Re: Fuzzy vs Probability

From: Michael Wilson (
Date: Sat Jan 15 2005 - 12:39:28 MST

"J. Andrew Rogers" wrote:
>> just that physicists should spend less time fiddling with particle
>> accelerators and more time going on expeditions to the Himalayas to
>> discover themselves. Any thoughts?
> Heh. Well done.

There are two basic problems with philosophy. One is that it lacks
a strong selective mechanism, and thus while 10% of it is highly
useful the other 90% of it is useless junk. The requirement to make
correct predictions in science means that Sturgeon's Law only
applies to the bleeding edge (and crank) stuff that hasn't been
subjected to peer review and independent testing. The second is that
most philosophy takes the correctness of intuitive human notions
about various aspects of cognition, as well as the basic validity of
introspection, pretty much as a given. By contrast cognitive science
has been slowly but steadily proceeding from trying to answer
mysterious philosophical questions to explaining where the illusion
of mystery comes from and why we ask these badly formed questions
in the first place.

Much of AGI consists of untested theories that are supported at
best by several steps of inference from experimental psychology,
neuroanatomy or decision theory. More often, they are just
plausible sounding guesses based on someone's intuitive ideas on
cognition works, possibly aided by some compelling metaphors to
intelligent seeming processes people are familiar with. However
normative probability and decision theory (including Bayes) and
the failings of the dualistic viewpoint (and other philosophical
delusions inconsistent with the integrated causal model and the
specific findings of evolutionary psychology) are not in this
class. They are basic facts which one must be acquainted with to
have any hope of explaining how and why intelligence works.

The hostility to philosophers is quite frankly because as a rule
philosophers have proven to have a vastly inflated expectation
of how relevant their work is to reality, in particular how the
human brain works and how to build AGI. Numerous philosophers have
nonetheless made important contributions, but all those that have
done so took the time to intensively study relevant science and
maths before speculating. If you don't do this your fate will be
probably resemble that of the philosopher in this story;

 * Michael Wilson

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