By Paul M. Churchland
If we're to resolve the significant difficulties within the philosophy of technology, Paul Churchland argues, we needs to draw seriously at the assets of the rising sciences of the mind-brain. A Neurocomputationial Perspective illustrates the fertility of the suggestions and information drawn from the examine of the mind and of synthetic networks that version the mind. those suggestions convey unforeseen coherence to scattered matters within the philosophy of technological know-how, new suggestions to previous philosophical difficulties, and new chances for the company of technology itself.
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I hope to deflate the appeal of such m oves below . The secon d thread con cern s the abstract nature of FP. The central claim of functionalism is that the principles of FP characterize our internal states in a fashion that m akes no reference to their intrinsic nature or physical constitution. R ather, they are characterized in term s of the netw ork of causal relations they bear to one another and to sen sory circum stances and overt behavior. Given its abstract specification, that internal econom y m ay therefore be realized in a nom ically h eterogen eou s variety of physical system s.
The intuitions evoked above seem to confound functionalist pretensions. The objec tion to functionalism is that w hen the inversion victim has that sen sa tion w hose functional properties indicate pleasure, he is in fa c t fee lin g pain, functional properties notw ithstanding; and that w hen the victim of a sp ectrum inversion says, "I have a sensation of g re e n " in the p resen ce of a green object, he is in fa c t having a sensation o f red, func tional properties notw ithstanding. So far as type identity of p sy ch o logical states is concerned, the objection concludes, sam eness of qualitative ch aracter dom inates over sam eness of functional role.
It rem ains possible that they all have som e intrinsic nonphysical nature in com m on. But dualism is profoundly implausible on sheer evolutionary grounds. (Briefly, the evolutionary p rocess just is the diachronic articulation of physical m atter and energy. If w e accept an evolutionary origin for ourselves, then our special capacities m ust be con stru ed as the capacities of one particular articulation of m atter and energy. ) In sum , the em pirical presum ption against natural-kind status for psychological states is substantial.
A Neurocomputational Perspective: The Nature of Mind and the Structure of Science by Paul M. Churchland