Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

halting oracle

Is the human mind best seen as a halting oracle?

Eric Holloway explains Jonathan Bartlett’s account of the human mind as a halting oracle: In his paper, “Using Turing oracles in cognitive models of problem-solving” Jonathan Bartlett proposes to model the human mind as a halting oracle. A brief explanation: Computer science pioneer Alan Turing (1912–1954) imagined a universal machine that can copy any other machine. However, this machine has a critical limitation: It cannot determine whether any given machine will run forever or not. This is known as the halting problem: “There can be no general procedure to decide if a self-contained computer program will eventually halt.” A halting oracle is a non-mechanical entity that can solve the halting problem for all machines. A common objection to Bartlett’s idea Read More ›