X-Message-Number: 10230
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 09:25:54 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #10222 - #10228

Hi everyone!

To Timur Rosenfeld: No. Logic is NOT the means by which we integrate new
knowledge. As for symbols as constructions, I note the proliferation of
languages and now the similar proliferation of computer languages.

While there is room for argument about the exact means by which our brains
work, they very clear do not work by using logic, symbolic or other. It is
true that we may use logic to explain how they work, but that is a 
different issue. Basically, our brains (when their structure and operation
is examined) seem to consist of a set of neural nets connected together,
with one single sequential computer (our awareness) having a kind of 
overall guiding role. I do not believe anyone has even shown that the
different neural nets work by the same principles, though for at least
our cerebral cortex that seems plausible. Lower brain centers may operate
differently. The fact that we have several different kinds of memories, 
if anything, suggests different operation of the neural nets involved.

As to just why we come up with such similar constructions of reality,
there is both our common history and our common brain anatomy. It
remains an interesting question as to whether or not simply a different
history might lead a hypothetical human society to come up with an 
equally technological but wildly different view of the world. If we
suppose different brain anatomies, then that possibility becomes even
more likely... but still not certain. The only answer to that question
may come from finding some other civilization among the stars --- but
then the Fermi paradox suggests that such civilizations will be
few and far between. We might have to look as far as the next Local
Group of galaxies to get any good chance of finding one... and perhaps
not even THAT close.

			Best and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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