I Robot and Descartes

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Philosophy and Literature 253
Midterm Exam
October 7 2012
“Oh, Jupiter, a robot Descartes!”
Asimov’s short story “Reasons” in I, Robot is the fictional account of a robots creation of his own path of reasoning. Much like Descartes, the Robot, Cutie, is curious about the truth of his existence and plans to find the answers out for himself. Cutie is a self-aware, reasoning robot on a station in space in the year 2015, and all he knows are the things in his immediate surrounding, which isn’t much. So to him everything he is told couldn’t possible be proven true in this realm of his existence. Although Descartes and Cutie have completely different worlds around them, they both contain an air of curiously that can be healthy and somewhat destructive to an every day way of life, depending on how far one takes it. I find Asimov’s character to support the first three Meditations discovered by Descartes through his actions of deciphering the world around him.

The story starts with Cutie’s questioning about what he is told to believe. When Powell explains vast emptiness of space, the Earth, and the stars viable from the station, Cutie doesn’t follow, “But where do I come in Powell, you haven’t explained my existence (Asimov, pg. 48).” He then starts to doubts the existence of a world outside the station, the only place he has proof of existence. Like any self-reasoning creature, Cutie needs an explanation of his origins and a purpose of existing there. When the QT models were created to have the ability to reason, I believe his creators disregarded the stress of those unanswerable questions that come with being able to decipher and make sense of the information we are fed. Us humans have always been in question of our existence, and although we are told many things like the theory of evolution or the story of Adam and Eve, we still have an abundance of questions we find unanswerable by the explanation we are given of life, answers we are just to believe are...
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