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Re: [ontolog-forum] Watch out Watson: Here comes Amazon Machine Learning

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:21:19 -0400
Message-id: <55366AEF.2090806@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 4/20/2015 12:40 PM, Thomas Johnston wrote:
> But it seems to me a very bold assertion that the Churchlands
> and Jerry are such marginal authors.    (01)

I would not call them marginal authors.  And I have cited Fodor on
many occasions (including the venerable Katz & Fodor article of 1963).
I also believe that he has made some good arguments *against* many
competing theories.  Following is one against Paul Churchland:    (02)

    All at sea in semantic space:
    Churchland on meaning similarity.    (03)

I agree with most psychologists and neuroscientists that we cannot
perceive identity.  The best we can do is to perceive similarity
and then infer that the combined evidence (context, background
knowledge, multiple similarities, etc.) is sufficient for identity.    (04)

So I agree with Churchland that similarity is what we perceive,
but I also agree with Fodor that identity is an important concept.    (05)

I also agree that the Churchlands have done some good work at detailed
levels.  But their good work is overshadowed by their most egregiously
foolhardy term 'folk psychology'.    (06)

The greatest minds from antiquity to the present have contributed
very important insights on psychological matters.  To dismiss all
that work with a single catchy phrase is the height of hubris (or
other terms, such as advertising hype to disparage the competition).    (07)

Most neuroscientists admit:  (a) the research of the past half
century has contributed an enormous amount of new information
and insights; (b) every question that's answered opens up even
more puzzles and new questions; and (c) despite all the new
knowledge, nobody really knows how the brain works.    (08)

Conclusion:  Many conflicting theories inspired useful technology
in the AI toolkit.  If the tools are useful for a particular task,
then use them.  Any controversies in the minds of the people who
designed the tools are irrelevant.    (09)

John    (010)

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