Data Man or Machine

Topics: Philosophy of mind, Jean-Luc Picard, Mind Pages: 1 (403 words) Published: February 2, 2013
Is Data man or machine? This seems to be the main question that the entire episode of star Trek entitled “The Measure of a Man” revolves around. The issue starts when Starfleet officer Maddox comes on board to transfer the machine or android known as Data into his possession for disassembly for research. Many inquiries can be raised from the episode including why does Maddox and Captain Picard disagree on rather or not Data is a machine? What exactly does it take to be sentient? Towards the end of the episode Maddox gives what he believes to be criteria for being sentient. Maddox says to be sentient Data must have intelligence, self-awareness, and consciousness. Both Maddox and Picard can be said to have any number of views on the Mind/body problem however I will attempt to place them each in one particular category. We can tell from Maddox constant referral of Data as “it”. Maddox Leans towards the dualism view because by Hasker’s definition demonstrates a division between the mind and body as being separate. We know that Maddox is of the dualism persuasion because he gives us three distinct attributes for being sentient that are all mental attributes but then goes on to speak of Data’s human looks which is to say his “body. Captain Picard is urging us to believe him as he uses idealism to fight Data’s case before the JAG. Picard as viewed in the episode shows Maddox that Data meets each of his criteria to be sentient and asks him then states to the Jag that the decision she reaches on how they are to “regard the creation of our genius” will determine the future of how people treat the “race” of Data’s. My opinion on the matter is simply that Data is an android a machine created by man that looks and acts like a human but as Riker demonstrated can be shut off with a flip of the switch. No matter how you dress up a pig it is still a pig. In today’s society we have computers everywhere we look and this argument would never be brought before a court...
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