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玛丽的房间:一个哲学思想实验——埃莉诺·尼尔森 – 译学馆
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玛丽的房间:一个哲学思想实验——埃莉诺·尼尔森

Mary's Room: A philosophical thought experiment - Eleanor Nelsen

Imagine a brilliant neuroscientist named Mary.
想象一下 有位杰出的神经科学家 她叫玛丽
Mary lives in a black and white room,
玛丽住在一间黑白的屋子里
she only reads black and white books,
只阅读黑白色的书籍
and her screens only display black and white.
而且她的屏幕也只是黑白的
But even though she has never seen color,
但尽管她从没见过彩色
Mary is an expert in color vision
她却是彩色视觉专家
and knows everything ever discovered about its physics and biology.
而且通晓所有已发现的相关物理和生物学知识
She knows how different wavelengths of light
她知道 不同波长的光是如何
stimulate three types of cone cells in the retina,
刺激视网膜上的三种视锥细胞
and she knows how electrical signals travel down the optic nerve into the brain.
她还知道电子信号是如何通过视神经传到大脑的
There, they create patterns of neural activity
电子信号会在脑内产生多种神经反应
that correspond to the millions of colors most humans can distinguish.
与大多数人类能够分辨的数百万种彩色相对应
Now imagine that one day,
现在假设有一天
Mary’s black and white screen malfunctions
玛丽的黑白屏幕发生了故障
and an apple appears in color.
出现了一个彩色的苹果
For the first time,
这是玛丽第一次
she can experience something that she’s known about for years.
能够体验到她熟知已久的事情
Does she learn anything new?
她学到新的东西了吗?
Is there anything about perceiving color that wasn’t captured in all her knowledge?
在她所有的知识中是否遗漏了如何感知彩色?
Philosopher Frank Jackson proposed this thought experiment,
1982年哲学家弗兰克·杰克逊提出了
called Mary’s room, in 1982.
这个叫做“玛丽的房间”的思想实验
He argued that if Mary already knew all the physical facts about color vision,
他认为 如果玛丽已通晓彩色视觉的所有物理事实
and experiencing color still teaches her something new,
却仍然能从感知彩色中学到一些新东西
then mental states, like color perception,
那就说明物理事实无法完全描述出
can’t be completely described by physical facts.
心理状态 如色彩感知
The Mary’s room thought experiment
这个“玛丽的房间” 思想实验
describes what philosophers call the knowledge argument,
描述的正是哲学家所谓的“知识论证”
that there are non-physical properties and knowledge
即只能通过意识体验习得的
which can only be discovered through conscious experience.
非物理的属性和知识
The knowledge argument contradicts the theory of physicalism,
“知识论证”与物理主义理论相悖
which says that everything, including mental states,
物理主义认为一切皆可用物理事实解释
has a physical explanation.
包括心理状态
To most people hearing Mary’s story,
对于大多数听说“玛丽的房间”故事的人
it seems intuitively obvious that
似乎可依直觉断定
actually seeing color will be totally different than learning about it.
实际看到彩色与学习彩色知识是截然不同的
Therefore, there must be some quality of color vision
因此 肯定有一些彩色视觉的特性
that transcends its physical description.
超越了物理描述的范畴
The knowledge argument isn’t just about color vision.
“知识论证”不仅仅局限于彩色视觉
Mary’s room uses color vision to represent conscious experience.
“玛丽的房间” 实验用彩色视觉代表意识体验
If physical science can’t entirely explain color vision,
如果物理学无法完全解释彩色视觉
then maybe it can’t entirely explain other conscious experiences either.
那么它也可能无法完全解释其它的意识体验
For instance, we could know every physical detail
例如 我们能够知晓某个人大脑
about the structure and function of someone else’s brain,
所有结构和功能的物理细节
but still not understand what it feels like to be that person.
但我们仍无法同那个人一样感同身受
These ineffable experiences have properties called qualia,
这种难以描述的体验属性称为“感受性”
subjective qualities that you can’t accurately describe or measure.
这是你无法准确描述或衡量的主观特性
Qualia are unique to the person experiencing them,
感知对体验者来说 是独特的
like having an itch,
比如发痒
being in love,
坠入爱河
or feeling bored.
或是感到无聊
Physical facts can’t completely explain mental states like this.
物理事实无法完全解释像这样的心理状态
Philosophers interested in artificial intelligence
对人工智能感兴趣的哲学家
have used the knowledge argument to theorize
用“知识论证”推出一个理论
that recreating a physical state won’t necessarily recreate a corresponding mental state.
重建物理状态未必能够重建与之对应的心理状态
In other words,
换句话说
building a computer which mimicked the function of every single neuron of the human brain
制造出能模拟人脑所有神经元功能的电脑
won’t necessarily create a conscious computerized brain.
未必能创建有意识的计算机大脑
Not all philosophers agree that the Mary’s room experiment is useful.
并非所有哲学家都认可“玛丽的房间”的实验的价值
Some argue that her extensive knowledge of color vision
有些人认为玛丽广泛的彩色视觉知识
would have allowed her to create the same mental state produced by actually seeing the color.
会使她产生与实际看到彩色时同样的心理状态
The screen malfunction wouldn’t show her anything new.
屏幕故障并不会给她带来任何新的知识
Others say that her knowledge was never complete in the first place
另外一些人认为 玛丽的知识本来就不完整
because it was based only on those physical facts that can be conveyed in words.
因为它们仅基于那些能用文字传递的物理事实
Years after he proposed it,
提出“知识论证”数年后
Jackson actually reversed his own stance on his thought experiment.
杰克逊实际上颠覆了自己的思想实验得出的结论
He decided that even Mary’s experience of seeing red
他断定 玛丽看见红色的体验
still does correspond to a measurable physical event in the brain,
仍与脑部可测量的物理事件相对应
not unknowable qualia beyond physical explanation.
而非物理事实无法解释的感受性
But there still isn’t a definitive answer to the question of
关于玛丽看见苹果时能否学到一些新东西
whether Mary would learn anything new when she sees the apple.
这一问题仍然没有定论
Could it be that there are fundamental limits to what we can know
对于我们无法体验的事物
about something we can’t experience?
我们的认知是否存在固有的限制?
And would this mean
这是否意味着
there are certain aspects of the universe that lie permanently beyond our comprehension?
我们永远无法解释宇宙的某些方面呢?
Or will science and philosophy allow us to overcome our mind’s limitations?
而科学和哲学能否让我们克服我们的思维限制呢?

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