Playing God (Consciousness and Dualism)

Topics: Philosophy of mind, Consciousness, Artificial intelligence Pages: 3 (1003 words) Published: February 24, 2014
Playing God

In this paper I will argue that computers cannot have minds. Using examples from Descartes, Turing, and Searle about the definitions of the mind and how it works to support my claim. I will be using the thoughts and examples used by these gentlemen to show how they are relevant in our understanding of the question at hand: Can a Computer have a mind?

Descartes was a philosopher that lived during 1600s and is the father of dualism. Dualism is a philosophy that stemmed out of skepticism. Descartes doubted everything but discovered that he couldn’t doubt the fact that he was doubting, which came the term Cogito Ergo Sum, or I think therefore I am. He also discovered that the mind and the body are two separate things, which is where dualism coined its name. According to Descartes, the Mind is an abstract thing that cannot be physically interacted with. He believed that the concrete body communicated with the immaterial mind through the pineal glad. The pineal gland located directly in the brain, this is where the chemicals that causes actions, emotions, and thoughts. With this example, and the definition according to Descartes of what the mind is, it is impossible for a computer to have a mind. It is possible to write software and program computers to think like a human, but they will never have a penile gland; therefore they will never have an immaterial mind. A computer wouldn’t be able to have a conscience or feelings. Without these Descartes dualism directly defeats the possibility of computers having a mind.

If we alter our definition of what a mind is to a broader ground of just ‘thinking’ we stumble across the imitation game example used by Mr. Turing. Turing was a mathematician that made contributions to the theory of computation around the 1950’s. He used an example of the imitation game to prove that computers could not possibly have minds. Though he was in a time where the first meager computers were invented, Mr. Turing was spot on....
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