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A computational mind cannot recognize itself

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The computational mind paradigm proposes that the mind is an information-processing system equivalent to a Turing machine. Some proponents of this view hope to emulate the mind using methods such as symbolism, connectionism or more biological models. In the present work, the following question is posed: is a computational mind capable of deciding (yes or no) whether a proposed emulation of the mind is indeed an emulation of the mind? It is argued that this is not possible. Intuitively, the reason a computational mind cannot recognize an emulation of itself is for much the same reason that a set of scales cannot weigh itself. In this article, a formal argument for this stance is given by noticing the following: for a computational mind to recognize an emulation of itself, it must be capable of deciding whether two Turing Machines (namely, itself and the proposed emulation) are functionally equivalent. This task is uncomputable, and thus there cannot exist a computational procedure in the mind that is capable of recognizing an emulation of itself.
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Keywords: brain emulations; computational theories of mind; mind uploading; undecidability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Plymouth University

Publication date: December 1, 2015

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