Year: 1997

Authors: John Haugeland

Chapter 2 Summary

Goal: model the human brain as a formal system, which has:

  • A set of types of formal tokens
  • Starting positions
  • Rules for transition

Things like a computer is an automatic formal system.

There is also the notion of of digital system which is discrete, as opposed to an analog system.

For example, when we perceive a cat, we probably implicitly go through the process of identifying fur, whiskers, tail, size, etc and that could be modeled as a state machine. In fact, the simpler animals, such as a spider, probably do have a rather easy to describe processing system.

Why do I care? I think it would be amazing to be able to model the state machine that is a data analyst, and use that formal model to design the right software. Currently, this text is still too high level for me to be able to apply the reasoning though, unfortunately.