Human vs. Computer: Comparison of How the Truth of a Statement is Determined in the Framework of WVO Quine’s Holism

Human vs. Computer: Comparison of How the Truth of a Statement is Determined in the Framework of WVO Quine’s Holism

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Second Difference: Determinism of a Computer vs. Nondeterminism of the Web-of-Belief Model. The contrast between computer decision making and human decision making, as described by Web-of-Belief Model is well conveyed by the contrast between a Deterministic Turing Machine and a Nondeterministic Turing Machine. The first one has a set of rules which prescribes a single action for a given situation (if B, then B’), while the second one prescribes more than one action for a given situation (if B, then (B’ or B’’)).
The truth of a computer statement is fixed deterministically because the program relates the discrete “all-or-nothing” elements of the code and input (“1”s and “0”s) to the “1”s and “0”s of the output in a single possible way. It seems that a fitting analogy to a deterministic digital computer is an hour glass. There is always a one-to-one correspondence between the discrete “all-or-nothing” sand particles in one glass bulb and those that will eventually be in the other glass bulb when the clock is flipped. The output (number of discrete “all-or-nothing” sand particles in the lower glass bulb) is always fixed by the input (the number of discrete “all-or-nothing” sand particles in the upper glass bulb).
In contrast, since human sense data and language are not atomistic, it is impossible to relate the elements of the sense data and language with the elements of the output in a deterministic way, or by establishing one-to-one correspondence. A very approximate analogy for such a system is a rain gauge measuring rainfall in Central Park. For the purposes of this system, the water is not atomistic: instead of appearing in discrete, “all-or-nothing” particles, it divides into portions of varying amount. As the water fa...


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