Robert Epstein on Why Your Brain is not a Computer


This essay posted at will be of interest to a few of my futurist friends and those in consciousness studies.

Robert Epstein holds nothing back as he hamburgerises the sacred cow of cognitive science: the presupposition that the brain is like a computer. It’s a little short on definitive evidence for the claim, but is in my opionion on the right track. Though it does slay one sacred cow, it fails to recognise another is just nervously entering the philosophical slaughterhouse: the materialist reductionism upon which the dominant model of consciousness is implicitly founded. But that would be a sacred cow too far for any respectable academic. If we bring the discussion on the field properties of consciousness to this discussion, then we might really get somewhere. But it’s a nice start, nonetheless.

On a side note, Ray Kurzweil’s mad idea to load brains onto computers does not necessarily dissipate (as Epstein argues) if consciousness does hold field properties. But then one might ask the question, what would be the point? 🙂

A couple of quotes from the article:

“Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer.”

“We are organisms, not computers. Get over it. Let’s get on with the business of trying to understand ourselves, but without being encumbered by unnecessary intellectual baggage. The IP metaphor has had a half-century run, producing few, if any, insights along the way. The time has come to hit the DELETE key.”

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