On Mar 23, 2014, at 2:29 PM, Curt Cloninger <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> So 1) one forms an understanding of actual historical biological systems based (at least non-incidentally) on cybernetic systems. Then 2) one emulates those understandings of biological systems via cybernetic systems. And unsurprisingly, 3) one discovers "life" in these cybernetic systems. That is the tautology. But perhaps all sorts of salient, non-incidental (albeit non-quantifiable) aspects of "life" (affect, embodiment, historical contingency, Whiteheadean actualization of the virtual, just to name a few) escape this closed-circuit altogether.
Can a computer program inhale and smell Springtime in the air? Can it define sexual attraction? How about desire? Can it sense death? Can it tell the difference between what is alive and what is not? Can it relate on a visceral level to a living thing? Can it say that my bones are weary and my memory is failing? Can it admit to a false set of beliefs? Can it ask for redemption from itís friends? I could go on infinitely. I think of computers and programming as tools or enhancements to our human limitations.