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Minds, Brains & Science

About two years ago, a good friend of mine let me borrow a book that he thought I’d like. He was correct.

I’m about halfway through “Minds, Brains and Science” by John Searle.

The book is actually an adaptation of a talk that Mr. Searle gave at the 1984 Reith Lectures. This makes the book pretty short (99 pages, including introduction).

Within the first 40 pages or so, we get the following statements, and a conclusion:

  1. Brains cause minds.
  2. Syntax is not sufficient for semantics.
  3. Computer programs are entirely defined by their formal, or syntactical, structure.
  4. Minds have mental contents; specifically, they have semantic contents.

No computer program by itself is sufficient to give a system a mind. Programs, in short, are not minds, and they are not by themselves sufficient for having minds.

There are a few other conclusions, and half a book left, but that was pretty interesting to me. I can’t help but wonder what this says for the so called Semantic Web that Tim Burners-Lee has dreamt up. Could it be a step in the right direction for true AI?

Oh yeah… you’ll be getting that book back soon. Thanks!

Originally published on Friday August 9, 2002 at 1:09 am

[1] Comment

i forgot i lent that to you! i've got a couple more like that one if you're interested. i'm reading "crypto" by levy right now - it's excellent so far.

wasted said this 18 years, 10 months ago §

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