(notes on stuff already said)
Newton: A machine is a conduit that increases force by diminishing velocity (consider the rotational velocity of a lever, the deceleration of the ax or hammer, the lift of an inertial body on the inclined plane, etc.)
Gelernter: a machine transforms energy into value.
Gelernter’s definition needs to be added to Newton’s since without value we can’t tell if the machine is working or not. A scale and a trebuchet are the same lever. More simply, “is it working?” is a normative question.
The lever is balanced. Is it working? The neuron fires.
If you put a pebble in a bag for every sheep you see, the pebble-bag is a computer. Each stone is a code.
Plato: code is a reminder. You keep the pebbles so you don’t have to remember the sheep.
By meaning anything be anything else. A star can be a state, blue can mean liberty, a scratch can be a conquest, F can be force. This gives infinite possibilities but essential dependence. What could be anything is none of those things. Have the intention look away for an instant, and this sort of accidental being immediately ceases to exist.
Of course the brain is a machine for thinking, like the jaw is a machine for chewing. Just look at it – it’s a lever. And so it can work, provided one pre-supplies inputs from somewhere and value from somewhere else. Note that the machine is even more dependent on the source of value than the source of force: turn off the source of force, and it can work for while on pure inertia; turn off the source of value, and it immediately ceases to work, even if it happens to move.
“It’s a machine for producing value!” Egad. Like a martini for producing gin.
Sean Carroll: “look at this equation. If there were soul, then you’d need to add another symbol.” Snark. Cuz’ who needs a soul to have symbols, amIright?