Monday, July 18, 2005

Menuge on Carrier

Angus Menuge offers this in response to Carrier on intentionality.

My reply is: Cognitive science has not discovered but rather has assumed that the brain is a computer, because it is the most advanced, bastract mechanism available for comparison. It is entirely possible that the analogy breaks down in important areas, just as the Newtonian picture of the universe as a clockwork mechanism failed to account for important phenomena, e.g. quantum phenomena. The problem with defining intentiionality as an assignment could not be more severe: assignment is an intentional activity! Furthermore if this assignment is a decision, then while it does seem to be something that an intterpreter of a computer can do, I see no reason to suppose that the computer does it. Computer's match patterns "syntactically" to use Searle's jargon, with no grasp of their meaning. What Carrier describes is perhaps a computer model of intentionality, but it no more has intentionality than a computer simulation of a tornado is a tornadao, or has updrafts, etc. Over and over again, identifying a correlate of X is claimed to be explaining X. I might just as well argue that the urn's being smashed, or my having a head-ache while smashing it explains my smashing it.

Angus