Does the brain encode information?



Year of publication 2017
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Proceedings of AISB Annual Convention 2017
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Philosophy and religion
Keywords information; mind; brain; computalism; Searle; encoding; neural gate
Description Our common sense intuition says that when remembering something we store a piece of information in our memory, that is, in our brain. We can go further by claiming that the brain computes a program by processing information. The computational theory of the mind treats minds as information processing systems. These claims are the main tenets of contemporary cognitive science and neuroscience. Drawing on Searle’s famous Wall argument, I argue, counter to these claims, that the brain cannot carry information by any reasonable definition of information (Shannon, semantic, algorithmic, quantum). Possessing information cannot be an intrinsic feature of any material object, including the brain. If the brain cannot store any information, it cannot compute any function or run any program, for non-trivial functions and programs presuppose the input information. Hence, the analogy between hardware/software and brain/mind is flawed in this respect.
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