Publication date (electronic): 30 December 2014
The algorithmic mind and what it means to solve a problem
Wim Hordijk is a computer scientist working in the areas of computational biology and origin of life. He was a graduate fellow at the Santa Fe Institute for several years, and has worked on many research and computing projects all over the world since then. He currently works as an independent scientist, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In a recent paper in this journal, a claim is made that the mind is not algorithmic. The supporting argument for this claim is that humans frequently solve certain problems which can supposedly not be solved by a computer. However, this argument is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to solve a problem. Here, I will argue that the provided argument for the claim that the mind is not algorithmic confuses two different meanings of the phrase “to solve a problem”: its formal meaning and its colloquial meaning. As a result, the argument is not logically consistent, and thus does not support the original claim.
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