Sun, 21 Mar 1999 10:44:46 -0800
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Ben, The tree is not built but grown. The concepts, the language, the tools are all derived from the hard work of many before us.
There are no quantum leaps in the history of innovation, all scientific revolutions must connect what was known in the past to what is learned in the future. We only reinterpret that past, but do not dispose of it. We cannot say that because we now know about "germs", that they never existed in ancient times.
We grow the tree of interpretation but the trunk is the invariant core of language and meaning that cannot be changed in the branches. You cannot define a disembodied branch science and derive a trunk concept like "consciousness" within that branch.
There can be no harmony in such discord.
The programming metaphor you speak of is also apparent to me. A prototype is rarely put into production. But the production program for "consciousness" and other core concepts is not "as" trivial as designing an artificial arm or leg.
In this rare case, the prototype must become the production program. At some point the lower level languages of hacked production programs become insufficient for the higher semantic functions and then we find that the parts cannot be hacked together like a Frankenstein because they all do not speak the same language as the core prototype. The core is a prototype, because the branches always thin away to simple elegance at the top of the tree. I've written some more metaphors to hopefully convince you that this must be so. They are on the new page below.
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