Androids and the Mind/Body Problem
The Synopsis: Star Trek Episode “The Measure of a Man” deals with the thought that android could have physical and mental properties. In order to fully understand or evaluate this we have to have a clear understanding of the Mind/Body Problems and solutions. Humans are material objects consisting of physical and mental properties. Physical properties examples are height, weight, color, shape or size and mental properties are awareness, consciousness, feeling, thinking, emotions and senses. The problem arises because these properties interact where intentional or unintentional continuously. Hasker discusses several mind/body solutions such as idealism, materialism, behaviorism, dualism, and emergentism. Data is an android that was assembled to resemble a human being. In this episode Commander Maddox has orders for Data to transfer to his unit for disassemble with a goal to learn more about him or as Maddox referred to him as “it”, so an arm of androids can serve the Starfleet. Data refuses and has his Captain Picard supporting him. Maddox’s stand is Data has no rights and his characteristics were developed by man to resemble humans so we can direct him. Hasker talks about Behaviorism which states mental properties are special categories of physical properties. The mind/body solution could be used due to Maddox’ thinking that Data is a physical representation of a dream, conceived in the mind of man. Man collected neural nets and heuristic algorithms to develop the software to complete the android and that man controls it, thus behavior. Captain Picard is Data’s commanding officer and supports his refusal because he feels he has rights. The Mind/Body solution presented is idealism. Idealism states that physical properties are really properties of ideas, thoughts or sense data which exist in the mind of some person or persons. Picard asked what is sentient being and Maddox explained three criteria: intelligence,...
References: Hasker, W. (1983). Metaphysics: Constructing a World View. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press.
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