HomeΦιλοσοφια: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 40 no. 1 (2011)

Computer Simulation of Human Thinking: An Inquiry into its Possibility and Implications

Napoleon M. Mabaquiao Jr.

Discipline: Philosophy

 

Abstract:

Critical in the computationalist account of the mind is the phenomenon called computational or computer simulation of human thinking, which is used to establish the theses that human thinking is a computational process and that computing machines are thinking systems. Accordingly, if human thinking can be simulated computationally then human thinking is a computational process; and if human thinking is a computational process then its computational simulation is itself a thinking process. This paper shows that the said phenomenon—the computational simulation of human thinking—is ill-conceived, and that, as a consequence, the theses that it intends to establish are problematic. It is argued that what is simulated computationally is not human thinking as such but merely its behavioral manifestations; and that a computational simulation of these behavioral manifestations does not necessarily establish that human thinking is computational, as it is logically possible for a non-computational system to exhibit behaviors that lend themselves to a computational simulation.