My apologies for the length of this essay, it runs approximately 4000 words. Because of this, it will require two separate posts. It is too long for a single post. At the end of the first post, a link will be provided to the second. Feel free to comment on either thread. This is an attempt at a thought experiment to discount the computational mind on par with Searle's "Chinese Room". I don't consider myself a philosopher, in fact I've been an engineer for about 15 years now, so much of the language that goes into debates of consciousness are not concepts I'm totally familiar and comfortable with. This essay instead works with concepts most engineers might be comfortable with, finite element analysis or computational fluids dynamics. I've provided an overview of how that type of engineering analysis is done, hopefully it will be sufficient to allow people to grasp the thought experiment I've proposed. I've also not addressed some types of computational methods or computers, primarily because I feel doing so will only confuse the issue and those retorts to this essay using arguments based on different computational methods should be grouped fairly easily and dismissed. If something is missing along those lines such as "this won't work with a quantum computer because… " I'd be glad to discuss that as a separate issue. My intention here is to provide a coherent thought experiment and to discuss any missing or overlooked concepts which might alter the conclusion. Thanks in advance for your time. The Importance of Connectivity to Strong AI and the Computational Mind Abstract: Searle describes strong AI as follows: ". . . according to strong AI, the computer is not merely a tool in the study of the mind; rather, the appropriately programmed computer really is a mind, in the sense that computers given the right programs can be literally said to understand and have other cognitive states. In strong AI, because the programmed computer has cognitive states, the programs are not mere tools that enable us to test psychological explanations; rather, the programs are themselves the explanations." In other words, the mind is a calculating machine, and any calculating machine of similar qualities will give rise to consciousness in the same way. The assumption is that subjective experience is a by-product of the calculation, or some may say, it IS the calculation. What this essay intends to demonstrate can be summarized as follows: 1a. If various portions of the computer ARE connected, the computational mind concept allows the possibility of conscious phenomena emerging. 1b. If various portions of the computer are NOT connected, there can be no conscious phenomena. 2. There is no mechanism allowing individual portions of the computer to discern whether or not they are connected. 3. If the individual portions of the computers can not discern whether they are connected or not, no overall phenomena can emerge which requires them to be connected. Further, this essay intends to show that the connectivity of the computing device is vitally important in understanding consciousness. Is the signal or information that is passed from one portion of the machine to another special in any way; or can any signal which allows the computation to be performed suffice? Although it would appear to be a superficial question who's answer is simply that any signal should suffice, that concept will be challenged after it is shown that the computational machine can not distinguish between signals. As a result, there is no way for the machine to know whether or not it is in one piece and actually calculating anything or not. To help illuminate this argument, a mind experiment will be used, applying the same concepts used by computational fluid dynamics and finite element analysis tools. Finite Element Analysis and Computational Fluid Dynamics Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element analysis (FEA) provide engineers the tools with which to calculate the behavior of complex systems. CFD is used to analyze how fluids flow - for example, how air flows over the surface of an aircraft, or how water might flow through a turbine used to create electricity at a hydroelectric power plant. FEA is used to analyze stresses and strains in materials. In the case of the aircraft, its wing might be analyzed to see what kind of stresses the aluminum structure is under to ensure the structure can withstand the rigors of flight, or it could be used to examine the turbine casing on that hydroelectric power plant to ensure the pressure of the water, and the stresses created by the spinning turbine do not cause those structures damage. CFD and FEA are very similar tools, in that they both take a large system, break it down into small chunks, and analyze each chunk individually using information coming from one chunk to calculate what will happen inside the next chunk. Each chunk is a three dimensional piece of the phenomena being modeled. In the case of CFD analyzing the flow of air over a wing for example - an imaginary, three dimensional grid is formed around the aircraft, and it is through this 3D grid that the air is moving. If we examined one of those small three dimensional chunks in the grid, we would find air moving into the chunk, air moving out of the chunk, perhaps some reflections of air waves coming off of the aircraft moving through, and other phenomena. To calculate what is going on inside this chunk, a mathematical model, such as a subroutine, calculates what is going on when air moves into and out of the chunk using various continuity and other equations. As the air moves over the wing, it calculates the drop in pressure, and that pressure is transformed into a force where it borders the wing to determine how much lift a wing might generate. An FEA analysis works very similarly. In this case, it's a structure which is examined. Take the turbine case for example. The turbine case must support the bearings on which the shaft turbine rides, it must contain loads due to internal pressure, and it must be able to handle all the forces and loads on it. Again, a three dimensional grid is used to model the entire case. Imagine a lump of clay, molded to look like the turbine case, and a thin wire knife is used to chop it vertically lengthwise, vertically crosswise, and then horizontally, many many times, creating tiny rectangular chunks. Each chunk will have equations for the forces applied to the six faces of the chunk, and each chunk will have equations which calculate the stresses created by those forces inside each volume. Each chunk will also have equations which determine the strain, or amount of stretching, it experiences applied to the material inside Both of these methods for analysis use the same concept of breaking a finite amount of matter up into very tiny chunks. They both then apply equations which model the applicable physical laws for the phenomena of interest. One can extend this concept to analyze anything whatsoever, such as a piping system, or even a human brain. The overall behavior of any emergent phenomena can then be determined to a high degree of accuracy which is only dependant on the accuracy of the model. Overall Perception The method of analysis just discussed, FEA or CFD is a tremendously useful tool in analyzing most any phenomena engineers and scientists can think of. From the examples given, all the way up to a model of the universe, the concept of cutting a given chunk of the universe up into small pieces so that each piece is simple enough to analyze on its own, and so that information about what is going on in one chunk can be used by the next, will be used to analyze the brain. But before that can be done, we need to point out one aspect of consciousness with which we will be most interested. I'll call this feature "overall perception" for lack of a better term. We perceive our surroundings as a unified whole. It is a singular perception, not a disconnected one. When looking at a painting we perceive not just one spot on the painting, we perceive an entire painting, a complex painting, something which may take up our entire eyesight. And this painting will be perceived across a large chunk of the brain, not just in one tiny spot. Our perception and what we experience when looking at this painting is assumed to require a large part of our brain. So overall perception refers to the singular, unified experience we have when looking at a painting for example. The thought experiment below will highlight the difference between a computer and a conscious human brain. It is intended to show that this "overall perception" can not exist in a computer. In addition, it is intended to show that there are no physical laws which can presently accommodate this phenomena. Part 2 can be located here.