< script type="text/javascript"> var blogherads = blogherads || {}; blogherads.adq = blogherads.adq || [];

When Daniel Dennett Changes His Mind

Question: When have you changed your mind about something?

Dennett:    Yeah, and fairly recently.  For years, well I’m going to try 2 that really faded.  In my first book, I disparaged models as I said replace the little man on their brain with a committee, I said that seem to only make matters worst, “They are no, no.”  If it’s a committee of dances, each of them does only part of the job that’s far for me he matters [IB] that’s progress and that lead to what’s called by some people homuncular functionalism where you take the whole self, the whole agent the whole person and you break that person down into sub-agencies that are themselves agencies they had their own sort of agendas and they have, they have this information they have is the, you might say they have their own beliefs and desires and they work together to achieve the larger person.  That’s not entirely figured if you talk to someone that’s deeply, deeply predictive and explanatory and here’s where the mistake comes, and I imagine said that we can do a sort of a Russian dolls cascade, we’ve start with these large fancy agents and we make them up out of smaller agents so we make those up by the smaller agents until we get down to an agent that can be replaced by a machine and then we discharged all the homunculus, homunculi, and this is a finite regress, its not an infinite regress and I imagine by the time we got down at the level of the neuron, a neuron was something that can be replaced by a machine.  Well, I think I stopped.  I said that the regress stopped a few stages too early.  I think a neuron is better viewed, a single neuron is better viewed as a little agent of it’s own than it is a sort of selfish agent that the activities of an individual neuron in effect reaching out and then contracting it’s dendritic]branchings.  It’s got some purposes, it’s got some reward systems of its own. It is a little skin area and agents on sorts.  And of course it is an ultimately a machine but it’s also a very much of an agent and that’s something that I’ve recently been thinking about it and I think I was really wrong about that. 

When Daniel Dennett Changes His Mind.

Live on Thursday: Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live this Thursday at 1pm ET.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

New Hubble images add to the dark matter puzzle

The images and our best computer models don't agree.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists can detect the gravitational effects of invisible dark matter.
  • Dark matter causes visual distortions of what's behind it.
  • The greater the distortion, the greater the amount of dark matter. Maybe.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Did our early ancestors boil their food in hot springs?

    Scientists have found evidence of hot springs near sites where ancient hominids settled, long before the control of fire.

    Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
    Culture & Religion
    Some of the oldest remains of early human ancestors have been unearthed in Olduvai Gorge, a rift valley setting in northern Tanzania where anthropologists have discovered fossils of hominids that existed 1.8 million years ago.
    Keep reading Show less

    A new minimoon is headed towards Earth, and it’s not natural

    Astronomers spot an object heading into Earth orbit.

    Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Paitoon Pornsuksomboon/Shutterstock/Big Think
    Surprising Science
  • Small objects such as asteroids get trapped for a time in Earth orbit, becoming "minimoons."
  • Minimoons are typically asteroids, but this one is something else.
  • The new minimoon may be part of an old rocket from the 1960s.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Personal finance: How to save, spend, and think rationally about money

    Finances can be a stressor, regardless of tax bracket. Here are tips for making better money decisions.

    Videos
    • Whether you have a lot of money or a lot of debt, it matters how you handle your personal finances. A crucial step when it comes to saving is to reassess your relationship with money and to learn to adopt a broader, more logical point of view.
    • In this video, social innovator and activist Vicki Robin, psychologist Daniel Kahneman, Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton, and author Bruce Feiler offer advice on achieving financial independence, learning to control your emotions, spending smarter, and teaching children about money.
    • It all starts with education and understanding. The more you know about how money works, the better you will be at avoiding mistakes and the easier it will be to take control of your financial circumstances.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast