RE: Mentifex

From: Ben Houston (
Date: Wed May 29 2002 - 00:20:27 MDT

I just read the theory5 document entitled "Brain-Mind: Know Thyself!"

I have some very major problems with this paper:

[1] He is obviously trying to infer the mechanisms of the mind without
sufficient constraining data. This means that he must to choose his
proposed mechanisms out of many equally provable/improvable ones.
Unfortunately, he never admits this in his paper.

[2] He doesn't differentiate between the novel stuff he is proposing and
what has been previously discovered or proposed before. He needs to
state clearly how his work is related / distinct from that of his peers
in the field. Cognitive science did exist in 1981
[3] Never does he say what evidence he used to formulate the various
aspects of his mind models. How then can we analyze whether his
formulations are logical given the evidence if he doesn't state the

[4] There were tons of seminal papers published before 1981 on the
topics that he speculates incorrectly on. He is mostly dealing with
cognitive psychology topics -- a field that was firmly established by
the mid 1960's.

What should I take away from this paper except to say that some of it
sounds familiar and some of it seems fairly misguided?


> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Of Ben Goertzel
> Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2002 12:48 AM
> To:
> Subject: Mentifex
> Hi all,
> I finally got around to reading some of Arthur T. Murray's stuff on
> Mentifex AI approach.
> I didn't look at the code (yet), I just read the docs on the site.
> If anyone is interested, these two are fairly clear and simple (esp.
> former)
> The "Nolarbeit Theory Journal" documents on the site, I found rather
> to
> follow, although interesting in a literary and psychological sort of
> I like the simplified brain theory underlying the Mentifex system. It
> really pretty similar to the brain theory I put forth in From
> to
> Creativity (and earlier, in an article published in Complexity
> Had I known about the Mentifex work then, I would have cited it
> Both theories use the hierarchical structure of the cortex, and
connect it
> to the dual-network-like structure of mind. This stuff provides
> background
> for my more recent work on hebbian logic -- hebbian logic is about
> reasoning
> among neural clusters, and this is about how neural clusters work more
> generally.
> However, my own AI work is not based on my theories about how the
> works except in a very loose way. Murray proposes an AI architecture
> based
> more closely on his theory of the brain.
> He says a lot about how brain structure affects linguistic processing.
> Here
> I agree with most of his general conclusions about how linguistic
> structure
> probably relates to brain structure and dynamics. However, I doubt
> these general conclusions can be implemented simply in software. I
> that the linguistic behaviors he discusses do come out of the brain
> structures he mentions, but that there's a lot of detailed brain
> and dynamics intervening between the two levels, which his software
> theory don't embody. I could go into more details but don't have time
> right
> now.
> In my view, although Arthur sometimes *presents* his ideas in a
> kooky way (by the standards of the mainstream scientific community,
> even
> by the standards of this list), the ideas themselves are significantly
> better than most of what passes for cognitive science and AI. There
> some
> deep thinking there. If anyone else but me is trying to survey all
> serious
> thinking on AGI, Murray's two papers I cited above should be looked at
> sure.
> -- Ben G

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