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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

How does it feel to understand something?

To feel that you understand something implies that it is conveyed to you in a language that you have previously understood.

Language is more than syntax and it includes semantics. Our natural language is full of metaphors and we understand what is spoken to us through our previous understanding of these metaphors.

Thus the feeling of understanding at the most basic level is its connection to what you already know. The great explainers make this connection using apt metaphors in their language.

But understanding will vary in degrees. An expert will understand the words of another expert in a different way than a novice will understand it. …

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Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

If we are to argue for anti-representation (see: Cisek’s pragmatic representation or Brette’s no-coding) then we should have an explanation of why cognition is non-separable.

Non-separable is a characteristic of a holistic system. This means that a process cannot be decomposed into subcomponent parts. Quantum mechanics @coecke can be framed as non-separability as a first principle.

However, brains exist in the realm of classical systems so I don’t think arguments (see: Penrose) should be an explanation of the non-separability of cognitive processes.

The non-separable processes of the brain are described in this diagram:

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This is described from the vantage point of evolution. Evolution takes existing processes, forges them by deferring to the world, leading to specialized versions of the original process. …

Photo by Taras Chernus on Unsplash

I’ve come to the conclusion that the brain is an information processor is also a BS definition.

I agree with the notion of the brain being computational. All of reality is computational. Information processing is a metaphor for computation. It’s a very bad one, to begin with because it really says nothing.

Indeed, computation takes information and transforms it (i.e. processing) into other information. But this is just a vacuous statement. The universe is causal in nature and therefore there exists cause followed by effect. Input followed by output.

The problem with the definition is that it makes no significant distinction between the kind of information and the kind of processing that the brain does. It’s an abstraction that is vacuous because it makes no distinction with anything else in reality. …


Carlos E. Perez

Author of Artificial Intuition and the Deep Learning Playbook —

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