Symbol System Manipulation

If thought is just the manipulation of symbols. Then computers think. If thought is more than the manipulation of symbols... then how do you know people think?

If you can't accept that the mechanical manipulations of symbol systems carried out by a computer are thought... then how can you accept that the mechanical symbol manipulations carried out by organic beings are thought?

Artificial Intelligence beats real stupidity every time.

Waxing a tad philosophical, perhaps the mechanical symbol manipulations of any system be it a human brain or a computer are the echo of thought. In the case of the computer the program is the echo of a thought left by its programmer. In the case of a brain these are the echoes of thoughts begun in the minds of others and advanced or reproduced yet again.

The idea is that thought-stuff can move between noggins and that the computer offers a similar place of purchase for the thought-stuff as a rather simple minded noggin. So thought-stuff lives in noggins. Thought-stuff can be preserved in medium like a seed of an annual plant it lays dormant on a page. Thought-stuff gets planted in a noggin and sprouts.

Living thought stuff that bears fruit as action and turns to seed is shot across the divide between noggins in speech, on paper, or as code. The result is germinated. In the case of code the germination can occur in the artificial soil of a computer.