Footnote 3

By "discovering" the Pythagorean theorem I do not necessarily mean that the person originates it himself (although he may), but that when it is shown to him, by understanding it, he recognizes its truth and remembers it. This process is repeated by every student. If ideas had existence, they might possibly be apprehended directly (without mental construction effort) and education would be a trivial process.

Perhaps automated systems, if they can be made to be intelligent, would perceive learning as effortless, because with the ease with which ideas can be "poured in." To these machines, ideas would appear to have existence because the medium might be invisible to them and the ideas would seem to come from idea warehouses (database servers). A philosopher machine would, of course, see beyond this apparent ease and realize that the ideas have physical encodings, and that the encodings of the strings exist, but that the strings themselves do not.

This hand-crafted HTML file was created January 7, 2002, by Rick Wagner, and last updated August 18, 2010 by Rick Wagner.
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