Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mapping the Conceptual Terrain

A recurring theme in philosophy is something like this: philosopher x proposes some properties that constitute concept C (more specifically I guess we'd say that the possession of said properties is individually necessary and jointly sufficient to constitute C).  Ahh yes, but philosopher y has an example that shows that our intuitions about C go further; philosopher x's account leaves something important out!

This came to mind while watching an episode of The Twilight Zone this evening. The inmate's robot has all the qualities that (we think) a mental life comprises: rationality, learning abilities, emotions, qualitative conscious experiences like perception, pain and hunger.  So does the robot have a mind?  Well, perhaps some will disqualify the robot on account of lacking a soul. Regardless, if you feel the chill at the conclusion of the episode, ask yourself why.

3 comments:

Mike A Robinson said...

i have watched this episode a dozen times over 20 years and i still feel for the lady robot - perhaps their are different types of immaterial aspects of animals, some manufactured things (maybe a an immaterial thing like a personality of some sort arises from particular combinations of different parts combined with intention and intelligent construction) and people. after all concepts are immaterial as are the laws of logic - the laws of logic seem to have some attributes.

David Parker said...

Thanks for commenting, Mike. I have bookmarked your review of Randal Rauser's book, which still hasn't made it onto my bookshelf yet.

Sounds like you are into presup apologetics, you might be interested in a recent exchange I had over at this blog:
http://www.inpursuitofglory.com/2011/08/preliminary-critique-of.html

I was only shooting form the hip when I responded to him...based on the limited knowledge I have of Bahnsen.

Mike A Robinson said...

David: i did enjoy RR's book, even for those who disagree w/ his approach or some of his conclusions, one can learn a great deal. I took a peak at your presup critique, and if I can add anything I'll comment there. Many blessings to you.

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