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FleshFactor: Re: re: what is a machine?



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A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"
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Generally it would be agreed that machines have been traditionally marked
as articles of use. We humans (as well as some animals) build and use them
for some end or purpose. To situate the human within this set devolves
responsibility (a machine is not responsible as to how or why it is used) 
and furthers a slave-master relationship (a machine is run, or at least is
started up by someone and usually for some purpose in mind)  - in the
future the master being the 4th generation of DNA computers run by
SonyIntelSun USASIA INC., and the slave being everyone else. 

Those who argue that the human is a machine have succumbed to the
proposition that there is only one kind of reason in, and for the world,
and that is instrumental reason.  Everything is only of use value.
Machines embody a necessary conservatism, they function for a purpose.
This is a greedy approach to the generosity of the world and of the human
mind.  It is a slipping of the being into a pure process, a speed of self
that deteriorates the idea of self.  I have no doubt that is what many in
the AI community are proposing - and I don't like it - because humans are
notoriously stupid and in their rush to rationalize they overlook something
apparently small and apparently inconsequential and then ...  There are
many today who see no purpose for the fine arts, for the experimental films
of Stan Brakhage, for the idea of devotion, for contact improvisational
dance, for history, for responsibility or for a nightingale.

Language, especially by philosophers, should not be used sloppily. 
Dennett's position is fixed in cement.  He has uncategorically said - The
human is a machine.  Dennett's error is so human; a confusion of sets and
the hyperbole of 'authority'.  It reveals the unhappy fact that
neurophilosophers are souped up behaviorists and behaviorists - well you
don't want me to get into that. 

Machines are manufactured tools and "tools are artifacts, but they are not
in essence objects. They qualitatively increase a species' possibility of
organizing and controlling the matter-energy in their ecosystem, and their
primary characteristic is that of information. They are forms that inform; 
they are informed because they remember the past and make possible new
types of projections into the future." (Anthony Wilden -"System and
Structure") 

We humans are tool using animals.  That is to say that we are stretched
between a number of worlds.

It is not surprising to find that the world, machines, and our own brains
follow laws of physics and that there can be parallels drawn between how
our computers operate (and may evolve) and how we think and have evolved.
However it a long, treacherous jump from there to the statement that humans
are machines.   (Machines are usually useful, humans rarely so...)

However if one is willing to propose that the world is a tremendous
mathematical construct of one sort or another, if you want to say that the
human is a piece of biological mathematics, a piece of intriguing living
physics within a larger ecology of physics - sure I'll buy that - in fact,
I'll take a dozen.


Oliver Hockenhull

oliver@intergate.bc.ca

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