Do eastern and western views differ on questions like "feasibility of computational intelligence"?

Something I thought. I perceive that the western mind is deeply rooted to the existencies of logical principles and particularly first-order logic.

Thus that the computer seems able to "match human mind", sounds like it could be because the western mind is so accustomed to logic.

So I wonder if some eastern philosophies could see equating the mind as computable as somehow problematic? Or is their scientific worldview modernized?

  • Not so deeply, first order logic is a creation of 19th century. You could argue for something much more vague, like rationalism, but there is a long mystical tradition in the West as well (Neoplatonism, Christian mystics, German romantics, late Heidegger). Computational theory of mind is popular because at the moment it is the only viable proposal on the table. There is a lot of resistance to it too, but both cut across the East/West. – Conifold Feb 23 '19 at 13:58
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    The field of AI plows ahead regardless of philosophical objections.. east or west.. religious or otherwise. The truth is that a computer probably can create an intelligence. The current leaders in the field are western. But China is actually investing.orders of magnitude more money on research.. what China lacks currently.is the volume.of training data available from facebook.and google etc. But china has a third of the world to learn from. A sentient.machine.is on the horizon. Elon Musk believes (i agree) that it will happen by accident. Probably in the next few decades. – Richard Feb 23 '19 at 14:33

The difference is not to do with the importance awarded to logic in its domain, but to a different view of the extent of its domain. As Rusi notes Nagarjuna is a good example of an 'Eastern' logician and he is usually considered the second most important teacher in Buddhism. The verse quotes is a result, not an argument, but proceeding it are the arguments.The dialectic has always been taught in the Buddhist universities and logical debate is encouraged.

The difference is to do with there being two very different ways of viewing mind. In the West we tend to elide consciousness and mind and reduce both to computation. In the East this idea is dismissed as contrary to the evidence and falsifiable in logic. Indeed, Nagarjuna refutes it using logic.

The idea that mind is purely a computational function would be rejected, as would the idea that consciousness is reducible to functions.

This is not a good answer but my personal computational circuits appear to be a bit jaded this morning and the topic really deserves an essay.

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  • I think this is an okay answer, because it highlights the essential differences. I've found the western neoplatonism to be unbearable, thus started to look for alternatives. Neoplatonism seems quite naive, considering views in the physical sciences. – mavavilj Feb 23 '19 at 12:15

I think it’s not just the case of western vs eastern mindset. What is computational intelligence? What is intelligence? How can a computer handle these concepts?

So far the state of the art in AI is far from reaching computational intelligence in any case. Machines can’t think, they cannot handle such human concepts yet. They just can handle predictive models, that may provide a Intelligent-ish behavior, but it isn’t really intelligence as it statistical rather than logical and of course it cannot handle metaphysical concepts, nor make inferential thinking.

So the question may be suitable for a stage where computers may handle concepts, but at this current stage it makes no difference, I guess...

Ref: David Lorge Parnas. 2017. The real risks of artificial intelligence. Commun. ACM 60, 10 (September 2017), 27-31. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3132724

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  • If you have any references they would support your answer and direct readers to sources you find valuable. Welcome to Philosophy. – Frank Hubeny Feb 24 '19 at 23:46
  • I added a reference. Thank you for the welcome! – Daiki Feb 25 '19 at 11:23

As an antidote to logic-addiction I sometimes invoke this from the Buddhist teacher Nagarjuna:

Everything is real and is not real,
Both real and not real,
Neither real nor not real.
This is Lord Buddha's teaching.

Added in response to @PeterJ and @mavavilj comment

The idea that mind is purely a computational function would be rejected, as would the idea that consciousness is reducible to functions.

Is I feel a neat conspectus of the difference.

The other difference is the valuation of the mystical. In India "mystic" means almost at the summum bonum... Off by just a bit. In the West mystic means loony but sufficiently harmless to be let loose.

Brings me to@mavavilj comment I'm surprised : I would have thought neoplatonism closer to Vedanta than most other western streams.... Maybe the vast difference between how Plotinus uses "intellect" and how we are used to using it post 19 century ?

(don't know much Spinoza but I guess similar would apply to him)

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