Trapped in the Robot Control Room

Tools For Thinking About Content

Your brain is importantly not in the same predicament you would be in, trapped in the control room. Its task is—must be—partly solved in advance by the way some inputs are “wired up” to some outputs so that there is some leverage in the brain with which to learn and refine further appropriate relationships. This is another way of dramatizing the widely recognized claim that our brains are not “blank slates” at birth (Pinker, 2002), but are already designed by natural selection to embody various preferences, anticipations, and associations. And as long as some of the appropriate connections are built in, they don’t have to be labeled. Before there can be comprehension, there has to be competence without comprehension. This is nature’s way

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Philosopher Daniel Dennett's Book Intuition Pumps