Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk at Bogazici, Cem Bozsahin (ODTU), “Can Computation Give Rise to Meaning”

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2pm, Monday, May 5th, Bogazici University,

AVS (Seminar Room, floor above entrance floor) in the Computer Engineering Building (ETA), North Campus


“Can Computation Give Rise to Meaning?”
Cem Bozsahin, Middle Eastern Technical University


Computation is commonly regarded as a stand-alone formal mechanism. It does require an interpretive/executive substrate to do its work: a brain for humans and animals (if they are doing computation), and a virtual machine for computers, eventually reaching hardware. We know that the human brain is capable of causing meaning. We don’t know whether computation in the abstract sense is capable of doing the same in all interpretive/executive substrates. Using examples from language, I try to show in this talk that natural and artificial minds might be facing the same problem of constructing meanings if their computations are supported by their own “right stuff”, a mechanism which is capable of execution. This seems to require two channels of intake, rather than one as one would expect
if computation were a stand-alone formal mechanism. We may not be able  to look into wetware/hardware to see if there is any meaning in there, because it is a process rather than an object, but computationalism may be able to construct a causal history of how a form can come to be associated with a meaning.

Bio: Cem Bozsahin received his PhD in computer science from Arizona State University (ASU), on AI/Cognitive Science. He has taught at Ohio University and ODTU in permanent positions, and on temporary duties at Heriot-Watt Univ. and Bogazici University. He has conducted research at ASU, ODTU and Edinburgh University. He works on the nature of constraints on cognition and computational linguistics.

Cem Bozsahin’s webpage


Written by markedwardsteen

May 1, 2014 at 11:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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