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Sunday, January 18, 2004
One for Weinberger
So there I was a couple mornings ago, browsing through the Blackwell Dictionary of Philosophical Quotations for references to solipsism, which for some reason, turn out to be damned hard to locate in the general literature, when mirabile dictu, I came across the following. I immediately called Don and read it to him, which produced the desired (and suspected) effect of sardonic chucking. I figured he was among the very few who might -- as we are wont to say these latter days (stupidly, though I've said it myself) -- get it. But I know another who will get it too. So this one's for you Dr. Weimeraner!
"...acceptance of the computational theory of the mind leads to a sort of methodological solipsism as a part of the research strategy of contemporary cognitive psychology... My point, then, is of course not that solipsism is true; it's just that truth, reference and the rest of the semantic notions aren't psychological categories. What they are: they're modes of Dasein. I don't know what Dasein is, but I'm sure that there's lots of it around, and I'm sure that you and I and Cincinnati have all got it. What more do you want?"
Pretty funny, no? But I'll tell you what more I want. I want these fucking AI freaks to eat shit and die. Yes, that would please me no end. For instance, Amazon Top 100 reviewer Lee Carlson can bite my crank. Here's a clip from his review of the book from which the above quote was taken, to wit, RePresentations: Philosophical Essays on the Foundations of Cognitive Science by Jerry Fodor. The book was published by MIT Press in 1981. Keep that date in mind. Carlson's review, excerpted below, is dated December 18, 2002.
"...developments in A.I. may indeed make these discussion [sic] not as vacuous as they currently are, and so it may in some sense be helpful to analyze some of these arguments, with also the hope that they can shed light on the nature of intelligence and help those who are interested in the building of an artificial mind.
Carlson also wrote a 2-star review of The Cult of Information: A Neo-Luddite Treatise on High Tech, Artificial Intelligence, and the True Art of Thinking by Theodore Roszak, which ends thusly:
When philosophers see the rise of thinking machines in the near future, their philosophical theories will have to adapt themselves to the abilities of these machines. And the machines themselves will have their own (unique) theories about their abilities."
"One can imagine... the possibility that the machines will themselves begin to write books that offer arguments for the intelligence of their authors. Such a prospect is awesome."
Yeah, whoa, awesome, dude! You fucking moron. Not that Roszak is any pal of mine. But I dislike him for diametrically different reasons than does our Top-100 Mr. Carlson. Like say, Roszak's delusional Gaia-mongering New Age ecopsychology claptrap.
But that's another story, not the one we're telling here. Just a little vitriolic side trip. They're so hard to resist. But you did remember the date Jerry Fodor wrote RePresentations, didn't you? I knew it. You forgot. It was 1981. And this is important because why? It's important because in 2000, a couple years before the above-quoted review by Mr. Carlson (hereinafter, if at all, the dumb cunt), MIT published another book by Fodor called The Mind Doesn't Work That Way, which you would not be wrong in thinking was a fully intended slam on Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works. (You still tracking here, Frederick?)
So here's a bit of what Fodor had to say nearly 20 years later...
"There is, in short, every reason to suppose that the Computational Theory [of Mind] is part of the truth about cognition.
I must study Fodor more closely, as he has clearly mastered the knack of royally pissing off entire disciplines without using my kind of, shall we say, questionable language. Allow me to just comment about the passage above: HOOOO WEEEE! Jerry, you a regula motha fucka!
But it hadn't occurred to me that anyone could think that it's a very large part of the truth; still less that it's within miles of being the whole story of how the mind works. (Practitioners of artificial intelligence have sometimes said things that suggest they harbor such convictions. But, even by its own account, AI was generally supposed to be about engineering, not about science; and certainly not about philosophy.)" [p. 1; italics in original]
But it gets even better. For me, anyway. Not sure if it'll be good for you too. I guess I should first explain that Fodor was among the original founders of cognitive psychology, which was a big deal at the time (the beginning of the '60s, roughly), because before that it was all behaviorism, a la J.B. Watson and that twisted evil bonehead,
B.F. Skinner. Another of the founders was Jerome Bruner. Now, given that I personally despise and detest cognitive psych only a demi-iota less than AI, and for much the same reasons, I was delighted in the early days of the godforsaken year 2003 to stumble across this quote from Bruner in anthropologist Clifford Geertz's
Available Light: Anthropological Reflections on Philosophical Topics, which I just happened to have lying about. The first part is Geertz, the second Bruner...
After awhile, Bruner himself became disenchanted with the Cognitive Revolution, or at least with what it had become. "That revolution," he wrote at the beginning of his 1990 Acts of Meaning, a "goodbye to all that" proclamation of a new direction,
was intended to bring "mind" back into the human sciences after a long and cold winter of objectivism... [But it] has now been diverted into issues that are marginal to the impulse that brought it into being. Instead, it has been technicalized in a manner that undermines that original impulse. This is not to say that it has failed: far from it, for cognitive science must surely be among the leading growth shares on the academic bourse. It may rather be that it has become diverted by success, a success whose technological virtuosity has cost dear. Some critics... even argue that the new cognitive science, the child of the revolution, has gained its technical success at the price of dehumanizing the very concept of mind it had sought to reestablish in psychology, and that it has thereby estranged itself from the other human sciences and the humanities." [from Available Light, page 189]
I don't know quite how I got here from Fodor's funny take on Dasein. But since I did -- everything being connected to everything --- here's another little factoid you probably never thought about, even if, like David Weinberger but unlike myself, you did read Heidegger. Literally translated, Dasein means...
and so, in conclusion,
if you see Raphael,
you tell that asshole...
that the intertext is alive and kicking.
same as it ever was.
And I don't know about you,
but I'm about ready for a ham sandwich.
12:52 AM | link |
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"RageBoy: Giving being fucking nuts a good name since 1985."
28 October 2004
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Until a minute ago, I had no photos. I still have no photos to speak of.
I don't even have a camera. But all these people were linking to "my photos."
It was embarassing. It's still embarassing. But I'm used to that.
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