Philosophy about Chess, Computers and God

Philosophy about Chess, Computers and God

May 25, 2008, 11:18 AM |

In the forum topic How close are we to solving chess? I submited two articles from my point of wiev as a philosopher. (post #82 at the page 5 and). I paste both of them here, to have them under an explicite title.

(The image is here:

 Post 1: Computers, programers and Self

He all! I read carefully all posts in the topic. It's 5:30 AM now, I suffer from a little insomnia, Undecided and I decided to write something from my point of view and my level of expertize (MD in philosophy).

First of all, about terminology, and basic metaphysical concept (yes, theword "metaphysic" is forbiden in Analytic Philosophy - a boring and primitive pseudopsilopy prevailign today in philosophical departments - but I am in "european continental" tradition: any try to discart metaphysics lead to be a servant of some kind of bad, por metaphysical concept - oh well, forgot it, if u r not a "profesional philosopher"! Undecided) behind every-day terms. You all said: "computer play chess"; polosportply started it (post #6), with a question:

How close are we to making computers that are 99% unbeatable

However, it's not a computer who play; it's a program.

 For human beings, it's a subject of philosophycal discusions and religious belives is it a basic diference between body and soul (or we need more then two categories - as "soul", "spirit", mind"...). For computers, it's clear: "hardware" is only a vessel for a "software", as St. Paul said that  the body is only a vessel for the spirit.

And, as it become visible in some posts, a presumpsion that "computer" is some kind of person is in back (as HAL 9000 - all know this film, I hope! Smile); this is why say "one day computers will rule a world".  

In the post #18, shaxmat64 demonstrate a confusion of ideas:

Those who think chess as a science claim that the era has come for computers because it is very hard to beat a program nowadays.

And then he add:

that would be pretty much the end of human race once machines start to think themselves...

However, machines didn't think in an essential sense. Programs are still wroten by people - nothing changed from the times of Enigma (WW II - btw, if u know russian, I just read at an excelent article about the game Fine-Alexander in New York 1944. - Alexander come to USA for they both worked with computers for Defence! ).

I remember a report about the match Kramnik - Fritz 10 (they also wrote about the "man vs machine match". Before the match, Spiegel Online wrote, and it's translated into englis in

If the world champion should lose this match against Deep Fritz, and lose it badly, one would have to admit that our electronic slaves have overtaken their human masters in yet another area of intellectual activity.

What a confusion of ideas! Projestion of human relatins where there are not aplicable! However, I can't find a source at the moment, but I remember that a team of programers said that Deep Fritz didn't play a world championship for progmas that yeear, for they prepared it especially for a match agaist human. They changed it's algoritms for possition estimation. They (humans!) changed a program! Vladimir Kramnik didn't play agaist "computer", but agaist a team of pepole using a computer as a tool ("vesel" for their invenitons).

And that' the point: we phylosophers say that computers (as like as animals) is not "self", i.e. "self-concieous". It's conencted with a diference in German between "Verstand" and "Vernunft", it could be translated into English as "intelect" and "mind" - sorry, english is not a good langage for a (continental) philosophy! Tongue out (In Croatian: razum and um, it is nice said: "raz-um" is conented with analysis, "um" with syntesis - ti is famous "creativity" what shaxmat64 said computers havn't - but u need a littly philosophy to understend what they realy have not!).

And in cybernetics, the point is: a human beingb (as a "self", as a "person"), is capable to write his/her own programes - to programing him/herself!  (We have "free will".) And computers, from the time of Enigma to Fritz 11, show no more capabilly for self-programing then a hammer - the simpliest tool. Hardware and software - there are only a tool ("slave").

Do you know the film "War Games"? A computer Joshua at the end concluded for himself that The Nuclear War is a pointless game, and that chess is more interesting. Laughing I agree, but was it was writen by a human.

So, I use computer and a lot of programs as a tool, at the moment to write and also to play chess, and in turn-based chess I use on-line databases of games as, as like books, as my "external memory" (CPU is mine alone! Cool). In the corespodent chess, acording to ICC rules, it's also alowed to use any kind of programes! They can come to the end of research and "solve" chess, but they will be only a tool we use! Don't wory - we will find a zilion of other interesting activities to express our creativity! Money mouth

 OK, it's 7 AM now, a begining of a normal day (cold and rain, unfortunatelly..). It's more  I like to write, maybe nxt time.  About God and chess. Innocent


 Post no 2: Chess, Plato and God Herself


Few days ago, I posted a discusion about some basic concepts in a subject "computers and chess" (page 5 in this topic, post #82). I argued: computers don't play chess, but programs, adn programs are wroten by people. Computer is only a tool. People (human beings) are a strange creatures, capable for self-programing (as comander Data in Star Trek - Next Generation can write his own programs when he concluded a new skill - as f.e. dating Wink - is necessary). A human being has a self-conscieus, he/she is a person, a "self", and computer is only a tool, as like as a hamer.

And then, something not-so-competelly diferent! About philospophy, and a litel theology (Aristotlle said philosophy = theology = wisdom!).

 mhooner wrote:

Does God play chess? And if he does does he always win?

It is said that God knows the end from the beginning; would chess bore Him?

 If u have in mind an idea of God as it was developed in western philosophy and adopted in monotheism, an answer is, undoubtedly, yes. 

If you are platonist (and this tradition is strong in western and islamic tradiciton), or a hindusist who accept a concept of akasha,  you can accept that all our ideas pre-existed in the eternal (out-of-time) world of pure ideas (including all science, but also all possible concepts abut good and beauty etc.). When a human being "created" or "discovered" a new idea (concept, theory etc.), it's onyl, as Plato said, recall of something for this uper world. Among others, chess, and all possible chess positions and games (and also all other possible variations of chess, as shogu etc.!), pre-existed in the world of pure ideas (or akasha). 

In neo-platonism, Plato's ideas are developed in cncept of God, a "self", an intellect who contain all pure ideas. Aristotle has also an important role in this development, with considerations in the "lambda" book of his "Metaphisics".  What God add to a sterile word of pure ideas is an act (God is a "pure act"), a "let-it-be!" (as She said in Genesis: "let be light" etc.), an actualisation: provide existence to some ideas. (Hindusm didn't make this step.) Those concepts were crucial for a developnet of the idea of God in christianity and islam.

 And the next important step in the development of God-of-philosophers: to cold do it, God must be in-finity far from our finite, material universe. She is infinite (and becouse that she is also in-definite, can't be defined).

And so, we came back to a question of chess: in spite of a high complexiti for a finite point of wiev, chess is a finite game. And all what is finite, is equall for an infitinte intelect: zero. It isn't important is a number of possible chess games 10^123 or 10^300 or 10^(10^300). Chess isn't more complicated for God then tic-tac-toe, which has only few hundreds of possible lines. And God is also eternal, out-of-time, so she compute infinite fast.

We, human beings, could try to understend God by research her creation. And we are not restricted to this finite, material universe around us: we, as self-programing beings, also can exploit an infinite number of "virtual" worlds, in arts, philosphy, chess, love. This capability is her free gift to us: a revealation of her infinite love. (And chess it one of signs she realy love us! Cool)

And I am going to conclude this with a reference to Imanuel Kant: the only original sin is lazyness - i.e. to not use your capability to research, to uncerstand, to create, to love.