0

If the Mind is associated with a self-organizing system of software ( like in an A.I. system) and the Brain is associated with the system's hardware then it is assumed by many that the Brain causes all the changes and activity of the Mind. Isn't this like saying ,following the analogy , the system's hardware causes all the changes and activity of the self-organizing system of software? If some of the software helps to organize the 'software system' this might be due to parameters written by outside programmers and not necessarily determined by the present hardware.

0

Isn't this like saying ,following the analogy , the system's hardware causes all the changes and activity of the self-organizing system of software?

Based off what you said yes. The brain influences the mind, as Descartes points out in the Meditations, just as the hardware would influence a self-organizing system of software. Typically this is called input, either from our senses from the body to the brain, or through external hardware like microphones and cameras to the main hardware. This is a classic example of the pilot vessel analogy Descartes proposes and deems fallible. Is our body just hardware that our mind the software uses for input? As Descartes answers, not really because we hunger and that has literal effects on our minds ability to think. This draws a stronger correlation between the two which hardware and software would have to simulate in some way.

If some of the software helps to organize the 'software system' this might be due to parameters written by outside programmers and not necessarily determined by the present hardware.

I'm struggling with what you are asking. You seem to be suggesting that the hardware doesn't affect the software, or at least that some external programmer has something to do with it. To the latter of these, yes the programmer of the software would have a large amount to do with how the computer organized itself. The hardware, again I'll emphasize that this is the input like the brain, also plays a part in how the computer organizes itself.

I tried to stick to answering your questions. I would recommend reading Descartes in terms of how he dealt with the Mind/Body problem. The analogy of Brain = Hardware and Mind = Software isn't very black and white considering philosophers and scientist haven't really figured out where the line is drawn between the two or whether there is a line at all... but that's a different question.

| improve this answer | |
1

Yes, to equate the brain to a hardware system and the mind to software; and then say that the brain causes all the changes and activity of the mind is indeed like saying that the system's hardware causes all the changes and activity of the software.

All software is made by programmers, even if the software they made is somehow capable of writing its own software. In such a case, the new software written by the original software would be the intellectual property of the programmer, and not of the original software. Just like a pie made by a pie-making machine would belong to the maker of the machine, and not to the machine.

The same applies to the hardware, it was made by engineers. The problem is perhaps that the analogy is less than perfect and only goes so far.

| improve this answer | |
  • If certain software could write its own software ( which would be the intellectual property of the programmer --although Richard Dawkins implied (I think) that a robot could 'own' its own thoughts ,or programs) regardless of who 'owns' this new software it would be an example of software 'structures' writing new needed software. A Software system changing itself. – user128932 May 5 '14 at 0:08
  • What if the new software written by the original software of a self-reprogramming system was so new the programmers of the system admitted they would never have thought of the 'variations' in the new software ; could these new programs still be considered the intellectual property of the programmers? – user128932 Nov 28 '14 at 7:08
0

My inexpert opinion: I don't know if you can separate "software" from "hardware" in the brain. I'm sure the following is an over simplification, but a better analogy might be that each neuron in the brain is like an independent, biological adding machine that adds up all recent pulse inputs from other neurons connected to it and, depending on its sensitivity at the time, the neuron may fire off its own pulse to still other neurons. The sensitivity of a particular neuron increases with activity over time, and decreases with inactivity. Physical connections between neurons can also increase with increased activity. In this way, the physical structure of the brain can also change with the input it receives over time.

| improve this answer | |
0

The neural activity which is caused by everyday experiences (new brain synapses, for example), can, on the contrary, be seen in your metaphor as the system's software causing (not all, but even) some changes on the activity of the system hardware. Even brain plasticity can be seen that way. Maybe this allow us to see these interactions as an utter process different from the search for the causes and consequences derived from a dual model.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.