[FOM] The Lucas-Penrose Thesis

Steven Ericsson-Zenith steven at semeiosis.org
Thu Sep 28 14:13:29 EDT 2006

This is a response to the comments of John McCarthy and others  
regarding the Lucas-Penrose Thesis.

The primary distinction, as I see it, between the two camps is that  
one takes symbolic systems as the product of experience, and the  
other takes experience as the product of symbolic systems.

Scholars like Penrose, Lucas, Whitehead, Carnap, Peirce, and others  
(myself among them) choose to take experience seriously as a  
phenomenon in the world, while others (and this is the mainstream  
view since Turing) choose to see experience as a mere artifact, the  
magical product of some mechanical system. I believe such an appeal  
to magic - popularly called "emergence theory" - is unreasonable.

If one is going to challenge Penrose's argument then one needs to  
focus on the basis of it, which is not simply Goedel's theorem.  
Penrose only uses Goedel's theorem in an attempt to support his  
underlying observation that we have no rational basis for assuming  
that our physical models are complete - especially since these models  
provide no explanatory basis for experience.


Dr. Steven Ericsson Zenith
Institute for Advanced Science & Engineering

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