 1946 by W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley entitled “The Intentional Fallacy”. The notion behind this essay was that the meaning of the work was not necessarily what was in the writer's mind at the time of writing, or later, but was more to do with what the readers of a work see it as. This argument was advanced by American New Criticism amongst others.

The tenets of "The Intentional Fallacy" have been questioned by a number of people. For example Hirsch has suggested that t ... (read more)
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2016-02-27
Most, if not all the early Church Fathers were schooled in Greek Philosophy. What principles and practices of Christianity would have clashed with their worldviews in general?

2016-02-27
My reasons:
1. Accoding to relative information formula I=log[P(ei|hj)/P(ei)] in classical information theory, if P(ei|hj)2. A lie or wrong prediction is worse than a tautology or contradiction. For example, after master tells kitchener  "Three guests will come to have dinner", actually no guest comes. The master's saying is worse than a tautology or contradiction, because it will bring loss. Yet, according a tautology or contradiction, the kitchener either does nothing or asks for better prediction. 
3. If we code P(E|hj) according to a wrong prabability prediction or likelihood, such as P(E| hk is true) (actually hypothesis hk is wrong), the average codeword length will be H(E|hk)=- sum i P(ei|hj)logP(ei | hk is true)>H(E|hj)- sum i P(ei|hj)logP(ei|hj), which means that the saved average codeword length is negative.

I modify the formula  I=log[P(ei|hj)/P(ei)] into I(ei;hj)=log[P(ei|hj is true)/P(ei)]=log[T(hj|ei)/T(hj) 
where  P is statistical probability, and T(hj|ei) is the true value of p ... (read more)
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